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FAQs About Goldfish Systems 9

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

Related FAQs:  Goldfish Systems 1, Goldfish Systems 2, Goldfish Systems 3, Goldfish Systems 4, Goldfish Systems 5, Goldfish Systems 6, Goldfish Systems 7, Goldfish Systems 8, & 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

Goldfish need a 30 gallon tank, minimum. Failure to do this ends up with sick fish -- you will find it very difficult to provide the good water quality these fish need in such a tiny space.  NealeM.

cloudy 2 year established goldfish 30 gallon aquarium     5/12/18
I've had fancy goldfish and Orandas in a my aquarium for two years, all of a sudden the water is staying cloudy and I lost one of my goldfish. The goldfish had been swimming off and on upside down for 2 months or so and then one evening I notice he was staying upside down more than upright and that his fins were very ragged. I flushed him because he wasn't breathing very well either. Soooo I checked the ammonia levels a couple of weeks ago and it was perfect, now its out of the scale of high....its blue...... I've used Prime and did 1/3 water change, changed the filter and put in ammonia chips with filter and still cloudy. today I put ammo lock in.....WHAT DO I DO???Thanks, Donna
<Donna, let me have you do some reading first:
Cloudy water usually indicates either filtration problems or water chemistry problems. If ammonia is high, that suggests the former.
Substantial, daily water changes will certainly help; and don't feed until the tank has settled down. Zeolite (ammonia removing chips) can help in the short term, but longer term, you need to figure out how the existing filter failed. Often simply adding a second filter can help, especially if the tank was fine when the fish were small, but now they're bigger, the tank has become more difficult to maintain. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: cloudy 2 year established goldfish 30 gallon aquarium     5/12/18
thanks!!!! they are getting much bigger! second filter and water changes......here I go!
<Ah, right, seems like you have a plan. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish and Water Tanks      8/28/17
I have an 88 gal water tank for my horse. Last spring I got 5 small goldfish and put them in it to control larvae. They've grown to about 2 to 2.5 inches and I'm wondering if the water is still safe for my horse to drink?
Thank you, Mary Barger
<Yes; assuredly. If the water is fine for the goldfish, it will be potable for your equines. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish and Water Tanks      8/28/17

Thank you. Makes me feel much better. ��
<Am very glad to set your mind to ease. The goldfish impart very little "waste" to the water,
and naught that is harmful to horses. Additionally they are useful for vector control (mozzies). Bob Fenner>

Do I have Enough space for all my aquatic pets?      8/5/15
I have a 29 gallon tank with a 350 gph filter and an 80 gallon sponge filter. The current residences of my tank include 2 fantail goldfish, 2 mystery snails, and 1 Nerite snail. My question is do I have enough room in
my tank for all these critters to live out their lives in my 29 gallon tank?
<Mmm; possibly... At least for a handful of years.... I would not add more goldfish
I also have a 765 gallon pond with 12 pond goldfish. I could put one of the fantails in there if I must. But I would rather avoid that because fantails do not do well in ponds. I also use algaecide in my pond, so adding the snails to the pond might be harmful to them.
Your thoughts on my problem would be most appreciated. Thank you.
<See WWM re stocking GF. B>
Re: Do I have Enough space for all my aquatic pets?      8/5/15

Thank Bob. :) I have looked over your stocking information as requested.
Very informative. According to what I understand from your site and the information I get from other sites, I would need 20 gallons for 1 fish and another 20 gallons for the other fish. Making a total of 40 gallons total required for my 2 Fantails to thrive throughout their entire lives. Is this correct?
<Mmm; well; strictly speaking/writing... yes. Though growing up a bit crowded will "bonsai" the two.... again, they should be fine living together for several years in the 29>

And would I need to add on an additional 10 gallons for each of my 3 snails? I have 2 mystery snails and 1 black horned Nerite snail. Would I really need a 70 gallon tank to keep them all?
<How many times need I key the same stmt.?>
All I have to work with right now is the 29 gallon tank and a 765 gallon outdoor pond. It will likely remain that way for 2-4 years. I have been advised that they will live "a handful if years" in my current tank. But I have no other choice but to be stuck with what I have. Should I put one or even both fish into my pond to give them a better shot at living?
<I would not>
They were both purchased as small fish. They likely will not get very large. Or should I move the snails?
<Neither these. As you have stated, the algicide will kill them>
We use algaecide in our pond. So I doubt that would be a suitable home for the snails. What can I do other than buy a larger tank? Thank you.
<Learn and be patient. Can you make yourself calm? B>
Re: Do I have Enough space for all my aquatic pets?      8/5/15

Yes Bob, I can do my best to be calm. I do suffer from anxiety though.
<Yes; have yet to encounter a human that doesn't... myself included of course. Have you considered meditation?>
Being calm for me can be extremely difficult at times.
<Again; we share this trait. Some of the blood pressure med.s I've taken for decades cause me to be very anxious>
Thank you for being patient with me. I just want to be as sure as I can be that I am doing all I can for them given my circumstances. Thank you for your help. :)
<Am very glad to render my friendship, input Cam. BobF>
No choice but to put single tails with fancies      8/6/15

What do you do if you have no choice but to put fancy goldfish with single tailed goldfish? My fish are fantails and comets. I need to put them together in my 765 gallon pond. My pond is an outdoor pond. I have 2 fantails and 12 comets. I live in the Arizona desert. I cannot give any fish away. And I cannot return them to the store. And buying a tank or using another large container is out of the question. What should I do?
Thank you.
<... leave them in the aquarium. B>

Re: No choice but to put single tails with fancies        8/7/15
Thank you Bob! :)
Just need a little clarification      8/8/15

My 2 fantail goldfish, 2 mystery snails, 1 horned Nerite snail, and 2 ghost shrimp all share a 29 gallon tank, with a 350 gph power filter, and 80 gallon sponge filter. I have been told to keep the goldfish in the tank.
They are 3 inches long. I just need some clarification on where to keep the Fantails as they mature.
When they are larger, and older, can I move them into my 765 gallon pond with my 12 pond goldfish? Or do I just continue to leave the Fantails in the 29 gallon tank? Thank you.
<Same answer>
Re: Just need a little clarification      8/8/15

Thank you! :)

Saltwater Issue?... GF, Cray mis-adventure wacky conv.        2/12/15
*I have a 20 gallon saltwater tank with a blue lobster in it and I am wondering if I can add a 2-2.5 inch goldfish to the tank?*
Goldfish usually live up to a few minutes in SW
Actually what's in goldfish cause lots of problems for saltwater fish. Even if it's just for a treat they are harmful.
Not sure how much of a joke that was but just wanted to point it out for others at least.
<Is, was this an actual "written conversation" you had w/ someone? I wouldn't place goldfish with these crustaceans as they'll be harassed, eaten. The accompanying pic of one is badly chewed. Bob Fenner>​
I don't know for sure about goldfish..... I do know that guppies can be converted over. I had a feeder tank where I raised mollies and it was brackish, so when I dropped them in the tank, it wouldn't be a big shock to them. Well I had to buy guppies once cause the mollies were all to small to drop in my big tank, and the store gave me way to many, a lot of freebies.
So I dumped the extra <http://www.techrulz.com/> in the feeder tank thinking if they make it, they make it, they don't, they don't. Well they made it just fine without any problems. So the next time I fed my big tank, I dropped the guppies in and 3 of them that wasn't eaten right away lived for about six months until my pseudo found them hiding behind a return, haha.
wow i never new that gold fish could do that ... than again if im going to spend what it takes to have saltwater then im getting some saltwater fish
I've got some mollies in my SW tank... it doesn't look like they'll live for very long though... i started off with 7 and have 2 left... the weird thing about it, they all came from the same tank at the fish store, and the ones that are left is the biggest one, and the smallest one... I've had 'em for about 2 months... the only reason they died is because i couldn't tend to the aquarium for a whole month (broken foot, too many stairs, no one else to watch over it for me)...
I have a 50 gallon brackish water tank. it started out with a .122 ppt. i had 19 goldfish and several other fresh water sharks, and eels. 6 months later, (after slowly converting) my ppt is around 15.3, and i have seven goldfish still living. the other 12 didn't die from the water, but from my 15 inch snowflake eel... so to answer your question, a good breeder can convert goldfish to at least brackish water. the gravity of my tank is around 1.012, and my 2 inch feeder goldfish love it..

goldfish... Real troubles     1/14/14
I am very new at having fish as pets.  Yes we bought our fish at Wal-Mart.  We just have a plain bowl no filter no bubbler. 
<Ahh, won't work... this fish will soon be dead unless you come to understand and provide for its needs...>
We got the cold water fish so we did not need a heater etc.
<Not so>
At our home we have very hard water.  But we have a reverse osmosis purifier so we used that water.
<... GF need mineral content; likely the hard, alkaline water is fine. RO won't do>
 We left it sit a day and put 1/2 a tablet of Start Zyme.  The fish are in one day and the water is cloudy already.  We thought they were feeding too much food to them so we changed the water and in one days time it was cloudy again. There are 3 fish in the bowl.
 They are swimming around and they look very healthy. 
What are we doing wrong?
<Unfortunately, quite a few deadly errors... the volume of the system, no filter, aeration, heater (and thermometer); the system isn't cycled...>
  The "Fish" Expert, (He has about 9 tanks and is starting to raise fish to sell.) at Wal-Mart said we would be ok with these fish in a bowl that was not regulated.

We are open for any help and guide lines.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
and as much of the related, linked files at top as you find you need to gain awareness here.
I have a new eBook and print copy out on Kindle (if you're a member you can borrow for free) that is more "all in one" in reviewing the basics of goldfish care. I dearly desire you to be successful; not suffer the ill-feelings of having killed these animals. DO read ASAPractical, stop feeding for now; change all the water out with new daily (that's been treated, stored for use)... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish and Fancy Guppies? Sys., other incompatibilities, lack of understandings  8/30/11
Dear WWM crew,
I currently have 2 fancy goldfish (a Black Moor and a calico Ryukin- I think, the pet shop was just calling it a calico fancy) along with 3 Variatus Platies (1male and 2 females) and 3 White Cloud Mountain minnows. These fish just recently moved from a 65L tank to my new 125L Fluval Roma which I am very excited about.
<And still only marginally big enough for these fish. Variatus Platies are subtropical fish and big enough to do okay with Goldfish, but the Minnows could well end up food. Plenty of stories of Goldfish eating White Clouds!>
The Black Moor and Ryukin are only 1 year old and at present about 3 inches each. I am told they will grow to about 6 inches each.
<Who told you that? The Moor will get to 20 cm/8 inches, easily. The Ryukin the same. They're big, messy fish.>
When moving them to the bigger tank I spotted two platy fry! Which was bizarre because I didn't notice either female looking pregnant! I am not providing any special food for them and am just letting them fend for themselves as they might in the wild. I am not crazy about the idea of them having a population explosion so will most likely carry on this route. (I am adding a small pinch of heavily crushed flake but the minnows and platy adults are mostly taking care of that)!
I recently visited my LFS and saw some beautiful Fancy Guppies and the information display stated that they can be kept in temperatures down to 18C.
<It is indeed true that wild Guppies can tolerate short-term exposure to temperatures down to about 18 C/64 F. But fancy Guppies are a whole different kettle of fish, and comparing the two is like comparing wolves with Chihuahuas! Fancy Guppies need a steady temperature in the range 25-28 C/77-82 F.>
Does this mean they could live in my unheated aquarium?
My aquarium temperature seems to be a steady 21C.
Do you think they could live happily in my tank?
I would be looking to get males only and a maximum of 3. I have also read that they would help to keep the platy population in check (I wish I had known to get only males of these)!
<Platies are best kept as virgin females if you don't want [a] babies and [b] aggression.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish and Fancy Guppies? 8/30/11

Thanks for your quick response and information Neale. I suspected the information wasn't correct about the guppies, but they're so pretty I was hoping.....
<Ah, yes'¦ Like Johnson said about second marriages being the triumph of optimism over experience.>
I think my White Clouds are safe.... my Goldies are such slow swimmers they haven't got a chance of catching them! And the moor has very big eyes (bigger than most I've seen) and struggles to grab falling pellets so I doubt he'd have a chance of hunting down a minnow!
A question about the Platies.... what do you think will happen to the fry? I don't want them to suffer..... do you know if they can make it if I don't put special food in?
<Yes, often do.>
Will they find small particles in the water?
<And algae.>
I suspect the larger of the two females is fattening up.... I may have more fry in a few weeks...... if this becomes a regular issue would it be cruel to feed the fry to my boyfriend's F8 puffers?
<No, not cruel; often keep my own livebearers with predators for precisely this reason.>
I am torn between adoring the platy babies and worrying about my goldfish getting over crowded!!
<Understandable and wise.>
<Letting nature take it's course can be a good way forward, but at the same time, keeping a few fry aside in a breeding trap for 3-4 weeks can ensure you have some second generation Platies to replace the adults as and when they get old and die, which in the case of farmed Platies can be in as little as 2-3 years. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish and Fancy Guppies?  9/1/11

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond (again)! That has put my mind at rest.
<Always glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Strange water bubble within the bubble of my telescopic fish's eye and other tank setup questions...... 6/3/11
I greatly appreciate you answering emails and having so much information on your site, considering that goldfish are incredibly difficult to maintain in good health it seems.
<Not really difficult, but the problem is that people buy Goldfish WITHOUT doing any research first, assuming they're as easy to keep as a houseplant.
They're not, and the key thing they need that almost every beginner gets wrong is a big (30+ gallon) tank with a robust filter. Get those things right, and they're generally very easy to maintain!>
I have two telescopic fish, one is a calico named Posie and the other is a black moor named Petri, after sitting, researching and reading your site for some time I have realized that I need to move them as soon as possible to my larger tank that I have sitting around, possibly get a new filtration system for them and I'm feeding them all the wrong foods, so those are definitely contributing factors to whatever problems that seem to keep popping up within their domain and amongst them, but I still have a few questions I didn't find answers to and I'm really hoping you can help me!
<Fire away.>
The chemical balance is all wrong in their tank at the moment; I'm going to do a partial water change and hopefully that will get it in proper order but I was told at the petstore where I originally got both of them, (I
think they are a year and half old now(?) or there abouts), that stress coat and stress zyme are the best options for clarifying and maintaining a good chemical balance, is this true?
<No. Do start by reading here about Rift Valley salt mix, a very cheap, easy way to provide the hard water Goldfish need. Use about 50% the dose listed there for Rift Valley cichlids. This will cost pennies a month!
You don't need to add anything else to buckets of new tap water except for water conditioner, i.e., chlorine remover (most kinds also remove Chloramine, copper and ammonia, and it's well worth buying brands that do this).>
Or am I using the wrong products? I also have a tetra whisper ex20 filter system for their 15 gallon tank; they are both about three inches long including their large flowing tails now, hence why I need to put them in the bigger 30 gallon tank, but I read that trickle filters are not the best filtration for goldfish. This may be a stupid question but is the filter I have considered a trickle filter?
<No; the Tetra Whisper EX20 filter is a hang-on-the-back filter.>
If so, what filter would you recommend I get?
<The best all-around filters for Goldfish are internal canister filters.
The Fluval 3 Plus or Eheim Aquaball 2210 would be appropriate examples for your 30 gallon tank. These have the flow needed to clean up the solid waste produced by Goldfish, while also being very easy to maintain -- just take them out, open the canister part, rinse under a tap, reassemble, and put back in the tank. External canister filters like the Fluval 305 or Eheim 2213 would be even better but many find them tricky to use because of all the pipes that need to be connected (though I admit they're the filters I
prefer to use). Hang-on-the-back filters can work well too, but they're noisy and they don't always handle the solid waste produced by big fish particularly well.>
I also have the Kollercraft Tom 360 Degree Cylinder Tank 2 Gallon, and it came with what they claim is a filter but seems to just make bubbles, and I was wondering if I could use the "filter" that came with that tank as an aerator for them?
<You can certainly add extra little filters if you want, but I don't think this unit will make much difference to water quality or oxygenation either way.>
When it comes down to the physical ailments, in general, they seem okay, not bad, but not great either. Petri and Posie both seem to have the "pine cone" like scale protrusions, but I don't think it's dropsy.
<Hmm, the pine cone look is the classic symptom for Dropsy; do bear in mind that Dropsy can sometimes come and go.>
Their scale protrusions seem to be very randomized and they have very few, I'd say 5 scales protruding on each side tops, and it appears that those scales are shinier and lighter in color, and seem to reflect light very differently from their other scales which makes the protrusive scales stand out incredibly. The reason I don't think it's dropsy is because they don't have any bloat or any of the other dropsy symptoms at all, in fact in general other than their strange protrusive scales they don't seem to have any other ailments than the water's terrible chemical balance.
<Well, fix this, and your Goldfish should improve.>
It's completely ALL wrong; which I will be fixing. The most puzzling thing which is in the headline of this email, is Posie's eye bubble within his eye bubble. I have never heard or seen anything like this before.
<I have.>
It literally looks like a drop of water is within his cornea, as if originally it had been filled with air and someone poked a hole in it, water seeped in and formed a sphere within it's confines. I don't know what
to make of it. It's not swollen. He doesn't seem to be in any pain. There doesn't seem to be any blood or secretion and its relatively new. I'm quite sure it wasn't there yesterday. I have no idea; Do you know what it is, and how to treat it?
<Typically, these bubbles are formed by supersaturation of the water with oxygen. As such, they're usually seen in tanks where there's a very strong mixing of air with water, e.g., in marine tanks equipped with trickle filters and/or wet/dry filters. Certain sorts of high-performance airstones driven by extremely strong air pumps can have the same effect. While these aren't likely issues here, do check to make sure you aren't pumping too much air into the water. Otherwise, simple physical damage could be to blame, in which case review the tank for sharp objects including plastic plants.>
Is this some strange new deformity? Is it water and eye damage? Please help me. I can take a picture if you think that would help clarify his strange condition better but I do not have one at this moment.
<No treatments as such. Good water quality, a balanced diet, and time should repair things.>
Thank you SO much! Amy
<Cheers, Neale.>

Ready to Stock my 55 gal, GF sel., comp., sys.   2/10/11
Good afternoon crew,
My 55 gal freshwater tank is done cycling and I am ready to stock. I have central heat and air in my house and do not have a heater in the tank.
<I would definitely get/use one. Even a fifty five gallon volume will drift too much thermally, diurnally>
My thermometer reads a steady 68 F. I was wondering if 2 - 3 common goldfish (comet or Shubunkin) would go well enough with a large school of white cloud minnows (about 20 or so) and maybe some peppered cats. Your thoughts are much appreciated.
<Mmm, I'd leave out the peppered cats if they're small enough to get in the goldfish's mouths, and NOT use the stated varieties of goldfish as they get too big for this volume... AND still use a heater, set low. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ready to Stock my 55 gal, FW, GF, comp.   2/10/11

Thanks for getting back to me on this. So basically you are saying that either of these goldfish will be too large even if in the tank alone (no minnows or cats)?
<Eventually, yes...>
Are there any types of common goldfish that would work with this setup in your opinion.
<Not in the long/er term, no...>
I really do not want to go the fancy goldfish way, I much more like the faster moving variety.
<Oh! Then resolve yourself to trade in these longer varieties/sports on a yearly basis. BobF>
Re: Ready to Stock my 55 gal   2/10/11
Thank you again, last question, I promise!! If you feel that the fancy variety will be better suited I will take that advise and run with it. I think that a setup of goldfish and the school of minnows would look very nice. Would you discourage the addition of 2-4 fancy goldfish with the school of minnows?
<Tanichthys should go w/ nicely. B>
Thanks again,
Goldfish and others, GF comp.    2/11/11

Good morning, I hope you are well. I have a 55 gal freshwater tank setup that has cycled for about 2 months. All levels are great now (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite all at 0) so I felt it was time to stock up a bit. I stopped at the LFS on my way home yesterday and purchased 2 Black Moor's and 1 Fantail goldfish, nothing more nothing less.
<A good selection that should get along fine. Moors and Fantails are at the boisterous, hardy end of the Fancy range. They tend to bully the other Fancy Goldfish varieties, but get along surprisingly well with Standard Goldfish such as Shubunkins.>
I decided to ask what they felt would be a good fit with these goldfish.
<Generally best kept alone because Goldfish are heavy polluters.>
I like to do this just to see if they are going to try to sell me anything I want. I mentioned that I was considering a large school of White Clouds as well.
<Goldfish food, unfortunately!>
A few of the workers gathered to talk about this and decided that I should not have anything other than more goldfish in this tank because they will suck in anything that can fit in their mouths.
I was unaware that goldfish were as predatory as lionfish.
<That's overstating the case. But an aquarium is a closed box with limited space, so small prey species can't avoid potential predators as easily as they might in the wild. So while Goldfish hardly ever eat fish when kept in ponds, they often eat very small fish in aquaria.>
I was a bit surprised because I have never seen or heard of an LFS being this conservative before.
<I'd keep my faith with chap! He sounds an honest guy.>
My question to you is, should I heed their advice?
I was thinking that if the White Clouds were a bad choice that maybe a school of Rosy Barbs
<Do tend to be fin-nippers.>
or Giant Danios
<Can work extremely well, as can large Zebra Danios, given sufficient space and water warm enough for good health, plus of course good water quality.
Zebra Danios shouldn't be kept cooler than 18 C/64 F, and Giant Danios need a good 22 C/72 F to be happy. Zebra Danios can be nippy though, especially if kept in insufficient numbers. A better choice would be the Variatus Platy, a chunky, nicely-coloured Platy (Xiphophorus variatus) that does best at 18-22 C/65-72 F. Ordinary Platies will do well with Goldfish at 22 C/72 F, as would Swordtails for that matter, but Swords do tend to be that bit more feisty and potentially nippy.>
would well due to their bigger size. I would really like to keep more than just the goldfish in there, but if you suggest that I stick with what I have then I will know that is best for the fish.
<Probably the single best companion species is the Weather Loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus). If your aquarium is kept at least 22 C/72 F, then another excellent choice is the Bristlenose Catfish (Ancistrus sp.) which stays quite small, 15 cm/6 inches, and unlike the Common Plec or Common Sucking Loach, NEVER does the "latch on the Goldfish and suck the mucous off" thing. It's also a first-rate algae-eater.>
Thanks for your help,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish and others  2/12/11

Thank you for your quick response and help. I will NOT be putting White Clouds in this tank. I am actually quite fond of the weather loach and see this being a real possibility.
<It is indeed an outstanding species and LOTS of fun. Does jump out of tanks without tight-fitting hoods though, so be careful.>
Due to these fish reaching a possible 10 inches, how many do you suggest I place in this setup and would there be room for anything else as well or should I probably just stop there?
<In aquaria they rarely get so big, 6-8 inches being typical. They are sociable though, so why not get a group of three? The regular kind and the golden kind mix perfectly well, adding to the fun! In groups they're less shy, more outgoing, and naturally exhibit fun social behaviours like clumping together when resting or wrestling over morsels of food.>
Thanks again
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish and others  2/12/11
Thank you again, and last question, really. I have a rock substrate, it is on the larger smoother side though, not crushed coral or anything like that. Will this be acceptable?
<Not ideal. If nothing else, the loaches will be more likely to have worn-down barbels and scratches on their bellies, and this makes Finrot and other infections like that more likely.>
<Fine pea gravel, or else smooth silver sand (such as pool filter sand) is by far the best choice with loaches of ALL types. Cheers, Neale.

Goldfish Tank, Deathtrap 11/5/10
Hi everybody,
Thank you for all your help in the past with my tropical tank. Everything is running fine, with healthy fish, which I'm sure is due to your help.
I am writing today because I have come across a product that has concerned me. (see link below)
This is a "tank" being sold to keep a goldfish in. From what I can tell it is very small and has no filter (It looks like the edge of a sphere, with dimensions H: 37.7 W: 37 D: 11.5 cm). This seems like such a bad tank for a goldfish.
<A deathtrap for any fish.>
I would really like to write to the shop selling it and inform them of how much damage this would do to a goldfish. Even if they took no notice, I would then feel better having tried to stop people buying this and killing their fish.
My main question is, is this really as bad a tank as I think it is?
Thank you for any advice you can give,
<Unfortunately tanks like this are all too common in the hobby and have been around for years. Please do let your voice be heard, perhaps it will do some good.>

My Goldfish Butch, sys., hlth.  7/30/10
Greeting to you all. First off please excuse any grammar issues I may present.
<Our reputation precedes us! Honestly, Lynn, it's not about being grammar fiends or frustrated English teachers, but merely about clarity, both for and our readers, as well as for search engines that catalogue the pages on this web site. We don't need the Great American Novel, just something clear and easy to read.>
I've had my common goldfish for 19 years now.
<A good age for a Goldfish, which should like around 20 years or so in captivity, potentially over 30.>
He's in a 10 gallon tank and has been most of his life.
<All the more remarkable! Honestly, this tank is at least half the size it should be, and I'd argue one-third the size.>
He's been some what lethargic for about 3 years now.
<Ah yes, a combination of large size, lack of swimming space, lack of oxygen, and perhaps decreasing "vitality" as the fish enters middle age.>
He sits in the corner out of the way of the bubble wall. He's had bend in his tail for many many years and some times there is blood streaks in the long tail.
<That's Finrot, or more accurately, the blood-filled congestions caused by bacteria attacking the fin tissue. So far, it sounds like the fish's immune system has contained the infection, which is likely what happens in many cases. But you're skating on thin ice here, and sooner or later the fin tissue will start to rot as blood stops being able to flow freely through the fins.>
His tail and all of his fins are very long and flowing.
<Good. But as your accountant would say about an investment, "past performance is no guarantee of future results". In other words, just because you've dodged the bullet so far, doesn't mean you'll be so lucky tomorrow.>
Until recently I have always cleaned the tank about once every two month and treated the water with just a chlorine blocker.
<Well, you've really done what people did 50 years ago, and most of the time their fish died. Some survived of course, and yours is a testament to that. But do understand you're doing everything wrong. That your fish has survived is a reflection on the hardiness of the species we call Carassius auratus, and as much as you may love this pet, you've really not done anything much to help him or her. I know that's blunt, but it is the truth.
Goldfish need a 30 gallon tank, a filter, and a 25% water change every week to two. Let me assure you that you're the lucky one. I can guarantee that for every 100 goldfish kept the way you've kept yours, 99 of them will be dead within the first year. It's kind of like when you hear about the guy in Siberia who lives to a hundred smoking Russian cigarettes and drinking vodka at every meal. Sure, that happens, but any doctor will tell you most of the people who do that wind up dead long before their hundredth birthday!>
There is no plant life just two to three inches of gravel and a long air stone.
<I see. Again, live plants are important for Goldfish as food, if nothing else.>
I came home from vacation last week to find him on his side with a cloudy slightly popped out right eye and a lot of streaking in his tail.
<Ah, and so it begins.>
I just assumed that the tail bend was from old age and the blood streaking as stress from that long tail.
<Not really, no.>
I have since learned otherwise. I have lowered the level to about 7 gallons added salt and treated the water with Maracyn-oxy(it's been 5 days now).
<I see.>
I have taken him off flake and am just feeding him 4 to 8 peas a day.
Some days he seems to up right himself better than other days. I tested the water and everything looks good but the ammonia level is a little high right now so I plan to get some ammo lock as well.
<Do understand Ammo Lock is for treating ammonia in tap water. Let me repeat that: IN TAP WATER. It is NOTHING to do with the ammonia produced by the fish as it metabolises. The analogy would be like me washing a frying pan once, and then declaring that it never needs be cleaned again. The ammonia your fish produces needs to be processed by a biological filter.>
What else can I do?
<Many, many things. Start by reading:
His eye is still a little bit popped and it happens to be on the side he seems to fall to when he cannot right himself.
<Both common symptoms in bad conditions; see here:
Okay, let's fillet this right down. You dodged the bullets right up until the last few weeks; your poor fish is now peppered with bullets! He needs a whole new and better environment, or he WILL die.>
The tail is completely blood free but very bent and he usually rests nose down with that long tail kinked over to the point where he looks like an upside down U. Should I get medicine to add to the food?
<Least of your problems.>
I first thought he had dropsy but have since ruled that out. What is difficult for me is getting the fish store folks to get over the fact he's 19 years old and just help me add another 10 years to his life. Please help and thanks in advance for any and all advice.
<You could do that with at least 20 gallons, and ideally 30 gallons, plus a proper biological filter offering a turnover rate of at least 4 and ideally 6 times the volume of the tank per hour.>
Proud owner of Butch Fisher
<Good luck! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My Goldfish Butch 7/30/2010

Thank you Neale. It was the first thing I asked for at the fish store, a bigger tank but they talked me out of it.
<!!! The only explanation I can think of is they make more money selling fish than selling hardware, so the faster the fish dies, the sooner they make a new sale. But honestly, that's insanity. Yes, you'd want to move the mature filter from one tank to another, and yes, you'd want to minimise water chemistry differences between the old tank and the new tank. But otherwise, moving from a small tank to a bigger one is always better.>
I will get him a completely new environment this weekend.
<Very good news. As I say, take care not shock the fish by exposing him to dramatically different temperature and water chemistry. The fact the tank is psychologically bigger isn't a problem; in the wild fish move around all
the time and don't keel over from surprise!>
And really from the bottom of my ignorant fish having heart I thank you for your bluntness. It's exactly what I needed. Lynne in Seattle
<Real good. Glad I didn't offend -- sometimes by British brusqueness doesn't cross the Atlantic particularly well! Good luck, Neale.>

White Slimy haze in aquarium.... GF sys.  -- 06/10/10
Dear Sir/Madam,
I am hopeful that you will be able to help me with a problem I currently have with my aquarium.
<Will try my best!>
It has been established since new year and has only ever had 2 fish in it, a small fantail moor and a small Lionhead.
<How big is this aquarium? There is, as you hopefully realise, no such thing as "small" Goldfish. Only juveniles. Two Goldfish will need an aquarium around 30 gallons in size. Anything smaller, and you'll have problems.>
I have had the water tested numerous times by the LFS and they have said that it is spot on. (Only in the beginning did it have slightly low ph, but this was only by .5).
<But what was the number? And what's the hardness. Remember, pH isn't as important as hardness. Goldfish need moderately hard to hard water with a basic pH; you're aiming for 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7 to 8.>
For the past two weeks I have had a mysterious white slimy film growing on the inside of my tank and it is quite disgusting.
<If the slime is attached to solid objects, it's either fungus or bacteria or both.>
I have trouble holding on to the filter to clean it it is soo nasty!
<Means the tank is too small, the fish are too big, and you're overfeeding.>
Anyway, it starts off on the sides of the tank, I clean it off with a magnet cleaner, but in 24hrs it is back.
The water is turning hazy and one of my fish (the black moor) looks like he is getting the same white film on him.
<Extra mucous production; a sign water quality is dire.>
I have tried several water changes and even cleaned everything in the tank but to no avail, it quickly comes back.
<Cleaning isn't the issue. Aquarium size, filtration, and feeding are all relevant here.>
The filter sponge is not new and neither has it recently been replaced although I have been rinsing it to keep it clean in the aquarium water that has been removed during the water changes. I have been using a dechlorinator during the water changes and a Bactolife treatment to encourage the good bacteria.
Although I have looked through your website, I could not find anything that sounded similar, and I haven't got a clue as to how to sort it out as I am new to fishkeeping.
<If the aquarium is smaller than 30 gallons, or your filter is rated at less than 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour (e.g., for 30 gallons, 120 gallons/hour) then both those things need to be fixed.
Air-powered sponge filters WILL NOT be sufficient for Goldfish; you need something with an electric pump. Feeding should be moderate, a small pinch once or twice per day, and all uneaten food removed within two minutes.>
I would be very grateful if you could take the time to advise me on this as I really do not want to lose my fish.
Thank you so much,
J Cooper
<Cheers, Neale.>

Exploded goldfish... Hlth., sys., reading  1/9/10
So I promised my little brother we'd get a goldfish... Started with 2 goldfish and ten gallon tank
<Need more room than this...>
and some bamboo. Then got a algae eater <Please see the Net re Gyrinocheilus... if this is the fish, it is unsuitable as a tankmate>
and a snail. My black moor head always picked on my algae eater. Until I came home 3 days after buying my little algae eater and he was dead.
I noticed both my rycken (sorry about the spelling)
and my moor head were not swimming moving nothing. Just chillin depressed looking at the bottom of the tank.
<What re water quality tests?>
My brother (mind you he's 5 I'm 21 tank is in my room) dropped 6 algae tablets in the water. I immediately cleaned the tank and bought a filtration system. Only to come home to a dead rychen. Then Day after my moor head was happy again swimming all around eating etc. I came home 2 days later and my baby was being tossed around by the filter. Dead and looked like he exploded from the gills. I noticed the day before he had a long " string" hanging from his behind almost all day. Transparent white long "string" then exploded next day?
<Perhaps internal parasite/s, infectious disease... very common>
I made sure I had conditioned the water and fed him 2 times a day a few crisps? What happened to my baby? He literally exploded out the gills. Red "vein" looking things hanging out of his gills. Really disturbing... I want to get more fish but will this happen again? HELP
Chey-Anne (fish novice 101 please)
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

New goldfish tank, lots of problems   12/31/09
We got a brand new 20 gallon tank for Christmas.
<Great! Obviously 20 gallons is too small for Goldfish, and since cycling takes at least 3 weeks, you won't be adding any fish until the middle of January... right?>
We set up the tank, added the water conditioner treatment, and waited 24 hrs before we took a water sample to PetSmart.
<You see, the 24 hours means nothing. Without a source of ammonia, all you have is a wet fish tank. Cycling a tank requires a source of ammonia for filter bacteria to use as they multiply up in numbers. Some folks use plain household ammonia, others add a pinch of fish food. Add the right amount of either each day, and off you go.>
Since the water tested fine, (except for the fact that the water is hard, we live in Florida), we purchased several fish: 2 Calico Ryukins, 1 is about 3 inches, the other about 1 inch, a Black Moor about 3 inches long, a 2 inch bubble eye, a 2 inch calico telescope, and a small Pleco.
<Not a chance in a tank this size. Let's start with the obvious. A "small" Plec is simply a baby Plec, and since they reach full size (45 cm/18 inches) within a year or two, they need a big tank. We're talking 55 gallons upwards. Anyone who sold you one for a 20 gallon tank took you for a ride. As for Goldfish, 20 gallons is really too small for even one specimen. Bear in mind a healthy fancy Goldfish will reach a body length of 20 cm/8 inches plus the tail within a couple of years. These fish could create a lot of waste, part ammonia, part faeces, and in small tanks things become filthy real fast. I'd go with 30 gallons for the first two, and another 10 gallons for each additional fish. That assumes a generous filtration system, something with a turnover rate 6 times the volume of the tank per hour. So for a 55 gallon tank, that'd be 6 x 55 = 330 gallons per hour. Ignore the aquarium size estimate on the box the filter shipped in.
Think about it: manufacturers put the best spin on these values just as they do gasoline mileage on cars or numbers of servings on cereal cartons.
In this case, they're assuming small, clean fish like Neons or Guppies. Not Goldfish. The difference between a Neon and a Goldfish is like comparing how much waste a hamster makes compared to a horse. Well, I exaggerate slightly, but not much.>
This was 2 days ago. During the first day, the Telescope started getting a white slime-looking buildup that began to trail off of him. He was dead by the next morning.
<Not even remotely surprised. Did you check the ammonia levels? Or nitrite?>
The next day, we noticed the Bubble-eye and Black Moor all getting the same white stuff, the Calico Ryukins began to get it as well but not as bad.
<Fungus and Finrot, likely caused by chronically poor water conditions.>
We had the water tested again at PetSmart who again said it was fine, that the fish was probably just stressed and that's why he died.
Not believing that answer, we did some research and decided to call another fish store who recommended we put some Tetra Lifeguard in the tank.
<Largely useless product sold to inexperienced aquarists. Like many things in life, what's needed is time, not a product. Cycling a tank will happen perfectly well, for free, given time. At least 3 weeks, and certainly within 6 weeks, you can cycle a new aquarium. Add a pinch of flake each day, and let nature takes it course. That's all there is to it. But beginners often try to rush things -- usually having not read a book beforehand -- and so end up spending money on dubious remedies with little practical benefit.>
We started that yesterday. The directions called for removing the carbon filter, so we removed the cartridge but left the fitter on and running.
<Carbon is of zero use with Goldfish; remove from the filter, and replace with some more useful biological media, e.g., ceramic noodles or a sponge.
Note that filters with "slot in" modules often don't allow this degree of flexibility, which is why they're rubbish and not normally purchased by experienced hobbyists.>
This morning all of the fish we alive but the Bubble-eye had it's bubble stuck in the filter!
<Dying... healthy fish aren't sucked into filters.>
We managed to get him out but tore the bubble in freeing him.
<Secondary infection risk is severe. These Bubble-Eye fish are an abomination so far as I'm concerned simply because they are so mutated and delicate, but if you insist on keeping these poor animals, never mix with anything other than other Bubble-Eye fish. This will be clearly stated in any Goldfish book, and isn't just me being awkward. Goldfish are fairly boisterous, and the more delicate varieties can, will be damaged by the other varieties, and will also lose out at feeding time.>
I am afraid to find another container to put him in until it heals because the Tetra Lifeguard treatment needs to be done for 4 more days. We also noticed that the large Calico becomes almost vertical with his head up and has a long trail of feces that doesn't seem to fall off.
<Dismal. Do research WWM re: diet, water quality for Goldfish.>
We really felt that this tank would be our starter tank in years of fish keeping but in only three days we seem to be failing miserably!
Please help!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New goldfish tank, lots of problems
OK so the "experts" at PetSmart steered us wrong.
We did intend to upgrade the tank in about 6 mos.
The Bubble-Eye is now dead. We desperately want to try to save the others.
How can we remedy the fungus/Finrot if we can't expect the Lifeguard to do it?
<Find a good combination medication, e.g., Seachem Paraguard or eSHa 2000 and use as instructed. Avoid tea-tree oil remedies except for preventing, rather than curing, these diseases.>
Is it too late to add ammonia?
Additionally, should we add Epsom salts to help with the Ryukins swim bladder problem?
<If it makes you feel better. "Swim Bladder Disease" is usually nothing of the sort, but a symptom following on from a range of problems, such as constipation on the one hand through to systemic bacterial infection on the other. Without other data, it's impossible for me to say what the situation is here, and hence can't recommend what remedy to employ.>
We clearly will back away from the goldfish flakes.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Adopted sucker fish and funny eyed goldfish, comp., sys.  f's  11/21/09
First I want to say that I AM SORRY- I did not research before I adopted and bought these fish.
<Oh dear...>
That being said I adopted a sucker fish from a friend of mine after his other fish passed from being shocked by temperature change- the sucker survived but ended up at my house. I bought a small now (I know much too small) tank for him it is 1 gallon (we will be getting a bigger tank very soon), filtered but not heated and neither was his original.
<Will need heating and filtering. If you want to keep Goldfish and a Plec, then the optimal water temperature is 24 degrees C, and you'll need a filter not less than 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour.
DO NOT underestimate how filthy both these species can be, nor how large they get, or how quickly.>
I believe that he what yall consider an "original Plecos" but very small maybe two inches from his nose to the end of tail (I don't think he is stunted because his other tank was a 50 gallon and we have only had him 2 days) so I went to a petstore to get him a friend since he had been living with many others-
<Actually, Plecs are hostile to one another when sexually mature, and best kept singly under aquarium conditions, unless the tank is really big.
Adults can strip the skin off one another when they fight, and needless to say this kills the weaker fish. Since they grow very rapidly, expect to see this "tiddler" some 45 cm long within 12-18 months. Not kidding. These things grow faster than almost anything else with fins...>
I asked a million questions and was told that my 1 gallon tank would be fine with the sucker and any goldfish-
<Insane response from the sales clerk. Why we recommend you buy a book before you buy anything else.>
my daughter chose a Ryukin, who is also small- about 2 inches overall.
<They don't come in sizes; they come in ages. This fish will be about 10 cm long within the year, and 20 cm by the end of its second year.>
My questions are-
I know that water changes will be need daily but can they live in this tank for a couple of months until I get a larger set up?
Are they even ok together or do I need to separate them?
<Do-able in the right size tank, but you do need a lot of filtration where Plecs are concerned otherwise the tank becomes filthy. Since Ryukins can barely swim, you have to adjust water currents carefully, e.g., using a spray bar from the filter, so the poor thing isn't buffeted about.>
Temp- I know that they like different temps is there a happy medium?-
<Yes, around 24 C, maybe 25 C tops.>
I live in a warm area Georgia with a very warm house.
<Georgia USA or Georgia the former Soviet Republic? Either way, no, not warm enough. Unless your house is at an average of 24 C, and a minimum wintertime night temperature of 18 C, the Plec will eventually sicken and die. In the US, these fish have become established in Florida but no further north than Miami or thereabouts.>
My sucker doesn't seem to want to eat but everything else seems fine and he has had a pretty traumatic week at what point should I worry?
<These catfish like Algae Wafers and soft vegetables such as cooked peas, sliced raw courgette, and sliced sweet potato, among other things.>
And lastly my goldfish has a completely black eye but the other one is normal he also has the black spots (as far as his actual coloring not weird black spots) could this be just part of those spots or is something wrong?
<Likely doing something wrong. Black spots are often caused by ammonia burns, and this implies chronically dire water conditions. Do read here:
Again I am sorry I was trying to save and keep this little sucker fish happy- not stuff him in a too small tank and give him a friend who might kill him.
<Road to hell is paved with good intentions...>
Please help I want to keep them both happy and healthy.
<And I want to help you, too (despite my dry British sense of humour).>
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Adopted sucker fish and funny eyed goldfish
Thank you so much for your help I am fixing things as we speak!
<You're welcome, and glad you're making progress.>
I actually like the so called dry British humour and hopefully I am not paving the road to hell for my fish!!
<Have to be careful... not everyone finds our humour funny or even polite!>
thank you again yall have a great website.
<Kind of you to say so.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

A Question About My Fantail Goldfish... Some cap's and reading now!  8/30/2009
Well This Is Our Very First Fish Ever We Just Got It Thursday
We Just Noticed Today That Its Been Spending Most Of Its Time At The Top Surface Of The Fish Bowl We Have And We Would Like To Know If You Have Any Idea Why This Is And What We Should Do About It
<Ahh... Goldfish can not live in bowls... Please read here re their proper husbandry:
and the linked files above for detail... Bob Fenner>

pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to mom!), GF sys.  6/25/09
I have a 10 gallon tank. i have had many fish but they kept on dying. At most i would have 3 fish in the tank.
<What three fish?
You can't keep Goldfish in a 10 gallon tank, so they're not an option.
If you stick Goldfish in there, they will die.>
Even after i only put 1 in it still died in a few weeks. So i stopped putting fish in, changed the water, and got a bubbler.
<A "bubbler" doesn't really do anything other than make the water move a bit. It's an optional extra, at best. All aquaria -- and I repeat ALL AQUARIA -- must have a filter and, if tropical fish are kept, a heater. If this is your first aquarium, be sure you read something about setting up a first aquarium:
My Filter is the Power Filter Penguin 100. I also purchased a Ammonia test strip bottle and discovered our ammonia was to high. After applying Beckett Chlorine and Chloramine Remover the Ammonia dropped to ideal. After buying Mardel 5 in1 test strips. My pH and Buffering Capacity were very high. pH at 8.4 and Buffering Capacity at 300. Also the water is very hard at 425.
Nitrite and Nitrate are both ideal. I then applied Kordon Aquarium NovAqua Instant Conditioner & Fish Protector which claimed it would lower pH. It did not.
<Leave the pH alone. You are not nearly experienced enough to safely change water chemistry! Instead, restrict yourself to choosing fish adapted to hard, alkaline water. Livebearers are the best in this regard. For a 10 gallon tank, good choices would be Endler's Guppies, which like hard water and are both small and pretty. A ten-gallon tank is actually much too small for beginners, and I'd recommend against bigger fish -- ordinary Guppies would be a bad choice, and you cannot keep Platies, Swordtails or Mollies in 10 gallons.>
Still at 8.4. I finally bought pH Down by API. It said to add two drops for every gallon of water. I did so and after a few hours I tested it and the pH hadn't changed. I did this again the next and the pH remained the same. I tried increasing the dosage and frequency of adding pH down but pH levels refuse to move. How can I lower it to a safe 7-7.5 for a goldfish?
My Mom said it is the easiest fish to keep alive.
<Your Mom is completely and utterly wrong. She couldn't be more wrong in fact: Goldfish are very difficult to maintain, and vast numbers of them die quickly. They're pond fish and best kept in ponds. Do read here for some ideas of fish choices:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to mom!) 6/25/09
so if I stopped messing with chemicals, got a 20 gallon tank and put in some livebearers (maybe 2?) I could expect them to live?
<A 20 gallon tank would make a good home for, say, two male Platies and four female Platies. You could even add a group of five Corydoras paleatus (Peppered Cory Catfish) or Corydoras aeneus (Bronze Cory Catfish), two species of hardy, easy to keep bottom feeder. But, you would need to mature the tank carefully first: I'd add the filter, leave the tank running for one week with you just adding a pinch of flake food every second day, and then add your first fish, maybe TWO of the Platies. I'd do 20-25% water
changes each week, and for the first FOUR weeks only add small amounts of food every SECOND day. This will give the filter time to mature. Two weeks after adding the first two Platies, add two more of them, and then two weeks after than, another two. Leave things running like this for another couple of weeks, and then you can add your group of young Corydoras catfish, if you wanted. Platies and Corydoras get alone very well because they like slightly cool water: around 22-24 C (72-75 F). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to mom!) 6/25/09
also we have a pretty large pond in the backyard but goldfish we put in there died also. Could it be because it's too hot and there's not enough shade.
<Could be. Depends on other factors too, like how well the pond is managed.>
We live in Northern California so it gets up to 100 some days!
<That's a bit too warm for Goldfish! Neale.>

Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to mom!) 6/26/09
could I use the same filter I have now, it says on the box up to 20 gallons?
<Potentially. When manufacturers say "up to 20 gallons" it's a bit like boxes of cereal that say they contain 27 servings; it's true, but only if your fish are very small or your bowls of cereal are very small! The tricky part is the phrase "up to", which is a manufacturer's way of saying something that sounds impressive, without actually having to guarantee that it will work at that level. So, a filter rated at "up to 20 gallons" will probably do a fine job on an aquarium 10-15 gallons in size, but on a 20 gallon tank, it'll be operating at its absolute limit, and will either clog up very quickly, or else not be able to remove the ammonia fast enough if the tank is heavily stocked with messy fish. Obviously, a 20 gallon tank with one Guppy demands less filtration than a 20 gallon tank with ten Guppies, so it's not just the size of the tank that matters, but how many fish are in the tank, and how messy they are. By all means use the filter and see what happens, but if after two months you're *still* detecting either ammonia or nitrite, or else the water is cloudy or silty, or the fish are gasping for air, then it's clear the filter is overwhelmed.>
also if i can't convince my mom to let buy a 20 gallon, could I get Endler's guppies? if so how many?
<Endler's guppies would be a great choice for a 20 gallon tank! Get twice as many females as males to make sure they don't fight. I'd initially aim for a group of, say, 5 males and 10 females. This will give you some free space for keeping a few of the babies, though you will need rehome any surplus fish otherwise the tank will get overcrowded within six months or so.
Obviously, don't add them all at once! Add a male and two females to start with, and then another trio a week or two later, and so on until you have the full sized group. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to mom!) 6/26/09
how many should I get for a 10 gallon tank.
<Endler's guppies you mean?>
Like 2?
<I'd add a trio, two females and one male first, and then another trio after a few weeks. The thing with small tanks is that aggression between males and by males towards females becomes more of a problem. So add lots of floating plants so the females can hide, and be sure that you either keep all males or, if you want to breed them, one male to every two females.>
From what I gathered at WetWebMedia you should feed them Spirulina-based flakes and brine shrimp.
And should feed the a very small amount.
<Small but often is a good approach! Per meal, a fish shouldn't need (or be given) more flake than the size of its eye, so that's a good way to estimate the size of the "pinch" used. If you're feeding the right amount,
your fish will be gentle rounded rather than fat, and water quality will be consistently good (zero ammonia and nitrite). For a small tank with a few surface-feeding fish, all the food should be gone within 30 seconds.>
Like a half pinch of the livebearer food in the morning, some brine a few hours later, a little brine a few hours after that, and some more flakes at the end of the day?
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to mom!)  6/28/09
it's okay (for Endler's guppies) to use water that has an 8.4 pH, right?
<Yes; but take care to acclimatise them to your aquarium carefully after purchase. Put the Guppies and the water they shipped in into a bucket, and then over the next 30-60 minutes, add a cup of water from the aquarium every 10-15 minutes. Then net them out, and add them to your aquarium.>
because I read an article that said that they need 6.8-8. Also my filtered water is 6.8, and pH up could probably raise it to 7 because the Alkalinity is only 80. Or would it be better to just leave it alone?
<The pH and alkalinity here are far too low for Guppies.>
Thanks for all the help.
<Please do use capital letters in your message next time. Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater <Goldfish> planted tank question, Aqua Sketcher tool link,  6/19/09
Hello WetWebMedia Crew!!!
<Hello Lisa,>
Thanks for taking the time to help out!!! I'm still researching my first planted goldfish tank which I hope to be possible although Neale sounds a bit leery. I've narrowed down the choices quite a bit :-) from my
initial email. I laid out the sketch on Aqua Sketcher (very cool free tool online). The link is:
http://www.theaquatools.com/content/view-your-sketch&num=12128 you can click & rotate the diagram 2D in a 3D program
The tank is a 40 gal. breeder for 2-3 Pearlscale goldfish, intended as partially edible, partially for waste filtration. I hope I've picked out enough choices to remain fast enough growing to keep up with the goldfish.
<The problem is that Goldfish are messy fish, and besides nibbling on plants, their solid wastes (partly faeces, partly dislodged silt and dead plant material) soon clog up leaves and make planted tanks look messy. For a combination Goldfish/plant aquarium, you need good water circulation and you should avoid any plants with feathery leaves. Instead concentrate on sturdy plants that can be physically cleaned easily and don't mind strong water currents. Vallisneria and Sagittaria are the classic examples of subtropical plants that thrive in unheated tanks. They're also sufficiently tough that Goldfish won't eat them.>
back row is hornwort, Rotala rotundifolia, Egeria densa, Rotala rotundifolia, water sprite
<The Rotala will probably be decimated, but the others might be good choices, though from personal experience I fear you'll find the Hornwort quickly becomes clogged with silt and algae.>
in front on both sides crypt. balansae
in front on both sides Philippine Java Fern to stop at the Rotala
in the middle(ish) will be sinking Malaysian driftwood (very flat and smoothed out) with dwarf Anubias tied on it
in front of the driftwood on the sides will be Bacopa monnieri
<Doesn't do well without very strong lighting; actually, this is true for Rotala too. So in either case, make sure you have very strong lighting: 3 or more watts per gallon. Otherwise total waste of money.>
in front of the Bacopa monnieri on both sides will be Rotala walichii
I was trying to decide if the Pogostemon helferi should go behind the driftwood as ground cover with Java Moss in front as ground cover or the other way around. (one is darker green [the java moss] the other is
lighter green [the Pogo.] Do you think there's another ground cover that would work better for this scenario than Java Moss? I really love the look of the helferi. When would it best to have lighter or darker color ground covers in the front/back?
<I don't see how any small ground-cover plant is going to work with Goldfish; Goldfish are "diggers", and it's actually good fun to watch them sifting sand about. Even if you use gravel, they're going to make a mess.>
Also, are there references you can recommend to teach how to trim the different plants?
<Every plant is different. Some, like Vallisneria, cannot be trimmed at all, and you must remove leaves from the base of the plant. Others must be trimmed, otherwise they bolt for the surface instead of looking bushy. This is the case with Bacopa. Strongly recommend you buy or at least read a book on aquarium plants; I heartily recommend Aquarium Plants (Mini Encyclopedia Series for Aquarium Hobbyists) by Peter Hiscock; an inexpensive book that covers lots of species and describes trimming and planting in detail.>
And do you know if goldfish are one of the fishes that would eat dwarf shrimp?
<Seems to vary; some people have found their Goldfish happily ate Cherry Shrimps, while others found they ignored them, and the Cherry Shrimps bred happily. Likely depends on how many hiding places the tank has, how mobile the particular variety of Goldfish happens to be, whether those Goldfish have lots of other food to eat. In other words, try a small group of shrimp, and see what happens.>
The lighting will be Current USA Orbit 36" (96W) dual daylight, dual actinic bulbs, night LED's on timers. Filtration will be Eheim 2028 Pro.
II canister filter and the plants. Jager 150W heater, plugged into Prime Mini-Chiller 1/10hp with dual controller. Substrate a combination of Eco-complete on the bottom and Onyx sand above, a thermal root heater suitable for 40 gallons. To begin with I'll probably run it with Flourish Excel for CO2, when it becomes necessary I will invest in a CO2 system.
<Not terribly convinced CO2 fertilisation will be necessary in this type of aquarium; Vallisneria for example happily gets the carbon it needs from carbonate hardness in the water. So I'd see how things go first before
Water out of the tap is very hard with pH 7.0 (kind of liquid rock----all my dishware/glasses are coated in white). As I've never done this before, as a precaution when the lights go off I'm going to have microbubblers go on at night so the goldfish aren't starved for oxygen in the morning.
Thanks yet again!!! Lisa
<Cheers, Neale.>

Oranda fish, fancy goldfish breeds not for pond stocking  6/7/09
I have a 1000 gallon garden pond in my back yard. It has 11 goldfish and 2 Oranda fish in it. The biggest fish is 7", the smallest is 2".
<Oranda, and indeed most Fancy Goldfish, aren't suitable for ponds.>
Two weeks ago is when I purchased and added the 2 Oranda fishes.
Everything seemed fine. This morning one of the Oranda's was floating on top. It was fine last night. After examining this fish, I don't notice any type trauma or swelling.
<Without any symptoms, it's difficult for me to say what happened. Could be a variety of things.>
The fish store assured me that these were hardy fish very similar to the standard goldfish.
<You were assured wrong. Fancy Goldfish are far less hardy. There are multiple issues, not least of which are their deformities, which prevent them finding food, interacting with "normal" Goldfish, and avoiding
predators. Some people find these deformities attractive, which is fine, but you can't escape the fact a deformed swim bladder, a crooked back, and face covered with warts are all impediments. So Fancy Goldfish need to be kept indoors, where humans can watch over them. I strongly recommend Standard Goldfish be kept in ponds, i.e., Common Goldfish, Comets, and Shubunkins. Apart from their odd colours, all these have a single tail and a straight back, so they can interact (i.e., fight for food!) normally as well as swim away from predators. Black Moors and Fantails are a step down in terms of hardiness. They mix OK with Standards in aquaria, but I wouldn't recommend them for ponds. All the other Fancy Goldfish should be considered aquarium fish only, and preferably mixed only with their own kind. In other words, Orandas together, Pompons together, and so on. On top of this, the more inbred a fish is -- which is always the case the more "fancy" a Goldfish is compared to the Standard -- the less resistance it has to things like disease and environmental stress. It's the same reason mongrel dogs live much longer than pedigrees, and the same reason human societies have taboos against inbreeding. For ponds, you really are best with Standards, Comets and Shubunkins, all of which are rock-solid in terms of hardiness, given adequate conditions and appropriate preventative healthcare.>
One of the things I noticed about Oranda's is it seems difficult for them to feed at the top of the water like the others. Because of the shape of their faces they have to get in an straight up and down position to take
food from the water surface.
Most of the time, coming up for a morsel and then retrieving back lower in the water, without the food.
<In practise this means it takes them much longer to feed, and other fish, the Standards, will likely out-compete them at dinner time.>
The water as always, tested perfect.
Thanks so much for your help and the wonderful website.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Algae eaters with common goldfish?-- 05/09/09
Hello WWM Crew,
I was wondering what find of fish you might recommend for a 20 gallon tank with 4 common goldfish.
<None. Your aquarium is [a] two small for four Goldfish; and [b] doesn't need an algae eater.>
The tank has way more than six times the filtration (possibly ten times) that is required for normal fish since they *are* goldfish. The largest one is named Fran and she's about 4" long at this point, the smallest one is Karl and he's about 1.5" long. Virginia and Beatrice are around 3" to 3.5" long. They are all voracious eaters of algae wafers, goldfish flakes (as a treat), cucumber, zucchini, and the occasional blood worm for special occasions. (Christmas or a job promotion.) They do nibble on some of the algae in my tank, like off some rocks or the fake plants I have in there, but they really aren't "cleaner fish" and are quite ineffective, even when the algae is their main food source for 3 or 4 days. (As incentive.)
<Goldfish eat filamentous algae, but they don't have teeth so can't scrape algae from rocks. But cleaning the tank is really your job! Failing that, you could add some fast-growing floating plants to slow down algal growth, and perhaps add some Nerite snails as grazers, though these need good water quality to survive. The combination of Nerites and plants is a hundred times more effective than any fish!>
Temp: 72 degrees Fahrenheit. (Common goldfish don't really *need* heat, but my apartment gets practically to freezing temperatures during the winter from shoddy insulation, and my fish get so... sad.)
Again, I have about ten times the usual filtration.
I make weekly 25% water changes.
The pH is about 7.4
Nitrates are 0ppm
Nitrites are around 5 to 10ppm at the moment. (Just tested it)
Alkalinity is 100ppm
TH is at 0.
<All sounds swell.>
All 4 of my fish are thriving and have been in the 20 gallon tank for 4 months. The water is clear, the gravel (while frequently strewn with poo) is clean and is vacuumed with every water change.
My only issue is all the algae that builds up. Only *some* of the tank is hit by sunlight during the day, but that is clearly enough for the algae to thrive almost as well as my fish. (I am very proud of my fish, even if they are just common goldies.)
A friend of mine suggested a "Japanese trap door snail." But the father of my significant other, Jeremy, has this beautiful Pleco with a swirling black and chocolate brown pattern, and Jeremy likes him (or her) very much.
So, Jeremy would really much rather have a Pleco than a snail.
<Plecs usually cause more problems than they fix. Think of it logically:
Fish produce ammonia, ammonia becomes nitrate, and nitrate feeds the algae.
The more fish, the more algae. If added to an aquarium that already has an algae problem, a Plec will usually make it even worse, because they're such large and messy fish.>
I've been looking at the Hemiancistrus subviridus, or the (Green Pleco/ L200 / lemon spotted green Pleco/ green ghost Pleco) as a likely candidate.
<A nice fish, but not appropriate here. Hemiancistrus subviridis needs fast-flowing, very clean water and a much larger aquarium than you have. In a 55 gallon system maintained at, say, 24 C/75 F this would actually work
rather nicely with Standard Goldfish or Comets, but not in the tank you have.>
The Dekeyseria brachyura (Butterfly Pleco/ flounder Pleco/ L168) also looks nice and it's smaller than the L200, but the temp and pH is rather different from what my current babies are thriving in.
<Quite; another inappropriate fish.>
So, to restate my first question (since this email is rather long). What kind of algae eater would you recommend putting in with my goldies?
<There really aren't any. At a pinch, some of the Garra might work, such as Garra rufa or Garra flavatra, but even then, your aquarium is simply too small. The Goldfish you have will soon outgrow it, and until you have a
sufficiently large tank for four, at least 20 cm/ 8 inch fish, it's not worth adding anything else.>
If any, that is. Also, what plants would you recommend popping in with them? I'd like to give them some more variety in their diet.
<Elodea is generally fine. If you want to give them a "treat", the squished cooked peas usually go down well.>
Thank you very much!
Your avid fan,
I'm going to upgrade them to a 40 or 50 gallon tank as soon as I have the space and funds.
<Cool. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Algae eaters with common goldfish?-- 05/09/09
Thanks for answering my question so quickly!
<Most welcome.>
I sort of figured that I wouldn't be able to add another fish, but I just
couldn't resist asking in case there was a miracle fish or something. ;)
<Few miracles in life, unfortunately. Just hard work and education!>
Jeremy has really taken a liking to the Hemiancistrus subviridis, so how would I go about making a 55+ gallon tank with "fast flowing water"? Don't worry, this won't be for a while, I just like to plan ahead for my future endeavors.
<When we're talking about "fast-flowing water" what we mean is a high level of water turnover, and that the circulation of that tank should be thorough, from top to bottom. In a general sense, that means the use of external canister filters more often than not, because these have both the high turnover rate and also the facility where the inlet and outlet can be put at different ends of the tank. The overall result is water with LOTS of movement. So for a 55 gallon tank, we'd be talking about a canister filter rated at, say, 8 times the volume of the tank per hour, i.e., 440 gallons/hour. That's a big filter to be sure, but you are, after all, trying to recreate something like the rapids around a waterfall, which is where these Plecs like to live.>
I will definitely check out the elodea and shall thaw out some more peas for them. They don't usually know what to do with them, but Karl is a little brighter than the other three, so he'll probably set them straight.
I'll give you an update when I finally have a decently sized tank for my goldies, maybe even some pictures! I know some people think goldfish are unexciting, but I think they're quite pretty and very photogenic. (But I am their mama, so I'm biased.)
Thank you again!
<I'm a Goldfish fan too, and like the fact they genuinely enjoy human company, something that isn't obvious with most fish. Hundreds of years of breeding has done to them much of what we've done to cats and dogs: create genuine animal companions. They're also a lot smarter than some suppose, and widely used in labs for all sorts of behavioural experiments. They can learn things like how to push buttons to get food, and apparently can remember such tricks for at least three months! Cheers, Neale.>

Questions about goldfish (Shubunkins, growth; Brachydanio, compatibility)   4/11/09
First, I would like to say that I find your site an invaluable source of information. Thank you.
<Kind of you to say so.>
I have attempted to use the Google search engine on your site, but unfortunately, it always comes up with a blank page, despite allowing several minutes for possible load time.
<Oh dear.>
So, when that failed to yield results, I went ahead and manually searched for information. Sadly, there was so much that I kind of got lost in all of it.
On to my questions! I have a 30gal FW aquarium with a Tetra Whisper EX70, which I purchased to keep up with my dirty little Shubunkins, of which I have two.
<Right; before we go further, let's make it clear that Shubunkins are one of the varieties better suited to ponds than aquaria. Besides being messy (all Goldfish are!) they tend to get fairly large and, for whatever reason, tend to be on the boisterous, hyperactive side. Perhaps not quite so much as Comets, but they're still a breed best kept outdoors. While you can keep them indoors, this does usually require a spacious tank with a strong filter. The Tetra Whisper EX70, like most hang-on-the-back filters, is best suited to small, clean fish such as Neons and Danios; it will simply be overwhelmed by Goldfish, and likely won't provide the current that these fish rejoice in. If this was me, I'd be keeping them in a tank upwards of 40 gallons, and I'd be using a fairly powerful internal or external canister filter, such as the Eheim 2217. Shubunkins are my favourite Goldfish breed -- surely their colours match anything on the coral reef -- but they aren't the best indoor fish, and they are demanding.>
There are currently no other animals in the tank with them. I have had this aquarium for over 2 years and keep current on all maintenance (chemistry, water changes etc.). I got confused by some Q&As on your site as to filtration.
<Goldfish tend to be adaptable with regard to water chemistry, but they do prefer hard water; the harder the better, really.>
I ONLY have the EX70 filter, and gathered from your site that I should have a separate biological filter as well. I am slightly confused and just wanted confirmation.
<Hmm... no... One filter can contain different media, so you can have a filter doing (for example) both mechanical filtration and biological filtration. Let's leave chemical filtration (carbon, etc.) out of the equation for now, because you don't need chemical filtration for this type of fish. A filter equipped one-third for mechanical filtration using filter wool or similar, and two-thirds for biological filtration via ceramic
noodles or sponges would be ideal for Goldfish.>
As I said, I've had this set up for 2+ years with no problems, but I'd like to keep Moo-Cow and Farmer Fred alive and healthy as long as possible.
<Healthy Goldies easily live 20 years, and in the case of Shubunkins, they will be well over 20 cm (8 inches) by then.>
I have been doing some research in regards to tank mates for my fish and have decided I would like to get some Zebra Danios because it is my understanding that they are more subtropical and would be OK with the cooler water temperatures that my Shubunkins prefer. My next question is, confirmation that this is OK to do and, along with that, to find out what temperature I should keep my tank at to keep everyone happy?
<Up to a point this is true, but while Goldfish aren't predators, they will consume small fish if they can catch them. Zebras do best around 18-22 C, 64-72 F, and this will suit Goldfish perfectly. In centrally heated homes, you should find a heater isn't required, but if your house does get cold in winter, then adding a heater will be necessary if you want Danios. You also need to ensure water quality is at the standard Danios require; while Goldfish tolerate stagnant water and can breathe air if they must, Danios cannot. So you will need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and a good circulation of water throughout the tank. Aeration doesn't matter much, despite what people think, but the water should be circulating properly. Does flake food dropped onto the substrate sit around doing nothing, or is it quickly pushed about? If the flake moves quickly, then the water is probably circulating OK.>
And, with regards to the possible tank mates, I was thinking that, based on the fact that they are schooling fish, I would purchase 5 of the Danios. Is that an acceptable number?
<Would go 6+; Danios in smaller groups can be bullies and sometimes become nippy. Not worth the risk.>
I worried about having less than that for the Danios well being, but am also concerned about making sure my tank isn't over crowded.
<To some degree the Shubunkins may feel a bit overcrowded simply because of the lack of swimming space, but otherwise you're just about okay. I'd add another filter, ideally a decent internal or external canister, just to get the water moving.>
Which leads me to my last question: Why aren't my fish growing?
<To a degree, Goldfish are unusual among fish in that their growth rate is affected by aquarium size. Most fish *do not* grow to the size of the tank they're in, but Goldfish may grow more slowly if the tank is small and you're not doing enough water changes. Temperature is another factor.>
I've had the two goldfish long enough now that I assume they would have grown, at least a little, by now. They are still both about 1 1/2" each, poor little runts.
<Runts do exist among Goldies, but I'm not sure that's the case here.>
I check water quality frequently and have always been within good if not optimal parameters. They have been in the 30gal alone since I bought them, so they haven't been over crowded. I also feed them not only the flakes, but shelled peas as well everyday (for which I get mocked mercilessly by less informed friends), so I don't think its a bad/unbalanced diet. Are my fish just runts?
<Unlikely, but possible.>
Thank you so much for your time and your dedication to helping out.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Questions about goldfish (Shubunkins, growth; Brachydanio, compatibility) - 4/13/09
Hello Neale,
Thank you so much for your advice.
<Happy to help.>
As for the filter, I know you recommended the Eheim 2217 filter, however I wanted to seek your advice on a slight variation of that. In looking at the Eheim models available, I was considering the Eheim Classic canister, of which the 2113 is the one rated for my tank size (30gal, and the filter is rated for up to 66gal).
<As have written elsewhere on WWM, manufacturer ratings are optimistic.
They're comparable to miles-per-gallon quotes from car manufacturers, or number of portions on boxes of cereals. Specifically, they're based on the filter being put alongside -- not underneath -- the aquarium, so the pump isn't working as hard as it will do placed under the tank. Moreover, as the filter becomes clogged, the flow rate drops. In any case, if the Fluval 2213 (as the current model is called) is rated at 116 gallons per hour; if that's at least four times the volume of the tank, it would be acceptable alongside an existing filter. As the sole filter, but gut feeling is you'll be unimpressed, and will soon regret not buying the next unit up in size.
If you get the 2213, at first it'll look like overkill, and you'll see water being pushed about all over the place. But trust me on this: flow rate drops rapidly.>
In addition to this I was also going to add the Eheim pre-filter for the additional mechanical filtration it provides.
<Sure, why not? But I'd always recommend buying a bigger filter rather than spending more money on bolt-on goodies. It's comparable to buying a computer: RAM, hard drives and so on are all good upgrades, but when you're on a budget, focus on processor speed. The "processor speed" here is turnover.>
Will this setup be OK for my tank as opposed to the 2217, because it is definitely more feasible for my wallet. Another option I was thinking of is the Eheim 2212 Aquaball internal filter,
<Hmm... Aquaball filters are great. I have one, and like it a lot. But they do get overwhelmed by messy fish. If there was an Olympic sport for defecating, Goldfish would be in that team. So that's the focus here. While
the Eheim 2212 has lots of sponge filters, it will need regular cleaning to work well. If you're happy with that, then by all means invest in this filter; for the price, it's about as good as internal filters get.>
with the addition of the Substrat Pro filter media, because, as far as my understanding goes, it would also help with the circulation, which I need for the Danios; whereas with the 2113 I might also have to purchase a separate powerhead or something similar to get the current going.
<No, the canister filter will provide ample circulation for the Danios all by itself. Danios aren't fish from torrents or anything like that, but they do like a bit of a current, and the 2213 or similar should provide that in ample amounts.>
The reason I have been hesitant to go with the Aquaball is because of the vast price difference, which based on the theory that "you get what you pay for" would mean that it's not as good of a filter as the 2113.
<Ah, yes and no. The thing with internal filters is that they're best suited to small fish. That's their market. For big fish -- which Goldfish are -- external canister filters will work better. They create more circulation in the tank, and they need maintenance less often. In terms of reliability though, most anything from Eheim will last 10+ years without a problem. They really are (by far) the best in the business, and over the long term, the best value. Having said that, I've used Fluval filters a lot as well, and I have no problems recommending them as well. They're usually some 25% cheaper than equivalent Eheim units.>
There are just way too many choices on filters and while I'd like to spend as little money as possible, I understand that means saving money by getting the right filter the first time instead of having to buy a bunch of different filters because they haven't been the right ones.
<A wise approach. At a pinch, if you already have a filter, then the 2113 should be fine. But if you can stretch to the next model up, I'd do so, and economise by not buying the bold-on skimmer thing.>
Thanks again for your help!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Goldfish stuck in filter 3/12/2009
Sorry to bother you - but my goldfish -which has been fine for 6 months in a 60 gallon tank (U.K gallons)- was stuck in the filter, dead, when I got up this morning. I am heartbroken, and also very worried that a) the filter is
dangerous for the 3 other fish in the tanks, or b) the filter is ok but the fish was very weak and ill - meaning maybe I should be worried about the others.
<Usually fish only get stuck in the filter when moribund or dead; unless this is some hopelessly inbred variety with very long fins and the filter preternaturally strong, even regular fancy Goldfish can handle filters operating at a turnover of 6-8 times the volume of the tank per hour.
Indeed, strong filters are recommended.
I keep pretty up to date with cycles etc and although I am a newbie to fish keeping, think the levels of nitrate etc were doing ok (i need to do another test now). Turning off the filter scares me because of levels etc
but leaving it on to suck up another fish is a worry too!! It is a basic elite filter which was meant to be the right size for this tank (it came with it).
<Nitrate isn't a critical issue with Goldfish, and provided you keep nitrates below 50 mg/l, you shouldn't have any problems. Weekly water changes in the 25-50% range should take care of this. Do take care not to
overfeed, and pay particular attention to providing green foods to Goldfish rather than pellets or flake; while pellets and flakes are fine 2-3 times a week, more often than that they tend to cause problems with constipation.
Any ideas at all?
Thanks very much
<Good luck, Neale.>  
Re: Goldfish stuck in filter 3/12/2009

Thanks very much.
<Most welcome.>
I didn't know about sick fishes getting stuck in filters. Sometimes the fish get pushed around a bit when they're near the filter, but it's never pulled them right in before. Dolly (the one that died last night) had seemed fine in health but.... :-(
<Healthy fish should have no problems avoiding the suction from a filter.>
I now need to make sure the other 3 fish are ok. My action plan is:
1) Monitor water for nitrites and ammonia etc? ..as soon as I get back from work :-(
2) Partial water change more regularly
3) Cut down on their food for a while (sometimes i just give them 1 or 2 peas instead of flakes - is that the kind of green food you mean?)
<Exactly. Giving a bunch of cheap aquarium plants (Canadian pondweed for example) and letting them eat that for a week rather than fish food does a good job too. Throw the plants out when they get really scrappy looking, but don't worry, dead plants shouldn't pollute the aquarium.>
4) Just in case my filter's suction is too strong (although that sounds unlikely) maybe put the bit from a pair of tights over the front, as I've heard that's a good temporary way to protect fish getting sucked in)????
Guess it won't hurt anyway..?
Does all that sound ok in your opinion?
Finally, I know you can't say without hearing details of the levels - but am I right in thinking that a 60 gall tank should have been fine for 4 goldfish (no more than 4-5cm each) with regular changes?
<Should be fine for 4 adults too.>
I've tried really hard to do the right things - I'm so sad we've lost one..
Thanks very much - appreciate your expertise
<Cheers, Neale.>

65 Gallon Fresh Water Aquarium, Goldfish sys., hlth.   2/11/09 Hello, My name is Lindsay. <Hello Lindsay!> I have a 65 gallon fresh water fish tank that houses eight goldfish a.k.a. "carp", two frogs and a Plecostomus. The first issue I'm having is that it seems the goldfish may be getting a bacterial infection. <Do check water quality. Goldfish are almost bomb-proof when properly maintained, but if the water has ammonia or nitrite in it (use a test kit to check) they are VERY prone to Finrot and Fungus.> One of the fish has some, very little, but still has some "cotton" like substance on it's side, one was recently treated for PopEye in it's own hospital tank and returned to the main tank, another is laying low throughout most of the day on the bottom of the tank and I have one that seems quite puffy compared to normal. <No need to isolate them, as this isn't "catchy". But do treat with an anti-fungal medication (not Melafix/Pimafix!) with Acriflavine, Malachite Green or similar in it.> They all seem to be losing scales. The frogs seem to be in great shape as well as the Plecostomus. <Famous last words...> I just did a water change three days ago as well as cleaned all elements of the tank. What I'm hoping to get answered here is what is safe to treat the goldfish and the tank with that won't harm my amphibians? <Would remove the frog while treating, yes. Treat the Goldfish and Catfish together, as all are likely infected to some degree, even if it isn't apparent yet. And for gosh sakes, do a nitrite test to check water quality!> Are there any suggestions? <See above.> I've asked my local aquarium, and he advised an anti-fungal / anti-bacterial with tea tree oil in it. <Garbage. This is Melafix and/or Pimafix, and half the e-mails we get with fish infected with fungus and Finrot mention how they've used this stuff, and the fish are still sick. Maybe sometimes it works, but that's not good enough for me. You want the Roto Rooter stuff that'll really clear the problem, not this New Agey tea-tree oil nonsense.> There isn't any research on the net confirming whether or not it is safe for amphibians, and he didn't know either. <With medication, the golden rule is that if the thing isn't know to be safe, don't use it.> Therefore, I didn't use it. The water change hasn't helped either. Another question I have is about the objects in the tank. My parents have had aquariums ever since I can remember, this one in particular was given to me by them. <Cool!> They have always had two medium sized rough cut amethysts in the tank as well as a pair of glass frogs. They've been in numerous tanks and I'm not sure if I should keep them in there. I'm afraid they will rough up the fish. However, I don't see the fish rubbing against them. Are these items safe for the aquarium? <Well, in theory fish can scratch themselves, just like people can. But in practise they're mostly pretty good. If you look on a coral reef, those corals are incredibly jagged, and yet the fish are fine. So unless you're actually seeing signs of scratches, I'd not worry overmuch. I'm fairly sure the problem here is water quality. Possibly the Plecostomus attacking the Goldfish to rasp their skin, but there should be obvious circular wounds on the fish. The cotton threads and the Popeye are much more typical of a reaction to bad water quality.> Thank You for your time. <More than happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: 65 Gallon Fresh Water Aquarium
Thanks Neale! You're response is very detailed and very helpful, I'll let you know what happens after I run the test on the water. -Lindsay <Happy to help. Neale.>
Re: 65 Gallon Fresh Water Aquarium 2/11/09
Hi Neale, it's Lindsay again. I wanted to let you know that I tested my water, and to my surprise it's perfect quality according to the test strip. <By "perfect" we mean 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, pH 7.5-8, and hardness around 10 degrees or more dH (i.e., moderately hard or hard water). Right?> I wanted to know if there was any brand or medication in particular that you would advise treating these goldfish with. Thanks again. <Any will do. Here in the UK I recommend eSHa 2000. Brands elsewhere will be different. Antibiotics (like Maracyn) are good for Finrot/Mouth 'Fungus' but have little/no effect on Fungal infections. Just avoid tea-tree oil and/or salt. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: 65 Gallon Fresh Water Aquarium 2/12/09 Actually, the test strip that I used said that my aquarium tested as soft water and that was ideal. <Ideal for soft water fish. Hard water fish obviously want something else. Soft water fish include most tetras, barbs, and South American cichlids. Hard water fish are things like livebearers, Goldfish, and Rift Valley cichlids. What's ideal for one sort isn't ideal for the other.> You're suggesting I need to harden up my water? <If you have hard water fish, yes.> Otherwise 0 nitrates, 0 ammonia, 0 chlorine and the pH was between 6.8 and7.2, alkalinity moderate. I used a Quick Dip 6 test one strip kit by Jungle. I'll have to look for comparable products for everything here in the U.S. Would it be an actual water hardener? Thanks Lindsay <Water can be hardened in various ways, for example the addition of Malawi salt mix to each bucket of water, or the incorporation of calcareous media in the filter. Most any aquarium book should outline the basics, as will a review of WWM under the water chemistry topics, specifically relating to hard water species. 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 dog food 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.>

pH problems, FW, Goldfish   1/14/09 Hi Neale, <Hello Midhat,> Thank you very much for your advice regarding the snail. Have a question regarding pH, have been getting variable reading of the pH. We have one 1.5 inches long red Oranda and 1 inch red cap Oranda in 20 gallon tank with a filter, live plant (Red Ludwigia) and a decoration rock. <Well, the Ludwigia won't last long. Putting aside the fact Goldfish eat plants, Ludwigia repens is a very difficult plant to grow. It needs a lot of light and a decent, iron-substrate. Plants aren't easy to maintain, and once they start dying, they pollute the water. I'd recommend you add no other plants to this tank other than cheap pondweed (Elodea or Egeria) that you allow the Goldfish to eat. When these plants start looking shabby, throw them onto your compost heap and buy some new ones!> Today in the morning checked the water it had a pH of somewhere b/w 8.5 - 9.0 according to the test strip, did a quick partial water change of 10% (didn't want to bring it down very quickly), another reading was taken it was 7.5, at once took a sample to LFS and got the water checked, turned out to be 8.4. At the pet store they gave me 'Neutral Regulator ' by Seachem to adjust the pH to 7.0 (whether high or low just brings pH to neutral value). <Would actually suspect the test kit is either [a] inaccurate or [b] difficult to read. Dip strips can be notoriously inconsistent. Some brands are better than others. Another factor can be the time of the day, though that depends on how strongly the plants perform photosynthesis. I assume you don't have strong lights, so this particular problem isn't likely.> My question is should I use it? <Will do no harm, provided you use precisely as instructed on the packaging.> As on your website it has been mentioned several times that no tempering with the pH should be done. <Broadly this is true. It's much better for people to get fish that "like" the local water chemistry, so that you don't need to mess about with pH or hardness. If you live in a hard water area (e.g., your kettle becomes furred up with lime or you need a lot of detergent in the washing machine) then it is very unlikely that pH will vary much between water changes. Hard water is really very good stuff for keeping tropical fish happy!> I also got a live pH monitor by Mardel and is showing the pH value of 7.4 continuously and bought new test strips (API) they are giving the value somewhere b/w 7.5 - 8.0. Tap water has the pH of 7.5. I am really puzzled by this, as never had any problems with the pH before. <Honestly, my gut feeling is that you aren't using the test strips right, or else they just aren't very reliable. The liquid test kits tend to be more consistent, even if they are marginally more difficult to use. In any case, try using the test strips every day for the next three or four days, performing the tests at precisely the same time, to factor out any daily variation. If the test results are essentially the same from one day to the next, that's really all that matters.> My fishes are not showing any signs of stress just some yawning on behalf of red Oranda. <If the fish aren't stressed, I'd not worry too much. If pH changes suddenly, fish quickly react, often gasping at surface or darting around the tank nervously.> Your advice will be greatly appreciated as don't know what to do, nothing is making sense. Thank you very much. Best Regards, Midhat <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: pH problems... Mmmm, no. Goldfish sys.   2/11/09 Evening Neale and Mr. Fenner, <Evening!> Sorry for emailing you again and thank you very much for you advice. The WetWebMedia crew has set up an amazing website. Thank you every one for educating us. <I'm sure that Bob will be pleased to hear you say this.> <<Ah yes>> First some back ground information. We have a 20 g tank with two goldfishes, 1 red Oranda (1.5") named Goldie and other is red cap Oranda (1.15") named Luna, two filters (1 sponge filter and the other is HOB), one ceramic decoration, and one red Ludwigia (Neale your advice was amazing about it needing iron rich substrate, it is doing amazingly, has nearly tripled in size in one month and for some reason goldfishes don't like it). <Cool.> Our Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are zero, GH=180, KH=180 and pH =8.0 (I know YIKES!). <The pH and hardness is just fine for Goldfish. Water quality is excellent. Don't start messing about with it! Just leave it alone.> Our tap water parameters are Nitrite and Nitrate zero, Ammonia=1.5, GH=120 (medium hard), KH=120, pH=8.2 (just increased recently from 7.5). After passing through the water softener and filtration system they are Nitrite and Nitrate=0, Ammonia=1.5, GH=b/w 0-30 and KH=0 and pH=6.0. <Too soft for Goldfish. Please DO NOT use water from a domestic water softener in an aquarium. These don't actually "soften" the water in the way aquarists mean it. What they do is replace the lime that furs up washing machines and pipes with salt. That's not a problem for a washing machine, but it's really bad for fish. It's why you don't drink from the domestic water softener tap, but from one that by-passes it. The ammonia level is too high as well, for no real reason I can fathom. So all in all, bad water. No further discussion required, because YOU ARE NOT putting this stuff in your fish tank.> We use tap water for the tank. I have been using Seachem's Neutral Regulator which keeps pH at 7.0, removes chlorine, chloramine and ammonia but it is not bringing down pH just introducing green spot algae problem b/c it contains phosphate based buffers. (We have premixed to-be-used tap water sitting out for a week with double the amount of Seachem but still it is at 8, going to triple the amount to see what happens). Is there any other product that you would recommend. <Why are you lowering the pH to 7? PLEASE, Goldfish LIKE HARD WATER. They like a basic pH around 7.5-8.0.> I need advice regarding the proper method to bring pH down. <For gosh sakes, LEAVE IT ALONE!> I have been doing daily 4 g water changes with the mixture of tap water and filtered water with Seachem's Neutral Regulator, it has Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate all zero, GH and KH=80 and pH=7.0, for past few days it has kept the pH at 8 otherwise if it is left alone goes up to 8.5. <Just use the plain tap water, the one with GH=180, KH=180 and pH =8.0 mentioned at the top. This is PERFECT for your fish. A 25% weekly water change should offset any pH changes before they get serious.> Should I continue with this strategy hoping it will eventually bring it down. Both the goldfishes are otherwise completely healthy with amazing appetite, just Goldie sometimes starts to yawn a little. I am a little at loss because aquarium setups are RedOx system but our moves in the opposite direction with each day pH going up a little. Haven't even changed the carbon filter in HOB this months. LFS also confirmed that pH is at 8 for both tap water and tank. <Fine.> I saw a similar question on pH FAQs and the answer was to get something that lives in similar water conditions b/c tinkering with the pH is never good but we don't want to give up our goldfishes they are like members of our family with their own distinct personalities and quirks, likes and dislikes and we are very attached to them. Sorry for it being such a long email. We would be really grateful for your advice. Thank you very much. <Happy to help.> Best Regards, Midhat. <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: pH problems  2/12/09 Hi Neale, <Midhat,> Thank you very much for you advice, every where I read they said goldfishes live in water with the range of pH being 6.5 - 7.5 <Goldfish will survive here in England under ice for three months, and in the wild can tolerate up to about one-third the salinity of seawater. But neither of these things is "good" for them, and what you want to do is provide them with their favourite conditions. That is, unquestionably, hard, basic water. What in the UK we call "liquid rock"! Keep the pH around 7.5, and the hardness above 10 degrees dH ("moderately hard" on whatever scale you're using) and your Goldfish will love you.> that was the only reason that I started to change the pH. Now I wont try to mess up with it. <This is Neale's golden rule: don't mess with pH. Leave it alone! Unless you're an expert fishkeeper trying to maintain a very exotic species, it's ALWAYS best to let your fish adjust to your local water chemistry. Choose fish that LIKE your local water chemistry, and things are even simpler.> Thanks once more. Best Regards, Midhat <Happy to help. Cheers, Neale>

My Gold Fish tank has little beads like things in it 12/28/08 HI, I am 14 years old and my fish tank is 15 gallons and has 2 fantails one is 2 inches and the other is almost 4 inches. <Need more room, volume than this> The small one has been swimming upside down for about a month and is very round and its fins are starting to turn black at the ends. <Bad... environment, nutrition...> Today when I when to feed them the small one was a lot thinner and was swimming more upright. I keep my tank clean <What does this mean?> with out a lot of stuff in it. I have a few rocks in the corner and 2 small bamboo plans in it. <Are these true aquatics? Could you send images of the fish, plants?> Today on the bottom of the tank on the glass there is some very small bead looking things that were not there yesterday. <And a well-resolved image of this/these as well> What should I do? <Read... start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm and the linked files above, and then: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and... Bob Fenner> Thanks

Re: Goldfish (aquarium size; health; no surprises)... b/float...   12/16/08 Hi Neal <Denis,> The black moor is known the be a delicate fish, but that one now officially has a swim bladder. <Well, yes... it does have a swim bladder. But its swim bladder is deformed because of its egg-shaped body. So things like constipation can cause swimming problems, much worse than in "normal" Goldfish.> Those symptoms that I could not identify with the fish being sluggish under the surface of the water , has not turned into the fish losing balance when swimming. <OK.> I was wondering if the fish had not get used to having the same food over and over for 2 years. I feed him 1 every three day with pees, courgettes and worms. <It is a good idea to vary the diet. The more different foods, the less chance of sickness. Same as with humans! I would try different foods: some flake, some aquarium plants (Elodea), some peas, some brine shrimp, some bloodworms, etc.> I am not treating the water for swim bladder but is there any efficient way to cure the decease ? <Forgive me, I do not remember precisely what was wrong with your fish. Please remind me.> Regards Denis <Cheers, Neale.>  

Re: Goldfish (aquarium size; health; no surprises)  12/16/08 Hi Neal <Denis,> The fish practically floats like a balloon and can't swim to the bottom of the tank and when it tries just floats back up, it causes fish suffering to have difficulty maintaining their normal upright position in the water. Abnormal swimming pattern, difficulty maintaining equilibrium... <Are the scales on the fish sticking out? I mean, does it look like a "pine cone" when viewed from above?> By the end of the day the fish is normally getting better although spending 18h00 out of 24h00 lying under the surface. I have feed the fish with pees, courgettes and sworm. The food would be sunk 30ss prior to be fed to the fish and will sunk at the bottom of the aquarium so that the fish does not grasp air as well as food. The fish is not constipated. <If not constipation, could be some type of bacterial infection. You would need to use an antibiotic. In the US, you can buy these from pet stores (e.g., Maracyn or Maracyn 2). But in the UK and most other countries, antibiotics are available only from a veterinarian (e.g., Erythromycin, Minocycline). I add some aquarium salt on a regular bases. <NaCl will have little direct help. Epsom salt is better; 1 teaspoon per 5-10 US gallons.> Can you help ? <Done the best I can! Neale.>

Re: Goldfish (aquarium size; health; no surprises) 12/16/08 <Are the scales on the fish sticking out? I mean, does it look like a "pine cone" when viewed from above?> yes <<Ah, well this is Dropsy. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm See WWM for more; but generally the antibiotics recommended alongside Epsom Salt and elevated temperature (to around 25-26 C in the case of Goldfish) is about all you can do. Cheers, Neale.>>

Re: Goldfish (aquarium size; health; no surprises) 12/16/08 Hi Neale Thanks for the details I am not sure what to do. The fish got a poo trail for the past 1.5 days which seems to suggest some internal damages or may be constipation. It has now been standing in � pine cone� like position for most of the day , and when trying to swim down it is just losing control and is heavily gasping for breath from this effort. Is there any chance of recovery for the poor little one ? The situation just seems to have dramatically got worth in the last few days <Yes, there's hope with antibiotics; no, there's no hope without them. Cheers, Neale.>

Planted freshwater tank setup questions   12/14/08 Hello very generous Wet Web Crew!!! Thanks for your help!!!! <Happy to help.> Well, a 40 gallon breeder tank is becoming a home for Pearlscale goldfish and brackish water plants (to deal with addition of salt if necessary). <Goldfish don't need salt. What they do need is clean, hard, basic water. Aim for a carbonate hardness around 5 or more, and a pH between 7.5-8. Water quality is the big one though: fancy goldfish especially are very sensitive to ammonia and nitrite. When they get sick, it's almost always because water quality isn't good.> So far this is the list of what I have purchased: 40 gal breeder tank with glass versa tops and metal stand 2 bags of Eco-complete plant substrate, root Therm heater for 40 gal, small natural aquarium gravel (does this still needs laterite below?) <Actually wouldn't bother with plants that need a substrate: the goldfish will destroy them! Putting aside the fact Goldfish are herbivores, they're also burrowers. I'd instead go with just floating plants and epiphytes (i.e., plants that are attached to wood, such as Anubias, Java fern, Bolbitis, Java moss). This being so, you can use just a thin layer of fine gravel or silica sand so your Goldfish can root about happily.> Eheim 2028 canister filter with all media <An excellent choice. Turnover is around 200 gallons per hour, meaning the water in the tank goes through the filter 5 times an hour. Assuming the tank isn't overstocked, this should be fine.> Rena air 400 pump (I'm totally confused about all the diff. air stones, disks, diffusers, wands, micro-bubblers, etc. There's diff colors/types of tubing, diff materials/shapes of air stones, diffusers, etc. What I want to do is have the air come on at night on a timer when the lights go out to prevent the plants from sucking up too much oxygen and harming the fish. I don't want to create strong movement. What is the best way to accomplish this?) I'm reasonable certain I'll need to get check valves, but also don't quite understand the gang valves, and other air accessories out there. Which do I need? Which don't I need? <With a decent filter, airstones are redundant. By all means buy one that's pretty and you think would look nice. Some come with built-in lights that can be kind of funky! But otherwise, skip these things if you want.> I still need a very reliable heater and accurate thermometer (recommendations very welcome!) <Goldfish do best at room temperature, so assuming the temperature in your home is between 15-20 C most of the time, you'll be fine.> I bought a used Prime mini-chiller 1/10HP that requires a pump in the range of 400-600 GPH---also recommendations welcome!! (this has a dual temperature controller, so the heater will have to plug into the chiller) This seems to have ?white stuff? on the interior portions of where the tubing will hook up, is there something I should do to safely remove it that won't hurt the fish/plants/me! or do I just leave it alone? <Why do you need a chiller? Fancy goldfish don't really like cold conditions. They're more subtropical fish than anything else.> The local water in Phillipsburg, NJ is qualified as ?liquid rock? as well! (all my glasses are white coated as well) <Perfect for Goldfish!> I purchased a used Current Orbit 36? lighting fixture which has 1-96 watt dual daylight bulb, 1-96 watt dual actinic bulb and 3 LED moon lights on separate cords to be hooked up to timers. I also bought a gallon each of Kordon Amquel Plus and NovAqua Plus to treat the water. I also bought a GFCI to install, but am wondering if one will be enough? I think I'm going to need two timer strips. (?) Lets see, the filter/chiller-heater/root heater will run constantly---that's three constant power hook-ups; the air equip. and three light cords will need to be on timers that's four on timers. Did I miss anything so far? <Nope.> OOOOPS---are any of the fresh water test kits better choices than others?? <My philosophy is that any kit you use is the best of all. The dip-strips with lots of tests on one piece of paper might not be the most accurate, but because they're cheap and easy, people use them. Slice them longitudinally to double the number of tests per package.> (Ahhhh and all this before I even GET to the cycling!!!!!!) Oh, since the Pearlscale goldfish get their scales easily damaged, I was going to get a ?flat? net just to chase them into a container to move them, correct? <Certainly a smooth, fine net should be used for any fish. If the net feels silky smooth to the touch, it's fine.> Anything else I've missed???? Thanks so much!!! My goal is for retirement in several years to build an indoor pond for fancy goldfish, this will get me some practice for the pond!!! Testing water, adjusting plants, etc. I figured I'd start with the plants and get to the fish later!!! Thanks so much for all your help!!!!! Lisa (now you KNOW I'm going to be checking my email for an answer from WetWebMedia, not Santa Claus!!!!! but very Happy Holidays to all!!!!) <Do have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Otherwise, I think you're all set. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: planted freshwater tank setup questions  12/14/08 Neale thanks for taking precious time to answer my letter so quickly!!!!! <Happy to help.> The chiller is because of the statement in your article that I was referred to "but the water temperature should certainly not be allowed to exceed 25?C ((77?F)." In the summertime my house can exceed 100 degrees F, and I don't want the goldfish to be oxygen starved. <I doubt the water will get that hot even in summer, and for a few weeks, "tropical" temperatures won't harm Goldfish, especially not in a clean tank with good circulation and moderate stocking.> Also the same reason for wanting the airstones to come on after the plant lights go out at night. That was my reasoning. <Whether the plants are actively photosynthesising or not should have a marginal effect at most; except under brilliant lighting (3+ watts per gallon) plants aren't likely to be greatly increasing the oxygen concentration in an aquarium. Conversely, unless they're rotting (!) plants don't consume much oxygen at night, at least compared with animals, so again, their impact is trivial.> I also thought that by allowing the water temp. to spike in the summer the fish might feel the urge to spawn which I was also trying to discourage as the 40 gallon breeder tank is just too small to deal with so many fish in it. <Goldfish rarely spawn in aquaria, so I'd not worry about this. They breed freely in ponds, but not so much indoors.> (also I don't know where all the weird punctuation came from in your copy of my letter, they weren't there when I sent it!!) <Life is full of mysteries. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish (BiOrb - the old, old story) 11/25/08
Hello, I was wondering if you can help me, I own a BiOrb tank ( the medium sized one) and I have had three fantails and a lion head living in there for over a year with no problems. Then all of a sudden they all seem to have got some mystery illness. They are all just sitting at the bottom of the tank with little movement; they hardly even come up to feed anymore. The worse symptom is that they are all covered with this white substance all over their body like a cobweb even in the gills, and the goldfish's tail seemed to just gradually disappear?? Two of my fish have already died and the other two have still got the disease rather badly. I have been looking around and I cant find anything to do with this strange white cobweb like substance all over their bodies. I clean them out once a week by doing a 2/3rd water change and they seem to perk up for about 10 minutes after I've done it. Thank you for your help x
<Hello! I never like answering questions about Bi-Orb tanks because I know they're expensive and people don't want to hear what I tell them. But the problem is that these tanks are rubbish. They are certainly of no use whatsoever for keeping Goldfish. They are too small, don't have enough surface area for oxygen to get in, and the filtration system is too weak. They are the wrong shape for Goldfish. Everything about them is wrong, except for the fact they contain water, which at least makes them better than trying to keep a Goldfish in a rabbit hutch. But that's the only "good" thing about them. In terms of usefulness, they have none. The reason your fish look happy after a water change is suddenly they're in good water conditions. After a while the water goes bad again, and they become unhealthy. The white "cobwebs" are likely Fungus, and will need to be treated using something like eSHa 2000 or some other proprietary formalin/copper-based medication. Avoid rubbish like Melafix, Pimafix or the use of salt. Finrot may also be present, and this will likely be why the fin membranes are dissolving. Medications for this include some of the formalin/copper-based ones that also treat Fungus, or you could use an antibiotic such as Maracyn or Furanace. It is possible you're also seeing excessive mucous production, which appears as whitish slime on the bodies of Goldfish when they are stressed. In any case, beyond treating for Fungus and Finrot (I'd encourage you to treat with a medication that cures both) your Goldfish will need a bigger, at least 30 gallon aquarium with a decent filter. Do remember NOT TO USE carbon in the filter when using medications. Your Bio-Orb is of no further value to you. By all means voice your frustration at your retailer for selling such a piece of rubbish, but I'm afraid your Goldfish don't have any options but to move to a new home.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish (Bio Orb - the old, old story) 11/26/08
Thank you for getting back to me, sadly the last two fish died this morning. I did have an idea that it could be the tank, but then i thought why would anyone invent a tank for goldfish, that goldfish cant be kept in.
i did put them in another tank a few days ago with treatment but it must have been too late. don't worry i wont be using it again, luckily i didn't pay for it anyway i got it given (i wonder why).
thank you for the honest reply.
<Sorry to hear the bad news. By all means use the Bio Orb for Cherry Shrimps and so on. But I don't recommend their use with fish. Cheers,

My goldfish tank 11-13-08 Hey Guys, I searched your site for some answers but I couldn't find anything pertaining to my exact question. I have one fantailed gold fish. He is currently in a 1.5 gallon tank (small I know) but I do partial water changes usually twice a week, and he has been fine since I've brought him home (two months ago) .... *knock on wood* My space is limited as of right now but I was planning on upgrading him to at least a 5 gallon tank within a week. I know the ideal size for a goldfish is at least 10 gallons? If so would it be okay for him to temporarily live in the 5 gallon as opposed to the 1.5 (as long as I keep up with partial water changes) until I can purchase a 10+ gallon tank? <You can keep your goldfish in a 5 gallon but just for a limited time. You should eventually get the 10 gallon when you can afford it, and hopefully soon. Don't worry; you aren't the only starving aquarist. Merritt A.>

Goldfish -10/31/08
Hello WetWebMedia crew. I have a question. I currently have a 75 gallon aquarium with three fancy goldfish, two are about three inches long and the other is a baby. The pH is 7.6, and I have no ammonia or nitrites. I currently have about 6 old plastic plants that are starting to break up in the tank and I would like to get rid of them and get something more natural looking. I want to get some large pieces of driftwood, rocks and maybe attach some java ferns to them. When I get the driftwood can I take out the plastic plants all at once?
I know they probably hold a lot of beneficial bacteria and I'm afraid that if I take them out the biological filtration will crash.
<Don't worry about it. Compared with the filter in your aquarium, the bacteria on the plants are contributing virtually NOTHING to water quality. So provided the filter is left running, you can change as much of the decor as you want. Do be careful with bogwood though: Goldfish dislike acidic water, so if you are in a soft water area, adding too much bogwood can cause the pH to drop. This will not be a problem if you tap water is hard.>
What is your opinion on this matter? Thanks, Pawel.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish 11/2/08 Thanks for the advice. Now, you mentioned that if my water was too soft the bogwood would be a bad idea. Well I went out to buy a test kit and from what it tells me is that my aquarium water has a general hardness of 6 (107.4ppm), and a KH value of 3. I'm assuming that I have a soft water. <Indeed, this does sound like you have quite soft water. Goldfish actually prefer hard water, so anything you can do harden the water will be useful.> The thing is that I have some crushed coral in my hang on power filter (not a lot at all, just two cartridges of it) and I've been having a steady pH of 7.6. <These filter cartridges are pretty useless to be honest. Bacteria cover them within days, rendering any chemical filtration practically non existent. Much better to add a mineral salt mix to the water. Cheaper and far more effective. Use something like a half-dose of Rift Valley Cichlid salt mix, i.e., adding to a 5 gallon (20 litre) bucket of water: 0.5 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) 0.5 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) 0.5 teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements) Don't do a massive water change all at once; instead just add these minerals to each new bucket of water you add during regular weekly water changes. That will gradually change the hardness and pH to something Goldfish prefer. If you still don't get the hard water you want, you can double this dosage without any problems. Throw away the stupid crushed coral modules in your filter and replace with filter wool or whatever to support biological/mechanical filtration, as you prefer.> Do you still think that adding a few pieces of the bogwood would be detrimental? <In soft water, yes.> I don't want a fluctuating aquarium. Or do you think that the crushed coral is doing its job? <Doesn't sound like it judging by your numbers. Goldfish want 10+ degrees dH, i.e., moderately hard to hard water.> By the way, would I ever need to replace the crushed coral, and does it lose its buffering capacity over time? <If put inside a filter, small amounts of crushed coral will be virtually useless within a couple of weeks, and all chemical media -- coral, carbon, Zeolite -- need to be replaced at least monthly even in the best of circumstances. These chemical media modules are mostly used as away to siphon money out of your pocket into those of the retailer and manufacturer. Their practical value in freshwater fish keeping is close to zero, and experienced freshwater fish keepers almost never use them. Carbon is another total waste of space, by the way. Big water changes, particularly if the water is treated with a chemical buffer mix as described above, will do a FAR better job of stabilizing pH and removing dissolved organic acids from the water. But water changes are free, so aquarium hardware manufacturers would much rather trick people into buying modules of carbon and crushed coral and Zeolite and other stuff they just don't need. Call me a cynic, but I'd sooner spend that kind of money on myself, not my fish tank.> Thanks so much. <Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish Questions 10/30/08 Hello, <Hello,> I have two questions about my goldfish. I have two, got them in January of this year when they were babies, and both have been perfectly healthy all their lives. <Do understand that as fish get bigger, they produce more waste, and if the tank is too small, eventually you hit a tipping point where the fish stop being healthy. Or put another way, as your financial advisor will say, simply because stocks increased in value in the past doesn't mean they'll keep doing so -- you have to look at the bigger picture.> One is much much larger than the other (it's probably four-five inches long) and the smaller is about two and much skinnier. I'm not sure why, but they both are perfectly healthy, seemingly. Now, when I moved in August, my smaller one took up refuge inside the ornamental lighthouse in their 10 gal tank and refuses to come out. <Ten gallons is far too small for these fish. You need at least 30 gallons in all seriousness. For two reasons: Firstly, water quality WILL become an issue, if not now, then X months from now, and you'll have to deal with Finrot and Fungus. Ethically, it's (obviously) indefensible to keep an animal in poor conditions until it becomes sick, so you need to upgrade NOW. Secondly, these are schooling fish, and it is VERY common for schooling fish to experience behavioural problems when kept in too small a group. I'd recommend at least three specimens. It is quite possible the bigger fish is being a bully, and adding another fish will divide his attentions, making it less easy for any one fish to be harassed.> I thought it was just shock from the move, perhaps, but it's been two months, and it did no such thing after I moved in May. It eats very eagerly, and sometimes comes out for a swim, but otherwise it just stays in the lighthouse. Is it scared of the bigger one? It never had been before, and I haven't noticed any change in the bigger one's behaviour. Should I do anything, or just let it be? <Yep, some things to do: upgrade the tank, add one or more extra Goldfish of a similar breed (mixing the more extreme fancy Goldfish with single-tail types like Standards and Comets is asking for trouble; Black Moors and plain vanilla Fantails are about the only Fancy Goldfish I'd recommended combining with single-tail Goldfish).> Secondly, my bigger one developed a scratch on its nose today- I have no idea how. What should I do for it? Just let it be? How could it have gotten scratched? Like I said, they've been living in the same tank and I've taken care of them in the same way since January. Please let me know what you think, thank you. <Could be a scratch, for example if you have gravel in the tank. Goldfish are "diggers" and the worst thing in the world is to stick them in a tank with some of that sharp, brightly painted gravel that looks so fake. Besides being stressful for the fish (they hate bright colours underneath them) these gravels can damage their mouths as they dig. Ideally use a smooth, fine grained pea gravel. However, I suspect that mechanical damage alone isn't the issue, and would be very concerned about Mouth Fungus (actually a bacterial infection, also known as Columnaris). A photo would help. But in any case, you need to use an anti-bacterial medication of some type such as eSHa 2000 (in Europe) or Maracyn (in the US). Don't bother with rubbish like salt or Melafix. Do also read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Safest way to introduce a new goldfish 10/13/08
Hi everyone,
I'll start by thanking you all for the tireless work you do in answering everyone's questions and posting articles. It really is very generous of you and I know the info I have received on your site has made all the difference to my fish's happiness and my enjoyment. I have thanked you before but it's worth doing so again.
<Thanks for your kind words.>
I have an 8 gallon tank (currently empty) which previously housed a small Black moor for about 8 weeks. During that time it never really cycled and got stuck at the nitrite stage with me doing water changes every day to prevent nitrites getting to high (they remained at around the 0.5ppm level with water changes).
<Likely "cycled" as far as it could; in small tanks the supplied/installed filter may never be able to remove the nitrite and ammonia sufficiently quickly enough to cover the mess created by Goldfish.>
So, when the new 35 gallon tank arrived I moved the fish in almost straight away (after 3 days testing) as I figured if he was going to be stuck in a cycling tank he would much prefer it to be the larger and more interesting one with the decent filter which (thanks to Neale) is rated just over 6x water volume.
I'll add now, for everyone else who reads this mail, if anyone wants to know the advantage of housing a goldfish in a bigger home (beyond the water quality problem - which is in itself a great reason to do the right thing) they should see how ridiculously happy my fish seems now he has space, real plants to munch and something to do all day. Despite him seeming "fine" before I swear now he's almost giddy with glee (perhaps I am anthropomorphizing to a certain extent but the different in behaviour really is remarkable).
<You get it! That's the point to upgrading Goldfish to bigger tanks -- it isn't that they won't survive in small bowls or tanks (some certainly do survive) but you don't see them at their best. Spending a little more money up front turns your pet from being a lingering fishy ornament into a happy, active pet.>
Anyway, back to my question... The final stage in the "Make Fat Tony Happy" plan is to get him a friend in the form of another fancy goldfish. I am now unsure how best to go about it. The options as I see them are:
1) keep the smaller tank going, keep feeding it and wait until it cycles then use it as a quarantine tank for the new fish before moving it to the 35 gallon.
2) wait until the bigger tank has fully cycled then add the new fish straight in
<Also possible; quarantining is the ideal, but if there's only a single fish in the existing tank, and treating with anti-Finrot or anti-Whitespot is safe (as it is with Goldfish) I might be tempted to risk introducing diseases rather than expose a new fish to unhealthy (non-zero ammonia) conditions in the small tank. It's really 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.>
I would really prefer option 1 as it seems the safest option for everyone. However, I am concerned about the lack of cycling in the smaller tank when my fish was previously kept in there.
<Well, you'd certainly need to keep adding the odd pinch of flake to ensure the existing filter stays "alive".>
Perhaps 8 weeks wasn't long enough or perhaps in my concern for the fish I was keeping the nitrite levels too low and now that I can allow them to build up as they want the cycle will come with time?
<Most tanks cycle in under 6 weeks. Goldfish being Goldfish, short term exposure to ammonia and nitrite doesn't usually cause undue hardship to the more robust varieties (Moors, Comets, Shubunkins, etc.). It's the delicate fancy varieties that are most sensitive (Ranchus, Pom-poms, Celestials, etc.).
Or perhaps the silly small tank and silly little filter just never will be up to the job of housing a goldfish, even just for 3 or 4 weeks and even if I cycle it without a fish as soon as I add one we'll hit water quality problems immediately.
<This argument certainly has its merits.>
I guess I'm just asking your opinion on the safest, least stressful approach for both my existing fish and the new one? As I can now do water changes in my sleep I'm not looking for the easiest option at all, but the best one for the fish.
<I'd make sure the existing Goldfish and its aquarium is in good condition, and then add a new fish to that aquarium directly. The risk is small, and any potential penalties in terms of diseases shouldn't be difficult to handle. Do take care choosing tankmates: Moors are best kept with their own kind, classic Fantails, or single-tail Goldfish like Standard Goldfish and London Shubunkins that aren't quite so frenetic as Comets (these latter are best left in ponds). Moors they tend to be a bit hard on the more delicate Fancies, taking the food and asserting their dominance too easily in the "pack". Basically, don't combine them with anything [a] lacking a dorsal fin; or [b] with weird growths on its head.>
Thanks again!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Aquarium conversion (tropical to goldfish)   10/12/08
I have three comets in a 20-gallon aquarium. I am going to be given a 45-gallon aquarium that is currently housing tropical fish (all healthy in appearance) and live plants. I've found another home for the tropical fish, but I am wondering what I need to do to make the new aquarium suitable for my fish without destroying the established bacterial environment.
<Mmm, very little actually needs be done...>
I am unsure if I need to completely sterilize everything or if I should try to disturb the substrate as little as possible. Do I save any of the water that the tropicals were in?
<I would save most all, but move a good deal of the present goldfish water with them>
Also, my fish have never had live plants; do they pose any threat to the fish?
<Mmm, no... but the reverse is likely so... goldfish enjoy nibbling on such... is good for them>
I assume that the goldfish will eat them but I'm willing to do what it takes to allow them to thrive.
Thank you for guiding me in helping transition my goldfish to their new home!
<If it were me, mine, I'd simply allow the water temperature in the new/tropical tank to drop (by adjusting the heater/s down) and mix-water acclimate the goldfish in time to their new system. Bob Fenner>

Poor Goldfish.... env., as too usual, reading...  9/26/08
Hi. I have a 4 year old goldfish. Its in a 10 gallon
<... too small a volume>
tank with an air filter. I do water changes regularly, and I feed the fish flake food.
About a month ago, the fish was staying at the bottom, and only coming up to eat - I noticed a large swelling in the abdomen. I took the advice of others, did a complete water change, and fed the fish peas. A few days later, I notice a HUGE poop coming out. It even had air bubbles in it. Then, like magic the fish was back to normal. About a week ago - the fish started getting black spots all over, which I understand to be ammonia burn?
<Mmm, maybe. Likely environmental challenge period>
The week started out with the fish laying at the bottom of the tank, but still coming up to eat, then going back down. The past 2 days, the fish is laying on its side, and barely moving. A few times - I noticed the mouth open - and the gills pushed out completed, almost as if the fish was gasping...Sometimes the breathing is normal, sometimes its completely sllllllow. Obviously, the fish isn't eating either. I did a complete water change. I called the pet store - they told me the fish was on its way out, and there was nothing I could to. I don't want to believe that. Is there something I can do to help the fish??? I don't want to lose the fish, nor do I want the poor thing to suffer. It breaks my heart. I know you will ask me to check the levels in the water, which I will do today, but please tell me its not too late to help it. It seems like it wants to swim - it just cant. When I approach the tank, she or he starts moving his fins - like it wants to swim....
I would appreciate any advice you could offer me.... THANK YOU
Denise X Ludwig
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium type switch  9/5/08 Hello I have a question and I hope you can answer it for me. <Do my best.> I currently have a 80 gallon tropical fish setup with only three angelfish. I am planning on giving the angelfish away and getting some goldfish because I'd like to stop using a heater in order to save money. <OK. Do also remember at room temperature (say, 18-20 C) there's a nice selection of subtropical fish that will do fine as well. Danios (best not mixed with fancy goldfish), rosy barbs (again, not with fancy goldfish), White Cloud Mountain minnows, Paradisefish, weather loaches, bearded Corydoras, peppered Corydoras, and so on.> I also miss having goldfish. After I give the angelfish away is it possible to put the goldfish in the same aquarium and then gradually lowering the temperature until I don't need a heater any more? <Absolutely! Do make sure there's some source of ammonia though, otherwise the bacteria will die. For example, you might add a school of a dozen Zebra Danios in the tank. These will produce ammonia and keep the filter bacteria happy. If the room is centrally heated, the change in temperature will cause no harm to them. If your room gets really cold because it isn't heated in winter, then true coldwater fish like Goldfish, weather loaches, and Rosy Red Minnows would be used instead. Again, leave at least some fish in the tank after the angelfish are removed.> I know that if I outright turn off the heater the beneficial bacteria will all probably die. What is your advice? <Temperature has little direct effect on the filter; the main issue is not to leave the tank empty for more than a day. Otherwise the bacteria can "starve". Hope this helps! Neale.>

Re: Aquarium type switch 9/5/08
Thank you so much for your helpful information Neale!
<Most welcome.>
Although I have two more questions that I forgot to ask. The water in the tank has an ammonia level of 0, 5.0 ppm of nitrate, and a pH of 6.0.
<Ah, the pH is too low for Goldfish. Goldfish like moderately hard, basic water. You're aiming for a pH around 7.5 and a hardness of 10-20 degrees dH. Do understand that hardening water isn't the same thing as adding a pH buffer! Lots of people make that mistake. See here for tips:
Up until now I had all Amazon-type fish such as cardinal tetras and angelfish so low pH was good, but I don't think it will be good for goldfish.
<Indeed not; they tend to be more disease prone in acidic water.>
Is there any way to raise the pH level without using those useless chemicals, or will the goldfish not mind a low pH?
<See above link.>
Also, I would like to ask you if I should change at least one of the filter pads in my emperor 400 power filter. I have never changed them because I feared a biological crash in my aquarium.
<Biological media need only be replaced when it gets so dirty or decayed it doesn't look useful anymore. Otherwise it's fine. Mechanical media may be replaced as often as you want/can afford. But realistically, good quality sponge or ceramic media should last many, many years.>
Thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.>  

Goldfish (maintenance; compatibility)  -09/02/08 Hello all, <Hello,> Firstly a quick thank you to you all for your patience and dedication to answering all the questions put to you - having fairly recently become best friends with a Black Moor I have spent several hours scouring your site for all the info I can. However, I wondered if you would mind giving me some advice? <Do our best...> I have a little moor in a 10 gallon tank, he's only an inch or so big at the moment but the rate at which he eats his veggies it can't be long before he grows. <Indeed. These fish grow rapidly, and Black Moors routinely reach about 20 cm/8" within 2-4 years. He'll need something that 30 gallons quite soon, and with a decent filter.> It's just little old him on his own - maybe he likes it (he seems happy enough) but I'd like to get some friends for him. <Friends are precisely what he wants. These are schooling fish, and much as Goldfish enjoy human company, your specimen will want at least one other pal of its own kind. Preferably another fancy Goldfish rather than something faster like a Comet or Standard. A Fantail Goldfish for example would get along great with a Black Moor.> Before doing so I know we need more space so I shall be upgrading to a 32 gallon tank in the next month or so and keeping the smaller tank as a spare for quarantine/hospital duties. My question is what else can I add to the new tank that's interesting but won't overload it? <Depends a lot of the temperature and water quality. By default, keep fancy Goldfish together in their own system to avoid problems with losing out at feeding time. Comets and Standards often eat all the food before the poor Fancies get a chance! If the tank is maintained at a fixed 18-22 degrees C, which is fine for Goldfish, you can add certain subtropical species, such as Corydoras paleatus. But the water quality needs to be good, and Goldfish being big and messy tend to put a heavier load on filters than the average community tropical fish. So by all means consider tankmates of other species, but review filtration carefully, and check that the nitrite concentration in the tank is zero. I'd recommend a decent external canister filter offering 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So for a 30 gallon tank, buy a filter rated at 6 x 30 = 180 gallons per hour. A little more won't do any harm, but don't go under.> I had thought about a small school of White Cloud but don't want Fat Tony (as the moor has been named) to eat them! Is there anything else with a bit of character? <Minnows can work, provided the water doesn't get colder than 18 C, and generally Goldfish aren't predatory. But there's always a risk. Much better choices in unheated tanks are Rosy Red Minnows (Pimephales promelas) and Weather Loaches (Misgurnus spp.). If the tank is heated to 18-24 C, then your range of possible tankmates can include various subtropical fish like Peppered Catfish, as mentioned above. Very small catfish might be at risk of being eaten, but adults should be fine.> Finally, Fat Tony has a small hole on his dorsal fin - 1-2 mm long between the first and second ray (is the right term?). It has been there since I got him and doesn't seem to get any bigger. There are no signs of any infection (no redness, no white fluffy spots) and he swims around merrily and playfully so I think he's fine, but like an over-anxious parent I just wanted to check what you thought? <Likely mechanical damage, and should heal over time. Do keep an eye out for secondary infections, in which case treatment with something like Maracyn or eSHa 2000 will be required. Otherwise nothing to worry about.> Thank you so much!! J <Cheers, Neale.>

Water Temp Info, goldfish sys.  -- 07/16/08 Dear Crew, Hello again, this is Pierre. I have a question about my goldfish tank. The water temperature always ranges from 78 degrees F to 82 degrees F. The goldfish is happy like always, eats like a little piggy, is energetic, and displays vibrant colors. However, I know goldfish like cooler water and I want to know a safe way to lower the temperature of the water without giving the fish temperature shock. I don't know if Ice Cubes are the way to go. Thanks again! <Hello Pierre. For a few weeks, such high temperatures will do no harm at all. Increase the water circulation if you can, perhaps by turning the filter to its highest setting or by adding an airstone. This way, oxygen will be more effectively distributed in the water. But provided water quality remains good, your Goldfish will be fine. Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater Aquarium Questions. Goldfish, sys.... mostly   7/15/08 The Questions in this message have been put in BOLD font for your sanity, lol, the rest is details. <Not much use here I'm afraid, as the messages get here in plain text. So I guess I'm going to lose my sanity.> I have a 5 gallon Eclipse Hexagon tank with a LOT of plastic plants (like 10 or 12 plants), a sterilized "hermit crab shell", a "cave" made of 3 rocks, natural colored quartzy looking aquarium gravel, an incandescent light bulb, a small (2.5 inches without tail fin) black moor goldfish, 2 silver hatchet fish (1.5 inches long each) and varying numbers of snails, the population of snails generally self regulates itself I usually never have more than 8 living snails that are visible, as of right now there are 4. <OK, this tank is _way_ overstocked to start with. Goldfish need, minimum, 20 gallons a piece, and I'd reckon a 30 gallon tank so that you can keep at least two specimens (they're social, after all, and don't like to be "in solitary confinement"). So your number one priority here is to upgrade your tank. Next up, hexagonal tanks are a bit of a gimmick really. The only people who buy them are those without much fishkeeping experience. So yes, the manufacturers are trading on ignorance. You see, they are too deep relative to their surface area, so for any given volume you can't keep as many fish as for a similar capacity rectangular aquarium. The only things they're useful for are Bettas and systems containing only shrimps and snails. Do remember there is no such thing as a "small" Goldfish, and even your Black Moor will quickly grow into a 20 cm/8" monster if looked after correctly.> This tank was fully matured for a year before I put any of these animals in there, because the tank was previously used to house baby live bearers for my mothers old 55 gallon (without the decorations, but the same gravel). When my mom sold the big tank, I kept the small tank running with the hatchet fish in it. <Hmm... would have sold the hexagonal tank and kept the 55 gallon tank myself. No discussion about which is better.> The hatchets weren't intended for the 5 gallon, they lived in my mother's tank, but she bought a catfish that got large and ate most of her fish and at the time she sold it, there was only a Pleco and the catfish and the hatchet fish left out of many live bearers, including mollies and platys, mom didn't want the hatchet fish to be eaten, so they put them in the "baby tank" and when we sold the big tank, the new owners didn't want the tiny little hatchets, so they stayed. <With you so far...> Anyway, fast forward. My aunt thought it would be a nice idea to buy me a black moor goldfish for my birthday, without asking me or letting me know, she figured I already had the tank, so it was alright, so the Black moor lives there too, the snails came on purpose for help with algae. Since the tank was so old before the adult fish got there, it was quite well established. My question is, I recently have been wanting to put live plants in the tank instead of the plastic ones, but I don't know if it would upset anything or even if the plants would last with the goldfish. <Goldfish eat plants. They are herbivores. In fact they get very unhealthy if not given live plants to eat... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm So no, live plants aren't really an option. Besides, you'd be hard pressed to illuminate a 5 gallon system sufficiently that plants would grow.> This tank has been running in the current state for almost a year itself, so the biological factor is established. I do not have a test kit (I know, I know I should have one, but I never got around to it, with the babies we didn't use one, so I just never got into the habit of using one. I change 50% of the water with a gravel vac once or twice a month, I never change the filter media, I just rinse it under dechlorinated water every week and put it back in, it has a bio-wheel which is never touched and there's algae growing on the decorations, which I don't mind because it never gets on the walls and the snails seem to have a tough time scraping algae off the rough rock cave anyway. I use Tetra Aqua Aqua Safe Tap water conditioner with Bio-Extract for the water changes and once or twice a month I drop in a Jungle Bowl Buddy fizzing tablet to promote their slime coat and reduce ammonia slightly, once a week I add two or three drops of AP Crystal Clear water clarifier, which is half the recommended maintenance dose, but I always just use half the recommended dose of it just to be safe, I also use monthly a half tablet of Jungle Fizzing Ammonia Reducing Tank buddy (since a whole tablet treats 10g) and on occasion I add a tiny pinch of API aquarium salt to keep my goldfishes gills in good shape. I feed my fish Wardley Tropical flakes and Aqua-Buddies Goldfish pellets, I feed them two different forms of food because the hatchets can't fit the pellets in their mouths and the greedy goldfish goes for the big pellets before he goes for the tiny flakes, occasionally I put in a piece of fresh raw romaine lettuce for the snails to eat. Besides obviously getting a test kit, what else can I do to keep my goldfish and hatchets healthy, buying a new tank and decorations and restarting a whole new tank is not an option right now, I enjoy the fully matured tank I have and for the time being everything seems alright, no distress and healthy appetites and active movements all around, I may buy a new tank and get it started maturing sometime in the future, but right now I don't have the money to start all over again. I am very very sorry this message is so long, but I wanted to be sure you understood the entire situation. <Didn't spot any other questions in here. But the answer is "get a bigger tank" because this one is a disaster waiting to happen... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm > If you could please recommend a good test kit that will work with the products I use that I can buy online, that'd be great too. <I'd recommend any aquarist own a nitrite test kit and a pH test kit. These two provide the easiest way to test for the two main sources of trouble: poor water quality and water chemistry instability. What you're aiming for is zero nitrite at all times, and that the pH remains stable between water changes. Goldfish prefer hard, alkaline conditions, so the ideal is a pH around 7.5, but the precise value doesn't matter so long as it doesn't keep changing. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Goldfish... sys.  -- 07/10/08 Hello crew, I have seen a lot of similar questions about peoples' goldfish, but I wanted to make my goldfish's symptoms more specific. He was fine a few days ago, but now he just lays down on his side or stomach on the bottom of the bowl. And it looks like he's making an effort to try and swim but only one of his fins is moving, so when he swims its almost like he's uneven. For example, when he tries to go up near the surface of the water only one fin will move and this causes him to twirl around or something like this. He still seems very aware as well, if my sister or I go sit near his bowl he comes over and sits closer to us. Every once and a while when he goes to the surface it looks like he's a bit better, but its almost as if he gets tired really quickly and just goes back to lay down. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Lee <Hello Lee. The problem here is Goldfish do not live long in bowls. Forget everything you have seen on TV. Bowls are "goldfish killing machines" and most die within months of being placed in them. You absolutely must keep Goldfish in an aquarium. Juveniles will do well in tanks around the 75 litre/20 gallon size, while adults (which reach 20-30 cm/8-12 inches in length) invariably need something larger, around 125 litres/30 gallons being a good choice. In bowls they slowly get poisoned by the ammonia they produce, and the lack of oxygen in the water suffocates them. Please also understand Goldfish are sociable, and should be kept in groups of at least two specimens. But don't under any circumstances add another one to your bowl! Instead, read this article on Goldfish care, and then go buy an aquarium no smaller than 75 litres/20 gallons. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Otherwise your Goldfish is doomed and will die. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale

Re: goldfish 7/10/08 Thank you very much for all the advice. My fish is doing much better today, I'm not exactly sure what happened. I will definitely buy an aquarium. Thanks again! Lee <This sounds promising. But please don't delay buying an aquarium for too long... if I was you, I'd put it on my "to do" list for the weekend. And don't waste your money on a little 10 gallon system. For Goldfish, you need a fairly big tank because they grow very quickly and make a lot of mess. Cheers, Neale.>

Snails and goldfish   6/27/08 Hi, <Candice> I read about "algae eaters" and goldfish on your website and have a couple of questions on the subject. The goldfish is in a species specific tank. (35 gal Hex, 6 fancy goldfish, small ones) <Need more room than this... by at least twice> I know I will need to put them in larger tanks as they grow but right now they are happy and they do generally stay in 3 different layers on the tank. Moors on the bottom sucking on rocks, blue ones (?) near the top, and some Ryukins in the middle. Could 4 of the goldfish be in this tank long term? <Three, then two...> I have read everything from 10-20 gallons per goldfish. <At least this> Just wanted some clarification. <Glad to render mine> Algae doesn't seem to be a big problem now but I don't want it to become one. I know that CAE are just downright viscous. <Heee! Vicious?> I unfortunately learned that the hard way. They are really evil little fish! <We are in agreement> (unless they were in a tank by themselves) One of the post talked about snails and I am curious exactly what type of snails would work if any at all? <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and the above sub-FAQs file on Snail Sel.> Completely off the topic but I want to start a BW tank with some GSPs. Could you give me any info on the SETUP of a brackish water tank? <Sure... is posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm> If that can be solved by me reading more on your website you can be blunt and tell me to "keep reading" ;) <Heeee! You DO know the drill> Thank you, Candice <Enjoy and gain by y/our experience. Bob Fenner>

Calico fantail goldfish fighting, env.   6/24/08 I had four calico fantail goldfish in a 10 gallon tank for about a year now. <Need much more room... had you read...> One of them had been sick for a long time, and eventually lost his tail? <Env.> And died about two months ago, leaving me with three in the tank. Recently, I have noticed the two bigger fish bothering and pushing around the fish who is a little smaller natured. I immediately felt bad and put the small fish into a separate, 2 gallon tank, which is way too small. <Yes> I was wondering if it was common for fish to do this? They have been living in the same tank for a year, and this just started happening. Should I try and put him back in the tank with the other two? <Due to crowding mostly... likely nutrition secondarily. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm They, you need a larger world. Bob Fenner>

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

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

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

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

My Goldfish... sys., no reading or using WWM 05/23/08 I have one pearl scale gold fish in a bowl <...> with some stones and a plant from the pet store) and that is all, he seems fine most of the time especially after I clean his tank but then after a week or so her tends to spend allot <...> of time floating at the top and seems to ne gulping air, when I go near him he swims off easily enough but always blows out allot of air bubbles from the top. Can you tell me why? His tanks seems to cloud up so fast (within a week) which is when he starts to do it, could this be the issue or do I need to put some kind of air filter in it? It's only the standard size fish bowl you get 2L or so. Regards Annaliese Van Bekkum <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish pH -05/15/08 Good afternoon, I haven't contacted you for some time, but you were all very helpful to me some time ago when I was having problems with my three goldfishes. Thank you once again for your help then; they are all currently happy and healthy! My question today is regarding raising the pH in their aquarium. It is currently far too low, around 6.5 - we have just moved house and the water is quite acidic. Although the pH is creeping up gradually I want to get it up and keep it up, preferably around 7.5. I have done some reading and have obtained various suggestions, from using bicarbonate of soda at every water change, to adding marble chips or crushed coral to the filter. There is also a recommendation in an article on WetWeb to use Lake Malawi salts. I am sure that any of these would be effective, but naturally I want to do the best thing for my goldies. I just wondered if any of you lovely people could offer some advice? Many thanks if you can and I look forward to hearing from you, Sarah <Hi Sarah. Very important this -- pH isn't the thing to worry about, it's carbonate hardness! What fish care about is that pH is stable. Yes, Goldfish prefer a basic pH (i.e., between about 7 and 8) but what really matters to them is that there isn't rapid pH decline between water changes. In fact, Goldfish can adjust to slightly acidic pH down to about 6.5, provided it doesn't go any lower and doesn't bounce up and down between water changes. So, the thing to do is ensure the carbonate hardness (which you measure with a KH test kit) is nice and high. Remember, carbonate hardness is the stuff the inhibits acidification by "mopping up" acidity. Anyway, that's where the Lake Malawi salts (and so on) come in. By adding these to the water, you send the carbonate hardness to around 5-10 degrees KH, and that's the thing that slows down the pH drop between water changes. And that, my friend, is what makes your goldfish happy as can be. The old school approach is to buy a bag of crushed coral of the sort used in marine aquaria, add them to the filter (in a filter media bag), and stick into a canister filter. The carbonate will dissolve into the water, and hopefully keep the carbonate hardness high and the pH level steady. Every few weeks you will need to clean the carbonate under a hot tap to wash away the slime, and maybe once or twice a year replace it completely. Adding Malawi Salts are an alternative approach that is perhaps more fiddly but is certainly more reliable and accurate. Malawi Salts can be purchased off the shelf or made at home for pennies. Cheers, Neale.>

New Tank Set Up, Goldfish  5/1/08 I've had tanks in the past and miss them. <Come on back to the fold...> I am getting ready to start a new tank and at our local aquarium store, I found a 37gal tank but it is square and tall. It looks really cool and I wanted to see if that would be an issue in the long run with fish. I know that goldfish need longer, wider tanks to swim in, but if I were to keep smaller freshwater fish, would this be a problem? <Not likely if kept circulated, filtered... carefully fed and maintained> I am not keeping cichlids or fish that will grow large in size either. Aquarium stores want to sell you something. <Is their job> I tested the guy by asking if this tank was good for goldfish, knowing it wasn't and he said "sure"! I appreciate your help and your honesty in answering this question for me. <Mmm, as stated, these fishes do prefer more "squat" profiles than "show" for swimming, gas solubility reasons... Bob Fenner>

Please help my goldfish! Sys.   4/28/08 I have a ten gallon tank with two small goldfish. <Need more room than this...> I have been waiting for thirty nine days for my biological filter to mature. <... not with the fish present...> I even took my goldfish out at one point because the ammonia was too high and I tried fishless cycling (I didn't know how bad it was going to get when I first bought the fish and of course, Pet Smart didn't tell me about the ammonia spikes). I have since done A LOT of research because I do not trust what I am told at Pet Smart. <You're getting smarter... Pet Smarter?> I know all about the Nitrogen cycle and water quality. <Yay!> I got my ammonia under control (that is, at O!!!!!) through fishless cycling and my nitrates were up and my Nitrates were on the rise. My fish were back in the tank and it was time for a filter change. I was concerned that the change would disrupt my nitrogen cycle because the filter was designed to replace all the filter media at once (replaceable cartridge). I called the "Top Fin help line" with my concerns and was assured that it would be "fine" to replace the cartridge with one of their new ones and to just throw the old media in the garbage. <... dismal... no> Within hours, my system "crashed". The ammonia levels went to 1.0 and I haven't been able to get it down with regular water changes. <... the changes... kill bacteria...> I will do a 60 to 70 percent change next. I just don't want to shock the fish. I will stay up all night if I have to. Please help me. I have done A LOT of research and I know now that each goldfish needs 20 to 30 gallons. <So...?> I plan to ask for a new tank for my birthday in July. <Oh!> However I need help to get my fish through until then. I am going out in the morning to by a new filter with a bio-wheel and I have ordered BioSpira form another website. When I first bought my fish at Pet Smart they told me I could put 3-4 goldfish in my ten gallon tank..... and then add a Pleco!!!!!!!!!!! How can we stop this? <You're helping... here> Please help me, Laurie Dupuis <Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Feed VERY sparingly, pre-store new water... Bob Fenner>

Problems with ammonia, Goldfish in too small a world, reading   4/28/08 I have two fancy goldfish who are currently living in a 10 gallon aquarium. <Stop! This is the real problem... Need more room than this...> I am now aware that ten gallons is not sufficient and I am looking into upgrading to 30 gallons, hopefully in the near future. In the meantime, I am trying to cycle my tank <!? Fish should not be present during> and I am very concerned about the ammonia levels. Unfortunately, I did not know about cycling ahead of time. <Take the fish back> The pet store did a quick water test of my two day old aquarium water and said I was "good to go." I knew that a biological filter would have to develop, but I thought it was OK to do that with the fish in there. <No> I didn't know how hard it would be on them and that I would have such trouble addressing the issues with ammonia. Regardless, I now have two adorable fish looking to me to provide a safe environment for them. I added the two small goldfish (one Oranda, one Ryukin) 17 days ago and I have been trying to keep the ammonia levels down by doing daily partial water changes of 25 to 40%. <Mmm... the changing of water will forestall the establishment of cycling> This does not seem to be providing adequate relief from the ammonia, however, and the tank does not seem to be cycling yet (Nitrates and Nitrites are both at zero and the ammonia does not decrease significantly). I am extremely concerned for my fish. I just can't get the ammonia down to an acceptable level. Today, I placed them temporarily in a fishbowl with water that is similar to what they have in the tank (regarding temperature, pH, etc.) just to give them some relief from the ammonia while the aquarium cycles. <Won't work either> I plan to change the water daily (at least partially) and closely monitor ammonia. At least I can change the water in the fish bowl and let their aquarium cycle without them. I just could never get the ammonia down to zero in the aquarium. Is this OK? How long can they stay in the fish bowl? I just want them to be somewhere safe while their home undergoes all the ammonia and Nitrite, etc. spikes. I want them to go back in as soon as the aquarium water is safe for them. Please help. I love these little guys <Then return them temporarily... use a real cycling product or other means... see below> and I know a fish bowl is not where they should be but I don't know what else to do. Thank you so much. Sincerely, Laurie <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Beginner Chiller Questions, FW, and GF sys.    4/28/08 Hello Crew, How are you today? <I'm fine, thanks> I think I've come to the conclusion that I may need a chiller. <Okay> I currently own a 75 gallon FW tank. It houses two comet goldfish and a Pleco. I know the comets can accept a wide range of temps, but much higher than 80 will probably be bad for all involved. <Mmm, not if permanently too high, or too vacillating... Let's see> I like to keep the temperature around 73 degrees Fahrenheit/23 degrees Celsius. This is because this is on the upper scale for the comets and the lower end for the Pleco. All seem happy with this temp. <Yes> Since I just recently upgraded to the 75 gallon (last October), I wanted to make sure I purchased the max I could afford. I bought the glass lids instead of the plastic hood, and I bought a triple-tube fluorescent light since I wanted to make some algae for my Pleco (and he does a good job of keeping things clean). I also purchased a Rena XP 4 filter. I'm looking into getting a new one, but if I do need a chiller, I'll have to wait on that. The lights are 32W per tube, so that's roughly 96W of heat assuming no losses (I know, very simple assumption). I have a hang-in refugium that has a small 7W powerhead for the Anacharis I purchased to try to help with Nitrates. <Good> They are doing well and this was only purchased to stop the fish from eating the plants to death. It hangs just below the water line so the plants receive a great deal of light. Also, the filter runs at 31W, so assuming 100% heat dump from both (another simple assumption) I now have about 140W of heat dump into the system. <Mmm, as you say, minus losses> Here's the problem. When I run the lights during the day and the apartment heats up (we're talking up to 75-76 degrees F, if you call that heating up), the aquarium can easily reach upwards of 78-79 degrees F. I tried to remedy the situation over the past few days by raising up the lights on about a 1" shim, putting a 12" fan running against the side and front of the aquarium, removing a tube from the fixture to reduce heat, and then finally by raising both glass access flaps to help aid in evaporation cooling (see, I am reading the FAQs!!! ;) ). <Heeeee! You're ready to start writing them!> Nothing seemed to work. Even with ambient air temperatures around 72 degrees and all the "fixes" in place, the temp in the tank still rises to around 76-77 degrees F. <No big deal> So I went on to my next idea which I haven't finished yet. I plan on putting three 120mm fans connected up to a converter that I purchased at Radio Shack, and then implementing those into the left side of my aquarium to blow down on the water, and on the other side put just a screen mesh so that air can get out, but fish can't. <Good> But, here's the catch. I'm a meteorologist, so I know a little bit about thermodynamics and air temperatures. I live in Philadelphia. The summers here are pretty humid most times. Strike one on evaporation cooling. Second, I know that even with the fans going and the humidity low, the water can only be cooled down to ambient air temperature. The air exiting the tank theoretically could get lower (wet bulb temp), but even then, the humidity inside the apartment will quickly rise leaving an equilibrium of eventually air temperature when ambient reaches wet bulb, or 100% humid. Strike two against air cooling. Finally, when I leave my apartment, I turn the A/C up to 82F to save energy and money. I don't like $250 electric bills, and that's what it costs around here if I keep the A/C at a friendly 75F during the morning and night when I'm here. I could only imagine the price if it was that temp 24/7. I also plan to go on vacation during the summer for around 10 days, and this combined with the thermostat at 82F will definitely not keep the tank cool, regardless if I turn off the lights or not. Strike three, no? <Again... I think you'll be fine...> So I started to take another look at the chillers. Man, are they pricey. On top of that, there is no unique guide to sizing the things. Some sites say 1/10 HP goes up to 130 gallons, where some say only 50 gallons. <There are differences in efficiency... and insulation...> I have looked at the JBJ Arctica and the Current USA Prime coolers. I was looking at the 1/10 HP models since that's what the JBJ site sized out for me. but I wanted to ask you guys to make sure this sounds ok. I could go up to the 1/5 HP from JBJ (I want quiet, and you guys said in one of the chiller FAQs that was high on the list) if you think that's what I need, but I'd hate to buy a V12 when a V6 can do the job more efficiently and still have room to grow if needed. I also don't want to short-cycle the compressor or cause rapid spikes in temperatures for the fish. <Mmm, yes... these devices consume electricity as well...> I wanted to do inline instead of drop-in since I read here that drop-ins are very inefficient. <Agreed. They're inappropriate tech. for most all applications> I wanted to connect the chiller up right after my XP4 since then I wouldn't have to purchase a new pump or anything. The XP4 says it has a 450GPH flow, and I bet that's probably without any media inside. My only reservation with that was that I didn't see any kind of flow curve or documentation on how restrictive the chillers are. I've water-cooled computers before so reading those charts does give an idea of flow rates and pump needs. The last thing I want to do is kill my filter pump. <Yes... and this may well do it. The small head magnetic drive pumps for these filters are not meant to encounter any/much induced drag> The JBJ says that it can handle up to 960 GPH through it - great considering I may end up getting a second filter anyway in the long run and pairing both filters into a Y tube that goes into the chiller, then splitting back out of a Y tube to two outputs. That would give roughly a max 900 GPH flow through the chiller. <A bit less in actual practice... like half> Anyway, sorry to make a short story long. But I hope you have some insight for me. I'm really confused on what to do since not a whole lot of people seem to be in my position. Most have metal halide lighting, sumps, etc. I don't. My setup is pretty simple, and I keep it that way since I know the more complicated I make it, the more I'm going to mess something up and potentially kill my fish (i.e. the reason I don't have a sump is because I don't know how to keep it from siphoning my tank out, and what happens in a power failure?!?). Maybe one day I will start to use a sump since I do have a spare 20 gallon that I moved up from. I'd like a de-nitrate tank and I know I could get one with either a planted sump or a deep sand bed. just gotta figure out the whole water-draining scenarios first. <Neat! Sounds like a worthy project> It scares me to get a call from apartment management telling me my 75 gallons all drained into the apartment below and that my fish are now gone. I know they were only 70 cent feeder fish. but I still can't fathom such an inhumane death. Weird, I know. Anyway, let me know if you can help, and if you can I greatly appreciate it. And so does my wallet. John Lindsay <John, I would maybe shift your lighting schedule, with one or more on-off cycles per day... have the lights come on (and maybe go off) till later in the day, eve, when it's cooler... Is what I do for my fancy goldfish here in S. Cal. (where it was 90 F. ayer)... Not a problem, really... In the volume you have, the species you care for, all this will work out... Keep doing those 20-25% water changes every week and no worries. Bob Fenner>

Re: Beginner Chiller Questions  4/29/08 Bob, <John> Thank you for the reply. <Welcome> I tend to agree with you about the fact that as long as it isn't a continuous situation, I'd be ok. However, my idea with the fans didn't work as well as I thought. They don't fit, and I don't have the tools necessary (I am just out of college in my first job with an apartment - no time to have purchased the right equipment, plus the right equipment to do so, like just a rip saw or table saw, is about at much as a chiller) to implement the right design. <Understood> So, if my air temperature still stays at 82F for the week and a half I'm gone, with the fact that no cool-down will occur at night since I won't be home to monitor the temps, and the same for during the day when I keep the A/C on at 82F... are you recommending the chiller or not? I don't know if I got a true answer, but perhaps you were leaving it up for me to decide since it is my purchase!!! :) <Am advising against such purchase, use. I don't use one...> I know that 77 isn't a worry for temps... but the fact that when the apartment is at 72 the temp is at 77, and when I have the apartment at 75 I know the tank will heat up to around 79, I can only imagine when the air in the apartment is at 82... the tank will rise to around 85+ which I know is too hot for any fish... <Not really... if one thinks/considers that the back-up, redundancy processes/mechanisms on a space shuttle or submarine are impressive, they should take a look at the capability of shifting biochemical pathways in biotic systems... MUCH more impressive> I'm just trying to make sure I don't come home to dinner one day. <Not to worry, I assure you> Thank you so much for your help. I know it has been time consuming with my last e-mail! John Lindsay <A pleasure to share. BobF>

Goldfish problems, hlth., env.  -- 04/21/08 Hello I am writing about a 5 year old fantail goldfish. I think she is female. She exhibits very strange behavior and might be sick. She is a valued member of our household. She is about 3.5 inches <Stunted for this age> in body length (not including the tail). She is in a 29 gallon tank by herself and all water qualities are good. Ammonia is 0, ph 7.5, nitrite is 0 and nitrates are 0. She was fed Omega-One goldfish flakes and occasional peas. <Needs more greenery> The tank was set up about 2 months ago. <Where was this fish before?> There was some ammonia (.25) but no nitrite buildup a while ago but that is resolved. I used old water plus live sponges for the filter. <Ah, good> The tank is filtered with an Aqua-Clear 30 and has an air stone with a good amount of air. There are some live plants? Bolbitis fern and crypto. There is no sand. I put in Kent RO Right and baking soda to harden the water because our water is soft. <Good> For a couple of months this winter, she was in a 10 gallon tank <Too small... as you likely are aware> when her 20 gallon tank broke. I did not do a lot of water changes and the nitrate level went through the roof for a while. Ammonia and nitrites were OK. There have been times that she snaps at the water surface? she loves to eat. This is followed by some temporary bloating problems that seem to pass after eating peas. <I would switch to (what I use for my fancy goldfish exclusively) the Spectrum line of foods> I am careful to not overfeed her? giving her only 3 or 4 small, skinned cooked peas? or a similar amount of blanched greens or Nori. After feeding her brine shrimp, she was lethargic with her dorsal fin clamped so I have stopped that food. I have recently switched her to an all vegetarian diet and eliminated the flakes. <Oh! Good> Rarely I find feces floating that are long and stringy? sometimes white and sometimes green. Most of the time I do not find feces in the tank. She eats well and her color is good. Her symptoms are that she will sit on the bottom sleeping, dorsal fin clamped and barely breathing. This has been an intermittent problem for a few years. Recently it has become a lot more prevalent and I am likely to see her like this when I enter the room. For a few months now she has added a new behavior: she will get into a corner of the tank, vertically looking straight up at the water surface and stay that way for hours. She seems dazed and hardly breathes. One tap on the glass however and she is active, fins expanded, swimming normally looking for food. Her dorsal fin is up when she swims around. I noticed this morning that her left side rear is swollen and the scales are beginning to stick out on this swollen area. I've read many articles on line and am confused as to what to do. Could it be a Costia problem? <Mmm, doubtful... where would this protozoan come from?> In Dr. Eric Johnson's book, ?Fancy Goldfish,? he says put in salt to .3% for Costia. I read another article that said feed Romet B, raise the temperature to 86 degrees F and add Epsom salts one quarter teaspoon to 5 gallons ?and no salt. Another article by Sabrina Fullhart says Epsom salts 1 to 2 Tablespoons to 10 gallons and feed strictly soft vegetable food. <Sabrina and I are in agreement, as usual> I'm confused as to how to approach this. I do keep fresh water angelfish and use the same bucket for all the tanks. Is it possible that Costia from the angels is affecting the goldfish? <Yes... but rare that this would be present on either... you have a microscope?> What could the swelling on her left side be? <Resultant from a bump, the exposure to poor conditions some time back> I do have Medigold pellets from Goldfish Connection. Should I feed her this? I am concerned that she won't be able to digest the hard pellets. I would appreciate any help that you could give me. Thanks. Rick Burt <I would stay the course that you're on and not switch foods, nor medicate the water. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish, sys.   4/19/08 Hey, I have 2 feeder goldfish that I have had through college (in an undersized tank) and I am moving them to a 10g to start off with. I am planning on setting up my tank and letting it do it's thing over the weekend. Because feeders seem pretty tough, is the weekend long enough for a 10g to cycle before I add them? Do I need to add something like a plant from their old tank to the new one while it's cycling? I have read a mix of information on it. I have also read that fan shrimp are okay to mix with goldfish. I wanted to add other fish like tiger barb to the tank with them but from my week of becoming a fish expert I have decided to leave them alone and give them more space versus friends. I would like a few shrimp though if they are okay with them. Thanks, Tash <Hi Tash. Our standard advice is always to cycle the tank before adding the fish. Cycling a tank takes at least 4 weeks, likely 6. But you can add various products to "instantly" get the filter going, such as BioSpira. You also have the option of taking filter media from a mature tank and sticking it in the filter in the new tank. This works 100% reliably assuming the water chemistry in both tanks is roughly the same. Moving "stuff" like rocks, gravel, plants, etc. will have next to no useful affect so don't bother. All the bacteria are in the filter, whatever that may be: sponge, ceramic noodles, or even gravel from an undergravel filter. For what its worth, Goldfish are best kept alone, or perhaps with a Weather Loach; Goldfish can combine with subtropical fish up to a point, but they are not really ideally tankmates for tropical species. Moreover, in a 10 gallon system, the Goldfish aren't really going to work out in the long term, so I wouldn't make things worse by buying a bunch of other livestock that will be stressed by poor water quality and only add to your need for bigger tanks and stronger filters. Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

Freshwater Decor ? Goldfish sys.   3/12/08 Hello... Would a product made of alabastrite (not painted) be safe for a goldfish tank? And would a concrete type statue be safe with enough water circulation and oxygen? Lisa <No, none of these things is acceptable. Unless an ornament or material is explicitly sold as aquarium safe, don't assume that they are. Concrete for example contains lime, and that can raise the pH of the aquarium very quickly. You can get coatings that prevent this, allowing its use in ponds for example, but why bother? The variety of aquarium-safe rocks and ornaments is huge and wide ranging in price as well, so there's really no reason not to use them. Granite and slate can be bought from garden centres and used to create all manner of "terrain" inside the tank, and there's also bogwood, ceramic ornaments, terracotta, etc. Anything pond-safe should be aquarium safe. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Freshwater Decor ?  3/12/08
Thanks again Neale...... I asked about ceramics before and see that you mentioned that they would be safe as well but I'm getting so much different feedback from others. Some say ceramics are not safe unless they are marked "dinnerware" safe. <Ah, you misunderstand. When I say "ceramic ornaments" I mean the stuff sold in pet stores for fish tanks. Ceramic mangrove roots, castles, and the like.> Well, no statues or things of that nature would be marked dinnerware safe. Someone suggested buying "bisque" ceramics and then painting it ......but where would I find the right type of paint for inside the aquarium. <Wouldn't bother. Running an aquarium is difficult enough sometimes without adding unknown variables.> And some have said that ceramic can be glazed but needs to be fired a certain temp to make it "safe". I know I'm being anal here but I have yet to find one single aquarium decoration that I really like. <Hmm... I tend to go with what I know -- granite, slate and other stones sold as pond safe. Cheap, easy to obtain, safe. I don't really care much for ceramic castles and temples and shipwrecks, but I know some people like them. To be honest, Goldfish couldn't care less about ornaments save plastic plants, which they like for the shade. So why not go for a "jungle" style with thickets of plastic plants surrounding an open area for swimming? Bamboo is another great material, especially the super-thick stuff, for creating "oriental" scenes. The downside to bamboo is it rots and needs replacing every couple of years. But it is so cheap, who cares?> I'd be willing to buy someone from another country even if it was what I was looking for....don't mind shipping it in for the right product. Lisa <Some books on aquarium decor out there... 'The Inspired Aquarium', 'Aquarium Design', 'Aquarium Displays Inspired by Nature ', 'The Complete Aquarium' and others. Track down, consult. I happen to like 'The Complete Aquarium' a lot, and on Amazon.com it goes for about a buck second hand. Do also visit a garden centre and see what they have for decorating ponds and rockeries. Factor in the use of submersible lights and airstones -- these make dramatic additions, and will turn something humdrum into sheer magic if used right. Cheers, Neale.>

Help with goldfish -- 03/10/08 I have two goldfish, I am not sure what kind they are. My two children had gotten about six of them at a school carnival about three or four years ago, some of them died right away and three we alive for awhile then one died, so now we have two. They have been relatively healthy until recently. I keep them in a ten gallon tank and change the water once or twice a month. I used to do total break down of the tank, but stopped and just change some of the water. <Ah, here's part of the problem. The tank is far too small. As the Goldfish grow, they produce more waste, and eventually there gets a tipping point where the tank was adequate but now becomes dangerous. Upgrade to at least a 30 gallon system. Non negotiable. If you don't want to do that, then don't keep Goldfish. Can't be any more clear than that. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm > We have hard water where we live so I use both tap water with water conditioners and spring water to fill the tank. They have done pretty well with this. <Hard water is fine for Goldfish. Spring water is a waste of your money. Use that money for a bigger tank already!> This week I noticed one of the goldfish started to get some black stuff growing on its fins. I had another goldfish with this before, I did not treat because I was a broke college student, that fish eventually died after it started floating on its side. <Finrot. Look, deciding not to treat and animal because you are too poor is animal cruelty. Period. Your local animal shelter could provide you with assistance here if you really didn't have the $5 to buy Finrot/Fungus treatment. But honestly, I can't be very sympathetic about this -- the cost of medication is minimal, the suffering caused on the fish is huge, and the bad karma incurred on the pet owner substantial! Unless you want to come back as a slug next time, I suggest responding to signs of sickness in your pets quickly!> This fish was in the tank with the two that I have now and these were fine. With this fish I thought it was ick so I bought some ick remover. I followed the instructions and the black stuff went away. This morning both of the fish seemed to be breathing heavy and I changed some water and put in more water conditioner. <Hmm... water changes are always a good idea but when fish are breathing heavily but otherwise look fine, the odds are either the water is polluted or too warm. You can check both easily, using a nitrite test kit for the former and a thermometer for the latter.> I also heard about putting baking soda in the water to level the ph so I put in a teaspoon for the ten gallons. <Pointless. Again, stop, save the pennies, and buy a bigger fish tank.> I removed the fish from the tank so that it could settle and now one of the fish is floating on its side and still breathing heavy. I put some peas in the water and it has not done anything. <Why would it? You're doing random things without thinking about what's truly wrong. Have you *done* a nitrite test yet? If not, you're missing one of the key steps to finding out what is wrong with an aquarium. In any case, the problem is the tank is too small.> My kids like these fish and I don't want it to die. What should I do? <Buy a 30 gallon tank together with a decent filter. Problem solved. Nothing NOTHING else is acceptable here. If you decide you don't have space or money for a 30 gallon tank, that's fine -- but you can't keep Goldfish either. It's essential your children learn that keeping animals is a responsibility not just a pleasure. Switch on Animal Planet and watch those shows of people keeping 150 cats locked in a trailer home or feeding their dogs nothing but paper and dirt... cruel, yes, but just the same as keeping Goldfish in a 10 gallon tank. Hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish, env. dis., no reading  -- 03/07/08 Hi all, I'm a bit new to fish ownership but have followed the basic rules etc... set up the tank about a week before introducing any fish and then went about slowly stocking my goldfish tank. I have 2 fantail gold fish, a loach and 4 tiny minnows. All was going well until recently when I noticed Dave, my first fantail becoming a bit lethargic. I asked the assistants in the fish department if this was normal they told me it was quite normal for them to rest like that so I thought there was nothing to worry about. But he is starting to move less and less and his fin always seems to be down (its like having a dog that isn't wagging his tail anymore) <A good comparison> I've also started to notice brown marks on the underside of him mainly near his anal spot but also by his chin - I don't really know how to describe it- it looks almost like bruising of some kind. He sometimes floats vertically, but at the moment he is on the bottom of the tank looking very poorly. I thought maybe he had that bladder thing as I have been Googling all night and read about the disease so I haven't fed the usual pellet/flake tonight I have given him peeled peas as suggested by several sources. <Good> I haven't seen him eat anything though - mind you the peas have vanished. Dave and my other fishes live in a BiOrb aquarium and I feed both pellet and flake food and as a treat a little daphnia now and again. <BiOrbs are notorious for being unstable, too small for goldfish of any type> I do a partial water change every week to fortnight use AquaSafe and I never leave the filter in for more that 6 weeks at a time. I really don't know what else to do... the water is clean, I feed 6-8 small pellets and a small pinch of flake, the tank has 3 live plants. Dave is fab and I'm really worried he wont make it to the morning now, please help PS also I think my Loach my have mould, he has small patch of fine whispy white attached to him which I noticed this evening while desperately willing Dave to start swimming about again. How is this treated and how can I confirm if my suspicions are correct? <... environmental... Need larger quarters. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

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

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

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

Anacharis in aquariums, and as food for goldfish  2/29/08 Hi! Just wanted to let you know that Anacharis is no longer being sold in Michigan. It's illegal because of the invasive nature of the plant. I found that out when looking for a good plant to help a year-old goldfish which has developed a swim bladder problem. He was in a pond from spring - fall and did well, but has had problems in the aquarium since then. (I do feed 'sinking' pellets as well as flakes.) So far, Sunkist is the only one who has had tummy troubles, and I'm hoping to keep it that way! So glad I found this website, it has loads of good information! Thanks, Karen <If you can't get hold of Anacharis, then other similar species will do well -- Elodea, Egeria, Cabomba, etc. Plants *are* important for Goldfish, and neglecting this aspect of their diet will end with problems! Other green foods include tinned peas, blanched lettuce (especially curly lettuce), Sushi Nori, etc. Daphnia also work well, and you can buy these frozen as well as live. Pellets and flakes, by themselves, just aren't good enough in the long term. Cheers, Neale.>

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

Aggressive goldfish... just too crowded, not reading   1/7/08 Hello! I'm KJ! First of all, thank you for having such a helpful site, I have really learned a lot from it! <Ah, am glad KJ> I have a question about my crazy goldfish (they aren't actually crazy, it is probably more that I'm crazy about them). <Insightful> Anyway, I rescued two goldfish, a comet and a fantail, from my swim team's coach's office over the summer. I became very attached to them, and wanted a better home for them than a small bowl. I don't know exactly how many gallons were in the bowl, but I *know* there was no way any number of fish should have been in it. So, for a Christmas present, my parents gave me an Eclipse 12 Gallon tank (Yay!) that I planned on moving my two lovely fishies into. However, a week or so before Christmas, I noticed symptoms in my fantail that resembled dropsy (I've had a beta fish die from it as well). I tried to help him/her, but I think it only extended his life a little. Sadly, he died on Christmas Eve. So I set up my new tank on Christmas morning, and my parents were ready to move my yellow fishy, as I call my comet, into his new home. I made them wait three days to let the tank mature a bit, because that was the time most people suggested. <Need more time than this...> Before I woke up on the 28th, my parents ran out to Petco to surprise me and bought FIVE new fish, 3 more comets (all very small, about 3/4 o f an inch), a red-cap Oranda, and a calico fantail. The largest fish in the tank is yellow fishy, my old comet, but only by about a quarter inch. <Yikes... the 12 gallon isn't large enough for one goldfish in time...> So the whole point of that story is that today, I was procrastinating from my homework and watching my lovely fish when I noticed that the calico fantail had the uppermost right tip of its tail missing. It doesn't look like rot, I already checked that out, but it looks like it was cut off. At first I suspected the pump that draws water into the filter, but I looked into my tank with horror as my beloved yellow fishy was nipping the fantail! <Yes... too crowded> So, I have removed yellow fishy, and put him in his bowl (only temporarily, of course). My main question is, however, even though there are too many fish in one tank, why did my yellow fishy only go after the one fantail? <Crowding... easier target> And he has more room than in the bowl with my old fantail?! How should I deal with my yellow fishy and my calico? He really just ignored the other fish in the tank, but he chased the poor fantail... Oh, and should I treat the calico's tail? <Mmm, indirectly... by making more room...> In some earlier responses, it says to treat for fin rot, but others say just to watch it and keep the water clean. I really hope I haven't wasted your time and I appreciate your response. Why can't we all just get along? :) KJ <For about the same reason/s... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Please follow directions and look before writing us. Bob Fenner>

Re: Aggressive goldfish... lack of values   1/8/08 Thank you for your prompt response, but I believe you misunderstood me. I know and understand that there is not enough room in my tank for so many fish. I guess I did not make that clear. However, I did not buy my fish, my parents bought them for me. <... I understood/stand this... nonetheless... what will you do?> As four of them were apparently only 29 cents, I would feel stupid asking to return them. In addition, I did not buy my tank, it was also a gift, because I only have a summer job as I am still in school. <... impertinent> My question was more along the lines of why my fish disliked only one of his tankmates, not whether my tank was too crowded or not. <It... fishes... don't dislike anything (at least to my perception), but many are rather autistic... do "pick" on things that are "in the way"> I did read your site, I know I have too many fish, but I cannot do anything about it at the moment. <Then your fish will suffer and die> Also, most questions that involved aggressiveness in goldfish involved multi-species tank, and I have only goldfish. In an email dated November 25, 2005, it was the opposite situation, with a fantail bullying a comet, but they did not mention tank size. I find it slightly offensive that by providing more information I received a rude reply with no answer to my question. Again, I still like your site, and maybe you were just in a bad mood. *I really just want to know how to keep my fish safe*. I cannot afford a larger tank, and I do not want to offend my parents by asking them to return my fish. <... then... see the above. RMF>

Goldfish stunk up house... 12/7/07 Hi there, <Ave,> I moved out of my old house that I shared with a roommate just one week ago. She had a 10 gallon tank with just two goldfish, I bought two goldfish and one Plecostomus. <Hang on... three Goldfish and a Plec for a 10 gallon tank? Whoa... too many fish. These four fish will need something like a 55 gallon tank to even begin to be kept sensibly. Goldfish get large -- 20-30 cm depending on the variety, and the Common Plec easily reaches 45-60 cm in captivity.> The fish lived together for about 6 months. Anyways....I bought a 10 gallon tank of my own, and took my three fish. I set up the tank and put them in right away. I also added water conditioner...nowhere in the instructions to my Aquarium Start Up Kit did it say that I needed to wait a few days before adding the fish (which I just learned from your website). <You don't need to "wait a few days". Nothing magically happens. It's not like waxing a floor. Tanks need to be CYCLED before use. You can do this with fish or without fish, but either way it takes several weeks. Putting Goldfish into a 10 gallon tank is a bad idea though.> Now, we've noticed our house smells like cat-pee...only problem is -? We don't have a cat!!? <Not the fish either. A healthy fish tank is odorless as far as the average person is concerned. Fish tanks only smell if they're full of dead, rotting things... in which case the fish probably shouldn't be there either. So let's review: how large are the fish? What filter are you using? How often do you do water changes? How much do you feed the fish?> I know that goldfish put off ammonia...but I've never smelled it before. <They don't produce ammonia but ammonium, and in very small amounts. It dissolves in the water. The concentration is so low you cannot possibly smell it. As any Sushi chef will tell you, the "fish smell" westerners associate with fish is actually the smell of *rotting* fish and nothing at all to do with healthy live or freshly-caught fish.> Maybe the move stressed them out, (and they miss their friends?) and now they are dispersing this awful smell??? <No. I think your imagination is running away with you a little here. If your fish tank smells, it's because you're not looking after it properly, in which case your fish are FAR MORE UPSET than you are!> What do I do...I like the fish...but I refuse to let them stink up my house. <It's the fish's home that stinks, and the reason is likely you. Don't blame the fish.> Please email me back...they'll have to be flushed or given back to Petco if I can't resolve this. <Natalie, tell me the "flushing" statement was a joke. No-one with any conception of animal welfare would flush a live fish down the drain simply because they couldn't be bothered to care for it anymore. The amount of bad karma there would be enormous and you'd be at grave risk of coming back as a slug or something in your next life. Caring for animals is all about finding out what they need, and then providing those needs. Goldfish don't require a huge amount, but those things are non-negotiable. We have lots of articles on Goldfish, including some simple primers for inexperienced fishkeepers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Do also remember your Plec is a TROPICAL fish and needs a heated aquarium. While Goldfish will tolerate warm water quite well, they will not thank you for being kept above 24C/75F.> Thank you very much for your time! :) (Natalie) <Hope this helps, Natalie-in-parentheses for some reason.>

Re: Goldfish stunk up house... Myths, Rudeness...  12/07/2007 Hey there, <Hello Natalie,> Apparently you didn't read my email very well... I have two tiny goldfish (about 1 1/2 inches each) and one small Plec about (3 inches). <You don't have tiny fish; you have baby fish. Very different entities.> (Fish grow depending on the space they're given...they CAN grow large...but I don't want them to...so I'm not going to give them a huge space in my house.) <Fish DO NOT grow to the size of the tank they are kept in. That's a myth. Feel free to read up on the subject. Some large fish species kept in fish farming become stunted, such as salmon and carp, when kept in overcrowded ponds. But very few of the aquarium fish sold today do this. Fish are not bonsai trees, and nothing you can do, beyond starving them, will have much impact on their growth rate. And if you starve them, they'll die anyway.> it's not a heated tank, but I have a proper NEW filter, and light and watch the temperature and adjust it as needed. <Watching the temperature is fine, but Plecostomus-type catfish need a minimum temperature of 22C/72F to do well. Below that, they generally become sickly and die. Go visit Florida where Plecostomus catfish have become established in the wild. They are limited to the southern part of the state because they need constantly warm water. If they could manage at room temperature, they'd be halfway across the Union by now, settling into Lake Michigan. But they're not, because they aren't coldwater fish. Period.> I highly doubt that they'd need a 55 gallon tank - sounds quite absurd...goldfish live in bowls in many homes for heaven sake. <No, they don't live. They linger, and then die. Quite different. Goldfish can live for 20 years easily, and much more than that given proper care (the record is 45 years). Find me a Goldfish that has lived in a bowl for 30 years and reached a healthy size, and I'll eat my hat.> Also...you said I wasn't taking proper care of the tank and it was my fault it stunk...dude...you really didn't listen - cuz I wrote that I bought a brand new tank, set it up and put them in it...how could it possibly have time to grow algae and become dirty and smelly? <Well, you aren't taking proper care of these fish. For a start, they're in too-small a tank and the tropical catfish isn't being provided with heat. Fish tanks that are properly cared for don't smell. I have three in my home and they don't smell of anything. I've kept fish for 20+ years and never smelled anything. I've worked in universities, marine biology labs, and museums with fish tanks... and guess what, they never smelled of anything. Bad smells come from decay. If there's something decaying in your tank, then you aren't looking after it properly. QED.> in just a few hours??? Plus...if you stick your nose up to the door (that you open to feed them) it smells like ammonia - or ammonium or whatever. <Then there's decay in the tank. Identify the source, remove it, and move on. Water with 0 milligrams per litre of ammonium in it doesn't smell of anything. Even water with a lethal amount of ammonium, say, 1 mg/l, won't smell of anything. Dead fish smell, and maybe decaying fish food. But not a properly run aquarium.> ( Don't try to make yourself feel smart - by pointing out the difference between the two...because it obviously smells the same.) <I don't need to make myself feel smart. I am smart. I have a Bachelors in zoology with first class honours and a PhD in palaeontology. I write for all the major fishkeeping magazines and I've written an aquarium book as well as books on other topics. I've been an expert on BBC television, a university lecturer, and a museum exhibits designer. I've been featured in newspapers articles, magazines, and even political cartoons. Just last night I finished grading undergraduate papers for the history of science class I teach for Pepperdine. So I am smart, and I really don't need to feign smartness, and certainly not by being mean to people asking for help. So... instead of getting defensive and mean, have a listen to me trying to offer you help. I'm taking time out of my day to tell you where you're going wrong and what you need to do to fix things. Of course you don't have to listen to me, but if you think you know better than me, let's just say you're probably mistaken and I suspect your fish would agree.> Oh, and no...the flushing statement was not a joke... but I probably would just take them to Petco...although flushing would be easier. ha ha. <Hardly ha-ha for the fish, and also illegal in most places because of the risk of non-native wildlife escaping from drains during floods, etc. Cruelty is cruelty, whether you decide to face up to that fact or not.> It's not a dog...it's just a damn fish. <So? The weight of scientific evidence is now that fish do indeed feel pain, even if not in quite the same way as birds and mammals. You can rationalise this away if you want, but the scientists studying the issue increasingly believe fish feel pain. Again, feel free to disagree if you're a neurobiologist, but if not, why not listen to the science instead of acting out of ignorance.> I am quite the animal lover (believe it or not) <Sorry, don't believe it. Being an "animal lover" doesn't mean much if all you do is give dogs cute names and buy posters with dolphins on them to decorate your bedroom. Animals don't give a rip about that sort of stuff. What animals want is to be treated properly. And that invariably means stuff giving them adequate housing, providing the right diet, keeping their environment clean, and ensuring they are sufficiently warm.> I may not be some crazed hippie, who thinks that goldfish have personalities, and you can talk to them and train them, and spend "quality time", <Again, you're way off base here. Goldfish are widely used in animal behaviour experiments precisely because they respond well to training. They have quite good memories for example, remembering tricks up to 3 months after last using them (rather better than the average dog). They are also able to learn to recognise different humans, learning which ones feed them and which ones don't. And yes, they do have "personalities" of a sort, with each school of Goldfish having dominant and sub-dominant individuals. This is all science. Not crazy hippy stuff.> seriously dude...I don't know whether to tell you to take your job more seriously (by actually reading people's letters...as simple as me saying I had two goldfish, and one Plec...then you came back with that I had 4 fish...what is that, like 1st grade math?) <An easy mistake. I misread something. So what? Doesn't make any difference at all. You have too many animals in a too-small aquarium.> or less seriously (cuz it's just a damn goldfish - and they're fine....get a dog or something - with a personality, a being that can actually interact with you, so you won't feel so alone in the world...because I'm quite sure that you are) <I'm sorry, this sort of thing just makes you look like a jerk. I'm the guy writing back to you trying to help you look after your animals better. You're the guy writing mean-spirited e-mails trying to defend the fact you aren't looking after your animals at all well. I'm the guy who, out of desire to help others, spends an hour a day answering people's questions without getting paid for it. You're the guy who's telling me you don't care about animals and would happily flush them away because you they're too lowly to worry about. I'm the guy who cares about animals by doing something constructive; you're the guy who says they care but is actually too cheap to provide the space and heat her livestock requires. Who'd you think looks like the person more likely to be alone in this world?> Happy Holidays <Likewise, Neale.>

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

please help my son's black moor! Please... grammar and punctuation... reading... raising RMF's blood pressure dangerously  11/16/07 hi! I'm really not experienced with fish, but i love animals! <No... if you did you would provide them with proper care. This is NOT love, but selfishness> we have 2 black moor's that we just got a week ago. first of all, we don't have a proper fish tank, and most likely won't be getting one either. <... return these animals... or they'll die> the guy at the fish shop said i could keep them in a bowl and just add the aqua safe. so, i have tem in a 5 gallon bowl - both fish together. <Dismal... soon dead> I've been adding the aqua safe as per instructions. changed the water once so far, since the pet shop guy said once a week. he also told me they don't die from food overdose itself but from the ammonia in the water - produced by too much feeding (/pooping). so, since they always ask for food when I'm around them, I've been feeding them around 4 times a day. i do intend on changing their water frequently... around every 5 days? the problem now, is that in the past hours i noticed the smaller black moor's nose/mouth is changing to a whitish color! I've looked it up on the web and found that it could be stress(?) i also read that 70% of the water should be immediately changed and conditioned again. and there's some kind of salt i could also use(?) please, can you give me proper instruction with a 5 gallon bowl, 2 black moor. the bigger one tends to eat most of the food too! which is why i keep feeding them hoping the little guy gets enough. i know this is getting too long, but if i change the water now - isn't it going to stress the little guy even more? for the rest he is acting completely normal, they move around a lot and they seem to have an excellent appetite. the little guy belongs to my 3 yr old, the older one to my 5 yr old. last time we got little crabs, the one who belonged to my 3 yr old was also the first to die! please! what's going on? how do i take care of them? and how can i stop the white from growing? i really need proper instructions. hubby says their going to die soon! thanks, Lisa <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: please help my son's black moor! Please... fix your English and re-send... Not reading...  -- 11/16/07 hi bob, are you serious? why would the pet shop guy instruct me as such? <You've been duped... or, much less likely, the store clerk knows little> well, thanks for your help (although I think you could've provided some more support). and don't ever call a young mother of 2 kids a selfish person! if I would have you in person, you would be hurt by now! I want to save him for my youngest son. on the other hand, I have read other articles on the web where this color change seems to be absolutely normal. and I've also seen the example where they are in 5 gallon bowls! our fish are quite lively, I was afraid of the color change but it he doesn't seem to be dying or sick. so - who's right? and why won't you help some more? <... Read where you were referred to. RMF>

Sick goldfish in a small aquarium  10/14/07 Hi guys wonderful help site, I have a celestial goldfish about 1 and a half months old. He lived by himself in a 2.5 gallon tank until today when he received a friend, another goldfish. When I was putting the other goldfish in the tank I noticed that he has a red spot on his stomach and he continually swims around on his back with his stomach on top of the water. Then I noticed that he has a small red spot around his left eye also. I change half his water every 1-2 weeks and feed him regularly. I have not tried to treat him with anything yet for fear of making it worse but i continually flip him back over when he is on his back with his net. He is not lethargic or hyper, and does not exhibit any abnormal behavior except he continually tries to swim behind his filter an in the process flips himself over again. Please help me I would hate to have him die without at least trying so save him. Thank you for your help. <Greetings. For a start, your tank is too small for Goldfish. A 2.5 gallon tank is really just a bucket with a fancy name. Indeed, I have buckets twice this size just for doing water changes. Imagine I locked you up in a small automobile, and the space inside there was not just where you lived and exercised but also your kitchen and bathroom. How long before you got sick? That's where you're at keeping a Goldfish in a 2.5 gallon tank. Long term, Goldfish need a 30 gallon tank, minimum. Failure to do this ends up with sick fish -- you will find it very difficult to provide the good water quality these fish need in such a tiny space. The red spots are likely early-stage Finrot or fungus. These are classic symptoms of poor water quality. Check your ammonia and nitrite levels; if they're not exactly and precisely Zero, you have a problem. Changing the water IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE for having a proper filter. You HAVE TO DO BOTH! Next up, the "floaty, bloaty" goldfish likely has swim bladder problems. This usually follows on from people failing to give a Goldfish its correct diet -- PLANTS! Giving them just flake food = sick Goldfish. Simple as that. So, please have a read of these two excellent articles, and then see what you can do to improve the lives of your pets: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm . These animals depend on you to do the right thing; if spending the time and money on their requirements is too much for you, then don't keep animals as pets. Keep

Goldfish in what was a Marine aquarium.... 10/3/07 Hey guys, I've enjoyed reading many of your responses to other fishy people during my tenure in reef keeping. I have decided to go freshwater, fancy goldfish in particular. I have a 55 gallon drilled tank and a 20 gallon sump. I have emptied the tank, sold the skimmer and now I'm wondering if I can keep the sump in the new setup. I was thinking of adding large gravel and aeration to the tank and a U/V unit and bio-balls to the sump in place of the skimmer. I also have a filter-sock in the sump. My goal is to incorporate as much of my old setup as possible. Am I on the right track, perhaps you could suggest a better use for the sump? Thanks in advance, Keith <Yes, all this is fine. Standard skimmers stop working between about SG 1.010, so while useful in brackish water tanks they won't work in freshwater. The UV and sump will both work fine. Your only concern will need to be with water movement. While goldfish appreciate relatively high levels of water turnover (around 6x the volume of the tank per hour) fancy goldfish are not strong swimmers. So you need to balance turnover against current. As a general rule, the "hardy" fancy goldfish, like black moors, are more adaptable than the "flimsy" fancy goldfish, like bubble-eyes. Good luck, Neale>

Fish Problems??? Goldfish... crowded in an uncycled system... fighting...  9/13/07 Hi, my name is Fran and I bought a Shubunkin and a black moors about 4 days ago...i put them in a 5 gal tank together <Mmm, need more room than this Fran... and for the system to be "cycled"... Do you know what this refers to?> ...At first I thought the Shubunkin was just following the black moors like follow the leader but now i have noticed that in the morning and evenings when i feed the fish that the Shubunkin runs up to the top of the tank grabs a few pecks of food and the black moors stays near the bottom...when the black moors tries to come up the Shubunkin will start being a bully to it <Yes, symptomatic of the crowding mostly> ...Shubunkin chases the black moors and almost seems like it attacks it without biting of course...eventually, the Shubunkin gets distracted and leaves the other one alone but it keeps happening quite a bit...I thought these two fish got along but i am starting to wonder...Please help me if you can... ~Fran <Only you can help yourself, these goldfish... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above till you understand... Bob Fenner>

Aggressive goldfish, sys., comp.  9/5/07 Hi, I have 2 goldfish called Slippery Benson and Hedges. Benson is your average goldfish - orange in colour with a short tail and fins, Hedges is a pinky silver colour with a red splotch on his head (and one red eye-he's so cool!). Their bodies are almost exactly the same size, although Hedges' slightly fancier tail and fins make him slightly larger. They have lived together in their 20 litre tank (which is about 4.5 UK gallons and 5.5 US) <Need much more room than this...> which has plenty on interesting stuff in it for about 3 weeks but recently Hedges has started chasing and nipping Benson. Sometimes they're totally fine, sometimes not. Why is this? <Natural behavior somewhat... but can be trouble here due to crowding, no where to get away> Slippery Benson was given to me as a present in a bowl but i felt sorry for him so spent a ridiculous amount of money on his cool new home and bought him Hedges for a bit of company. I can't afford anything bigger (and have no more room for a bigger tank) but couldn't bear to part with them now - what should I do? <Determine your priorities apart from your emotions... What is more important, the health of the livestock, or?> Could Hedges do Benson any real harm? <Yes. Bob Fenner> Faithfully, Antonia

New tank new fish new to fish keeping given bad advice please help. I recently took advice from a large pet store about keeping goldfish  -- 09/01/07 Hi, <<Hello. Tom here.>> I recently took advice from a large pet store about keeping goldfish - thought I was being responsible did everything they told me to do - set up tank got all testing kits, water conditioners, etc., etc., etc. <<Why do I cringe when someone starts with, 'I recently took advice from a large pet store about keeping Goldfish?'>> Weeks later took advice from them on how many fish for size tank. <<Cringing again here!>> Then I look on the internet ( yeah, hindsight is great ). I now have a 38 litre tank with 3 stage filtration, large airstone, live plants and 3 fantails and a black moor ( all babies about an inch long). How long have I got to get a bigger tank? <<Four Goldfish in the equivalent of a 10-gallon tank? Assuming your tank is well-cycled and maintained to a fare-thee-well, I'd give this not more than three months inclusive of the four-six weeks it can take to cycle a new aquarium. What you have going in your favor is the small size of the fish. If they were any larger than you describe, I'd recommend setting up a new, considerably larger tank right now. I'll assume that you know you should be looking at a tank approaching 200 liters for these four fish? Heavy filtration might allow you to drop this back somewhat to about 170 liters but I'd be reluctant to suggest that you go any smaller than this. By 'heavy filtration', I mean that you should be looking at no less than seven water changes per hour. You'll need to subtract about 10%-15% of what the manufacturer claims in terms of liters-per-hour or gallons-per-hour of the filter. Roughly speaking, for a 170-liter tank, you should look at a filter capable of delivering about 1200 lph, as an example.>> How can I keep them alive until it matures? <<One 50% water change, minimally, per week. Two of these per week would be better yet. Keep tabs on the filter to make sure it's performing optimally. Don't overfeed and consider skipping a day of feeding once or twice a week. (Your fish can go for quite a time without feeding so 48 hours without food isn't going to do them any harm whatsoever.) Stick with this and you should be in good shape.>> Do I have any comeback for the terrible advice I was given by the pet shop? <<None. I have the interests of you and your pets at heart here but, you -- perhaps rightly -- assumed that these folks know their business. In most cases, sadly, they don't (and they certainly didn't in your case!). It was incumbent on you, however, to shop as an informed consumer. Admittedly, they probably think they're dispensing accurate information. Obviously, if they could have sold you a 200-liter tank with all the 'goodies' that go with it, they would have. They, quite simply, don't have a clue as to how to properly keep these fish. If you want a 'comeback' of any sort, give them our Web address and suggest they do some research of their own. We give 'free' information even to those who are being paid to know what they're talking about. :) >> Please help. <<Hopefully, I have. (Is it Julia, by the way? You didn't sign and I like to know.) Best regards and good luck to you. Tom>>

Re: new tank new fish new to fish keeping given bad advice please help  -- 09/01/07 Thank-you for your very quick and excellent advice, Tom. It is Julia by the way. <<Thanks, Julia.>> I will go back to the pet shop and tell them about your website. I really hope they will look but somehow don't think they will. <<You can lead a horse to water, Julia. Whether it drinks, or not, is up to the horse.>> I will try to post it on their notice board. Hopefully, some people will look and find out more before they buy. <<I applaud your efforts, Julia, but don't make trouble for yourself in the process. A retailer might not see your 'assistance' as an asset to its business in this case. Depends on how you go about it.>> I will get a bigger tank. I could probably fit a 200 gallon one in the same alcove they are in now. <<Litres, Julia. 200 litres. About 52 gallons (US). (Tell the folks at the LFS that you want a 200-gallon tank for four Goldfish and they'll either kiss you or escort you out of the store! :) )>> Doesn't it look very empty with such little fish ( I know it's what they need )? I can see how people are tempted to overstock when fish are young! <<Yes, it will look very empty in the beginning. It won't for long, however, particularly since you'll be giving the fish a great opportunity to reach their full potential size. (A couple of years ago my LFS set up a 1000-gallon (3785-litre) saltwater tank for display purposes. The first inhabitant was a two-inch Clownfish that kept following me as I viewed the tank. Now, THAT looked empty!) I do agree, though, that it's very difficult to 'preach' the value of understocking versus overstocking to folks who perceive that there's much more room for fish in their tanks. Physically, there may be. It's the 'chemistry' that we're concerned about. Unfortunately, if you don't test your water, you quite probably will never 'see' what's really going on.>> I will take your advice and follow it to the letter and hope my poor little fish will survive. <<No worries, Julia. You're taking the appropriate action well before this becomes a problem. Stay with the course you're on but, for peace of mind, don't even consider this an issue. You'll worry yourself unnecessarily.>> I just have to go and persuade the other half that I need to spend yet more money (£200 down already) on an even bigger tank - he thinks I went overboard with this one! I will keep you informed. Thank-you again, Julia <<Like to hear a twist on your story? My wife has been after me for about five years now to set up a 100+ gallon saltwater tank so we can have the type of fish that she really likes. I confess that it's not just the money that holds me back but it's a big factor, that's for sure! Please do keep me posted. Cheers. Tom>>

Ammonia problems! Five gallon, goldfish...  -- 08/31/07 Hi! <<Hi, Danielle. (My daughter's name by the way.) Tom here.>> First off, I want to say that this is a great site! <<Thanks, Danielle. Glad you like it!>> We bought a 5 gallon mini bow tank back in May from the LFS. Picked up 2 gold fish and a little frog. <<Danielle, I can't begin to tell you how much too small a five-gallon tank is for ANY Goldfish. 25-30 gallons is more appropriate for the fancy varieties and figure 50+ gallons for Commons, Comets, and Shubunkins. (Now, after you've caught your breath, picked yourself up off the floor and stopped disparaging the parents of the individual that allowed you to buy Goldfish for a five-gallon container, we can get to the details.)>> Everyone was great for about a week and then the fish started dying. <<Not unexpected though I'm sorry to hear this.>> Took a water sample to the LFS and they said to do a 50% water change, that the ammonia was high (2.5), but the nitrates and nitrites were 0. <<Not that your fish stood a chance, Danielle, but a 95%-100% change would have been my recommendation 'daily. The tank hadn't 'cycled'.>> Bought my own test kit and kept an eye on all readings. <<Excellent.>> After 4 more fish died, I realized that my LFS was missing something so I did some research and learned all about cycling a tank. <<Something the folks at the LFS apparently had never heard about?>> Wish I would've known about that first! <<Indeed.>> Anyway, went to a Petco and they gave me some gravel from an established tank. I placed it evenly throughout the bottom of my tank and let it stay there for about 2 months. <<A good move. Not optimal but still good thinking on your part.>> Reading on 8/10 showed nitrite 2.0, nitrate 10., ammonia 1.0 and ph 6. I assumed my tank was cycled. <<Nope.>> We took our sons to a county fair and they won 2 goldfish. One is small about one inch and the other is about <<?>> inches. Well, I placed them in the (I thought) cycled tank. The next day I tested the water and now the readings are nitrite 0, nitrate 5., ammonia 2.0 and the ph is 7.5! <<They won't make it, Danielle. Even trace amounts, say 0.25 ppm of ammonia, is deadly. You can't possibly keep Goldfish alive in a five-gallon tank. They produce too much ammonia/waste for a five-gallon tank to sustain.>> I did a 50% water change. I'm guessing that I put in too much for the tank and that it wasn't fully cycled. <<Correct on both counts.>> How can I not lose these fish? <<Realistically? You can't keep from losing them. (Don't get me wrong. We've worked folks through worse but, the bottom line is that they had far bigger tanks.) A five-gallon tank has virtually no stability. Conditions can 'go south' in a few hours with a tank this small. That said, and given the fact that you've written to us (which indicates to me that you care), no more fish until we work out what you need to keep your pets healthy and thriving. Okay?>> Would doing 50% water changes daily be okay? <<I don't like coming off like a horse's patootie, Danielle, but you'd need to do 100% changes perhaps three times a day to stand a chance. Beside their waste products, Goldfish (like other fish) excrete ammonia from their systems through their gills -- very specialized gill filaments called lamellae. Without proper cycling for beneficial bacterial growth, room for dispersion/dilution and adequate filtration, your Goldfish might as well be living (?) in a septic tank -- with about the same chance for survival.>> Yesterday was the last time that I fed them. I read that I should wait a couple of days. Is this okay? <<Less feeding is better given the situation, Danielle. Not 'the' solution but a good idea nevertheless.>> Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated! <<Inclined to take a shot at it, Danielle? Get a large Tupperware-style storage bin, or something similar, and fill it with dechlorinated, i.e. conditioned, water. Move the fish to it. They'll be better off than they are now and you won't have quite as many headaches. :) Purchase an aquarium of about 30-gallons, or larger, and start the cycling process. (I'll tell you of another 'trick' in a moment.) Goldfish won't need a heater but they will need lots of filtration. Double or triple the size of the filter that the manufacturer claims it will serve. Goldfish need 7-12 water exchanges per hour. GPH is what you want to look at, not tank size. So, for a 30-gallon tank, figure on a filter that handles, minimally, 230 gph. (There's about a 10%-15% loss from the manufacturer's claims.) Decorate the tank as you'd like but use a dark (black?) substrate. (There's a reason for this.) Once the tank is up and running, the 'trick' I suggested is BIO-Spira from Marineland. It's somewhat pricey but you can -- in fact, must -- add the fish to the tank within hours to preserve the live bacteria the product contains. (Should be added to the filter chamber versus the tank.) A long-winded description that I'll be happy to go over with you in shorter 'bursts', Danielle, but that's what you need to do. (Save the five-gallon tank for a Betta. Wonderful size but he'll need a heater (Hydor 'Theo' -- 25 watts) and a sponge filter (quite inexpensive).)>> Thanks, Danielle <<'Information overload'-time, Danielle. I realize this, which is why I'd like you to write back with specific questions you might have, if any. A lot to digest, certainly, but Goldfish can live for 20 years, or more, in the right environment. Best regards. Tom>>

Re: ammonia problems! (follow-up)   9/1/07 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Danielle!>> Thanks for the fast reply! Maybe having your daughter's name got me faster service, lol! <<It didn't hurt! :) >> It would be nice if the LFS gave accurate info. <<In a 'touch' of fairness, Danielle, solving problems with fish/aquariums isn't the main thrust of their jobs. They're there to move merchandise, period. A shame, really.>> After I wrote to you, I did some more reading on the site and started doing 95% water changes. I have done 2 so far in the past 4 hours. Ammonia went down to .25 but from what you've told me, I'll be doing this everyday for the rest of the goldfishes' lives! Not fair to them and too much work for me! <<Good to hear about the decreased ammonia levels, Danielle. As you now know, even .25 ppm can be/is deadly but it's a far cry from 2.0! Good job and I certainly do agree that both you and your Goldfish will need relief from the water changes. A larger, cycled aquarium will do just that.>> I actually went out and bought a 92 quart plastic tub the day the kids won them to get them home from the fair (was 3 hours from our house, didn't want them to not make the ride home). Is it okay if I keep them in there for a day or two until I can get to the store to get all my supplies? <<Absolutely! Nearly tripling the size of the container they're in now will help a lot. You don't want to get lax about their care, obviously, but you'll certainly be giving yourself and your pets a 'leg up' on the situation.>> Again, thank you so much! Danielle <<You're most welcome. If you have any more issues/questions prior to making any substantial purchases, please get back to me/us. Hopefully, I've given you -- along with the information you've found here at WWM -- plenty to make an informed decision on how to go about this. No need for 'guesswork'. The better informed you are, the less chance that someone will pass off 'bum' information on you once you're in the store. Lastly (?), if you're in doubt about ANYTHING, don't make the move! From here on in, informed choices/decisions are going to be the key to success in our hobby. My best to you and your family 'and fish! Tom>>

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