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FAQs About Goldfish Systems 2

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 3, Goldfish Systems 4, Goldfish Systems 5, Goldfish Systems 6, Goldfish Systems 7, Goldfish Systems 8, Goldfish Systems 9, & FAQs on Goldfish System: Tanks (Size, Shape...), Lighting/Tops, Decor, Gravel, Plantings, Heating/Temperature, Aeration/Circulation, 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

  Another goldfish system faq  2/6/06
I'm sorry, I thought I sent it the same way as the other but it seems to make a difference with every little thing you do. It shows to be the web page type again that you said was best. That's what it's supposed to be. This is almost more trouble for you then it's worth...  Agnes
<Is very worthwhile. Thank you for your efforts. Will post. BobF>

Starting a 100 gallon goldfish system Hi, <Hello there> I want to start a 100 gallon tank for only goldfish.  Right now I have a 3 inch red capped Oranda in a 13 gallon indoor pond with a large surface area. She has been in this pond for one year. The water has tested perfect and completely cycled. I give her daily small water changes with an occasional large 50 % water change. I have floss, sponge, and bio rings in the pond, all air driven box filters. My 100 gallon will have two AquaClear 500 filters and a sponge tower (hydro II) that handles tanks up to 125 gallons. It will be bare bottomed just decorations like my pond is now. The decorations will rarely be touched and the filters and sponges will be rinsed weekly.  I want to put my red cap goldfish into the 100, and then I want to order three fancy goldfish to live with her. I would prefer to buy one fish at a time, but they charge 24.00 for each order. The fish are about 2 to 3 inches that I will be ordering.  My plan is that the red cap (Sally) will start the cycle in the new 100 gallon, and as the quarantine runs out, I will slowly every two weeks add one of the new fish. My question is, can I put the three 2 to 3 inch goldfish into the 13 gallon pond and quarantine them? <Yes... a good plan> I would be making daily water changes and getting all of the waste off the bottom with a turkey baster. This is a very open spacious 13 gallon pond that is cycled for one fish. I need to quarantine these new fish in a safe way. The only other thing I have around is a kids blow up splash pool not cycled. I have heard koi pond people use kiddie pools to check out new fish.  <Yes> This splash pool has two sides to it each side holds 12 gallons of water. I thought if I had to then I would put one fish in the pond and the other two in the splash pool. I think putting the three in the pond sounds much fish friendlier. Couldn't I just watch the water quality. <Yes> They will be in this about one month. What do you think? Any help would be appreciated. This is the largest change I have ever done, and the biggest tank I have ever attempted. <I would move a good part of the "old" pond water into your 100... monitor the nitrogen cycle... and proceed as you have detailed. Bob Fenner> Regards, Sandy   

Gasping or Playing? Goldfish systems Dear crew of WWM. <Andy> I really like your website. It is full of useful information. <Good> I don't have a proper tank yet since my other one broke, so I am using a 5.5 litre plastic temporary tank instead. The tank has aquatic plants in it which covers half of the surface area. I have the plant planted in red lava rock which I think provides beneficial bacteria for the fish. <Not much... volcanic rock is "too smooth", too chemically inert...> I have recently noticed strange behaviour in the fish (black moors). It has been 'gasping' at the surface of the water with its mouth above the surface. It also blows bubbles which cover the sides of the tank. Please can you tell me why my fish is doing this? <Too little space and too little oxygen... need larger quarters, aeration, filtration> I also have another question. Is it ok to put red lava stones in the tank anyway. I was afraid that they will change the water chemistry. They affect a few crustaceans that I have grown in the past. Please can you tell me if red lava stones are safe. <Likely safe chemically, but not good for most goldfish settings, due to being sharp edged... the fish too easily getting cut on them. If yours are relatively smooth, they should be fine> Thank you for answering my questions. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish system filtration Hi, I just recently purchased a used 58 gallon fish tank with a wet/dry filter, the filter says it is a SeaLife systems and I have no idea how to hook it up! The purpose of the tank is to house just 4 big goldfish. I was wondering if it would be better to use the wet dry filter or continuing to use the Whisper filters we currently have? Thank you Ashley <Mmm, a tough one... I would "hold on" to the Wet Dry for future use, and utilize the hang ons for now... the Wet Dry might well overdrive nitrification (too much cycling) for your goldfish. Bob Fenner>  

Heating Goldfish I have my goldfish in a 55gal tank, and it has a filter on it. I was wondering what the water temp needs to be or in another words do I need to put the heater on Low, Medium, or High to keep the tank warm. Richard < Goldfish really don't need a heater. Usually room temperature is preferred.-Chuck>  

Using Aged Tap Water for Goldfish Hello, I love your website on looking after Goldfish. It is simple yet complex in a way. >>It's an excellent treatise on evolution, too. I would just like to ask you if you can use aged tap water for your fish as chlorine is reduced if left overnight. >>Absolutely you can. However, should there be chloramine present, you'll need to use an appropriate conditioner. Thank you for spending time to answer this question for me. >>You're welcome, it was a question I *could* answer! Marina   

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

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

Goldfish questions Hi, <How goes it? BTW, my chem test is a week later than I thought it was - probably the best news I've had this year> My fiancĂ©© recently bought me two goldfish, a black moor and a calico fantail. <If I wasn't being squished in a dorm soon, I'd have goldfish, too>  I noticed on the first day that they seemed pretty happy in their new home, but the second day they started hanging around the top of the tank a lot. So we did a partial water change (we ran the water through our Brita filter; the water is terrible here, I wouldn't drink it straight, let alone give it to an animal!) and they seemed alright. Was this the right thing to do? <Performing a water change when in doubt is always a good thing to do! The fish were probably "gasping" due to lack of dissolved oxygen in the water. Goldfish need a lot of oxygen and good filtration as they are messy, and most definitely do NOT do well in bowls. I would not try goldfish in anything less than a ten gallon aquarium. Here are a few links to help you become informed about your new pets: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwph,alk.htm  Hope these help!> Kristin <M. Maddox, with faith renewed that the world is not out to get him>  

Goldfish killing. Urgent help please please please Dear crew, 2 years ago I bought three Goldfish (common goldfish, Sarasa comet, and a Shubunkin) and a "Hexafun" fish tank. <Too small... no "fun" for your livestock> About seven days later the Shubunkin died. To replace this loss I bought another Shubunkin and another comet. A few weeks later these new fish both died. Then I tried another comet and a black moor. The black moor and the old comet goldfish died. A few months ago I bought 2 common goldfish as I discovered these to be the most hardy of the goldfish right? Wrong! These both died and so did my comet so I was left with just my original common goldfish. A few months ago I bought some more goldfish with the theory that if I bought 2 goldfish, 2 would die so I bought four goldfish (two calico fantails, a red cap Oranda, and a Shubunkin). It has been a while but I am back down to 2 again. the last fish to die was a redcap Oranda who died of fin rot despite treatments. (now down to the problem at last!) My common goldfish appears to have black marks upon the leading fin rays of the double ventral/pelvic fins. I have been treating her (wide bodied and concave anal opening) and the other fantail with fin rot and fungus control (active ingredient= Phenoxyethanol) but it has not got any better. Am I just overreacting to a common colour change or is it fin rot, because it only started when the red cap Oranda got fin rot. I carry out weekly water changes with fresh water so it cannot be water quality problems. <Bingo... the real problem here is environmental... not pathogens...> Please, please help me with my dilemma, as I have become quite emotionally attached to this goldfish. Best regards Martin Slough <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm Scroll down to the goldfish files... READ the set-up and disease articles and FAQs... Get a real tank... and you will stop killing these fish. Bob Fenner>   

Ammonia Ugh. I know you have heard this a thousand times before. <1001>  I have a 29 gallon tank with two goldfish. I cannot keep the ammonia levels down. I decided to test the water out of my tap just out of curiosity. Ammonia levels measure .50 right out of the tap!. I tried using Amquel Plus before putting the water in the tank. Tested the ammonia level 15 minutes after adding the Amquel + and it measures 0ppm. Put it in the tank after a .25 water change and ammonia level measures .50. Well not bad, at least better than 1.0. So, this morning I measured it and it is back up to 1.0. I don't know what I am doing wrong? The tank has not cycled yet... <You answered your own question.>  ...it has been 2 weeks. <Not long enough, 21 to 28 days usually.>  I have a 330 filter on the tank, a bubble curtain, a very thin layer of rocks. I know I am probably the culprit because I have been changing the water so much because the fear of the ammonia hurting the fish! (I have been changing 20% a day!). Any suggestions? I have laid off feeding, which I do one pellet per fish one time a day.  <Yes, let the tank finish cycling. James (Salty Dog)> 

Oranda Question My name is Gisela and I have the following question... <Hello...I'm Jorie and will try to help you> I have a new small (5 gallon) tank and last Saturday I purchased a red cap Oranda along with a test kit and a whole bunch of stuff...this morning the fish died of ick even though I tried to treat it with medication and followed everything the seller told me to do (a well known aquarium supplier) <Well, my friend, you need to be wary of not blindly trusting everything the fish stores tell you, "reputable" or not - keep in mind they are in business and want to sell things, bottom line! It's always good to do your own independent research on a site like this. I'm not sure exactly what the dealer told you, but I personally would confirm it with at least a couple of external, unbiased sources.> So I want to prepare the tank for a new single fish but I'm not quite sure about a couple of things...first how to disinfect the tank to make it safe for the next fish... <Throw out the filter media (activated carbon, filter floss, bio-wheel, etc.) and purchase new. With regards to the tank itself and other fixtures, use a mild bleach solution and let it soak for a day or two...make sure to rinse everything EXTREMELY WELL (perhaps even add a drop or two of dechlorinator while rinsing several times). That should pretty much kill anything at all that may still be lurking.> The second question is, do I have to add both Stress Coat and water conditioner or is just the last one enough? As you can see, I'm a beginner in this and I'm also a little bit frustrated, but I want to do it right so thank you for taking the time to read my correspondence. <I have never personally used stress coat. I don't think there's any harm in using it, but I just haven't found it necessary. The water conditioner is definitely needed if you are simply using straight tap water - hopefully it also has a dechlorinator in it. I would suggest you take the time to read the beginner articles on WWM, as they do a great job of walking you through the basics.  Also, I like to recommend a book called "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums" by David E. Boruchowitz - very straightforward, easy-to-read, and full of great info. (Beware of his stocking schemes, though, as he tends to overstock his tanks!) Hopefully the fish store sold you a test kit that checks for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, at a minimum (do try to stay away from the test strips, as they are notoriously inaccurate).  You will need to cycle your aquarium, which basically just means allowing a colony of beneficial bacteria to build-up in the tank...in doing this, you will first see the ammonia level rise, then nitrite, then nitrate, and by doing water changes, the levels will gradually drop off to zero (which is where they need to be to be suitable for fish).  I like to do this cycling process w/o fish (dropping a granule or two of food in the tank once or twice a week should kick-start it...let it run for a few weeks, keep testing water parameters), but if you are extremely diligent in your water changes, it can be done with just one fishy. Just keep in mind that ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are ALL toxic to fish and need to be removed ASAP when detected. Also do some reading on the goldfish - they are not a tropical fish, but rather prefer cooler water. And be sure not to overfeed, as that's the quickest way to foul your water quickly, and cause buildup of harmful toxins.> Regards...Gisela. <Hopefully I've given you a good start...do some reading and research, and welcome to the wonderful world of fish! Jorie> 

Sabrina Offers Help for Albert the Italian Goldfish Hi, Marina! Sounds to me like "gas bubble" disease - pretty, uh, descriptive, eh? So.... What IS gas bubble disease? Well, it happens when there's too much in the way of dissolved gasses in the water - NOT necessarily oxygen, usually nitrogen. Why might there be too much dissolved gas in the water? Could be any of a few things. Some people think that very, very fine aeration injected into the water (like when you use a powerhead with an air intake, or a wood airstone intended for a protein skimmer) can cause fish to exhibit the symptoms described.  Usually, though, it just happens to be that the owner has, in trying to be good to his fish, just done a water change - with water heated from the tap. Water that is rapidly heated (like in a teapot or in a hot water heater) has a greater capacity for dissolved gasses. When you put this water in with the fish, it can cause this "gas bubble" disease - somewhat like "the bends" for the fish. If the fish is gasping, it's a good indication of this as well - it's not just the skin that's affected, but the gills, and so is more difficult to breathe properly. To do a very simple (and, incidentally, NOT exact or accurate!) test, take a clean, dry finger (if you don't have one, borrow a friend's), and stick it in the tank for a full minute. If, during that time, little air bubbles form on the finger, you can pretty much assume that there is too much (something, probably nitrogen, other gasses as well) in the water. After the minute, remove the finger, and return it to its owner. Remember to dry it first, as folks like their stuff back in the same condition they gave it. Hokay, now, on to how to fix this. Assuming you've come to the conclusion that there IS a gas problem, you've got to try to get some of that gas out, right?  Best bet is to vigorously aerate the water. This will allow for better gas exchange at the surface of the water so all that extra junk can be released. As a preventative, never use a teapot to heat water for a tank, and try not to use heated tap water. Take the water to be used (cold tap water is fine), fill a container other than the tank to store the water, and stick an aquarium heater in so you can slowly bring the temperature up to that of the aquarium. Then, you're all set. I didn't get to read the question, uh, in question, but I do hope that this is of some help.  -Sabrina  

What to do about Albert's Bubbles? Goldfish cont'd. Marina, what do I do? >>Carefully re-read what Sabrina posted. My tank is already well aerated. I stuck my finger in and within a minute it was covered with micro- bubbles. >>Even if well-aerated, the water is still holding gaseous substances in suspension - think bottle of soda.  Is this causing his swim bladder problem? >>Could be, yes. However, we're also talking about an animal that is HIGHLY prone to these problems in the first place. Is it deadly? >It could be, but more than that, it's likely rather uncomfortable for the fish. I want you to use ONLY water that's been sitting out for at least a full day for your water changes. Also, we need to define "well-aerated". You remember I talked about surface agitation, yes? This means that the surface of the water should be quite bumpy. But that alone won't handle the micro-bubble situation - you must have it set up so that water from the bottom is brought up to the surface. If you have airstones at the bottom of the tank then this *should* be adequate. This can all be rather difficult without photos, being able to talk face-to-face, and so on. And what about SEAWEED? People have said to feed them marine seaweed together with their meal to solve their floating problem and it worked pretty well, what do you think? >>Haven't heard of it, I'd go with Spirulina myself, how often is a cyprinid/goldfish going to get hold of seaweed in nature (rather like garlic for fishes - better ON than IN)? However, with seaweed you won't have to deal with the issue of cellulose found in terrestrial plants. Here in the States many folks use "Nori", the dried seaweed used to wrap sushi. DO soak it first! I'll also suggest either weighting it down with a rock, or clipping it to the inside of the aquarium wall. And which color of seaweed do I choose, green, purple, brown or red? >>That I cannot tell you, I'd honestly go with the sushi Nori if you can find it. Otherwise, remember to simply parboil or microwave terrestrial vegetables to break down their cellulose. The last question is: does this seaweed affect the water chemistry in any way? I do not want upset my KH or anything else. >>Again, don't worry about your hardness! Worry ONLY about maintaining stable pH, and low parameters of nitrogenous wastes. All this is done via regular water changes. A hands-off approach will do wonders for fish, believe me. >Thanks Marina. I want to thank everybody too. We can all expand our knowledge thanks to sharing our experiences! >>EXACTAMENTE! I'd like to once again thank Sabrina for her invaluable input on a problem I'd not seen before. >Thank you all, Marcellino  >>De nada, Marcellino. Remember the aeration/surface agitation issues, you're giving Albert and Teena good diets to begin with. Marina  

How much salt, Precisely? How much light, Precisely? Goldfish How much light is required for my two goldfish in a 30 gal tank? The fluorescent I have now is 17 watts, is that good? >>Hello again, Marcellino, Marina today. Goldfish don't "need" much in the way of light, as long as they can see and you can see, it's all good. What should be the number expressed in specific gravity in my tank, and what's the number expressed in salinity? I have an hydrometer and I want the levels to be constant and precise. Thank you very much for your help. >>Wow, you went and got a hydrometer for your goldfishes? Part of the issue is the equipment itself, I could tell you that they'll do fine if you maintain the salinity at a specific gravity of no more than, say 1.004. But, will your hydrometer measure that precisely? If the fish are doing well, then the use of the salt can eventually be discontinued, reduced via water changes with fresh water. How is your wife, how is Albert? Marina <<Would not keep them "salted" continuously. RMF>> 

How to improve water quality - black smudge on goldfish Hello - Current problem is "smudge" dark spots on my 4 yr old fantail - Problems started around Christmas when water quality got bad (too busy!). <Mmm...> I had 2 goldfish in a 10 gallon tank - one got tail rot... I quarantined him and, after a week of near-death by the look of him, my treatments worked and he is now in the tank again. BUT, I bought a small goldfish during the quarantine period because I was so sure that Tangelo was going to die. <Good name> At any rate, all three fish have looked great since I got Tangelo back in the tank.... for about two weeks. Three days ago, I noticed that my oldest goldfish (Red) was developing blackish smudge spots on both gill areas, one side and dorsal fin. Now, I'm a goldfish novice. I haven't had them since I was a kid with a glass bowl. As an adult, I desperately want to get the tank cleared up and perfect for my fish friends. I did two filter changes a week apart and don't have any plants in the tank, maybe I was trying to keep it TOO clean? (after the bad tailrot episode) For four years, I never checked my water quality with dip sticks, but I do now! Yesterday's reading showed nitrates 40-80, nitrite .5 - 1.0, pH of 6.8 - and low Alk. I'm afraid that my water quality is bad and I'm killing my pal of four years! <Does appear so...> So my main questions are:  (1) What's the immediate best thing I can do to help out Big Red (smudge) beyond my addition of aquarium salt and 30% water changes with gravel siphon for the past two days?  (2)  What is the best way to get ALL my levels in the tank at premium quality for my fish? <In order, 1) what you propose... the water changes and salt are good moves, 2) better filtration... another (?) hang-on filter... 3) larger quarters... 4) a bacteria prep. like Bio-Spira to jump-start your living filter...> I have not quarantined Red because he has seemed as aggressive as always in his quest for food... the smudges actually looked a little less pronounced yesterday about 4 hours after I did that big water change, but are back as dark as ever today. He looks great otherwise...following my fingers along the glass, jerking his head back and forth in typical "feed me, darn it!" behavior, poking at his gravel (there is about an inch on the bottom now. I removed a lot of gravel from my tank after Tangelo was sick with tailrot after reading goldfish sites).  Red is just beautiful...I'd like to go out and get him a plant for the tank tomorrow, per one website I checked on... <Good idea... will help in many ways> ...and am considering upgrading to the best filter box I can find for the tank.  <Ahh, very good> If you can make suggestions for the best way to improve my tank's water quality, I'll go out and get started immediately. Things have been pretty simple for the first three years, then I think I got busier with my home life, thus more slack with the tank. Having my one fish get so sick made me realize how I enjoy having them and want to pay them back for the delight I've gotten from having them around!  <Outstanding> Everyone told me to "flush" Tangelo or toss him out in the flower bed, but I felt he deserved much better than that. Can you help? Amy  <Only you can help... I can only make suggestions. Bob Fenner>  

Goldfish, salt WetWebMedia friends, Thanks for your help in the past. <Welcome> I'm starting a 175g tank with goldfish and Shubunkins. <A note... these are also goldfish> I've been told that salt is healthy for such fish, but I haven't been able to find the answer to a few questions I have in your wonderful site. About how much salt do you recommend? (per 10 gallons say) <Mmm, I actually would NOT add salt as a regular procedure... there are some salts in all source waters... I'd hold off adding this unless treating for something health-wise> Aquarium salt or sea salt?  What exactly is the difference between the two? <Often these are the same... the Aquarium Salt is sometimes just Sodium Chloride (the principal salt in the ocean, and what most folks use for table salt), but often it is "unwashed sea salt"... a mix of other ocean salts...> Is it ok to mix round fancy goldfish (Ryukins, fantails, Orandas) with single fin, fast swimming goldfish like comets or Shubunkins? <Generally yes... in large systems like yours... Some individual goldfish can become "mean"... and single finned varieties (e.g. comets) can move much more quickly than twin fins, rounder varieties... You'll just have to observe your livestock...> (I've had a 55g Shubunkin tank set up for 7+ years, and never had luck at having fancy goldfish survive in that tank) <... I wonder why? Well, the much larger system will prove to be far more stable, easier to maintain> I also have a 55g African cichlid tank and a 29g tank of mollies.  What type of salt should I add to these tanks (aquarium or sea) and how much? Thanks, Jeffrey Zegas <A teaspoon per ten gallons for your mollies... but I suggest looking into other commercial mixes (look to the Mardel brand here) if you want to add material to the African Cichlid system. Bob Fenner>

Drooping Tail and Bottom Sitting Hi. My goldfish who has always been healthy and happy has begun to behave in a strange way. He is spending a lot of time on the bottom of the tank, usually under the filter with all his fins tucked in. His tail fins are also droopy and look a bit clamped all the time. He will swim around if he sees movement outside the tank and is eating his flakes ok. The tank is 6.5 gallons and only has the one fish in it. I change approximately 1/4 of the water weekly and use a water conditioner for water changes. I would like to know how to help my fish, and  also if I am doing anything wrong. Thanks very much. Sarah <Hi Sarah. Not sure how big your goldfish is, but a 6.5 gallon sounds a little small. Goldfish make a lot of waste which can foul the water in a small tank pretty quickly. And they get very big. The first thing to try is a few big water changes. About 50% a day for a few days. Make sure you match the temp and use a dechlorinator. You should remove the old water with a gravel vac to get all his solid waste and old food out of the tank. Don't clean the filter right now. If this seems to help him then you will have to change more than 25% weekly until you can get him a bigger tank. Email us back if he stays on the bottom. Don>

Bi-orb & Goldfish I have a 35 gal "Bi-orb" up and running for 18 months and have just lost another goldfish. We replace the filter and Hoover the gravel and do a 5 gal water change every four weeks. <Mmm, you may not want to do both the hoovering and filter replacement at the same time... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the Related files... above in blue...> We have only ever had two 2" fantails in at the same time and we have just lost the last one.  This morning I noticed a white layer of dust on the leaves of the plants in the Bi-orb and some little white stringy worms are swimming around in the water ?  There was also a red worm (like the blood worms that you can buy) on the side of the glass.  I only gave the fish 2 little pellets each at night and every now and again some daphnia.  What am I doing wrong? <Not studying, reading where you've been referred to. Bob Fenner>  

Keeping Oranda Goldfish Healthy I recently purchased a 2 gallon hexagonal tank at my local pet store along with 2 Orandas: one with an orange cap and the other black with an orange underbelly. <Hi.. this is Jorie...congrats on the new fish.> I purchased some live plants as well as I have never really liked the look of fake. <I'm sure your fish will appreciate the live foliage.> They seem to be doing fine but I'm concerned about their "zoning out" periods. They'll be swimming and suddenly stop and just coast along. That and they are dormant a lot, so that they mostly are on the rocks barely moving. Is there something wrong with them, or am I just worrying too much? Is there anything I should change? <Well, it's a little hard for me to say exactly, as you haven't said really what all you've been doing! First off, the 2 gal. tank, especially since it's a hex. shape (limits the amount of swimming room, due to its height), is *really* too small for these two fish. I'd consider upgrading ASAP to *at least* a 10 gal. aquarium, maybe a 20 or 29, if you plan on adding more fish later on down the road. Are you new to the wonderful world of fish keeping? Are you familiar with the term "nitrogen cycle"? First off, you should, if you haven't already, invest in a test kit, one that allows you to measure the water's ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, along with pH, at a minimum. Goldies are notoriously messy fish, and if you just started this tank up, it is entirely possible you aren't removing enough toxins from the water to keep them happy and healthy. Do read up on the term "cycling" - I like to send beginners to a book called "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums" by David E. Boruchowitz, as his format and text is highly readable and mostly accurate (with the exception of his stocking suggestions, in my opinion). Another idea is making sure your fish have enough "cover", that is plants and other decorations they can hide in, if they want to. My guess is that the combination of very little swimming room and not enough water changes due to the newness of the tank are contributing to your fishes' lethargy.> I do weekly 50% water changes and feed dry flake 2 times a day. Thanks for any advice. <Great job on the water changes...as I said above, though, do invest in a test kit, as you don't want any detectible levels of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. Feeding twice a day is a good schedule also, just be sure that you aren't feeding more than they can consume in 3 or 4 minutes. What do you have the tank's temperature at? Goldies are cold water fish, so hopefully their water isn't too warm. Be sure you are matching the temp. of the old and new water when you do changes, as well as matching the pH and removing chlorine (either by using a dechlorinator or letting the water sit out for at least a day prior to using it) before using.> <Hope I've helped, Andrew. I'm curious to know what type of filtration is on this tank? As mentioned above, these fish are quite messy, so you'll want to have something powerful enough to keep up with their waste production...> -Andrew <Jorie> 

Bullying the new boy I've had a Bi-orb with light for about 8 months. I started with 3 fish - 1 black moor and two other fantails. I swapped the Black Moor almost immediately because he seemed to be hassling the other two. Then they all seemed happy. I lost the two fantails after a fortnight to white spot so I treated the water and replaced them with another two. After that, the 3 fish have been healthy and happy for nearly 8 months. A couple of months ago I added 3 Golden Apple snails to help keep the Algae down.  A week ago I lost a snail and one of the fantails. I did a 50/50 water change and replaced the snail and fantail. However, the new fantail - which is slightly smaller than the other two seems to be getting bullied. They keep chasing him around the tank, sometimes even two on one. He's been in there for about 12 hours as I write this. He doesn't seem to have been damaged so far. Any idea what's going on and is it too early to worry? Many thanks, JC (UK) <This system, and all like its size and shape is actually too small, and has too little surface area to be stable, to make a livable environment for goldfish in number... they are "hassling" each other due to being cramped. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm Better for you to seek other, more appropriate livestock, or better still, a larger, more viable system. Bob Fenner> 

Albert the Italian Goldfish has Rust on his Decorations..? I see rust spots on the wall of bubbles decoration from aquatic gardens. What is going on? What's that? Thank you very much >>Hello Marcellino. It's most likely algae, unless those decorations are made of some ferrous (iron-containing) material. If there are decorations containing iron in the tank, do watch closely. Personally, I'd not use such decorations. Right now you'll have to let it be, because incorporated into the algae (or rust, if that's what it actually is), are all those little nitrifying bacteria that we need in there to oxidize the ammonia and nitrite. Marina   

Albert is Back! Italian Goldfish Follow-up My goldfish is fine back with the other one, it was wonderful to see them reunited and happy again. >>Ah yes! I'm sure you're quite happy about that. Though, I don't remember the part where they were separated. The nitrite is up to 0.50 ppm now. >>It's still staying high, eh? If you're not vacuuming the gravel, it shouldn't be much longer than a couple of weeks for that level to drop and the nitrate to rise. You can also feed the fish less, you can even stop feeding for a week with no ill effects (though they may come begging, making big, hungry eyes at you!). When I cycled this big tank of 28 gal I used the water, power filter and decorations of the old small one. >>Ok.  I obviously put a bigger power filter with that (350 gph), but now I wonder could it be that the big one is still new and doesn't keep up with the old small one and therefore nitrite goes up? >>Yes, a new filter will need some time to become established with nitrifying bacteria, which is another reason why it's better to hold off on doing too many water changes. Absolutely no gravel vacuuming or cleaning tank sides at this time. Also, do not clean this filter out until those levels beginning to drop. Then, when you DO clean it, do no more than rinse it gently in water with no chlorine or chloramine (your city's water tested zero for those compounds as I recollect, yes?). And I have put 11 teaspoons in my 28 gal tank, should I put more to help them with nitrite? >>Salt won't help do anything with nitrification (oxidation of ammonia/nitrogenous wastes), it is there to help the fish through difficult periods, and it's been my experience that it greatly helps goldfish. If using at prophylactic levels, you should use 1 teaspoon for every five (5) gallons. If using "medicinally", then up to one (1) tablespoon every gallon can be used. Remember, a tablespoon is equal to three (3) teaspoons. You're in between those values, so I wouldn't change at this point. Thank you very much Marina, you were and always are of a great help. Marcellino >>You're very welcome, Marcellino, as always. This will eventually settle down. 

Yumping Yimmeney One more question Bob is it normal for goldfish to jump out of the water? <Yes... other than very round types, goldfish can indeed "clear the water", jump out of systems. Bob Fenner>  

Plants for Low Oxygen Levels? Hi.. >>Greetings. I have a 3" fantail in a 5-10g hexagonal tank. >>It's a good idea to know which it is, as one is small, the other is even smaller. If five gallons, PAINFULLY small for a goldfish. The surface water has a good current, but as the tank is so deep, I worry about O2 levels at the bottom (I have lost fish in this tank before with suspected oxygen deprivation). >>VERY unlikely in such a small tank. It would have to essentially be a tube a few inches across for low O2 saturation to be the real issue, and it would just be plain cruel to put a goldfish into something like that. I have a pump that I can use to help oxygenate the water, but the noise the pump generates really grates on my nerves. >>Please understand, there is only one place where the O2-CO2 exchange can take place, and that is at the water's surface. If you have good surface agitation, you have good O2-CO2 exchange (having O2 saturation isn't enough, the CO2 has to be released, too). This can be accomplished with a H.O.T. power filter or similar that is set up to create good turbulence. So, my question is (I'll warn you now that it's three-fold) would a live plant help with getting oxygen into the water? >>Yep. It would also help with utilization of nitrogenous wastes, more likely the true cause of the fish deaths.  If so, what kind of plant would you recommend? I don't mind if the plant gets eaten, provided it doesn't harm the fish, as it would be replaceable. Last, would getting a plant also mean that I would require a stronger light source in/near the tank setup? >>Heck, with a tank so small you could actually root some Pothos, arrowhead, or similar houseplants in it quite easily. Arrowhead will actually grow underwater, but if in a low light situation will grow leaves above the surface. Currently, the tank is in the opposite corner from the window in a very well lit room and has a black hood to prevent any fish acrobatics! >>If you have a fancy goldfish, no acrobatics can happen. You do, so, no worries, leave the top open. I've never had a live plant in a tank before, so any advice is appreciated. Thanks! Kay >>Well, Kay, if you keep houseplants, then take a few cuttings and root them. They'll explode with the fertilizer. Otherwise, without at least a bit of better lighting you'll have to stick to those aquatic plants that don't mind lower light levels. A quick Google, both on site and general web, should net you some excellent results. Marina   

Tail Eating Hello! <James> Having searched through the website and posted on the Forums I am still unsure what to do. I have a 10 gallon tank, with 4 small goldfish between 1:3/4  and 2 inches each. <This is too much, by at least half, livestock for this size tank...> I have a Fluval 2 Plus filter, and a small undergravel filter/air pump in the tank. One of the fish has recently become violent towards one of the others, and has eaten most of the victims tail! I had this problem once before when the tank was set up, there was only this one and a Black moor, but I gave the Moor to a friend to stop him from being attacked. The tank is about 2 months old now, and seems to be fine, I have 2 live plants which are growing well, and there have been no problems. I do consistent water changes, and try to feed a varied diet. I still don't know what to do about the violent fish. <Really, your problem mainly stems from crowding... you need a bigger world for these four fish... You can/could return/give away one or two...> The injured one is in a small 2 gallon hospital tank and now has a white growth on his tail, I have just added a small amount of salt to the water to try to help, as I am unable to get to the fish shop until weekends, and then only occasionally. I have never had the water tested, but being wary of ammonia and nitrate I do partial water changes often to avoid this. <Good move/logic... I doubt that after two months, using both types of filtration you list that you have a biological filter difficulty> Do you have any thoughts on why he may be violent? And any advice as to helping the injured fish? I can provide photo's if needed.  James <Many animals have an aggressive capacity (look at human examples) that is greatly enhanced by being crowded... perhaps a mechanism for providing for necessary habitat... food, mates, wastes... Bob Fenner>  

Two Goldfish Problems Hello, I have two Sarasas that are white and orange and I've had one for two weeks and the other I just bought. I noticed after changing my water today and putting them together, my fish that is two weeks old seems to have his dorsal fin contracted or flopped over. <Good observation... and perhaps indicative of a less than full healthy state... could be from the water change... or just psychological from the new fish addition> Every now and then when he's swimming he fully extends it but I was wondering if this was a beginning sign of a disease? <Perhaps, but not that likely> My second problem is that my new fish won't leave my other fish alone! He keeps going near him and when he does he goes up and under my older fish. He pays a lot of attention to his under belly and tail when he "attacks" him. Sometimes it's calmly, other times it seems like an aggressive move to get my older fish to move away, which he does. Are they playing? <Mostly... checking each other out... testing... How big a system is this? I hope at least twenty gallons> Is one fish more aggressive than the other? are they doing a mating dance? Please help, I really don't want my fish to die or anything!  Thank you! <All should be fine if there is sufficient volume, good water quality. Bob Fenner>  

Goldfish tank Hi from Australia! <G'day> First of all, congrats on the great website. I have searched through the FAQ's, and although some of my questions have been half answered, there are still a few things I would like to know. <Me too> I have had a 50L tank for 5 years, and (until recently) I had 6 goldfish in there, from the time they were tiny babies. A while ago, I lost 5 of them to what I now know was a fungus. After having treated the tank with tri-sulfa, the remaining (rather large) bubble-eyed goldfish has recovered, as has the Chinese algae-eater, and the snails and plants are all fine (don't know what the snails are, but the plants are Vallisneria). <Okay> I went out and read up a bit to make sure my tank set up was ok, and have modified a few things in the way I run the tank. The tank has a filtration system, as well as a bubbler, and the mentioned plants, 2 or 3 snails, and a castle. I am now keeping the water brackish, to assist the fish in maintaining a slimy coating, and after waiting a few weeks to make sure all was ok, I went out and bought 3 new little goldfish, and one medium sized one. <Mmm, do keep an eye on the stocking, growth here... each of these fish really needs about 40 litres of space when older/larger... Assuredly many, if not most goldfish "disease" problems are induced... environmental> Some questions: 1) I am adding around 1 tablespoon of non-iodized salt per 5 litres. Is this concentration too much/too little/sufficient? <Right about right> I have also read I can use real ocean-water - how would I go about using ocean water, and to what concentration? does it need filtering? Treating? (I currently use a treatment to rid the water of chlorine etc.) <Mmm, there are equivalencies... but in round numbers, 100 ml.s of seawater per five gallons is about it> 2) Are the snails ok to keep?  I tend to kill of the eggs, to make sure they don't overrun the tank, and it doesn't seem to be a problem. I read the article on this website about snails.. and still don't' know whether they're good or bad! <An area of contest. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm > 3) the Chinese algae eater seems fine, he doesn't chase the fish (i.e. I think he has enough food). If I decide to get rid of the algae eater (i.e. if he grows to big), is there another type of algae eater that may suit my setup better? <Mmm, not likely... for this size, type system... but do keep an eye on the CAE... they can become "suckers on fish" with growth> 4) The medium sized goldfish is chasing my big, old goldfish around - it doesn't seem distressed, it doesn't seem to be aggressive in return, they sort of dance.... is this mating? <Maybe a bit of such behavior> Well, in advance, thanks for the help, its much appreciated!!  Claudine <Be chatting... and possibly traveling to your country after the big Aquarama show in Sing. in May... Bob Fenner> 

Fancy Goldfish and empty shells or corals Dear Bob, <Jean> I am going to set up a freshwater tank (80-gallon size). I want to have Fancy Goldfish in it. Some people say that it is not good to put empty shells or corals in the tank for Goldfish, for it is difficult to keep the water balanced for the fish. <In general, yes... the shells may make the water too hard and alkaline (though Goldfish do like water that is moderately so), and that the shells/decor are too sharp, likely to cut the clumsy goldfish> I have a real pretty coral (only the bone, not a live one) and three pretty empty shells. Will they really going to do harm to the water for my fish? <Possibly> I will appreciated if you would answer this e-mail. Thank you very much. Best Regards,  Jean McGowan <I would not use these on general principle... but if you'd like, place them and see... you can test for water quality or just "bio-assay" (watch your livestock) to see if they're mal-affecting your water quality, or the fish are getting snagged on them. Bob Fenner, who does have seashells in with his African Cichlids> 

Cloudy FW/Goldfish tank Hello, I have a question regarding tank cloudiness. I did read your info but I don't seem to have those problems. I have a 30 gallon freshwater tank with 2 Ryukins in it. I have a 0 reading for ammonia and nitrites and a 7.4 ph reading. <So far, so good> the fish are doing very well and the cloudiness is relatively new (they've been in this tank for about 2 months-cloudiness began about 2 weeks ago). <Right about time for this... due to cycling issues> I have been doing weekly 20% weekly water changes. I have a 10 gal. tank with same readings but it is crystal clear. I have tried the chemical cloudiness reducers but they make no difference. what am I doing wrong? <Mmm, not telling me/us enough for one... what sort of filtration do you have? What sort/s of foods do you offer? Do you have any live plant material? Think these over, and don't panic... if you don't have detectible ammonia nor nitrite, your system will clear of its own accord, and likely soon. Bob Fenner> thanks for the great site, Jill  

Goldfish questions Hi, I have just recently bought a large fish tank about a week ago and it's approx. 120litres, about 40 gallons I think. I have  9 fantails currently in the tank all in sizes from about 1" to 2.5".  Some of the larger ones seems to always like to just sit at the bottom in one specific corner and after like a few minutes they just swim around but eventually end up in the corner again. Could this be a sign of a fish disease??? <Did you cycle the new fish tank, or did you just fill it and add the fish immediately? If the latter, I think perhaps the fish are suffering from some sort of poisoning from the ammonia/nitrite/nitrates in the un-cycled tank.  I'd suggest getting a water test kit, if you don't already have one, and doing as many water changes as necessary to keep all the toxins at bay.  Aside from that, is there adequate coverage (e.g., plants, decorations, etc.) for the fish to feel comfortable and not totally exposed? I've noticed this same behavior in QT tanks when I haven't provided enough hiding spots...> Only about 3 fish died in my old tank, which was only 40litres, in the last 3 yrs they've been it. And in the last 2-3yrs, some of them still appear the same size as when I bought them 2-3 yrs ago. Could it just be their species that they only grow to  that size or could it be because of insufficient room?? <40 L = roughly 11 US gallons...definitely not a big enough tank for 3 goldies.  I'm glad to hear you upgraded, and I'm sure the fish thank you for it.  Having said that, 9 goldies in a 120 L (roughly 30 US gal.) is pretty crowded also...if possible, I'd cut that back to maybe 4 or 5, max.  It is possible that cramped quarters stunted the fish's growth, and that really isn't a good thing for overall health, etc.  It's great that you invested in a new tank, but I would suggest you reduce the number of fish in it, so you don't run into the same problems.  Good luck, Jorie.>  

Dirty Gold Fish Hello, <Hi there> I've done a search on your site but can't find anything on "dirty goldfish".   <Mmm> I have a comet fish, about 6 or 7 inches.  I keep him in a 3 foot tank, filter, oxygen stone, plants etc.  I had a problem with him about 3 weeks ago when the other fish in the tank died (abdominal wound) and the remaining fish started to suffer with pH problems. <... okay> The fish centre I went to gave me some pH gravel and a tonic for the fish and after a week he was fine.  He's been ok for more than a week now but I've noticed this morning that he's "dirty" - not as in colour changes but as in dirty smudge marks under his mouth, lower fins and a little on his back.  I know I used to keep the light on too much although I don't do this anymore, just 1 hour twice a day now. The gravel is still covered in algae though and I wondered if this was what was marking the fish. <Ah, I see now> Do you have any advice?  Having just saved him from the pH catastrophe I'm desperate to keep him in top form. Many thanks and apologies if this is answered somewhere - I can't find it. Elizabeth <No suggested changes, but to urge you to simply keep the system stable and optimized... the "smudges" will disappear of their own accord. Bob Fenner>

My Goldfish     I bought three goldfish at Wal-Mart about two weeks ago, they were very golden then. For some odd reason they all are turning black, can you tell me what to do? Thanks, Angie <Nothing to worry about or do... some goldfish do change color... usually returning to gold to orange. Do your best to provide them with good care and all will be fine. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the Related Articles and FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>  

The Fish-Eating Filter 1.8.05 Hi WWM, <Hi! Ryan helping you today.> I have read over your site and found a few articles about fish meeting their end by getting sucked into their filter. From July until today I have had a total of three fish get stuck in the filter, a black moor (Buddy), a comet (Ace), and a calico (Daryl). We have tested the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and our water is fine. All of our fish seem perfectly healthy and happy before they get "sucked". We have five goldfish (each about 1 and a half inches long) that  live in a wide 30 gallon tank. We do a 25% water change once a week and we recently started feeding them gel food because of swim bladder disease caused by flake food. <Great move for overall health as well- Gel contains nutrients which would be destroyed by the drying process.> I was wondering if you could suggest what the cause might be and how we can fix the problem. <I'd suggest using a sponge over the filter inlet.  They make a variety of circular and tubular sponges for this purpose 'Many of which can be easily attached with a needle and fishing line.> I am very attached to my fish, and was very devastated when I woke up this morning to find Daryl stuck to the filter. I was also wondering if there is anyway to save a fish after being sucked. <A solitary area, typically called quarantine, would be in order.  There, you could make sure he's eating, and not being harassed by his fellow tenants.  You could also medicate the water in an effort to rebuild his damaged tissues.> Each of my fish are unique and have vibrant personalities, I just want to save my babies. <You're on the right track- And you may want to consider adding a small powerhead once you make the sponge covering- It may reduce water flow.  Good luck! Ryan> Please help!  

Hard Water and Goldfish I have a 40 gallon tank with goldfish. The water, when tested, is VERY hard. Is this a concern? If so, what can or should I do to correct it. Your comments are appreciated. Charlie <Not a problem. Goldfish can thrive in a wide range of conditions. You could mix in 50% distilled water, but I see no need to do so for your goldies. Don>  

Messing with pH Help! I have a small tank (6 gallons) with two tiny calico goldfish. I checked the pH and it was low, so I put in some powdered stuff they recommended at the pet shop according to the directions. One of the fish died within two days, now the other one has been lying on his side for the last day and appears to be dying. To top it all off, the pH hasn't come up at all into normal range. I feel terrible for my sick goldfish, I need help right away. I want to change the water, but I don't know if this would be worse. By the way, I have another larger orange goldfish who hasn't seemed to be affected by any of this at all, he looks fine. <Do change the water. About 50%. Do this daily for a week or so. Do not worry about your pH reading. It's not an "incorrect" pH that is harmful in most cases. It's the change in pH that kills. Goldfish can adapt to a wide range. A steady pH is the best pH. Also, this is far too small a tank for goldfish. Your problem may not be pH related but poor water quality in general. Test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Keep the first two at zero, nitrates below 20ppm. Either way, water changes are the answer. Don>  

Cloudy Goldfish Tank I have a set up of coldwater goldfish but really struggle to keep the water clean. It seems to get cloudy very quickly and I am not to sure whether this is due to the fish being fed too much, the filter not working correctly or anything else. I have heard of algae eaters but I am not sure what this involves. Your speedy reply would be appreciated. Phil <Cloudy water is a sign of too many nutrients in the water. A bacterial bloom like this is normal in a new setup. No action is needed, except for the normal water changes. In an established system overfeeding is the primary cause. Failing to remove waste and uneaten food with a gravel vac will also cloud up the water. If you clean up the gravel while doing a large water change and stop feeding for 2 or 3 days it will starve out and the water will clear. Then limit food and increase water changes to maintain it. Don>

High pH Hi guys, I have a goldfish in a 25L tank, by herself and with a carbon filter + sponge set-up that actively aerates her tank. A few weeks ago, I noticed she had white streaks through her tail fins which were fraying, and there was a white rim at the water surface on the tank. I took a sample of her water to the pet store who tested it and found that while ammonia levels are 0, the pH was around 7.6. I bought a kit with "pH DOWN" (which I think is a salt of Hydrochloric acid), and have since been doing weekly 25% water changes with neutral H2O, since my untreated tap water was definitely alkaline. Simultaneously I treated the tank with "Bactonex" which contains Malachite Green, and her tail healed well. However, a few days ago, I noticed that the streaks & fraying had returned. She tends to hide a bit, which is odd behaviour - she's normally very friendly. I checked her tank water, and found that the pH was in fact much higher than that of the untreated tap water! (I'd estimate tank pH at around 8.0 - it was off the colour scale in my kit). I notice on your site you mention a water conditioner TetraAqua as a culprit, but unfortunately, I don't have the ingredients in the conditioner I use to compare them. In her tank the gravel is white in colour, and appears quartz-like. There was definitely a powdery residue when I washed it before setting up the tank, but I thought I had removed it all. I will check the gravel today by putting it in some distilled H2O & checking the pH. There is also one live plant, and 3 small plastic plants. The live plant is so-so; it's certainly not as lush as when it came from the pet store, but it isn't dead yet. I also tend to get a little algal growth too. My questions are as follows: 1. Do you have any suggestions for culprits? And is there a "checklist" of factors I can follow if this problem crops up again? < Check the rocks and sand/gravel for calcium leaching from the them. The glass of distilled water with some rocks and sand is a good idea. The pH should not change. If is does than switch them for something else.> 2. What would you recommend (some sort of additive or substrate perhaps) to lower the pH and keep it stable? < Any inert medium sized gravel that is smooth and not rough to the touch.> 2. What sort of gravel would you recommend? < Stay away fro coral sands and dolomite. For growing plants there is nothing better than Fluorite by Seachem.> 3. What sort of water conditioner would you recommend, and are there any active ingredients I should look for? <Amquel by Kordon is great for water supplies with chlorine and chloramine. Biocoat by Marineland is very good when adding new fish that are stressed during shipping.> 4. How soon should I start dosing my fish if I see her tail fraying? I'm worried about bacterial resistance. < Fish do not like rapid changes in pH. Get the pH stabilized outside the aquarium. Clean the filter every two weeks. On the weeks that you don't change the filter do a 30% water change by vacuuming the crud out of the gravel. Go to Marineland .com and look under the Dr. Tim's library for articles on water chemistry that will give you a better understanding on the best way to lower the pH. Treat with Nitrofuranace and follow the directions completely on the package. Don't over feed. Feed your fish a high quality food to keep the fishes resistance to disease up.-Chuck> Thanks very much for your help. Che

pH Swings Dear Don:  I am at my wits' end with my tank and you were such a huge help to me before I thought I'd try one last time to see what on earth I'm doing wrong.  To refresh, I have a 10-gallon freshwater tank with 1 Oranda, 1 calico goldie and 1 Pleco.  Major new tank syndrome which you advised me to do daily water changes until tank was established.  Things improved until Oranda got white body slime on her so I contacted WWM again - advised to continue water changes, wean from ammonia pillow and medicate in qt tank if necessary, which was not necessary as Oranda improved.  However, she seemed to "shrink" - she was somehow smaller and skinnier overnight.  My whole family noticed it.  But she was eating well and had lots of energy and very friendly.  Ammonia pillow was removed and levels did not change for the worse. Then my filter motor went kaput  Nov. 30.  Had not changed filter yet as I'm still trying to establish tank and was advised not to until levels were better.  Old filter was gunked out with slime and was disposed of; new filter was installed - have done almost daily water tests but started again with daily/every other day water changes as seemed necessary due to increased levels of nitrate and ph.  I have not changed more than 50% at a time and last 2 changes only 25%.  Nitrite level remains at 0.  Have added up to 1 heaping tablespoon of salt each water change depending on amount of new water. My Pleco up and died 12/5.  No signs of problems before, just dead in the tank that morning.  Water test that day: nitrite 0; nitrate 20; Alk 120; ph 7.8; ammo .25. Ammonia level has remained at .25 forever - my water is well water - even RO water is .25.  Aging water does not lower level.  Did 50% water change. 12/6 got new Pleco; rocks and plants (plastic) are slimy; water is clear; new Pleco is sucking on everything and his digestive system works QUITE well if you know what I mean.  He's just a tad smaller than my original.  Have not noticed any waste from either Oranda or goldie but goldie is growing like mad and noticeably healthy so I know it's happening even though I don't see it, so really not sure about Oranda either. 12/7 Oranda not eating and not moving right front flipper fin.  I'm thinking she rubbed up against a rock maybe? and hurt herself so she's not hungry?  Is it possible for a fish NOT to be hungry?  No visible signs of problems on fin.  Tested water: nitrate 20-40; nitrite 0; Alk 120; ph 7.2; ammo .25.  Did small vacuuming/25% water change. 12/8 Oranda eating flakes and peas; hangs out at top of water in corner of tank and barely swims so not sure of condition of fin; water test nitrate 20-40; nitrite 0; Alk 120; ph 7.2; ammo .25.  Did small vacuuming/25% w/c. 12/9 Oranda not eating; refusing peas which she loves; still hanging at top corner of tank, no swimming; water test nitrate 20; nitrite 0; Alk 120; ph 7.8; ammo .25.  ph has climbed again but nitrate has lowered. At this point I just don't know what to do.  I'm afraid I'm doing too many water changes but still have not established tank.  Don't know how to get the ammonia out of the water but have been advised not to use bottled water.  How do you establish if you keep changing the water?  How long should all this take?  How do you keep your tank established when you replace filters?  Should there be a bunch of green slime where the water empties out of the filter into the tank?  I don't have that but I've seen it elsewhere.  Any idea why my Oranda is getting smaller instead of bigger even when she eats?  or why she's at the top of the water only? or why she has no energy?  Even when I vacuum the tank there's still a bunch of gunk and debris in the gravel afterwards but unless I do a huge water change I can't get all of it.  How do you do that, or should you?  Am I supposed to be washing this stuff off?  Because if so how do you get established? I am unemployed and can't afford the more expensive aquarium or test equipment.   I feel like everything I'm doing is prohibiting development of fish and tank but when I don't, fish either get sick or die.  After 3 months, shouldn't I be farther along than this?  I'm trying not to get too discouraged, but... Any advice you can give is certainly appreciated.  Thanks very much for your time and your help.   Robin <Hi Robin, Don again. I see two problems. Your pH is jumping all over the place. Not good. One of the signs of pH shock is excess body slime and white patches on skin. Check the pH of your tap water and the tank. If they are off by more than 2 or 3 tenths do smaller water changes more often. If they are very close together increase to 50% to control water quality until your filter is established. For help with that please read here:   http://www.marineland.com/articles/1firstthirty.asp Doing water changes will slow, but not stop, the process. but you need to do them to save the fish in there now. The other problem is replacing the filter. I forget what type you have, but the idea here is to establish that bacteria. Replacing the filter starts the process all over again. If your filter has some sort of "Bio Media" that is what you should NOT clean. The charcoal and floss can be replaced. If this is a sponge filter, either leave it alone or rinse it out slightly with old tank water. Never tap. It usually takes about four to six weeks to cycle. And if you are getting a reading of .25 on every thing you test, the problem is the test. R/O water will read zero. Why your fish seemed to get smaller is a puzzle. Thinner I can understand, but not shorter. Did he loose some tail?>      

Research First, Stock Later Hi Don - Oranda died. All this started when I inherited a huge brandy snifter and thought it would be really cool to turn it into a fish tank so I bought 2 goldfish - that turned out not to work too well because it had an air problem which led me to get my 10-gallon tank.  Since then, nothing but problems: daily water changes and testing at least twice a day, constant monitoring, keeping logs, faulty equipment, faulty test equipment, QT tanks, meds, shrinking fish, cannibal fish, etc. and now 5 dead fish to show for my hard work.  Fish should be considered "pets", not disposable hobby items, and I will not be getting any more.  I have decided this is NOT for me and will pack up my tank and equipment once these last two fish die.  I'm going back to kitten rescue which is what I did before. Yep, still hard work but much more rewarding for me. <Sorry to hear this. We all go through these problems at first. Learn from it and improve. Your underlying problem is species selection. Goldfish and Plecos will grow to a foot. Too big for a ten, even when small (but growing)> In the meantime, I'm not giving up on the two fish remaining and am now wondering about my new Pleco (who I've named "Hannibal") and how he was eating my Oranda before she died. Does this mean he's a carnivorous Pleco? Never heard of that, never warned of that, and I need to know if my calico goldie will be in any danger being in the tank with him?  I've read a couple websites that say he will start eating fish mates if he's hungry enough - how do I guarantee that Hannibal stays well fed?  Since he was sucking away at my Oranda, I guess this means that all of the algae in the tank and the algae tabs I put in at night aren't enough. Both Pleco's I've had refuse veggies. I have followed the advice of WWM: steamed but not squishy, nice big chunk so it's heavy enough to stay at the bottom, tried zucchini, broccoli and peas, but neither Pleco would touch any. Tiny bite size pieces don't work because they float. Any advice you can give that will save him from being flushed is appreciated. Thanks very much for all you've done for me.   Robin <Robin, no matter what your feelings are on keeping fish, never flush one alive. Think of the horrible death you are imposing on him. Return him to the fish store. Give him away. Never flush. He is a bottom dwelling scavenger whose normal diet is anything that sinks to the bottom of the river. This includes sick and dead fish. He was doing what nature intended, and what you intended when you bought him. Keeping the bottom clean. A hungry Pleco will try to eat the slime coat and flesh of any fish he can catch. Since this fish seems to want a more meaty diet than most, try a shrimp or other raw human seafood. Again, feed at night and on the bottom. If you would like a fresh start with a all your new knowledge, return them both now. Throw a small shrimp in the tank. It will decay and produce ammonia. No fish in the tank means no water changes. Test it once or twice a week. When ammonia and nitrite have both spiked and crashed AND nitrates are rising, you can add one or two fish without all these problems. Stock slowly, keep the number of fish low and research their adult size before buying and you will find this much easier. But I would return the Pleco in any case. He will outgrow the 10 soon enough. So will a goldfish. In an unheated 10 gallon tank six White Cloud Minnows would work well. Add a heater and it would be a great home for a Betta and three or four Cory catfish. Don>    

Saving Lives Hi ya, A few weeks ago, my partner and I were in a hi-fi shop, and were saddened to see that they were keeping two goldfish, one about three inches and the other about two, in a tiny tank on the counter. So we wrote them a letter, and the upshot of it is that we have ended up taking these fish off their hands to look after them ourselves. The shop said they've had them about 10 years. We didn't really know much about the care of fish, but figured that we'd give them a better life than they'd have in a nasty tiny tank in a shop. Anyway, we've given them a bigger tank (60 litres) with a filter, and added an "air diffuser" - which they love! We've treated the water with "AquaSafe", and are changing about 20% of it every week or so. In the short-term we are feeding them the TetraFish flakes, as much as they will enthusiastically eat in about three minutes, twice a day. <All GREAT!! And I thank you for saving these fish. In 10 years these goldies should be over a foot long. That gives you an idea just how bad off they were. You may need an even bigger tank in time. But for now all is fine. Read here on Bio Filtration. Very important subject in a new setup. http://www.marineland.com/articles/1firstthirty.asp > My questions are these:  Firstly, does all that sound ok to you?  They seem much happier and more active to us, and some black smears they had around their fins and foreheads, which we took to be a fungal infection or something, have completely gone. Secondly, we are both vegans, and would like to feed the goldfish on a vegetarian diet, as long as this wouldn't compromise their health. Would this be possible? And if so, what would you recommend using as food? They are lovely fishes - we've become very fond of them over the last few weeks. Many thanks in advance, Chris <Well you're lucky on this one. Goldfish love veggies. Shelled peas are a favorite. But you can try any finely chopped veggies. Mix it up. A varied diet is a good diet. Blanch anything hard, like carrot. There are many good foods formulated just for goldfish. I suggest you pick up two or three brands and feed them as a staple. Feed the veggies a couple time a week as a treat. Stay away from floating pellets and flake. They can gulp air while eating and become bloated. Good luck and thanks again! Don>  

Dirty Goldfish Hi. My name is Lucy. I have a ten gallon tank with two 1 inch goldfish and two 2 inch goldfish. They were all doing fine then one of my bigger goldfish got sick. This lasted for a month. Since then my tank will not stay clean. It is so murky that you can't see the back. I have tried cleaning 25% every week and a new filter/conditioner. I don't know what to do! And also one of my fish has these bumps right above his gills. I've tried medication by nothing seem to work. Please help me! Thank you: LUCY <Hi Lucy, Don here. You have a little work ahead, but I'm sure we can fix this. First, you need to do more water changes. About 50% daily. Remove all the water you are going to change before adding any fresh water. Remove the water from the bottom, siphoning with a gravel vac. This is a simple $5 item you can get at any fish store. Make sure you use a dechlorinator, but nothing else. No Meds! Don't clean the filter. When the tank starts to clear you can slow down to 20 or 30% twice a week and service the filter. It may look a little cloudy at this point, don't worry. It will clear. Be careful not to overfeed and get all the fish poop and uneaten food out with that gravel vac. Good luck>

Goldfish Tank Size This is Margarete. How big a tank should I have for my 5" goldfish and also is it better for her to be by herself or to have tank buddies. Thanks for answering my e-mail earlier. <That's a pretty good size goldfish you have and he'll only get bigger. I would say at least a 20 gallon. A 29 would be better if you wanted to add another. No problem keeping him alone though. Don't mix tropicals in with him. They need warmer water. Don>

Confuddeled New Owner Hi, I have just inherited two goldfish from my nephew. Unfortunately they were kept in a very small tank, about 2 liters. So I have invested in a nice, bigger, 15 liter, or about 4 gal, tank with an undergravel filter/air pump, stone. The fish seem happier in this tank but there is one thing that concerns me. The first thing is that the smallest of the 2 seems to tilt towards 11 o'clock when it swims. <AM or PM?> It also seems to repeatedly go to the side of the tank and rush to the surface then floats back to the bottom. Is this usual or is there something wrong. <Could be a swim bladder problem. Not treatable if genetic, hard to treat if from injury. Can be from infection. If so, try a medicated flake for bacterial infections. Could also be from gulping air as he eats. Feed sinking, rather than floating, food>   Also I am a bit confuddled about how big my tank should be. I would like to keep more than 2 fish but am getting conflicting info with regards to tank sizes. Do I need a 50 gal tank or am I OK with 1 gal per fish. I have even read on a site that you can keep 10 goldfish in the tank that I have. It's all getting very confuddeling??? <You will need a bigger tank for just the two. In a 50 you could keep these two for life. Even one or two more. But you will need better filtration than a UGF can provide. I would remove it completely and upgrade to a good power filer. Don> Andy

Confuddeled New Owner - II Hi, thanks for the info. How big is a 50 gal tank, 3ft or 6ft? And the fish that swims lopsided mainly does this during the day. Andy <Hi Andy, Don again. A "standard" 55 gallon is 48"x12"x18", at least on this side of the pond. The listing goldfish may be gulping air if only swimming that way part of the time. Could also be constipation. Try feeding him a few shelled peas>  

Lonely goldfish Hi! I visited your website for help and I couldn't find it. I have 3 goldfish. One is much larger than the others but they seemed to be getting along. After maybe a month, one of the smaller fish started to grow. Now I have a large fish, a medium fish and a small fish. After maybe 3 months, the largest fish started biting at the smallest fish's fins. <Hello...Jorie here.  How big is the tank you are keeping all three in? Are there ample hiding places and other "cover", such as plants, decorations, etc.? This will help everybody establish his/her own space.> We had to separate them. <Probably wise.> Now that they are, the fish that was separated looks lonely, is there any other way of stopping them besides separating them/getting a new fish? <This is hard to answer without knowing the size of the tanks in question.  Many times people tend to cram way too many fish into a tank; additionally, goldfish are extremely messy, so they need, ideally, even more room than many other species!> I had an idea of putting a piece of hard plastic/glass to separate to parts of the fish tank so they could still have contact but it seemed too extreme so we moved the fish into an old tank. Now the fish looks really lonely. How can I make my fish happy without putting my fish together/ buying a new fish? <Is it possible to put the two tanks up against each other? I do this with my Bettas sometimes to give them exercise...> Oh, and the tank is pretty small where I put the fish that was bitten, not enough room for an ornament of some type. <My guess is that the tank isn't big enough for the fish, then.  Maybe that's why he looks so sad? If you wanted to keep all three together, perhaps consider a 20 gal. tank? Really, in the long run, a larger tank is easier to maintain (less water changes, more stability, etc.) The tank is pretty "Plain Jane" right now. Hope you can answer back!                                                                             ~CALL ME BOB~ <Well, sorry for the delayed reply, but hope I helped.  Do consider upsizing tanks to make your life easier and your fish's lives happier. Jorie>

Goldfish Overstocking Bob, I have a 4 ft tank, <I'll assume a 55 gallon> 16 quite large fish (a variety) <Again, I'll assume you mean a variety of goldfish types. If you have tropicals in there, that could be the problem> which have lived together peacefully for over a year. Two weeks ago they started eating (completely) a real plant, last week they chomped on the smallest goldfish's tails and fins, he eventually died....and this week they are attacking a large black goldfish. Its beautiful tail and fins are all damaged.... help - why is this happening and what should I do???? I am sorry I am not very familiar with the goldfish's' proper names. Thank you so much for your time. Barbara <Hi Barbra, Don here. Sixteen is a lot of goldfish! Especially large ones. Overcrowding is definitely a factor here. "Normal", comet types, can reach a foot. And they are heavy waste producers at any size. They also love to eat plants. Some buy plants just to feed to the goldfish. I strongly suggest you pick your favorite four or five and find new homes for the rest. That, or add 3 or 4 more tanks. No way around it. Sixteen feet of fish just won't fit in a four foot tank. In the meantime, if possible move the injured fish to a small tank and add some salt to prevent fungus until he heals. Also, do large water changes a few times a week in the four foot. Goldfish need a lot of fresh water>

Goldfish system Hi, it's me Tara again, <Hello> I am also wondering if you can tell me how to clean my tank, this is my first time and I really don't want them to die. Also, I don't have a filter, is that okay? <It depends on how often you change the water.>  Should the fish be separated? I'm sorry if I'm a hassle <You are not> to you and I'm sorry for asking all these questions <No worries> but I have researched and haven't found anything. <I found a link for wetwebmedia.com that gives you much more information that I could type here.  Here is the link. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish.htm> I would also like to maybe teach one of my comets to go through a maze. <Lets worry about getting them to eat correctly first.  One step at a time> What would be the best way to teach them?  

New goldfish questions I recently went to a fair in Jacksonville, FL and won 2 fish. One is gold in color (orange maybe) and the other is silver. I bought a 10 gallon tank for them and I would like to know if this would be big enough. <Hi there...this is Jorie. If indeed we are talking about goldfish, a 10 gal. tank would be a perfect sized house for two of them...good job on leaving them with enough swimming room, which many people don't do! Likely they are goldfish, as that is a common prize from fairs like the one you went to.> Also I think that these are goldfish but not sure.....they had Bettas there but it took 6 wins to get them. <Ahhh, I hope they didn't have the Bettas and the goldfish together in one tank - goldfish are cold water fish, whereas Bettas are tropical! Also, you never want to have more than one male Betta in any sized tank, as they will live up to their name of "Siamese fighting fish". You should enjoy your goldies, though...they are quite colorful and fun as a first fish!> If the tank is large enough and you think that they are goldfish then I would like to know if it would be ok to add more fish (only like one or two) and what the water temp should be. I have it around 68 F. <Sounds to me like you've got a perfect setup going for your two goldies.  I wouldn't recommend adding any more fish...allow these guys to enjoy their swimming room.  Plus, keep in mind they will grow! The temp. sounds great for goldfish- just keep in mind it is important to keep the temp. as constant as possible.  Also, are you brand new to the fish-keeping hobby? If so, do some reading on what is called the "nitrogen cycle" - this is a process by which the tank will establish a beneficial bacteria count to stabilize itself.  If this is a newly set up tank, please be sure that you are doing regular water changes, because the ammonia, nitrite and nitrates that are "cycling" will build up and can be fatal to fish.  I recommend a book by David E. Boruchowitz called "The Simple Guide To Freshwater Aquariums" for starters (although, do NOT pay attention to his stocking suggestions, as his tanks are way too full, in my opinion!) to introduce you to some of the basics. Good luck to you, enjoy your new fish, and congratulations on being so proactive in trying to put together the best home possible for them!> Thanks a lot, Nathan Hurley <You are very welcome, my friend. Jorie>

Tank Upgrade Hello, I sent an email a while ago.  You solved my problem thanks, and we bought a large tank, pump and filter, another goldfish and all the bits. The goldfish seem happy now although the new fish seems to be being left out. We have cleaned the tank out twice now after 7-10 days as the fish seem to be darting around, and also have a few quiet spells at the bottom. Whilst this is happening the water filter is doing its job but noisily, and the water is cloudy, are we correct in doing a complete clean. <No, partial water changes and gravel vacuuming only> We are adding the additive on using clean water as we have no room to store water or a few days before the change. We feed the three goldfish twice a day, but feel they sometimes don't get the food as the pump circulates it at the top, then when it drops they cant find it amongst the stones. The tank is 18 x 12. We have bought a light, but should we leave it on at night, we don't know if they can see in the dark. <No they can't, but that's OK. They can't in the wild either. Keep them on for 10 to 12 hours a day, max> I have read they don't have eyelids, and too much light effects them. Finally can you suggest what we do if we go on holiday for either a week or a fortnight. <For a week just feed them well for a few days before hand then do a water change just before you leave. They'll be fine. For two weeks you may want to have someone stop in and feed them 2 or 3 times> Many thanks.  Lynn. <Hi Lynne, Don here. Glad we could help. I just wish you would not have added more goldfish. Increasing the size of the tank is a good move, but if you add more fish you'll be in the same situation you were in before. Do not clean the entire tank. Do partial water changes. Use a gravel vac to remove the old water and waste. Most filters have a pad for normal filtration and another for bio filtration. It may be a wheel, pad, balls etc.. Never clean the bio filter. Don't even rinse it off. Search this site for "Cycling" and all will become clear, even your water. One thing you did not mention is a test kit. It is vital to test. You must be able to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH.>     

Tank Upgrade pt 2 Further to our earlier email of today, the youngest goldfish has died, <Sorry to hear> I presume the eldest one has bullied it after several nights of watching carefully. Do we need to change the tank since the death. <No> Generally how often should we do a tank clean. Many thanks Lynn <A well filtered and maintained tank never needs to be completely cleaned. Just remove the old food and waste with a gravel vac when doing partial water changes. After the tank is cycled change about 20 to 30% of the water per week. Better if we had that test kit I spoke of. The results will tell us when the cycle is established and how and when to change water. Don>  

New Aquarium Hi, I have read several articles on your site, very informative. I bought a 55 gal aquarium with an Aqua-Tech Filter that has two filter pads and two biological pads. I put 60lbs of landscape pea gravel in the bottom. (I added 1/3 pond water and 2/3 tap water with Tap Water conditioner for chloramine). I want to transfer my 8 feeder goldfish from my 5'X10'X18" pond. The aquarium filter has been running 24 hours. The temp is 67-72º. The pond this morning was 48º but will warm in the next few days with temps in the 70's. The aquarium ran these numbers just now. Nitrate 20, Nitrite 0, Hardness 300, (we have very hard water here), Alkalinity 80, PH 7.2. Ammonia was 0.25 (however the test kit expired 4/2004). What do I need to do to get the water livable? What temp in the pond will be safe to transfer the fish? How many fish and what time difference? Thank you so much. Nancy, Wichita, KS <<Hello. You have obviously transferred some nitrate into your tank in the pond water. You can re-test the ammonia, I would test both the tank AND the pond. In order to get the tank "livable" you just need to do a large water change and be sure there is no ammonia present. If there is a filter on the pond, you may want to transfer some of your beneficial bacteria into the tanks filter, to avoid any ammonia spikes once you DO transfer the fish. You want to move the fish inside before the pond gets too cold, 50F, which means, pretty soon. It is easier on the fish if you transfer them to a tank that is the same temp as the pond... -Gwen>>  

Gravel Concern I have 8 feeder goldfish in my 5'X10' pond. I bought a 55 gal. aquarium and put 60 lbs of landscape pea gravel in the bottom of the aquarium. The fish have had pea gravel in the pond. Will this hurt them in the aquarium? <No, but if it's not for aquarium use you may want to check for changes to pH and hardness. Don>  

A Big Load of Carp Hi, I have had my tank for about 2 years and have had the same fish in there for 18 months. I have a Goldfish, Fancy Tail, 2 Black Moors, Bubble Eye and 2 Tench. <That's a very heavy bio load you have. What size tank is this? What kind of filter do you use?> Last night they were all fine but this morning I noticed that all the fish, apart from the two Tench, have had large areas of tail and fin destroyed and the Bubble Eye and Goldfish have areas of body damaged. <Ouch!> I assumed that it is the Tench that have done this as they are ok and have moved them into a second tank. <Great, if for no other reason than to spread out these large waste producers into a few tanks.> Is there any reason for Tench to do this all of a sudden? They have been in the tank for 18 months and there has never been any attack on any fish in my tank before. Shaun <If all this damage happened in one night, then I assume you are correct in blaming the Tench. Why they picked last night is anyone's guess. But these are all carp, so maybe the Tench were trying to breed with the reluctant goldfish. If this damage has happened over the course of a week or so, then it may be bad water conditions, not aggression. Tench are known to have a very thick slime coat that would have allowed them to handle the problem longer than the Goldfish. Also, have you done a large water change recently? May have triggered the breeding urge or caused a pH swing. A sudden pH swing can cause skin and fin damage. The Tench would be somewhat protected by that slime coat. Please check your water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Make sure the injured Goldfish are kept in pristine water, with salt added, to allow them to heal. Don>      

Question about inside/outside pond fish disease Hello and thank you in advance for answering my question. <Hello, Gayle...Jorie here tonight - I'll try my best to help you!> (1)  I had 10 fish in an outside tank until September 18th when I brought them in for the winter.  I used 50% of their water from outside tank and 50% new water.  Tank has 150 gallons in it.  It has aquarium salt added.  The water temperature was exactly the same when moved from outside tank to inside tank. <What type of fish are we talking about? Just goldies or something else as well? How long have they been in their present tank set-up?  It's great that you used 50% "old" (and I am assuming it was old enough to have been a fully cycled tank) water, but I would still suggest you closely monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrates for a while.  Have you have taken any measurements? If so, could you let me know what they were reading? And, definitely good that you matched the temperature...did you check to see if the pH was the same as well? Something else to consider...> (2)  The 2 very large Comets became so stressed they were attacking the other fish.  They were removed.  2 Koi appeared to have serious Gill Disease and were removed.  Leaving 4 (6 inch) Koi and 2 (3 inch) Comets. <Did you put these guys in a hospital tank somewhere? If so, how are they doing?> (3)  They all had started flashing against the bottom of the tank after being in the house for a couple of days. <Again, I would suggest you start with checking all the fundamental water parameters, such as the ones listed above.  Also, I should have asked you earlier what the "matched" temperature you refer to is at. Perhaps the fish were reacting to some sort of environmental stressor.  Or, perhaps they aren't used to their new surroundings...is the inside tank in a high-traffic area? Is there a big difference in decor between the outdoor and the indoor set-ups?> (4)  I treated with  Jungle "Anti-Bacterial" fish food for 6 days.  They did not stop flashing but did for the first time ever start carrying their top, dorsal fins fully erect and seemed happier and not stressed any longer. <OK...that sounds like you're heading in the right direction.  I'm curious if you ever saw any external parasites on the bodies, or in the gills of these guys.  Or, what about any white spots (ich)? Anything besides the flashing behavior you've described?> (5)  Then I was told to treat with the Mardel "Copper Safe" for parasites and "Maracyn Two" for secondary bacterial infections.  Since the carbon filter was in use over 6 days, the instructions said it could be left in place.  I miscalculated and did not purchase enough of these two products so the recommended full dose was not used in the water. approx. 3/4 doses used. And since at least one fish had pale, stringy feces, I was told to feed Jungle "PEPSO FOOD" for internal parasites as well. <Yikes...this is a lot of medication to introduced all at once.  It is generally not a good idea to mix and match medications - I would bet that your fish aren't happy to have had all of these meds thrown into their tank at once.  Also, it becomes quite difficult to pinpoint what works and what doesn't work.  I would suggest you do several large water changes (again, make sure to match water parameters to rid their home of all the toxins that have likely built up.  It sounds to me as though the cause of the problems may have been environmental and could have been rectified by several large water changes - never underestimate the power of pristine water conditions!  And you should be aware that you've likely wiped out your bacterial population with all these meds, so your tank is going to have to re-cycle.  That calls for even more water changes, my friend!> (6)  They ate the food Friday night and Saturday morning.  Then completely stopped eating and went into hiding.  They won't eat even their favorite foods and if they come out of hiding, they race madly once around the tank and go back into hiding.  They have not eaten for 2 and 1/2 days. <Check your water parameters.> (7)  I did a partial water change and vacuumed the tank bottom really well.  I am worried they are going to die on me.  Please advise ASAP.  Thank you, Gayle <When you say "partial water change", how many gallons are you talking about? In such a large system (150 gal.), you are going to need to replace a lot of water (over the course of several changes, not all at once of course) and I'm just trying to get a handle on how much you've already replaced.  In any event, I'd suggest doing at least a 40-50% water change ASAP.  Do take those readings before and after, though.  Give them a few days to settle down and re-assess.  If the flashing behavior continues after the environmental conditions have been rectified, then chances are you are dealing with some sort of gill parasites, but I wouldn't go there quite yet.  It sounds like you take very good care of these fish, Gayle, and I hope they pull through.  Keep me posted on how a big ol' water change affects things, and we'll go from there.  Best of luck, Jorie.>

Goldfish questions Hi Gayle, Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner.  I appreciate your detailed reply and would like to suggest a couple of things: whenever you are relying on another source (i.e., rural fish store) for water readings, ask them to please write down the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH readings, rather than just telling you things are "fine" - this way there's no room for subjectivity. You may want to consider purchasing your own "master" test kit (stay away from the strip type kits, if possible) so that you can take these readings yourself. It's really not that hard and will save you many trips to the LFS (local fish store)! With regards to the salt, if you are seeing a build up on the sides of the tank, I think you may be over salting.  I am assuming that you are only adding salt into the 20% replacement water, which is the correct thing to do, but again, as salt does not evaporate, you shouldn't see noticeable layer of salt on the tank.  Also, you mentioned that the water was cloudy - that also leads me to believe the salinity may be too high.  Try to pick up a box type hydrometer (any local fish store should have one) and measure what the salinity level in this tank is (if all else fails, ask your fish store to measure the specific gravity for you when you bring in your next sample).  Goldfish are by no means saltwater fish, but do enjoy a bit of aquarium salt in their water - my concern is that there may be too much in the water for them. Regarding the Pepso food, I would think if anything the food wouldn't have helped if it was that old, but I can't imagine it did any damage.  Make sure you've vacuumed up all the leftover pellets, if you haven't already, and you should be OK. With regards to your fish not eating at all, what do you feed them? Garlic extract (manufactured by Kent specifically for aquarium use, but also available in capsules in the grocery or health food store - you would just puncture a capsule and squeeze a few drops either onto the food or directly into the water to stimulate appetite) can be helpful in such a situation. Finally, I just want to make sure that you are keeping the temperature stable.  I know you wanted to match as closely as possible the "outside" and "inside" water, which you did with ice, but it is *much* more important to have stability as opposed to an *exact* match.  If you don't already have one, do pick up a floating type thermometer in the pet store and ensure that you don't have wild temperature swings during the day/night.   I'm hoping your fish are doing better - please let me know if you need anything else! Best of luck, Jorie  

Re: goldfish question Jorie, I will get the things you suggested tomorrow at the pet store.  The lady there sold me the fish to go together in one tank. <You have to be very careful when listening to the advice of some pet store owners - do keep in mind they have conflicting interests at times (i.e., making a sale vs. health of fish).  I'm not saying all pet store owners give bad advice, just that it is usually a good idea to confirm from various sources any advice you receive.  This is true in general, as well, regardless of if the advice first comes from a pet store.  Unbiased sources, of course, are best!> I have no heater or anything in the 5 gallon tank and have another beta in a tank that stays at room temp.  Should I move the Betta out of the 5 gallon tank ? <I would strongly recommend you put the Betta in his own 2-3 gal. tank, complete with a 25w heater.  An ideal temperature for the Betta is between 80-82 degrees, and most important is to keep the temp. stable.  I'm afraid that room temperature may fluctuate too much from day to night.> I forgot what the little fish are called but they have a bright blue stripe down their length and a red stripe near the tail.  They can't be more than an inch long. <Sounds like Neon Tetras to me...do a search and confirm, if possible.> There are two in the aquarium.  I think they are Neon Tetras. <Ha! You beat me to it...I agree, see above.>   Should they be in a different tank too and if so what type? <I'm not an expert on tetras, but I do believe you should be able to house a Betta and the Neons together.  If you do that, though, I wouldn't recommend heating the water above 78-79 degrees, as 80-82 might be too hot for the tetras.  Again, stability is key.  You definitely do need a heater to keep these types of tropical fish.>   I also have a blue Gourami in the 5 gallon tank. <Should be OK with the Neons, I'm not sure how he will react to the Betta, or vice versa.> I'm beginning to wonder if my pet store knows what they are doing?!!!! <You said it, not me:-)> Also, could you recommend the number of fish I should have in the 5 gallon tank?  Right now there is one fairly large goldfish (approx 4 inches), one bubble eye goldfish (approx 1.5 inches) a red Oranda (I think...he's about 1.5 inches too) and two Neon tetras, one Betta. <OK, here's what I suggest.  If you want to keep the two goldfish, make this their home.  Don't add any more goldies, though, as they are quite messy and grow somewhat large in many cases.  Do regular water changes on this tank, esp. right now, since the tank hasn't cycled.  This will reduce the buildup of ammonia, nitrite and nitrates.  When doing water changes, try to match the pH and temp. of the new and old water as best you can so you don't shock the fish's system.  Next, if you are interested in keeping the other fish you mentioned as well, you will have to find them a new home.  Ideally, and if it were me, I'd suggest getting a small 3 gal. Eclipse tank for the Betta (again, complete with 25 w heater), and let him live in there.  For your other fish, the Neons and the Gourami, consider a 10 gal. tank? (Or bigger, if you like...you'll not regret the extra space!)  I suppose you could keep the Betta, Gourami and a few Neons together in the 10 gal., but you would be maxed out at that point, in my opinion.  I should ask also if you have any filtration on the tank? If not, consider a power filter with wet/dry filtration...this will aid in the cycling process and keeping the water clean and healthy for the fish.  (Note: you should probably check out a beginner's book by David E. Burochowitz entitled A Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums - I found the book to be quite useful as a starting point, but please don't rely on his stocking schemes, as he tends to advocate overcrowding, in my opinion.  This should help you get your head around some fundamental concepts, though.)> I didn't let the aquarium cycle.  I was unaware of this.  How is it done? <Again, check out the book I referenced above, as, if I recall correctly, it does a wonderful job of illustrating the process.  Basically, when the fish creates waste, the water is at first not able to process any of it, and it turns directly into ammonia, which is highly toxic to fish.  As time goes on, the ammonia converts to nitrite, which eventually converts to nitrate (all in descending order of toxicity to a fish, but you ideally don't want any of the three present at all.)  Cycling with fish in the water presents a fundamental dilemma, because the way to rid the water of these toxins is to do water changes, but if you take too much water out at a time, you aren't allowing the tank to "cycle".  It's striking a balance between the two when you are cycling the tank with your fish already in there.  Please do invest in a test kit that is able to measure ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, at least (also pH), and do at least daily measurements until you see a spike in all three levels, then a dropping back to zero.  In order to keep your fish happy and healthy, though, you need to do a water change ASAP if you ever have an ammonia or nitrite reading; you will delay the cycle, but at least your fish will survive.> Thanks so much for your help. Julie <Hope this wasn't too much information thrown out at you at once.  You are definitely on your way to providing a great home for your fish...just do some reading, take a peek at the WWM message boards, as there are always people ready to help out an eager newcomer, and do the best you can - believe it or not, you'll catch on, and probably quicker than you think! Good luck, Jorie>

Re: goldfish question Also, what is the best way to change water.  I've been just taking it out from the top of the tank with a pitcher then adding more water. I've read about vacuums.....do I need one of those?? <Hi again...I just use a piece of flexible plastic tubing to create a siphon. The piece I use is long enough so that I can suck up any debris on the bottom of the tank and then I let it run out into a 5 gal. bucket on the floor.  I use a pitcher to refill the tank, then.  Again, keep in mind that you want to match pH and temp. of new vs. old water as closely as possible so that you don't shock your fish.> Thanks again Julie <You're welcome again! Anytime.  Jorie>

Re: goldfish question I sent over a few more email questions last night and was wondering if you received them.... <I did...sorry for the delay, Julie! Between working two jobs and applying to law schools, I get pretty busy sometimes. Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner.  Hope I answered your questions; let me know if you have any more!> Thanks, Julie <Take care, Jorie>  

Re: goldfish question Jorie, Wow, you are a busy one.  I have 4 little ones and am a stay at home mom. I'm not sure which is busier. <Mmmm, I think you probably win by a hair or two!> Since talking with you the other night I have lost my bubble eye, my fan tail, one neon tetra and the big gold fish is almost dead.   <Gosh, I'm really sorry.> Is it best to remove them before death or wait? <Depends. If you log on to the WWM message board, you'll see the topic of fish euthanasia is hotly debated at times.  My general rule of thumb is if you are positive you've done everything you can for the fish and you can see it is suffering, it's probably best to euthanize - I use pure clove oil, as it basically puts the fish to sleep in a painless manner.> I guess my first experience with a larger tank has been "not good". <No, doesn't sound like it, but don't give up.  I think you were given not-such-great advice from your fish store, personally.  As the supposed "experts", they should have helped you out. Glad you found WWM and hopefully we can help you succeed with the hobby.> I have one Betta in a 1 to 2 gallon tank and he's happy and thriving.   <Yay! What's his name?> Our house stays around 70 and he seems very happy but I'll consider the heater you recommended. <Just for fun, get a little floating thermometer for his tank and ensure the temp. stays stable.  That's the most important thing. If he happy and thriving, though, and the water's at least mid-upper 70's, best to leave well enough alone I suppose.> Since everything is dying I guess I'm going to stay with the Gourami and the one tetra still alive in that tank.  I've added salt but didn't get a meter because the pet store said I didn't need it. <I'm trying to refrain from making horrible comments about your fish store......ok, I'm ok now! Please do consider researching everything they tell you from an unbiased source before taking what they say at face value. They may be right (sometimes?!), but it is best to always get multiple opinions when possible.> <Did you add 1 tbsp. per gallon? That should be fine. Just remember that salt doesn't evaporate, as water does.> Ok, guess they just want to sell me new fish.  My question now is do I take the fish that are ok out and clean everything to rid of the "ick" or do I leave them in and hope for the best, continuing with water changes (25%) I've been doing every day. <If it's possible, I'd recommend moving everyone into a clean quarantine tank (it could even be as simple as a Rubbermaid bucket or other container) while allowing the main tank to remain fishless (or "fallow").  If you were battling ich, that's truly the only way to ever completely rid a tank of it.> My big goldfish has that white cloudy stuff all over him now and looks very sick.  I don't think he's going to make it. <Sounds like fungus.  You need to isolate him from all other fish and treat with something like Maroxy by Mardel, according to the package's directions.> The Gourami seems fine. <Great to hear...you need to get any infected fish away from him, though, so that he stays that way.> Thanks for all your help. Julie <You're welcome.  I'm sorry we weren't able to save all of your fish.  Great news on the Betta and the Gourami, though.  Please do isolate the Goldie, and do keep up on water changes with all the tanks. Let me know if you need anything additional. Jorie>  

Re: goldfish question Jorie, My thriving Betta I call my serenity fish.  I guess his real name is Blue. He's so serene.  He comes to the tank's side when I come near and wiggles at me. <Very cute. I absolutely adore my two Bettas...great pets, in my opinion.> The big goldfish (who bit the bullet tonight) was so hyper....my children named him Dory (after the Finding Nemo character). <Sorry you lost him...> I only added 1tbsp of salt to 5 gallons.  Not 1tbsp per gallon.  The instructions on the package said 1 tbsp per 5 gallons.  Another oops I guess.  There are so many different recommendations how does one really know what to do? <This is so true, it's very hard to know exactly who to listen  to.  This was my biggest struggle when I first started the hobby, and to be honest, I still encounter this issue from time to time, even today.  You should be just fine with the 1 tbsp./gallon dosage of aquarium salt.  No worries.> Ok, so now all the sick fish seem to be dead is this what I should do? 1.  Take 2 remaining fish from tank and put in quarantine.  (For how long?) <In my opinion, for at least a month after you see no visible signs of illness (so, as long as your current fish seem healthy, 1 mo., approx.)> 2.  Clean infected tank???  OR Just continue let it run changing the water everyday (how much.,..25%?). <I would dump the water, clean the tank well with bleach and rinse it very, very well. Let it dry, then refill, and begin the cycle again (without fish would be my preference...) 3.  When should I add the fish back to the tank? <Once the tank has completed a full nitrogen cycle or after the 1 mo. QT period, whichever comes later.> 4.  If I do clean the entire tank should I add salt before adding fish?  If so how much? <I personally do not add any salt to my freshwater community tank, but I know that many people believe it helps the fish's health.  If you like, continue with the 1 tbsp. per 5 gal., as per the carton's instructions, but in my opinion, it isn't necessary.> 5.  Please tell me the exact name of that meter thing I need to buy to test the water and could you tell me what the levels should be again? <To test the water's salinity (if you choose to add salt), you want a hydrometer. A plastic box type one should run you around $5-7. For checking ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels, you are looking for a freshwater aquarium test kit; personally, I use the Tetra brand, but many people also use and trust the one by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. Either will be fine. Just stay away from the "dip stick" type kits, as they are notoriously inaccurate.> 6.  When the tank seems "happy"  do I just do the 25% change weekly? <Again, trust your test kits.  In the beginning, test the water as often as possible (once a day wouldn't be out of line)...any readings at all for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate (after the cycling period) warrant an immediate water change.  For a small tank, between 25%-50% weekly wouldn't be out of line.> You've been a blessing.....thanks so much. Julie <I hope I've helped.  Do check out an introductory book or two (or as many as time permits, to get as many people's perspectives as you can!) to get familiar with the terminology, etc. Best of luck to you and yours, Jorie.> Julie Worthy   

Re: Fish disease Jorie, I just was given these fish from an Aunt that moved away. So I am sorry I am not a whiz at taking care of the fish. I am extremely new at this. <Hey, no need to apologize, we all started from the beginning at one point or another! The point is that you are taking the time to ask the necessary questions and learn what you can, and that we at WWM are here to help!> I have about a 12 gal or so tank that has the mini Koi and a black sucker fish.. with a filter... not sure what kind. The QT fish is in a tank about 5 to 7 gal or so, it doesn't have a filter. <This is fine.  You may want to consider putting a small power filter on the QT tank only to save yourself the hassle of having to do so many water changes.  Technically, if you do enough water changes, you don't need a filter, but it is recommended.  Plus, it makes your life easier as well! But you are right, a QT tank doesn't have to be anything fancy.> I didn't have one to QT him with, and I was under the impression that gold fish of any kind don't require filters or rather they can live with out them (until he was better and I could move him back into his home). <Same as above...all fish can technically live without a filter, but it requires so much more maintenance on your part to keep the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels at zero (all are toxic to fish).> I did take about 1/4 of the water from the big tank and just mixed H2O from the tap.... I was told to not treat the water due to the mix up with chemicals. <Definitely good that you took water from the main tank - this helps "kick start" the nitrogen cycle.  I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "mix up with chemicals", though.> I am not sure how to test the levels and how to go about repairing them. <All you need to do this is a test kit that checks ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH - directions will be enclosed and most brands are very easy to use.  I personally use the test kits put out by Tetra, and they work well for me.  To "repair" the parameters = water changes! Basically, if you have a buildup of a toxin like ammonia, nitrite or nitrate, the only true way to eliminate it is to take it out (i.e., water change).  There are chemicals that are sold which claim to neutralize various toxins, but I personally don't trust them and have never used them.. In retrospect, this may be what you were told with regard to not "mixing chemicals", and this is indeed good advice.> What do you mean water parameters? <Levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, temperature of water, pH of water, etc.> I was also told to continue with water changes everyday for two weeks... It has been about a week and a couple of days and the spots on one side of his body are disappearing ?? So, so far so good right?? <Yes! Wonderful! Good advice, water changes are fundamental to this hobby! Keep up the good work!> I hope that this can help me help Leo ?? Thank you for your time on this. Jodi <Jodi, you are doing a great job from what it sounds like.  I would, like I said above, invest in a test kit so that you can see for yourself what happens when toxins build up (test the old water you are discarding after a water change vs. the new...you'll see what I mean)  You are absolutely on the right track and Leo should be back in good spirits in no time! Best of luck, Jorie.>  

Re: Fish disease Thank you for all your helpful advice and I will look into investing in a test kit. <Great.> The chemicals were the water purifiers and stuff, I stopped using them... This whole mess started when we went away for a few days and I bought those three day feeders... <That will do it...those things are very good at polluting the water very quickly.  If at all possible, try to find a reliable neighbor or relative to sparingly feed the tank while you are away...or if you want, you could look into electronic feeders (but even those have been known to fail at times...)> ...and at that time I was told to buy the ammonia remover due to the three day feeders causing a lot of ammonia to the tank and stressing the fish. <I would have suggested plain old water changes to remove the ammonia...sometimes the simplest solution is best!> I used it as the sales person told me about 2 tabs when we come back... But I was a little confused due to the fact the three day feeder was the exact same size and shape it was when we left. Do you have any suggestions as to which are the best to use and actually feed the fish while we are away?? <Hopefully I answered this above. If you chose to go the electronic feeder route (which I would recommend over those continuous release tab-type feeders), I hear Eheim puts out a quality product...> Thanks again, Jodi <You are welcome. Jorie>  

Re: Fish disease Jorie, If I could ask one more question'¦ <Of course...no limits on the number of questions you can ask!> The QT fish has a white mass on it's head and I am not sure what it is or what caused it. I know that the lion head already had a bumpy head, but this one didn't when we bought it ??? Is this stress?? It is just on his forehead and it is sometimes red and sometimes white?? I have tried to do some research on the net but nothing comes up. Do you have any suggestions?? <OK, is this mass bumpy in appearance? If so, I'm thinking it may be Lymphocystis, a virus usually caused by poor water quality.  It is possible sometimes to physically remove the mass by hand (net the fish and try to do so as quickly as possible; don't pull, though, if it doesn't want to readily come off).  Improved water quality is the best way to treat this.  If, on the other hand, we are dealing with a small pin-head or granular dot (like a dot of sand or salt), then likely it's ich (my guess is it isn't that, though, as you would most likely have more than one present). Try a search on "Lymphocystis" and see if you can come up with a picture that looks like what your fish has.  Although Lymphocystis is a virus and there is no known cure, I have had some success in treating one of my boesemanni rainbows who had this with the product called QuickCure...just be careful, as that's a very strong medicine.  Definitely good that you have the fish in QT, as you would never want to introduce that medication into the main tank.> If you don't mind to help me one more time?? <I don't mind at all...just sorry I wasn't able to get back to you yesterday!> Thank you Jodi <You are welcome, as always. Take good care of yourself and your fish! Jorie>  

Comet temp Jorie, the water temp is 70 degrees, <MacL here with you, 70 is good.>  I do a one third water change about every two weeks, he lives in a 55 gal. aquarium. <How big are they?> There are three koi and two comets of course one of which is sick. I have never had this problem before. <Mary you might want to get your water tested by the local pet store.> Thank you Mary.  

Cramped Goldfish Hi I hope you can help. <Will try, but you need to do your part> I have an Orandas in a Hexafun tank, about 2 gallons, with a goldfish. <Way too small, tiny in fact, for any goldfish at all> Orandas has been swimming/floating up at the top upside down for about 4 weeks now. Treated it with Intrapet swim bladder treatment. It now stays up there 4 hours at a time but will come down and swim for a few hours round about the tank then goes back up again. There is no other sign of disease but I haven't seen it passing a motion <??, you mean pooping> for a while unless it is happening during the night. <I hate that> The goldfish seems to be perfectly happy. <They are not> Help please. I also have a 14 year old goldfish <How big?> that I have  recently transferred into a 2 foot by 1 ft by 1 ft tank. <better, but still small> In the past this fish has had what looked like a cataract on one eye which now looks like it is covered in same colour as the fish, she now appears to have the same thing happening to the other eye swollen with whitening in middle. <Try one tablespoon of Epsom salt per 5 gallons of water.> She also no longer appears to see her food. The plan was to transfer all fish into new tank <Good, what size?> but I'm not sure with current problems. <If the new tank is bigger, I'd move all but the Oranda. If your current treatment is working at all, I'd continue it. Hard to treat swim bladder problems.> Can you offer me some advice, it would be much appreciated. Thank you. <You are keeping your fish in far too small a tank. I'm not sure of the size with we're speaking of, but each goldfish needs about 20 gallons to be happy. They produce large amounts of waste for their size. The eye problems started because of poor water conditions, IMO. The swim bladder problem may be infection, injury, or genetic in nature. Very hard to treat. You need to vastly upgrade the size of your tanks to correct the under laying cause of your problems. Also, I am not sure if you test your water, but if not please start. Get tests for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Don>  

Goldfish Tank Cycling Hello Don: First, I would like to thank you again for all your help. < My pleasure> All three of my fish are still alive. I have been doing daily water changes since I last spoke with you but the nitrite level has remained at 3.0. <We started at 5.0, so coming down> Any further suggestions? <Keep doing the water changes. If your source water has a pH of 6.9 to 7.5 (.3 of your tank) you can increase the size of the water change, up to 50-60%. That will help get the nitrites down faster.> The other current readings are: nitrate 20; hardness: hard; alkalinity 120; ph 7.2; ammonia .25. <That ammonia needs to go away too.> I also would like clarification on "overfeeding". There are only three fish  in this tank; the fish lady at the store told me to feed them twice a WEEK; <Too little> I have a booklet that says "up to FIVE times a DAY"; <Too much> I also read the food container which says two to three times a day. I'm a bit confused.  I am now feeding them ONCE a day, <About right> 3 peas which get gobbled up immediately, TINY pinch of goldfish flakes and about twice a week a brine shrimp pellet. There is no sign of food within 5 minutes <Good> of feeding except for the pellet which has to dissolve in the water. But that's gone pretty fast, too. <Don't forget the Pleco. He would prefer to feed at night. A piece of zucchini, peas or other veggie, algae wafers, or the shrimp pellet will all be taken> Also, how long should I continue the daily water changes? I'm assuming until the levels are all in the "ideal" or "safe" range? <Yep> Since I'm using the vacuum to clean up the gunk at the bottom, is this hampering the bacterial colony you've talked about? <Yep, but no choice anymore. This is why it is better to do a fishless cycle before adding the fish. The water changes will slow, but not stop, the process. Ammonia and nitrite are too deadly to leave in there. A fully cycled filter will remove them for you, leaving nitrate in the tank. Not as bad and easier to control.>  Please advise at your earliest convenience and again, thank you so very much for your help. My fish appreciate it, too!  Robin <Don>  

Re: More Goldfish problems Hi Bob Love this site! I am a novice at caring for fish and have some trouble with my goldfish - now I think I know why - so I just wanted to make sure I was on the right track. First off, they are in a bowl 8" x 8" approx (I know, I know, BAD BAD BAD), but the girl in the pet shop said that was just fine and that I could keep 7 of them in there. I thought this sounded like sardine conditions so I only got 4 - unfortunately now I have done some research, it's more the size for 1-2 fish, is that right? < Right> I want to get a bigger tank but I just can't afford it right now, so I'm doing my best to keep them happy until I get some spare cash. I've had my fish for 6 months and problems started occurring a month ago. My favourite fantail, Tiger, started developing signs of swim bladder (sitting stationery in one spot at the top of the bowl, losing buoyancy, bobbing to the top of the water etc). Went back to another pet shop and they said the bowl needed an aerator, so I got one of those tubes with a drop stone that attaches to a pump. I was feeding them fish flakes before this, but after Tiger got sick I put some rock salt in the bowl, stopped feeding for 2 days then gave them a couple of frozen peas. I also did a 50% water change and cleaned the gravel by basically taking it out and running it under tap water. I also cleaned the sides of the bowl. Tiger seemed to get right back on track for about a week, then one morning I came in and found him limp and gasping at the bottom of his bowl. Poor guy!! After getting over being hysterical I did some research and I think what happened is that I started recycling the tank by cleaning the gravel and the insides of the bowl? Is that right? < Probably but without testing it is hard to say for sure.> And because I was used to doing partial water changes once a week, now the tank was getting highly acidic very quickly because there were no microbes in there converting it. Am I correct? < I doubt the pH changed but a more likely the ammonia levels were high.> Eventually I had to put poor Tiger out of his misery via the freezer method (what a sad day that was) cause he was just suffering terribly. Since then Princess, Nemo and Spot have been as happy as Larry - I guess because of the extra space! I have been testing the water every couple of days and have found the acidity is building up really quickly. So I am doing 25% water changes every 3 days but leaving the gravel and the sides of the bowl alone. I've cut their fish flake intake down as I think I was overfeeding and replaced every 3rd meal with either peas or some spinach. They have their plants they can nibble on too. I have noticed strange behaviour in the last couple of days. Princess hides in the plants nearly all the time, and seems to be more stationery than the other two. Nemo does regularly madcap runs around the bowl over and over. And Spot seems to have become quite an agro little guy, when before he was not at all. I'm wondering if the constant change in water is stressing them out even if I am keeping the ammonia down? What do you think? Or perhaps there's some new pack hierarchy being established? I really like these creatures, they're cute, inquisitive and I don't think I can handle any more fish euthanasia - any suggestions or comments? < Anytime you do a radical water change and move the fish around they will be stressed. But high levels of waste and radical changes in pH stress them too. Some fish handle stress better then others. Some get sick and die while other do just fine. Try a little water change every day and see if things get better.-Chuck> Regards Corrina

About using dead coral in gold fish tank I am not new to having and raising goldfish. My niece gave me some dead coral from another tank (not sure if it was a saltwater tank). If it is rinsed in freshwater and set outside to dry will it be safe to use in the tank? I don't want to do anything to mess my tank up. Thank you for any help you can give me. < The coral will dissolve in your freshwater tank creating a higher pH and hardness. The roughness of the coral may create an abrasion hazard if your fish ever rubs up against.-Chuck> Tammy  

Goldfish question MacL, Thank you for your prompt response. (And thanks for the advice on the shells. They are real shells that we purchased from the pet store. I put them in already, but I will take them out!) <They are so nice it's hard to resist I know.> Okay, I definitely get the part about waiting between fish one and two. Just to clarify the initial setup: it really is okay with goldfish to just setup the water (dechlorinated and with filter, of course) and then add fish one with no cycling, or would cycling with a bit of food and waiting a couple of weeks be better? <Well here's the thing, you need to feed a very small amount to the fish during that time period and monitor what's happening in the tank. Watch the ammonia levels but if you do that then usually a goldfish can make the transition.> My kids are definitely ready for the fish, so if one goldfish can handle going into a new tank, that's what I will probably do, but if cycling with food first is preferred, we'll be patient. <Just do the one fish, none of the plants etc yet and get an ammonia test kit. Test every couple of days and don't let the levels go up very high.> In any case, while the tank is cycling (through the use of food or with the first fish), am I doing any partial water changes while the ammonia or nitrite levels are going up and down, or no? How do I know when the tank is ready for a fish to be added? <Okay if you add the fish and do it that way, you don't want to let the ammonia get all the way to the top. But if you use food the ammonia can top out.  Here's the thing, as the ammonia climbs nitrites start to come and then when they drop totally you are ready to add a fish. Then the tank will do a tiny cycle again, slight ammonia rise etc. This process is called a cycle if you want to learn more in depth on the website.> And what are the huge problems you refer to with using a product like Stress Zyme when setting up the tank? Should I skip it? The store seemed pretty confident in it. <Stress zyme can be added if you don't add the fish. Its basically kick starting the bacteria, I personally don't like to use it but lots of people do.> Thank you for your patience with my questions. I really appreciate it. Judy <Hope this helps>  

Goldfish. Hi, <Hey Travel, MacL here with you tonight.> I have two questions... I saw on a website ( http://www.aquadirect.com/catalog/uv/customsealife.htm) a U2 Double Pass UV sterilizer.  I thought CSL (CustomSeaLife) went bankrupt earlier this year?  Are they back in business and operating under a new name? <I believe that while they have gone out of business they is still stock being sold under there name that was made previously. Least that my best guess.> I see the name "Clear Solutions" now is on the pictures?  This sterilizer looks very similar, however different. <Never heard of it but lots do come and go> Second question.  I have a 65 gallon tank with 7 goldfish.  They did fine the past 2 years... 2 weeks ago they suddenly started to go crazy (move like rockets in the tank, bump in the glass, in each other, etc.) when I turn on the lamp/light. <Anyway there is a short in your tank from the lamp> They do fine when the light is not on, they swim around happily, however once I turn on the light all hell breaks loose?  any idea why? What can I do to stop them? <Almost sounds like they are being blinded or shocked in some way.> It appears 1 or 2 of the fish start each time and the others just follow? Thanks for your assistance. Kind Regards, Travel

Re: red spots on my lionhead Okay my next question is how long should I cycle the new 36 gallon tank before I move the other 4 goldfish into it.  I have read conflicting reports on this.  Some say that goldfish are a pretty hardy fish and can be added within a week, others indicate, that at a higher temp, it will take the tank about 30 days to completely cycle.  One site indicated to add Danios to the tank after 24 hrs because they can stand high levels of ammonia and nitrite and will help cycle the tank with fish and food waste.  I am still only 3 months into the aquatic scene and would like to get this right - this time.  Also I would like to get my sick lionhead into a tank by himself, and not just divided away from the others. < Go to Marineland.com and look under Dr. Tim's Library for the article titled the first 30 days. This will tell you what is going on with the tank and give you a better understanding on how the nitrification system works. Then you will know what to test for and can tell how far along your tank is. Danios are hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. Separating the goldfish from the Danios and other tropicals is a good idea. -chuck>  

Clean water I know that this question has been asked many times, but I need a little clarification. I have a goldfish, and the water seems cloudy, even the day I bought it. I was wondering, should I put the fish in a baggy with some water, and totally change his water, or just take some out and put fresh water in. The container is 6 inches wide and 10 inches across, and 8 inches high.  And, I have a little half a coconut house for it, should I keep that in there along with a plastic tree? < The cloudiness that you see is a build up of ammonia in the water and is deadly to fish. You could control it by doing large water changes every day or by adding a small filter to build up some bacteria that will convert it to nitrite and then nitrate. Even if you add the filter it may take as long as a month to build up the bacteria in the filter to keep the ammonia levels under control.-Chuck.>

Black Moor and Veiltails Hi, my name is Eddy. A couple of weeks ago me and my girlfriend bought 2 regular Veiltails, (Fluff) which is a small female, and (Jewelry) a larger male, golden orange with black spots) and 1 black moor (Onyx).  I have them in a 10 gallon tank, which I will be replacing with a 55 gallon soon. Within the past three days Jewelry, and Onyx have just been laying at the bottom of the tank motionless, just sucking in water rapidly. It seems like they are having trouble breathing. Fluff and Jewelry have been eating normally but Onyx doesn't seem to be paying any mind to the food (TetraFin Goldfish Flakes). Just today Jewelry decided to become active, and has been swimming around a lot with Fluff, but Onyx just lays between the temp gauge, or any corner of the tank without really moving, and hasn't eaten since yesterday. Jewelry all of a sudden has a red stain on his left side right behind his gill, I have no idea what this could be please advise? Onyx has a type of mold or mildew growing on his eyes, fin, and the rest of his body that I haven't seen before, I'm wondering what causes this growth. When he does move around he looks like he doesn't have the energy to do it, he will swim to the middle of the tank, then sink like a rock. He looks so depressed that its starting to affect me. I really want him to get better because he is the only one that lets me rub his tummy when he swims around. I hope you can give me an idea of what it is that I have to do to get him better right away. Fluff is the only one that doesn't seem to be having any problems what so ever thank God. Hopefully you will reply in time. Sincerely, Ed, Justina, Fluff, Jewelry, and poor Onyx <<Hello. A bit of reading will inform you that your tank is cycling, and you need to test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. But please do an immediate water change of 50%, and then take a sample of your tank water to your LFS and have them test for the above things. You will probably need to do regular, partial water changes on a bi-weekly or weekly basis. While at your LFS, you can buy some Amrid (or whichever product they stock to reduce ammonia levels, there are a few) to go into your filter to reduce the ammonia levels, if the tests show the levels are too high. The employees at the LFS should know their jobs well enough to help you buy the right products to help you out. If the employee helping you has no idea what to do to help you, ask to speak to the manager or someone with experience so you can get the help you need. It is always a good idea to find out who the person is at your LFS with the most actual experience, and ask them for advice. -Gwen>> 

Help with Goldfish I just got a goldfish as a gift,  I love fish and want to treat my fish right. Right now it's in a bowl with live aquatic plants and marbles. The bowl is a little more than a half gallon and the fish is only about 2 inches yet the fish is always at the top of the bowl making bubbles.  Is my fish sick or is the bowl wrong?  Last year I had a neon in a bowl with some bamboo and it's still fine.  Is it just this fish and what can I do to help it? -Keight <<Hello. For future reference, please use proper spelling and grammar when emailing us. Thank you. I will give you some websites to read, these will help you understand your fishes needs. In the meantime, you will need to do water changes, perhaps half the bowl, twice a week. Your goldfish will grow to be one foot in length, if you take care of him. Here are some websites for you: http://www.fishlinkcentral.com/links/Freshwater/Goldfish/ Have fun with your new friend :) -Gwen>>  

Fantail Goldfish Hi Bob, <Hi Lisa, MacL here with you this evening.> I bought my daughter 2 fantail goldfish for a 2 gallon aquarium.  It is so cloudy, I have treated it with "CLEAR WATER"  (drops) and it is no better. After doing some research I have learned that my tank is probably way too small for these guys. <Unfortunately so.> What size should I purchase for them.  I do not intend to buy more as this is just a tank for my daughters bedroom. <I would think you could get by with a ten gallon tank for a little while but they will grow to be very large fish.>  I read somewhere that fantails are dirty fish and that I should change 50% of the water until I get a bigger tank. <You'll have to do that, especially if you feed them a lot of food. If the tank is cloudy that's ammonia and will eventually kill them.> Is this true? <Yes> I do not want to kill these guys and I most defiantly want to do what is best for them.  I thought you might want to know it has only been about 2 weeks since the purchase and I did a partial water change just a few days ago. <Lisa you'll probably need to do water changes every week to keep them alive and healthy. They are dirty fish in that they produce a lot of waste. And they will grow rather large too.> Sincerely, Lisa

Goldfish- Olympic Jumping I am wondering if you can enlighten me as to a recent event at my house.  You will be helping me in a critical determination, however, I will certainly not hold you to your answer as determinative...  I have had a goldfish (Finnegan) for 4 years, and have never seen him jump from the water.  He lives in a bowl on my kitchen counter, out of the sun and in a fairly stabile temperature area, about 3 1/2 feet off the ground.  When I got up this morning, I found him on the floor.  All of his fins were dried up and stuck together - I thought for sure he was dead, but I saw his gills move, so I put him back in the water and massaged his fins to soften them, and helped him to float upright.  I don't know if he will make it, I hope he will, but he doesn't look good.  Anyway, I am wondering how likely it is that he suddenly jumped out of the tank for no apparent reason.  We have no cats, and there were no terrifying events to my knowledge.  The bowl was fairly full, but not enough to overflow (probably 1/2 - 3/4 inch to top, and a wide lip on the bowl) - he would have had to work at getting out.  Fin is not a real big fish - his tail is bigger than he is.  He's about 3 inches long without the big fan tail.  The alternative is that my troubled step-son did this intentionally.  I don't expect you to make the call on that, but why would this fish jump out after 4 years?  I typically find Fin sleeping in the morning, waking up to eat when he hears me!  Is it common for this to happen at random?  Thanks for your input! <<All goldfish jump. In fact, all fish in general jump. Usually at night. Some just happen to do it more often than others, and there are many and various causes...hunger, bad water quality, aggression from other fish, spawning, or just for the fun of it. The amount of space between the water level and the edge of the bowl makes no real difference, most fish can easily launch themselves a few feet into the air if so inclined. One-inch long Hatchetfish, for example, can sail four feet thru the air. Athletic bunch :) If you have ever worked in retail selling fish at an LFS, you will realize just how many species can jump high and far when being hunted by a newbie fish clerk with a net. In your case, I believe it's a water quality problem. Since it's a bowl with no filtration, you should be testing your ammonia on a regular (say, weekly) basis. Chances are you are doing the same number of water changes as when he was smaller, but now he is producing more ammonia, thus it is building up more quickly to toxic levels. An ammonia reading of over .25 ppm is unacceptable, so aim for that level. That said, your fish is probably (after four years and only three inches long?) stunted. You do not say what kind of goldfish he is...a regular comet, a Sarasa, a fantail, an Oranda?? All goldfish have the potential to live 20 years, and depending on what type of goldfish they are, can grow anywhere from 6-8 inches in length to three feet, so he should be MUCH larger than three inches by now. I highly recommend you buy him a larger bowl, or even a 20 gallon tank. He needs room to move, and get some exercise, as well. Hopefully he has not been permanently stunted, he may still grow. But in general, stunted fish do not live their complete lifetimes. You may read up on goldfish care by doing a web search, or checking the goldfish FAQs here at WetWeb. Best luck, Gwen>>

Fish Question I switched my fish tanks on my fish, separated some, and put the ones that were together in the same smaller tank but they are small goldfish. Anyhow they are very stressed, what can I do to help them? P.S The light freaks them out really bad, too. <<Dear Shawn; The first thing you should do is get yourself some test kits from your LFS, or get your water tested there as soon as possible. I believe it is an ammonia or nitrite problem. One must be careful when moving fish to another tank. Some water should be moved with them (50% is good) and some media from the filter on the original tank, in order to help seed the new filter media. Otherwise, like what's going on now, you are re-cycling your tank, and will continue to have ammonia problems and nitrite problems for a while now. This is why it is best to keep testing the water on a regular basis, to prevent the levels from going too high. And always maintain the same temperature between tanks! So, get your water tested for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates, and do the water changes necessary to keep these in check. -Gwen>>

Jumping Moor  8/2/04 I had a Moor fish for a year in a large bowl with plants and rocks in the bottom.  This morning I found him out of the bowl.  He was a frisky little guy, but he never jumped.  Do I need a screen on the top of the bowl for the next fish or was this a freak thing?  Sadly.  Kate <<Kate, regular goldfish are excellent jumpers, but fancy goldfish such as your Moor are usually a bit more restrained by comparison. Chances are the water quality was not up to par...fish WILL jump if the water is too toxic for them to handle. Test kits are a great idea, and regular use of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits will save you from losing any more fish, either to jumping or to disease, both of which are due to excessive amounts of toxins in the tank. It's always a good idea to keep your tank or bowl covered,  too, especially at night. This goes for Bettas, also. -Gwen>>

Goldfish question Hi, a couple questions for you, first, my girlfriend and I bought a couple of goldfish yesterday (not the common kind), they're currently young, but will grow to about 4 inches or so, and it looks like they have a pot belly (the species).  In any case, my girlfriend put a plastic seaweed decorative thing in their bowl (all we can fit in our apartment right now) and it's attached to a safety pin as a weight.  Well anyways, I was wondering if the safety pin begins to rust, and it already may be, is that going to pose a problem for the health of the fish? < Probably not.> Secondly, the goldfish are constantly opening and closing their mouths, and I just called PetLand about this, and they said that's normal behavior, but I figured since I'm already writing you guys a letter I might as well double check just to make sure.  They're not swimming at the top constantly or anything like that. Thanks for the help, < If you are unsure check the ammonia , nitrites and nitrates. The ammonia and nitrite should be zero and the nitrate should be under 25 ppm.> Eric Platt ps, after I finished writing this my girlfriend also asked, is it safe to place fish on top of television sets? < The only problem may be the heat. Place a glass container like a vase for flowers on top of the tank and record the water temp after watching TV for a while. If the water temp starts to get much over 70 then it will get too warm for them.-Chuck>

GOLDFISH PROBLEMS 7/21/04 Hi, <Hi Sonia, MacL here> We've recently become first time fish owners with two small Fantail's. We've had them for a few days and they seem to be swimming around a fair bit and generally seem quite happy. We have them in a 10 litre bowl with an under gravel filter and we've been feeding them a small amount of flakes 2 times per day. <Way too much food, please only feed them once a day or possibly once ever other day.> We just have a few concerns with them though that we're hoping you can help with. One fish is particularly bloated near it's rear end and constantly has poo hanging out behind it - this fish also eats about 70% of the food compared to the other. <Way to much to eat.> As this one seems to be constantly pooing, there is a fair amount of waste amongst the gravel. <And I'm sure a large amount of ammonia in the tank which can make them sick.>  And lastly, they both constantly hover around the top of the bowl swallowing the air bubbles. <Definitely ammonia in the tank. Please do a water change and cut way back on the food, Don't worry all of us have over fed at one time or another!> Hoping you can help with these questions! Thanks - much appreciated. Sonia 

One Fish, Two Fish Hi, <Hi, MikeD here> I currently have a small regular goldfish (all orange in colour) living alone in a bowl.<OK> My friend has a larger goldfish which is mainly white with an orange head, also living alone. <How much larger?> She has just got herself a kitten and therefore the poor goldfish is no longer wanted so I have volunteered to adopt it. <Nice of you. It's always unfortunate when people have "throw away" pets and are raised to think it's acceptable.> My mum tells me that if I put them both together then one will eat the other. <Not likely, although you may need a much bigger bowl, with a filtered aquarium always preferable.> Will this really happen? What do you suggest that I can do? <If you want to try it, just keep in mind that two fish create much more waste, thus it will be more work to keep them clean. Perhaps Mum might consider buying you a full aquarium later for a birthday or such?> Thank you very much <You're most certainly welcome> Claire.

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