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FAQs About Goldfish Systems 7

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

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

A nice Kohaku koi and some other varieties at an Interzoo show a few years back. Not good to mix with goldfish, particularly fancy varieties.

To keep or not to keep? This is my question... goldfish sys. hlth.    4/3/07 Okay, here I go.  Please bear with the story, it gets a bit long but therein lies the problem.  9 1/2 months ago my daughter won a "free goldfish" at a  community event. <Your first mistake. These fish are rarely healthy because of the poor conditions they're kept in prior to being awarded. Repeat after me: a fish is an animal, not a prize.> I buy a goldfish bowl (death chamber) and small decor and begin to watch the poor fish die. <Quelle surprise!> Quickly get online because I know nothing about fish and discover that goldfish cannot live in a goldfish bowl.  Ironic, huh? <No, not ironic. Unfortunately all too common. No-one should ever buy or otherwise obtain an animal without first finding out its needs.> Get out my wire whisk and begin a futile effort of oxygenating water overnight.  (free fish = no sleep). <While I applaud the effort, simply half-filling the bowl instead of filling it to maximize surface area of the water (and therefore oxygen diffusion) would work fine. Goldfish, like many other carp, can breathe air to some degree, and will tolerate poorer water conditions than many other fish, at least in the short term.> Next day head straight to pet store (chain) with daughter to buy 10gal tank they have on sale. <Why a 10 gallon tank? Goldfish can live for 20+ years and within four or five years will get to a length of at least 20 cm (about 8 inches) and potentially quite a bit more than that. They are big fish, and at the least you should be thinking of something around the 20-30 gallon mark.> I know secretly that her fish is not going to survive so I encourage her to look at options just in case "Goldie" doesn't make it. <Hang on a minute... after seeing one fish dying and realising you know nothing about keeping fish, you're already encouraging your child to buy more fish? Sounds questionable to me.> Then it happened.  We saw an Oranda for the first time and nothing will ever be the same. <Arghhh! Please, these are animals. Figure things out first, then buy the fish. Not the other way around.> Pet expert recommends 20gal tank for one Oranda.  We call Daddy in to make this decision with us and he agrees (usually a tightwad) to spend a small fortune preparing for a new fancy goldfish.  Take tank home. <The small fortune is known in the trade as "responsibility" and if you're keeping fish these things are non-negotiable. If they're too much for your budget, don't keep fish, and maybe try something less expensive, like a pot plant. But really, you should budget around $100 for an aquarium and all the bits and pieces. Once set up, that will last for years.> (Goldie was belly up when we got home)  After the 7-10 days recommended to "cycle" (I thought this literally meant cycle all the water through the filter-ugh) we bring home our first beloved goldfish. <Cycling the aquarium depends on the presence of ammonia to feed the bacteria that become the biological filtration. Some people add inorganic ammonia (from a drug store or hardware store) others use small, hardy fish (such as Danios). There are also products that can do this for you, such as BioSpira. What cycling doesn't mean is just running the tank empty for a while. That does nothing at all. Question: have you read an aquarium book yet?> An exquisite calico Oranda we named "Cheddar Jack" (orange on one side/ white on the other). <Random comment: fish don't care about names. If they have them at all, they don't share them with us. What they want is a knowledgeable, responsible fishkeeper who reads books and makes an effort to keep things healthy for them. In return, they entertain and educate us.> We were all hooked and loved watching him.  Several days later ammonia skyrockets and poor CJ has small white fuzz on Wen. <Again, quelle surprise. Uncycled aquarium, no biological filtration, and I'm guessing a big fish producing masses of pollution. Probably overfed, too.> Called pet store, recommend treatment, bought treatment, fuzz turned into hole which then seemed to turn into hole in the head.  (sob sob) water changes, medications recommended by pet store and weeks (3) of hoping ended in tragedy. <Unlikely to be actual hole-in-the-head, but just generic fungus or fin rot, perhaps also some type of slime disease.> Pet store recommends emptying tank and beginning again with all new rock, decor etc.  (fungus they think) <I don't know where to start here. The problem is ammonia, produced by the fish. Simply performing regular (50%) water changes each day will dilute that and within a few weeks the filter should be at least semi-mature. Randomly adding medications is pointless. Would you take chemotherapy for a twisted ankle? You need to ID the disease, understand what's causing it, and then treat accordingly.> We set our algae eater free in the pond (I'm sure he was a treat for the crappie) and empty our tank and wait for the sadness to go away and begin again. <Please stop now. You clearly seem unable to extend any kind of compassion or care to living animals. Putting a tropical fish into an outdoor pond is at best condemning it to a slow, painful death from (effectively) hypothermia. Finding it amusing that another fish would eat it is even sadder, but also runs the risk of introducing diseases from the tropical fish industry into natural waters. Even in a pond, diseases can escape, via birds and insects.> At this point I had learned what cycle really meant and was determined to do fishless cycle. <Finally!> Pressure from daughter and reassurance from pet store causes me to give in 3 weeks into new cycle.  Bring home lovely red Oranda who, so cute, swam sideways.  Named her Sider.  This is important because after 2 weeks swimming sideways became swimming upside down, then bobbing etc.  Despite all efforts and many peas later, Sider succumbed to what I believe was dropsy and is no longer with us. <Three fish bought, three fish died. Spotting a pattern here yet?> More tears, but again pet store reassures me this kind of loss is rare and maybe I should try another kind of fish. <This kind of loss *is* rare to people who try to keep fish properly, but very common with people who don't.> Sadly, but determined to provide good home to some kind of fish we bring home a beautiful black moor (really prefer Oranda). <Not sure yours is a good home yet... seems more like Death Row for goldfish.> To our surprise it is delightful to have a fish actually swim actively (and upright) and interact with us.  Now we are into fishkeeping forever.  We love him.  Joy!!!!     Despair!!!!    Red spot on head.  Crap, not another one.  After just a few short weeks in our home (houseofdoom) Bugsy was gone. <Please, for the sake of all that is holy and in the name of whatever gods you worship, stop this insanity. Clearly you are not doing the right things and after 4 attempts have failed to do the right things. If you were a child in a class and I was a schoolteacher, how do you think I'd grade you?> Now I finally get mad.  Hundreds of dollars and just as many tears from my daughter (nine) and myself and we still have no fish.  I have done everything fish expert at pet store tells me to do.  (Funny, I think he was guessing as much as I was)  Scheduled meeting with manager and fish expert  and fish expert discovers that someone sold us the wrong algae eater (we replaced the first one with same kind when we started over) and the algae eater was eating our goldfish. <Fish don't die because of the wrong algae eater. So this advice is total garbage. Besides, algae eaters (by which you mean Loricariid catfish I assume) are TROPICAL FISH whereas goldfish are COLDWATER FISH and under no circumstances should be kept together.> Expert recommends Plecostomus (sp) and again assures me this will fix it all.  New fish.  Red/White Oranda with cute red lip.  Welcome home "Hotlips". <How, why do you think a catfish will fix your clear inability to keep fish by following simple instructions? Will the catfish take you to a bookstore and point out some good fishkeeping books? If not, I wouldn't put too much faith in the catfish...> Uh oh, didn't see that at pet store, tail fin seems fused.  This won't  be a problem and will not affect her longevity (can a goldfish live for more than two months?).  Okay,  we will keep her (sucker).  She doesn't swim much.  Water quality is great (using test strips).  Could it be her fins?  Dunno, but maybe second goldfish will perk her up says expert. Can I keep two Orandas in 20gal? <Yes, goldfish are schooling fish, but in a 20 gallon tank you're pushing your luck. Regardless, the filter is too immature, and needs at least 8 weeks to settle down before I'd even think about adding more fish.> Sure, you can (expert). <Ka-ching, another sale. He's an expert because he's selling fish to someone who comes back every week to buy another one.> We bring home Chico, another gorgeous calico........5 days later Hotlips' tail has red streaks and actually appears to be disintegrating. <Please, please stop....> Aquaclease (Plecostomus) is on her and before I can get her QT he has nibbled on her side and tail. <Why is there this catfish in this tank. For a start, Plecs get to around 30 cm in length, and need daily feedings of green foods such as lettuce and zucchini, plus catfish pellets. If you aren't providing these, they starve and in desperation might well try to suck on another fish. Starving people eat grass, but that doesn't make grass a normal part of the human diet.> Take Aquaclease and Hotlips to pet store.  They take Aquaclease back (recommend waiting a while on algae eater ( you should see tank now, ich) and agree to medicate Hotlips until she is healed and ready to come back home.  Check with pet store 4-5 times over next week and they say, yes, your Oranda's tail is better, but her side still needs time.  (Did AC make a bigger hole than I remember?)  Are you sure you're talking about my Oranda?  Yes.   Hotlips is ready to be picked up.  Joy and elation.  Let's load up and bring her home i say to precious daughter.  Arrive at pet store, go to QT tank and I said, okay, now where's my fish?  This is your fish.  No, this is not my fish.   Pet experts lost my fish.  Don't think it ever made it to QT.  Must have died in her baggie in the stockroom.  Sad, Mad,  daughter is devastated and never wants  to see another fish.   <Glad your daughter has some sense.> We still have Chico. Pet store has offered to refund all money (lots of it) spent on tank and numerous fish and medications and supplies.  Thing is we really want to have a goldfish and keep it for a long time and watch it grow and play and take really good care of it.  I am not happy being a fish murderess.  My daughter, trooper that she is, also now agrees that we can't give up on Chico.   To keep or not to keep?  This is my question. <Short answer, for the sake of the fish, probably not. You don't seem to have read any books or learned anything from your experiences. I suggest pet rocks.> What kind of algae eater? <None. Use an algae scraper.> What kind of water tests? <Nitrite and pH at the minimum, and ammonia as well for the first couple of months. Some test strips have all the different tests on them. These are ideal. You want 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, less than 50 mg/l nitrate, pH 7.0, and moderate hardness for goldfish. Test weekly to begin with.> Salt only? <No salt. Are you keeping marine fish? If not, then no salt.> What kind of dechlorinator? (expert said salt was enough) <Garbage. Salt does nothing to the chlorine or chloramine. Use a good dechlorinator.> How often water change?  (expert says 1 in 3-4 weeks)  I've seen more frequent recommendations online. <For goldfish, 50% weekly. No less.> Air stone? <if you want.> Second Oranda to keep Chico active? <Not yet. See if you can keep this fish alive and healthy for a couple of months. Then maybe get a bigger tank and then a tankmate.> Give fish back and stare at empty wall? <To be honest...> Please help us.  I realize in the time it  took to write stupid e-mail I might have found an answer but surfing the web is not my strong suit and I was unable to register as a user at your site.   <What amazes me most is that your e-mail address implies you work in the public school system, and yet you don't seem to know how to find information from books or the Internet. Odd, no? Anyway, you don't have to register for this site, so all I can surmise is you couldn't be bothered to spend a little time browsing the pages but instead preferred to send a long message and have someone else do the work for you. I've sat here for over 20 minutes doing just that. If you can't be bothered to research animal care and welfare, I personally don't think you should be keeping animals at all. But if you insist on keeping the fish, PLEASE go buy an aquarium book, and then read it, cover to cover. Try and learn from it, and use that education to make life better for the animals that depend on you.> Thank you, <Indeed.> Goldfish Mortuary (Carolyn) <Cheers, Neale>

Re: To keep or not to keep? This is my question   4/4/07 Despite the slaying I received I am very excited to get your response. Finally, someone is as appalled as I am at the events that have transpired in the tank.  Of course I agree that pet ownership is a considerable responsibility and should not be entered into without the means to do it properly. <Good.> And while you may question my intelligence and my inability to seek information, please understand that I reach out to you after exasperating searches for specific info (such as that you answered at end of e-mail). <OK.> I suppose I was unable to find info on correct type of algae eater because apparently I shouldn't have one with goldfish. <Correct. No algae eaters with goldfish. No ifs or buts about it.> Conditioning salt is what was recommended for my tank and the label does say freshwater, (I checked when I bought it) and again putting faith in someone's advice I took it. <Aquarium tonic salt is simply overpriced cooking salt. In modern fishkeeping it is sold purely as a con. Of course the retailers stock it -- it's easy money. Back in the "old days" people avoided water changes because they though old water was better than adding new water. Old water has high levels of nitrate, but nitrate is toxic. However, salt reduces the toxicity of nitrate. At a low dosage, the problems caused by the salt (stressing freshwater fish by messing up their osmotic balance) was offset by the benefits of reduced nitrate poisoning. It was the lesser of two evils, if you like. In modern fishkeeping the accent is on water changes, so salt is not only redundant put potentially harmful. So I say again (and this is from the guy who wrote the book on Brackish Water Fishes for TFH): unless you are keeping brackish or marine fishes, you don't need salt.> I was doing water changes of 25% every 7-10 days but the pet store said I was stressing them too much. <I have no idea why they said that. But please appreciate pet stores, especially the chain stores/mega-mart types, tend to have people with minimal (or no) real fishkeeping knowledge. Mom and Pop places are often (but not always) better, but still, you can get bad advice even in those types of store. Far, far better to get a modern aquarium book that has been written by a respected expert and has been proofed and edited by a pet publishing house.> Water quality as I said always tests within normal limits according to strips. Should I be using drop test kits? (The tank has been running now for 6 months). <Use whichever. I happen to like the dip strips because they're cheap and convenient, but there's some mileage to the argument they aren't so accurate. But with goldfish it doesn't matter too much: ballpark values should be fine.> I know the first fish died due to water quality.  The second fish I believe had swim bladder issues from the time we bought it. Could it be that the last two fish (ridiculous I know) were victims of the Pleco? Confusion and conflicting information have me completely discombobulated. <I have no idea exactly why your fish died, but I can tell you 99% of unexpected fish deaths are caused by water quality issues. So the law of big numbers simply says that if you run an aquarium properly, almost all the fish you buy will live to a ripe old age. Goldfish can live for decades.> Right now a fish is waiting in our tank. He is relying on me to do my best. <Indeed he is. Fish live in their toilet, and you pull the chain.> (By the way, about not needing to agitate the water in the goldfish bowl, I got that from one of the postings on this website) <Each to their own. Agitating the surface of the water works by increase the surface area, which means more oxygen can diffuse in and more CO2 can diffuse out. How you do it doesn't matter, but you do need to be consistent. I can't imagine whisking the water in my aquarium all day. Instead, I adjust the filter so the water coming out the spout "ruffles" the surface of the water. Airstones also help for the same reasons.> Thank you for your 20 minutes. <No problem.> I was under the impression that you did this willingly and furthermore if I did not care about these fish I would have flushed them, returned the tank and would have never spent my time last night reaching out for help. <Willingly, yes, but for the love of the fish and for the love of the hobby. This is truly a great hobby, and the basics (truly) are not difficult to master. I warmly encourage you to go buy an aquarium book before you do anything else though. Having reliable facts laid out fair and square will make your life much easier, not to mention much more pleasant for your goldfish. Cheers, Neale>

Another's input re: To keep or not to keep? This is my question... goldfish sys. hlth. 4/3/07 - 04/04/2007 I have spent countless hours on this site trying to learn as much as I can as I attempt to set up my first marine tank.  As you have stated yourselves there is no 'one way', and maintaining a successful aquarium has so many methods and potential pitfalls.  That said, I found Neale's response to Carolyn and her goldfish dilemma to be ugly. <I'm sorry. That wasn't my intention.> So often are the Q+A's here filled with great info due to a passionate world of professionals and hobbyists.  But here was someone writing in with a story that at least I know I could sympathize with. <Fair enough.> A parent who simply wanted her daughter to have goldfish and how that can so quickly unfold like a map of the world. <Have no problems with this at all. Similar to how I started with fish.> So what did you do?  Instead of encouraging her and giving her support, you criticized her in the most patronizing way like she was not welcome in your little club. <No, I didn't. My issue wasn't that mistakes were made, but that mistakes weren't learned from. To lose one fish is one of those things. To lose two in a row is perhaps unfortunate. To lose a third, then a fourth, and then to release another fish into the wild -- these things become less and less excusable.> Of course she knew little about fish!  That's why she spent countless hours and $ at the LFS trying to learn more, not to mention that she even knows about this site and took the time to write to you. <That isn't how it seemed to me. The writer said "she couldn't register" which is meaningless given this site doesn't have registrations. So my assumption was that the author of the message hadn't spent any time on the site at all, and just wanted someone else to do the work instead. Nowhere in the message was it written that she had read a book or bought a fishkeeping magazine, either. And no pet store I know of is going to spend "hours" talking to someone about goldfish.> Condemning her for naming her fish came across as cold and petty.  What daughter doesn't want to name her new little fish?  Isn't the joy of a child or our own inner child part of why we love this. <I didn't condemn anyone. I talk to my fish and call them silly names as well. Buy my point was that fish don't want love and they don't want names, they want to be looked after properly. Giving a fish a nice name doesn't matter either way. Not looking after a fish will result in its death.> I am all for proper grammar and applaud that you require this so when Neale wrote 'realising you know nothing  about keeping fish' I was even more dismayed ("realising" is misspelled) <Neale is British. In England, "realising" is spelled thus. Cheers, Neale> Todd

Re: To keep or not to keep? A rebuttal - 04/04/2007 As I was searching again for some clues as to what to do about my current situation I see that my desperate e-mail has been posted today (4-3-07) on FAQ's.  Lovely. I read again my story and Neale's stinging response.  I suppose in my attempt to tell our sad story I did not properly convey the appropriate emotional state my family and I were in last night after losing another fish.  I would love to tell you her (his) name but will refrain at Neale's request. <I have nothing against giving fish names. You can call your goldfish Bobo Sunbeam Trumpington the Third for all I care. My point is that fish don't worry about names of being part of the family. What they want is clean water, swimming space, and the right food. Get those things right, and they're happy.> I personally think that the naming process, especially with children involved, helps to create a true sense of responsibility for the pet and fuels an interest in watching your pet for patterns and habits, thus truly getting to know it. <No problems with that. But at the same time, it behooves the parent to make sure that an animal is cared for properly before worrying too much if the child has made a bond with it. The animal's life depends on your care. *That's* the less children need to learn.> Neale has accused me of being irresponsible, inhumane and ignorant. <I've never met you, and have no idea if you're any of those things. Any more than you know if I'm any of those things either (some would say I am...). But in this instance, you failed to learn from mistakes, again and again. There was no evidence in your message you had read any books, for example. You said you couldn't "register on this site" -- there is no registration. So my assumption was you hadn't read any of it.> I will take all responsibility for his inability to relate to my story with any kind of compassion towards humans (Neale, humans have feelings, please be kind). <I am actually a very kind person. But that's neither here not there. I'm also British, and hence my sense of humour is rather dry, and sometimes that comes across to Americans as mean. In exactly the same way the American sense of humour, such as your comment about the algae eater being eaten by a bass, as being flippant. Two nations separated by a common tongue.> I know that it is difficult to hear tone of voice via writing (although he does a very good job of getting his tone across) and could not tell that the comment about the poor algae eater was made in disgust at what had to happen. <I admit I didn't pick up the disgust there. Either way, releasing tropical fish into the outdoors is [a] cruel and [b] potentially criminal, so not something to do anyway.> We only put him in the pond as a last ditch effort to keep him alive. The pet store would not take him back, which was our first choice, because he may have been contaminated. <This happens. There are workarounds. Animal sanctuaries will often re-home fish, and other pet stores or tropical fish shops will often take back fish. One big plus to the "mom & pop" places over the chains is exactly this.> He was a living creature and we are not in the habit of intentionally taking any creature's life for no reason, thus the pond. <All you probably did was trade a quick death you could have done in the home with a slow, lingering death from hypothermia and degraded immune and digestive systems in the wild. Sometimes, what seems kind in actually cruel.> So sorry I didn't look far enough into the biological consequences before releasing him.  And as I did release him, I thought "Maybe there's a chance for him."   Although realistically we all know he was a minnow at least he had a chance to swim for it, which he wouldn't have had in my freezer. <See above.>   I also imagine that it may have been hard for Neale to catch subtle things like the mention of water changes during our 3 week process of trying to save our first fish.  (I must have read that somewhere).  I also noticed that he paid no attention to the fact that when I realized my second fish had a problem (remember he had swim bladder issues when we bought him) that I researched and learned about treating with peas and that I again put effort into trying to create a healthy atmosphere for this fish.  (must have looked it up just a little information on this one). <Yes, I saw them... but there was still plenty of other stuff that was way off base.> When it was suggested that an Oranda may not be a suitable fish for us, I acted on the advice to try another kind ( the black Moor)  This was not for my own fancy (I think Orandas are the most beautiful fish) but was done in order to try to be responsible with our choices. <Responsible choices are good.> Please remember that I was also putting my trust in someone who I believed was trained in the proper care of fish. <That's the problem -- they're often not, especially not the people in chain stores. Of course, you weren't to know that, and I accept that.> I will not take blame for this last fish.  How much more can a pet owner do than admit that a problem is beyond them and ask for help. <Two things. Firstly, not buy more fish when they don't understand why the first one died. Secondly, go buy a book so they can learn about the animal before spending any money on anything else. Kindness and good intentions are all very well, but nothing beats knowledge.> I cannot control the actions of the person that so easily disregarded our poor fish and lost him somewhere in the pet store.   <That is certainly odd, and should have been an alarm bell not to patronize them.> And that is when I came to you. <And you came to the right place! The advice I have given is sound, and if you do exactly what I say, you will have a happy, healthy aquarium. I may be mean, but I also happen to know what I'm talking about, which puts me a step above someone sweet and friendly at the pet store who hasn't a clue.> Admitting that the problem was beyond me and looking for some intelligent answers and suggestions. <No argument here.> I will try to remember as we groom our horse, pick his hooves, use his fly spray and feed him his apples (without using his name of course) that animals deserve good homes. I will try to be mindful of animal rights when I take our dog (nameless of course) to the vet for her yearly exam, vaccinations, teeth cleaning and of course her every 8 week grooming appointment.  (dare I mention her heartworm medication, flea and tick drops and daily walks and some serious lap time?) <Which is all splendid, and if you extend that level of care to your fish, you'll have better fish tanks that I have!> Thank you for the questions that were answered. <You're welcome.> I will put them to good use.  I will not hold a grudge against anyone here for making me feel inadequate, incompetent and inherently selfish.  And never again will I waste your time with our troubles. <Look, that's not how I see things. I have no idea what you're like as a person. But please see things from my perspective. Every time I go to a pet store, I see otherwise sensible, nice people buying goldfish bowls or mixing species of tropical fish that I know won't get on. I see people with too-big fish in too-small tanks. I see people buying guppies to feed to pufferfish. I see people buying fish that have been dyed or tattooed simply to look "cool". There's a lot of casual cruelty out there. Part of my job is encourage people to keep fish better than this. Some people are mean to animals and always will be. But some people just don't know better. Those people can be educated. I had no idea you were an "animal lover" first time round -- all I could read was a person who kept buying and killing their fish.> One last thing.  The comment made in regards to my involvement with the school systems was more than rude.  I suppose that the many unpaid hours spent after school on lessons, grading papers, community involvement (which got me here in the first place) and parent conferences, all in an effort to help mold beautiful young children into all they can be, is no excuse to want to go to sleep before midnight rather than continue doing goldfish research. <As a former schoolteacher myself I have nothing against the profession. I know precisely how much work is involved. But that's neither here nor there. Buying an aquarium book, reading it, and then learning from it is good advice for anyone, whether teacher, brain surgeon, or astronaut.> Good day to you all, <And to you.> Carolyn <Look, it wasn't my intention to offend, and if I did, I apologize. But provided you go buy a book, and then try and understand about fishkeeping before buying anymore fish, then my work here is done and I'm happy. This is a great hobby, and this is a great web site with a tonne of information. Read, learn, enjoy. Cheers, Neale>

Re: To keep or not to keep? A rebuttal - 04/04/2007 I thank you Neale. My sense of outrage has now vanquished and I am on to bigger and better things (an aquarium book is on order:)) <Cool.> (honestly, the way you feel about unprepared fish owners is fairly equal to my outrage at families going to the discount store for toilet paper and taking home the free puppy from a cardboard box instead) <Sounds about right. Animals need care, whether they are fluffy or finny.> This truly is a valuable site and as a matter of fact I was up quite past bedtime reading again last night. <I'm sure everyone here will be grateful for the compliment.> The remaining fish seems to be doing very well and water quality is still reading within normal parameters on test strips (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, water hardness). <Good.> Will return to the once weekly water changes done with our vacuum. <Good. To start with, don't bother cleaning the filter because you want the bacteria to get nicely settled in. But after 2 months, you will probably need to clean out the filter once every 6-8 weeks because goldfish are rather messy. When cleaning the filter, less is more -- don't run it under the tap (faucet), just give the filter medium a few squeezes in a bucket of water taken from the aquarium. All you want is to squeeze out the poop while leaving the bacteria safe and sound. If it's too dirty, replace 25% or so of the old filter media with new stuff. But a dirty, mature filter is much better than a clean, immature one.> I had been using API Stress-coat as a water conditioner before the conditioning salt was recommended and will return to that. <Sounds like a good plan. Save the salt for the kitchen. Salt can also be used to therapies of various types, but certainly not as a matter of course.> Wish us well.  I pray to update the crew next year as to how big and beautiful" Chico" (LOL) has become. <I wish you well.> Many thanks and well wishes, Carolyn No need to reply.  I know you are busy. <Happy to reply. Enjoy you fish and the hobby. I guess my work here is done...>

Goldfish are not "Bowlfish"!  3/25/07 <Hi Amy, Pufferpunk here> I bought 2 black moors today and tonight they died not even 8hrs after I bought them. <Sorry to hear that.> We didn't have air going into the bowl that I had them in.  Could that be the reason? Do they need to have heat, oxygen or anything else special that I just didn't know about? <They don't need a heater & actually prefer cooler water.  An airstone & filtration system is a must.  Did you dechlorinate their water?  Goldfish are messy fish=high waste producers.  Keeping them in a small bowl will quickly deplete it of O2 & their wastes will poison them.> I was under the impression that they didn't need any of that because every time I went to buy one the pet store said no, because I have a tropical tank set up with platies and mollies and one id shark. <Wow, do you have any idea how large an iridescent shark gets??? http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/Pufferpunk/Other20Fish/iridescentsharks.jpg  > They said the moors would die in there or that their skin would flake off at the high temperatures and kill the rest of my fish. Is any of this true? <Hmmm... never heard that one before.  It's still best not to combine the messy cooler-water goldfish with your tropical fish though.> I probably sound stupid for asking such simple questions but I just wondered why they died and I know nothing about gold fish. <It's always best to ask stupid questions before you purchase your pets.  If you are still planning on more goldfish, be sure you have at least 10g per fish & a good filter, to accommodate them.  ~PP> Thank you, Amy

Low pH in my goldfish tank   3/8/07 Dear Sir/Madam, <Laura> I would like to  ask if ph 7 to 7.5  in tank water for keeping goldfish and if that will prevent black patches? What can I do to remedy low ph? I have checked the pH of the faucet water that I use for weekly water changes. It  is very acidic below 6. The used tank water is pH 6.4 and I have tried  2 products but it  stays at ph 6.4. I have put in crushed Tufa rock into the tank as the pet shop had advised. I also have bought aquarium pH adjuster  to increase pH (Interpet product -made in England). There are a few sea shells in the tank and they are degrading very fast as well. <Low alkalinity...> I  have one goldfish but he is well apart from when the black patches reappears on his cheeks and  his body.  At first I  attributed this to the low pH in the tank. However what  I have gathered from other  FAQ's that they also reported black streaks on the fins due to ammonia burns. So maybe I have a worse culprit. My goldfish over a few days has developed stronger black outlines on his fins with black patches on his gills and side. I will  buy an ammonia kit, 'ammo lock' and contact you with the water test readings for you to help me out. In terms of commencing water changes, I do make a water change weekly . Would you advise me should I start them pronto and continue  until it ammonia levels go down to 0? <Mmm, no... you need to know more of the cause, implications... see below> I really would appreciate your help, thankfully this little fish still has a good appetite and lots of character. It such a shame about having him get these burns or black patches . The black patches mean he is healing but I don't want him to go further downhill. My email is yahoo.co.uk. Look forward to hearing from your team.   Yours Truly, Miss Laura Balderamos <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwph,alk.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

 hyper (or agitated) now, racing around the tank. <If he is agitated with or without the filter, the tank is probably having an ammonia spike as it begins to cycle.  Read here about cycling: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Test the tank water for ammonia and nitrite.  If they are above zero, change some water. If you don't have test kits, change some water (use water condition for chlorine/chloramine). Don't feed too much these first few weeks and when you change water, try to siphon any food or detritus off the bottom.  It is best to let the tank get established before adding the fish.  He is not in danger from the filter, but he is from the ammonia and nitrite spikes that occur until the good bacteria get established. Also read here about new tanks: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm Alex>

Goldfish sys.   2/25/07 Hi, Due to an unexpected "present" from my mother I now have a 1" black moor goldfish. I can understand my Mum thought it'd be a nice present as she knows I adore goldfish but she seems to have conveniently forgotten the only coldwater tank I have contains a paradise fish which rips up any and all live animals introduced to his tank. Our pet stores have a no return policy so I cant give "Onyx" back and I'm loathe to flush the little guy, seems way way more crueler then just letting him live in a tropical tank, plus I'm pretty much against killing any animal kinda wouldn't be nice to kill a fish cos I didn't have the perfect set up for him. Anyway for now he's in my only non aggressive tank with a single Sailfin molly and a three year old dwarf Gourami who's pretty much dying from old age, and was getting picked on by his previous tank mates. The tanks a 20g or 80l tank, which from what I've read on your site should happily suit a single black moor. The temps set at 24 degrees Celsius, I've pretty much always had it at that temp, so the molly and Gourami are fine. From what I've read that's pretty much the high end of the temperature range that goldfish will thrive in right? <Is for fancies, yes> Now the problems first it's a planted tank and I've worked hard to keep those plants alive LOL, I've removed the Elodea as I know Onyx would absolutely adore destroying it but that leaves the hornwort and java moss in there. <These are unpalatable and tough respectively> Some sites say they don't eat it, while other sites say they do, I'd really appreciate a concrete answer. <I don't think the goldfish will eat much of either of these> Filtration, the tanks got an internal filter that cycles it 3 times per hour, should I upgrade this? <Mmm, likely okay... if this fish is not overfed, some (25% or so) of the water changed weekly> I'm just worried it'll turn it into a whirlpool, I also installed the venturi onto the filter outlet after reading about their being less oxygen in warmer water. <Good> Will the tank size be suitable? <Should be, yes> I'm fairly sure it will be but I guess if he grows to massive proportions I can always take one of the unused livestock troughs (300+g) my parents have and build a pond, though I'd rather keep him a tank and 20g is the biggest tank I can fit in the house, due to the fact I have more than several tanks LOL <Yes> Sigh, this'd be so much easier if Mum had listened the first time I told her I was waiting till I could afford a really big tank so I could get some goldfish. Thanks for any help you can give Emma <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Oranda goldfish, sys.     2/23/07 I got my 1st fish today and its <it's> in a 10 gal aquarium. The fish seems to just hang out in the bottom of tank and seems scared when I turn on the light. <Mmm, better to have some light on outside the tank first... and to impose a regularity to light/dark periods... perhaps with a timer>   Is that normal, is it just getting used to things? When should I turn on the light and for how long? <Mmm, eight-ten hours per day... whatever time schedule suits your presence really. Bob Fenner>

Small fantail goldfish with big filter  2/12/07 Hi, <<Hello, Quang. Tom with you.>> I am a beginner and I learned a lot from your web site.  Thank you. <<You're most welcome and I'm glad to hear we've been of help to you.>> I have a 30 gallon tank (cube), and I plan to use Fluval 305 for it: since goldfish can be quite messy. <<Very true. 30 gallons is a good size, by the way.>> I also plan to have 2 to 4 small fantail goldfish in it.  I wonder if the filter is too much for small goldfish.   <<Keep the number of Goldfish to two, Quang. The filter you suggest will be fine for these fish. The flow from the output tube can be regulated by the shutoff handle if you feel that it's too much for the fish. Simply lift it up a little to slow the flow down. (I have the 304 model and this works very well.)>> Or should I go for 205 model (which is recommended up to 40 gals)? <<I'd prefer that you use more filtration rather than less. Small Goldfish won't stay 'small'. It's better to have the larger filter.>> Thank you very much, Quang. <<You're very welcome. Tom>>

Goldfish 'environment/current issues  2/5/07 Hi there <Hey Rosie.> I have a small red comet (about 1.5") in a 3 gal tank. <Uh-Oh.> I know this is rather small but I am dealing with that. <Yes 'good.> Today I put an undergravel air stone along one wall of the aquarium, and when I turned it on my wee fish immediately started swimming like a bat out of hell in the bubbles. <Probably a lot of 'action' in such a small tank.> I watched her carefully and she wasn't being washed into it by the current but was actively trying to swim down into the bubbles and then got repeatedly whooshed up by the water. <It may be to much for such a small tank, I recommend upgrading soon and until then just utilizing frequent and large water changes 'in a larger tank the animal will be able to adjust to highly powered filtration, etc. .> Is this normal behaviour for a goldfish? <For one that is scared/stressed yes.> This went on for 3 hours when I decided to disconnect that airstone overnight because I don't want her to kill herself from overexertion. Could she sustain damage from the strong current, <No they usually adjust but in such a small tank the animal doesn't have anywhere to go...escape current now and then.> even if she seems to enjoy being in it? <Fish love strong currents, what we provide in the aquarium is nothing compared to native environments.> Since I turned it off she has been very active, almost frantically swimming in the same spot where the current was. If it is safe my plan is to connect it up in the morning and leave it on for the day and then turn it off at night when I turn the lights out - is this a good plan? <See above.> Thanks in advance, Rosie <Adam J.>

Goldfish needs help, owner needs to read   2/4/07 Hello. I just recently purchased two red-capped Orandas (about  a month ago) and moved them into a 10 gallon tank <Too small> with a bubble pump, filter,  and a heater. Recently, I received two more Orandas <... much too small> and put them into the same  tank with the others. About a week ago, I noticed that the largest Oranda was  literally laying on the bottom of the tank for long periods of time, but  whenever disturbed by other fish or saw a person walking by, he would quickly  perk up and swim around. As of right now, he is perfectly healthy. <Environmental...> This seemed  to be a short-lived problem. But just recently, I noticed that my other Oranda  was looking rather bloated, <Ditto> and that he too was laying on the bottom of the  tank, but unlike my other Oranda, this one doesn't even move when bumped into or  when a person taps on the glass. The other three Orandas are in good health and are all eating well and are very active, but this one is not. I'm worried that if one gets sick, all the others will soon follow suit, and I don't have  a spare tank and filter to move him into. Is there anything I can  do? <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Question regarding my son's goldfish... env. dis., reading   1/31/07 I recently purchased two black moor goldfish for my son. One of the fish is smaller and swimming around just fine. The larger fish seems to get bigger by the day (bloating) <Yikes... not good> I purchased the fish Saturday evening and by Sunday evening, it was nose down and seemed to me, to be trying to push the rocks. The other black moor that I have was lying down next to it. Now the sick fish is now hiding under the filter and when I move the filter he floats up to the top of the tank and then swims back under the filter. The fish is swimming sideways and upside down. What should I do? <Check your water quality... This all reads like a/the "classical" lack of biological filtration (nitrogenous waste poisoning) of an un-established, too-small goldfish system. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Michele A. Cotton

Goldfish bullying ! Time to thin out the pack  1/29/07 Hi Bob, <No...Adam_J with you tonight.> We bought a Bi Orb tank a month ago along with one single goldfish as instructed. <Much too "dirty" a fish (produces a lot of waste) for such a tank design.> Yesterday, a month later we bought two more ( a fan tail and a Ryukin ) and introduced them to their cell mate. <Hehe, interesting...but appropriate analogy.> After a very short time , the Ryukin who is slightly bigger, started chasing the other two and nibbling their tails and bashing them against the tank. Please help us sort out this thug ! We do not tolerate bullying in this household !! Should we return it to the shop - guilty GBH (Gold fish Bodily Harm !) <Yes remove two/three....in fact a single Betta or a duo/trio of white cloud minnows would be better off than goldfish in this tank.> Sally W <**AJ>

Yes, proper pet care can be expensive...   1/25/07 Hi again, Thanks for all your time and help. <Sure> Where I live  everything is expensive. A regular bowl like the one I have is $ 20-25. <I'm sorry to hear this is the case, but if you aren't able to afford a pet and all the supplies required, then, well, you shouldn't get the pet. Period. It seems pretty black and white to me.> When I checked some websites where you can buy aquariums online; they have bigger aquariums with the double price and they come with accessories (and of course the aquariums here are more expensive too-a lot). <OK- well, to keep your fish alive, I guess this is, literally, the price you have to pay.  If you haven't gotten the fish, then you'd have the luxury of holding off, but as things stand now, you are the caretaker of this innocent animal, and you have a moral obligation to do right by it, in my mind...> But they only ship in USA. Do you know any website that they ship worldwide? <I'm not sure where you are in the world, exactly.  I'd suggest using Google, trying terms like "online" "aquarium" "world" or "worldwide"...or even try eBay - for dry goods, you can get some decent deals. Good luck, Jorie> Thanks.

Black Moor, BiOrb - 01/25/2006 Hi, <Hello.> I recently bought a 30L BiOrb and was advised by the pet store that it is very suitable for a Black moor goldfish. <30 Liters is just shy of 8 US gallons; this is less than the 10 US gallons that we tend to recommend as a bare minimum per goldfish.> I have introduced a 1 inch black moor. Is this tank suitable? <He will certainly need a larger space as he grows.  Whether it is suitable right now will depend upon whether or not you can keep ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, in this small space.  Black moors, like all other goldfish, produce a great deal of waste - you might not be able to keep up with him.  Furthermore, the surface area of these and other "bowl" shaped systems is really inappropriate for fish.  A ten or fifteen gallon tank would probably be cheaper and more appropriate a home for him.  I really would have this social animal in a tank of 30 gallons or more (115 Liters or more) and provide him with another goldfish pal.> The instructions with the BiOrb claim the filter cartridge should be changed every 6-8 weeks, but I have since read that the stones in the filter cartridge can be thrown away (if this is true when should they be thrown away?) <If the "stones" are black (carbon), a week or so is fine; they lose their efficacy at that point or sooner, but in your case it won't be harmful for them to stick around for the time the instructions recommend.> and the sponge swilled in the partial water change tank water, and re-used time and time again until worn out then cut in half when introducing a brand new sponge (half a sponge at a time). Is this correct? <This would be fine.> Also how often should I be carrying out a partial (30%??) water change, weekly? Because the instructions only advise this to be done every 6-8 weeks! <Oh my.  With a goldfish (read: poop machine) in this tiny tank, weekly water changes of 20% would be effective at his current size.  Waiting 6-8 weeks would be asking for trouble....  Disease, toxic water conditions....> I am quite confused after purchasing a tank that is supposed to be a very simple and easy way to have a pet fish!!!! <Goldfish are not the easiest fish to care for.  They're serious waste producers.  Keeping their environment clean is a challenge, and in this very small system, it will be even more challenging, and impossible as the animal grows up.  You might consider smaller, less "poopy" fish; a single male Betta/Siamese fighting fish makes a great companion that's easy to care for.  Or if you like groups of fish, a few white cloud mountain minnows or zebra Danios might look nice.  I would go for a Betta; they're great on personality.> Also the black moor has an upturned right anal fin (I think its called this the two small fins at the back end bottom of the fish) <Good description - these are ventral or pelvic fins.> it sticks up against the right side of its body - will this cause him problems when he grows? <Nah, not at all.  It may be a genetic deformity, or maybe the fin was broken when he was quite young and grew funny.  This won't be an issue.> Someone please help, I don't want to cause any harm to this fish! <Please take a look here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm , here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm , here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm , and here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm for some good information to help you out.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

GOLDFISH (NOR ANY FISH, IN MY OPINION) DO NOT BELONG IN BOWLS!   1/23/07 Hi Jorie, <Hi again> I'm afraid my fish lives in a bowl. <Ok, this is not good for any fish, but especially a very messy goldfish (or two).  Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm.  Another good goldfish resource here: http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/ > We don't use the term gallons but I think its about 4-5 liters. <Just about...WAY too small for even one goldfish.  One fancy goldie needs at least 10 gal. of water, plus proper filtration and regular water changing.  Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfiltration.htm > I think that's one gallon. <I am under the impression that 1 liter = (approx.) 0.26 US gallons.  Even if your bowl is 5 liters, that's about 1.3 US gallons...unsuitable for any fish.> Well a regular bowl. <Terrible.  Read here; even though its an article about Bettas, the same rationale applies: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm > I don't know how much ammonia the water  has but I know we have hard water (I hope you understand my point). <Ammonia and alkalinity (hardness of water) are not the same thing.  Ammonia is a toxin and cannot be present in any amount in a fish's water.  Here's a good article explaining "ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and how they interact to establish the necessary nitrogen cycle in an aquarium (which, is virtually impossible to do in a 1.3 US gal. fish bowl) : http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > Oh, when I asked a friend who has some experience at this about my problem he said that its because I had different water from the pet shop,  or the fish was sick,  or he had a shock. <Bottom line, if your friend has any reasonable amount of experience, he would have told you that you need an aquarium of at least 10 US gallons (just under 38 liters), with biological and mechanical filtration.  Also, you should be doing regular water changes, matching the pH and temp. of the "old" vs. the "new" water as closely as possible.  What your friend tells you is all true and possible, but the key issue is that your fish is essentially swimming in its own waste, in highly polluted water, and this will eventually kill him.> He doesn't believe that the other goldfish was attacking the fantail. <Well, if I recall correctly, you saw a "bite" in the fish that died? Something had to have caused this...> Oh, and one more question. My goldfish is always at the surface for air so I want to buy an air pump. <GET RID OF THE BOWL. Get a reasonable sized aquarium, as mentioned above.  If you want two goldfish, you'll need at least an 80 liter tank...> Can I put one in the bowl? <You could, but this won't resolve your polluted water problem. Invest in a larger tank instead.> If yes, do you have some models to recommend. <No, I recommend a bigger aquarium. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm > Thanks you so much for your time. Sorry for all this questions. <Don't apologize for asking, but please understand, this truly is an essential.  Your one fish likely died from poor environmental conditions, and your other one will likely perish as well.  It is cruel and inhumane to keep any fish in bowls, esp. goldfish, who are notoriously messy.  Not to mention there are great temperature fluctuations in small bowls, little oxygen content, etc... Unfortunately, you don't have the luxury of taking all the time in the world to read the mounds of info. on proper fishkeeping; do your fish a favor, take my word on it, buy a larger aquarium with filtration, and get your fish in their ASAP.  All the while, be doing your reading, and you'll soon see why I'm so concerned for the health of your fish. Best regards, Jorie>

Goldfish beh., sys.     1/14/07 <<Hi, Susan. Tom with you.>> I have a fancy goldfish in a 30 gallon tank.   <<Good, good, good! (Can you tell I'm pleased with the size of your tank?) :) >> He is 2 years old and 8 inches long.  I installed a magnum 350 canister filter yesterday. Since than he is not eating and will not stop swimming around (he especially likes to play swimming nose first in the out current)  Is this too strong a filter for a 30 gallon tank?  Why is he not eating? <<Well, you've got 11+ water changes per hour going, Susan, which is actually optimal for Goldfish. In a community tank, I'd say this is a bit much but not in your case. As for his eating, or lack thereof, is his food getting tossed about vigorously? He's going through a re-acclimation, if you will, and might not be accustomed to working 'hard' at eating. Could be that he's simply uninterested right now what with the new developments in his home. Once he's gotten used to the change in his environment, his appetite will rebound. We use the term 'stress' typically in a negative connotation but this occurs in varying degrees any time a fish is subjected to something other than what he/she is used to even when it's for the better. When he figures out that the increased water movement is 'normal', he'll be back to his old self. No worries.>> Pls. help...Susan <<Good job on the tank and filter, Susan. Tom>>

Ammonia Spikes Stress Goldfish Hi, I will try to keep this short. I bought a 10 gallon tank and overloaded it with 5 goldfish. < Not a good idea.> The evident happened with ammonia, so I went and purchased a 46 gallon. I lost 2 of them. Now the 10 gallon finished cycling (this is in a 2 month perimeter) the 46 kept having huge ammonia spikes like 8ppm for a week  and I noticed one of my favorite black moor's was doing poorly in the 46 gallon (clamped fins, laying at the bottom of the tank just moving her lips to breathe). So I put her in the 10 gallon. She quickly picked up and was swimming all around the tank. Now this is the second day and she is back to clamped fins and lying at the bottom of the tank. She lays there until I come over and then she acts like she just woke up from a dream and is trying to shake it off, and then goes back to the bottom. Did I poison her possibly and is there anyway to help her? Or is she doomed to die? She has been my little trooper through all the ammonia spikes and problems I have had. I would hate to lose her. Thank you < These ammonia spikes weaken fish and promote disease. I would recommend that you do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. After that add Bio-Spira from Marineland. Your tank should be stable in a couple of days.-Chuck>

New Goldfish gift and tropicals   1/12/06 help!   it's me again. <Kyleigh, the beginning of sentences are capitalized...> my brother and sisters fish died a few months ago and my friend got them each a goldfish. but I have 3 neon tetras and 2 scissor-tail Danios ( 1 of which is pregnant. ) I have another friend who said she could put the goldfish in her goldfish pond. what should I do? <If the weather is warm enough there (55 F. or warmer) I'd move the goldfish... Otherwise, wait till Spring> my tank is 10 gallons and we just got the goldfish today so I don't know how long they'll live in a little plastic bowl! <Not long or well> also how can I know what fish are male or female. Thanks!      Kyleigh <Depends on the species... the ones you list are very hard to tell apart... until they're quite large/mature... engaged in spawning activity. Much of this is posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish in a bowl, you know it's serious... hey <Hey> crew! thanks for the advise! <advice> I will take the goldfish somewhere else. but <spaces after punctuation> where should I put them until spring? also, <Also> what about the mother-to-be Dani? I have two spare bowls should I put her in there? thanks, your time is appreciated. Kyleigh <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Way too many goldfish in a 2.5 gal. tank; not reading.    1/5/07 I change the water 1-2 times a week. They have a whisper filtering system w/bubbles. The tank is 2.5 gal. <This tank is entirely too small for one goldfish, let alone multiple ones.  You really need a larger tank, ASAP...in the meantime, best thing you can do is more frequent water changes...with the small size of the tank, I'd say 75% per day.> What type of antibiotics should I use to help them? <Water changes will be more helpful. Sounds like this is a fungus- read here for details about treatment - http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/Fungus.html The white spots look fuzzy, it doesn't look like salt. <Again, sounds like fungus.  You need an anti-fungal, a fungicide.> I put aquarium salt and ammonia clear in their water every I change their water. I've already lost 2 fish but they looked like they got caught underneath the filter. <Exactly how many fish are/were living in the 2.5 gal. tank? You need a much larger tank, to increase water changes, and read the links I provided in my last correspondence with you.  Best thing you can do for your fish is to educate yourself about proper goldfish conditions. Regards, Jorie>

Goldfish Water Quality   12/29/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> My lionhead goldfish has bladder problems and now it has white spots (not breeding) like the small but white patches under the eye and then it turns to reddish and bloody areas. I'm so worried pls help!!!!! Thanks a lot! <It sounds like your fish is sick due to poor water quality.  I would bet you're not doing large enough/often enough water changes in it's tank.  Because of it's large appetite, causing it to produce a lot of waste, most serious GF keepers do 90% weekly water changes on their tanks.  Make sure to clean the gravel well also. Use a good conditioner, like Prime.  I'd add Melafix for the skin problems & 1 tbsp salt/5g.  For the swim bladder issues, feed the fish shelled, frozen (defrosted) peas & algae wafers.  No floating foods.  ~PP>

Re: Goldfishes and grammar... More Goldfish Questions  12/4/06 Well, you answered the questions I had but opened up so many more! <They never end, because we're always learning.> I have the 14 GF, and they're each between 1 1/2" and 2" long.  Now, I know my power filter isn't big enough for the tank, it only has one filter but we have two bubblers.  Now, do those help the filtering process or should I still get a larger power filter with two instead of one? <Bubblers only help dissolve O2 into the water, for better respiration.  Fish like to play in the bubbles too.  They do nothing for filtration.  By not knowing the make/model of your filter, I can't tell you if it's sufficient or not.  On a tank that size, with that many growing fish, I'd recommend an Aquaclear filter.  You can stack them with whatever you wish, rather than most premade cartridges.  Utilizing a sponge filter (for mechanical filtration--can be rinsed weekly), filter floss (to "polish" the water crystal clear--replaced monthly) & BioMax (for biological filtration--rinsed every 3 months or so).  When the fish reach about 3", you can add a canister filter, like an Eheim.> Also, we have tried using a specific chemical that says put in 5 ml for every gallon once a week and you clean every 6 months.  We probably won't stick with it on account of the size of the tank, but does that stuff really work? <Total bunk/rip-off!  There is nothing that can replace water changes.  "The solution to pollution is dilution!"> And also, you replied with having to clean the tank once a week and replace 90% of the water and the filter but I've also seen if you clean 15% once a month it prevents the uber cleaning every couple of months.  And couldn't replacing 90% of the water at once cause shock? <"Uber cleaning" is a bad idea on all counts.  You will remove all traces of "good" bacteria that eats waste from your fish.  To understand better, read articles here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library.php?cat=4 There are also excellent articles in that library that will educate you on the benefits of mechanical, chemical & biological filtration here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library.php?cat=6 Most serious GF keepers do 90% weekly water changes (which only involves stirring the gravel to loosen waste & uneaten foods, draining & filling.  Easily done with a Python drain & fill system) to lower the high ammonia/nitrates/nitrates--the end result of such dirty fish.> Thanks so much. <You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes... ~PP> Ashley

Goldfish problems (obviously)... BiOrb metabolite poisoning incident/s  - 11/13/06 Hi I hope you can help me. I have a BiOrb tank <These tanks are unsuitable for keeping goldfish... too small, under-filtered...> and have 1 gold fantail and I just bought a black googly( not a technical term!) fan tail yesterday. I did all   the usual introductory procedures and it was happily feeding and swimming last  night. When I came down this morning it is lying on some of the tank weed on  it's side and just flopped over. It is very strange. <Mmm, define "strange"... is actually quite common... to the point of being expected> The other one is perfectly  fit and well. <Not for long> I have had fish in this tank for many years successfully and  cannot understand why this has happened. I had another back fan tail in there  last week but he died of swim bladder disease. I did a water change before I put  the fish back into the tank just in case. Can you please tell me what to do I don't want to lose another one my daughter will be devastated. I am eagerly awaiting your reply. Thank you Carole From England <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the FAQs files linked above.

4 goldfish in a 5 gal aquarium = recipe for disaster    11/4/06 Please help me with this. <I will sure try...> I have never maintained an aquarium. My friends have left theirs with me and have gone for a 1 month vacation. The only instruction they gave me was to feed the fish dried flakes once a day. They did not tell me to change the water. <Well, by the end of this you will likely know more than your friends about fishkeeping...hopefully you can educate them upon their return.> There are 4 goldfish and I think its a 5 gallon tank, with a filter. <Waaaay too crowded.  See here for a helpful article on goldfish requirements: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm > My friends also told me that normally one fish dies within 3-4 weeks. Is this true? <In such a small, overcrowded system, it doesn't surprise me.  Obviously, though, this should not be happening...goldfish can live many years in proper conditions...> Anyhow, after 3 weeks, I noticed one of the fish jumping out of the water and gasping for breath. I searched the web, and did a partial water change two times a week. I also started feeding them frozen peas. The fish that was gasping has stopped doing that, but it remains on the surface with its tail out. It also keeps opening and closing its mouth in water. It is eating normally otherwise. Why is it doing that? <It's likely that toxins such as ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are building up in such a small system and poisoning the fish.  You were very smart to do water changes.  Sounds like your friends didn't leave you with a test kit (heck, it sounds like they don't even know what that is) - ideally, you should be measuring the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels in the fishes' water.  All should ideally be zero.  With such a small aquarium, I'd suggest you do daily 50% water changes - be sure to match the temp. and pH of the old and new water as closely as possible, so you don't shock the fishes' systems.  Also, if you are using tap water, you either need to add a liquid dechlorinator (de-chloramine agent as well), or let the water sit out for at least 24 hours prior to using.  Here are some additional helpful beginner articles: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/taptrtmnt.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm How many times should I feed them peas? <Perhaps once or twice per week.  Also, in general, please know that you should only feed the fish as much as they can consume in 3-5 minutes; in your situation, since the fishes' tank is so very small, feeding less is better...you don't want excess food and fish waste to pollute the water.> Thanks for your help! <You're welcome.  I think with regular water changes you can help these poor little guys pull through.  Ideally, your friends should invest in a tank with a minimum size of 30 gal. to accommodate four goldfish.  Please pass your new-found knowledge along to your friends and advise them if they have further questions, we are here to help... Best of luck, Jorie>

Desperate Beginner's Questions About Goldfish 10/10/06 Hi, I was wondering if you would mind answering several questions for a very, very new goldfish owner. <Will try - best way is to educate yourself through reading, reading, and more reading...> Grandma bought 2 goldfish for my children as a lovely "surprise" and we were quite unprepared for it. <Ah, will people never learn that fish, as live animals, do not make good presents?!> Anyhow, these are my most pressing questions at the moment: 1. We have 2 fantails each approximately 1 inch in length in a 1 gallon tank. Is this adequate enough size for them both? <Absolutely not.  See here for basic goldfish requirements:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm > 2. Our tap water is from a well and doesn't contain chemicals typical to municipal supply.  I've adjusted ammonia to almost nil... <Not good enough, ammonia and nitrite must be ZERO - nitrates can be 10-20 ppm, but obviously lower and closer to zero is best.  Read here about cycling:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Also, please be aware that the test strips you refer to are notoriously inaccurate - better to invest in a liquid chemical test kit, such as ones put out by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals or Tetra.> ...but my test strip for pH, nitrite, nitrate hardness and alkalinity indicates that the alkalinity is at 80 ppm and pH is between 7.2 and 7.8. Do I need to adjust these and if so, how do I raise alkalinity w/o raising pH? <For now, don't worry about adjusting these levels. Do invest in a more reliable test kit.  Just be sure to keep the pH and alkalinity stable, as this is most important to a fish's health and well-being.> How often should I test ammonia levels? <In such a small gal. bowl w/o filtration, daily.  Do also test for nitrite and nitrate, as per cycling article linked to above.  A good beginner's book to invest in is The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums by David E. Boruchowitz...very simple, practical guidance.  (Do beware his stocking schemes, though, as he tends to overstock, in my opinion.> (These are the other measurements ->(Nitrate: 20 ppm, Nitrite: 0 ppm, H2O hardness: 75 ppm) <Nitrates are on the high-end of acceptable - I'd suggest a 50% water change.> 3. The tank I have is an acrylic tank shaped somewhat like the symbol on Superman's chest. Is it made of an appropriate material to accommodate a hanging filter? (I've read that the undergravel aeration system that came with it isn't going to do much good...) <Well, the undergravel is better than nothing, but I'd say it's more imperative to purchase a bigger tank before worrying about filtration.  If you plan to keep these goldies, at least a 10 gal. is necessary...then I'd suggest investing in a power filter.> 4. is there any other way to clean the gravel/water without having to purchase a gravel vacuum? <Use a piece of flexible hosing as a siphon.> This is all getting very expensive... <Yes - honestly, if you aren't equipped for it, I'd say return the fish, as ultimately they will perish.  Fishkeeping can be very rewarding and fun, but there is honestly a fair amount of set-up work and expense at first...> 5. the larger of the two seems to be somewhat aggressive with the smaller, nosing at it from underneath-rear and often chasing it away from gravel its trying to nibble on. <This 1 gal. tank isn't suitable for 1 goldfish, let alone two...soon, the stronger one will likely stress out the weaker one to the point of its getting sick...> The larger also gets more aggressive around feeding times. Is this simply survival of the fittest, or could they be stressed? <I'm sure they are stressed - wouldn't you be if you were kept in a closet w/ no separate room for a toilet?!> 6. Oh! BUBBLES!!! Clear, colorless, non-slimy bubbles have accumulated over the entire surface of the water. How do I stop this? <Perhaps this is caused from the fish gulping at the surface for oxygen.  A larger tank more suitable for fish will hopefully alleviate the problem.> 7. The instructions on the fish food say to feed them several times per day, I was under the impression that they should be fed once per day. Which is correct? <In your situation, I'd say once per day.  You have no filtration set up on the tank, and it's way too small to begin with.  Obviously, the more the fish eat, the more waste they produce, thus polluting the water, necessitating more water changes, etc.  For now, just feed a few pellets each day.  Again, though, I must emphasize you need a larger tank ASAP!> 8. Will the fish outgrow their tank, or does the size of the tank limit their growth? I'm just wondering how extensive this endeavor is going to turn out to be... <The fish were never meant to be in this small of an aquarium to begin with.  And yes, keeping fish in too small of a system will ultimately stunt their growth - and cause health problems.> Thank you so much for answering my questions, and giving me a crash course in fish care. :-) You don't know how much I appreciate it! <Honestly, my friend, if you aren't prepared to immediately run to the store and invest in at least a 10 gal. tank with a power filtration system, you need to find these fish a suitable home ASAP.  Otherwise, do invest in a reasonably sized tank, read the links I've provided, look into the book I've recommended, and you will have two beautiful fish as your companions.  Please remind Grandma that fish are alive and require research prior to purchase...Best of luck, Jorie> Pam B.

Appropriate tank sizes  9/28/06 Hello! <Hi there> Your site is really amazing. I've had a fantail goldfish for about a year and just recently he's been showing signs on swim bladder (floating upside down, trouble moving, and slightly distended sides). I'm going to try and make a change to his diet. <Good> Your site really seems to recommend peas, but I'm not really sure how to prepare them. <Mmm, frozen/defrosted are best... but canned can work... de-skinned... by pinching> My main question today was if I should increase the size of this tank. He is currently in a 2.5 gallon tank, Mercutio (my fish) is about 2.5 inches long, but it isn't very wide. He seems to have been doing well in this size tank so far. What do you think? <Needs much more space... and will be much easier for you to keep clean as well> A Big thank you in advance, you guys really know what your talking about! Jen <Bob Fenner>

Perhaps I am a little slow... Catholics down on Goldfish bowls...  9/21/06 ...but this was just brought to my attention today, at the first session of my school's Animal Law Society: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200510/s1490694.htm <Mmm, saw this>    Am I the only one who didn't know about this?! It's great...now we just need to educate people as to the "why" behind it.  In a random Google search, I saw many uninformed people making vast sweeping statements about how stupid the law is.  For my part, I have been named the "Officer of Feline and Fish Coordinations" for the JMLS Animal Law Society, and one of my major goals is to educate people around the school about proper environments for keeping pet fish.  Who knows, Bob - perhaps we can even bring you in as a speaker at our symposium later in the year. We'll chat and see, OK?! <Symposium? One of my fave words... Sym as in "together"... and posium, as in place for the infinitive verb: possere meaning to drink... "A gathering where folks drink together!".    Just wanted to pass this along for what it is worth, in case anyone else lives in a cave like I apparently do...    Jorie <Soon to be out with a big club... BobF>

Alkalinity & pH 9/20/06 Hi! <<Hello, Angi. Tom>> When I measure my pH it is normal for my goldfish (7.5)...but when I test the Alkalinity it is low (40 - 80 ppm).   <<Okay.>> What should I use to raise the alkalinity and not raise the pH.  I have Buff-It-Up (which didn't do anything), Stable 7.5, and Alkalinity Buffer (I think by Sea* something).  This has me totally confused (I'm very new at this).  Oh, my water is hard from the tap.  If my pH is 7.5 which is alkaline why would my alkalinity reading be low?  I am sooooooooo confused!!!! <<Easy to become confused by all of this, Angi. Perhaps it would be beneficial to use the term "basic" rather than "alkaline" to alleviate confusion between the terms alkaline and alkalinity. (Works for me!) Okay, "alkalinity" is a measure of a sample's ability to resist changes in pH (downward) in the presence of an acid. By the very same token, "acidity" is a measure of a sample's ability to resist changes in pH (upward) in the presence of an alkali, or base. In simple terms, it's "buffering capacity". Where, on either side of "neutral", a sample tests on the pH scale, at a given time, has no bearing whatsoever on its "acidity" or "alkalinity". This is borne out by what you've discovered, i.e. your sample tested "basic" (alkaline) but its buffering capacity (alkalinity) is low. Frankly, this isn't a stable condition since naturally occurring carbon dioxide in the air mixes with water to form carbonic acid. Additionally, there are other organic acid "dynamics" that take place in our aquariums that compound the problem. What this means, to you and others in this situation, is that your pH levels are in a precarious position. (Just what you didn't want to hear, right?) Hence, you need to increase your alkalinity (buffering capacity) in order to resist a plummet from a slightly basic pH level (7.5) to an acidic one (>7.0). Here's where things get stinky, er, sticky. It simply ain't easy to increase alkalinity without raising the pH levels. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) provides excellent buffering capabilities due to the "bicarbonate" element but, if not added very, very judiciously, can drive your pH up dangerously. The products you mentioned above are, to greater or lesser degrees, of questionable efficacy. Honestly, I would look to small but frequent water changes rather than trying to chemically alter your water parameters. In the time that you'll spend playing around with various "buffers" and "stabilizers" as well as the requisite parameter tests to ensure that you haven't screwed up somewhere along the line, you could have, easily, performed a simple water change. In the long run, you might find yourself acclimating your Goldfish to pH levels outside of the "ideal" but, many credible sources suggest that you're better off keeping your fish at your tap water parameters than to "artificially" rearrange them.>> Thanks for you time. Angi <<Hope this helps somewhat, Angi. Best of luck. Tom>>
Re: Alkalinity & pH
9/20/06 Thank you sooooo much Tom! <<Oh, stop. You'll make me blush.>> Frequent water changes is exactly what I'll do (I sort of enjoy it anyway).   One little question....when I'm doing like a 50% water change and gravel cleaning, would it be best to remove the fish to a bucket of the original aquarium water?   <<Angi, you don't really want to go with a 50% water change. That falls into the "massive" range. Keep it to about half of that and you'll be "golden".>> They are constantly sucking on my arms!! LOL!!! <<They like you, Angi! Nothing like some good fish kisses. :)>> I have 2 tanks (29 gal with 2 Oranda -- about 4" body size not counting fins)(40 gal with 2 moors and 2 Ryukins --- about 2" body size). I've decided to get rid of the gravel in both tanks.  It's a real pain trying to feed them because the only ones who see the food coming are the Ryukins.  The rest have to try to get what has fallen between the gravel (1/2" gravel)....so the gravel is outta of here! <<Oh, they'll scavenge, anyway. Won't be as much fun for them but, it'll be a whole lot easier on you!>> Take care and thanks soooooooooo much again!!! Angi <<You're most welcome, Angi. Tom>>

The Solution to Pollution is Dilution!  9/16/06 Dear Bob, <Not Bob, Pufferpunk here but I'm sure I can help.> Please help!  We are lucky enough to have an established Juwel Trigon 190 aquarium with 2 large black moors in there.  One has completely turned gold but I am not worried about this.  Basically, our water has been cloudy for months now and we can't seem to rectify the situation.  Through testing we have found out that ammonia levels are fine and nitrates and nitrites are at a safe level.  Our PH is very low however and so we have recently bought some "PH up" which we are adding every 24 hours to bring the PH up 0.2 at a time.   <Your pH is probably low from the acid produced by fish waste.> I don't know where to start with the goldfish - the "gold" black moor has a lot of trouble swimming and is often seen to be upside down.  She cannot balance at all and so we have put a see through "tunnel" in there at the moment which she goes in for a rest.  We've managed to fix her a couple of times by adding Aqualibrium salt to the aquarium and using swim bladder treatment.  Obviously we can't keep putting salt in the aquarium and so now I'm thinking of trying the peas idea I keep reading about as I'm not sure what else I can do for her!!  Any ideas? <Peeled frozen peas will help with the swim bladder problem, along with zucchini & algae wafers.  Goldfish are basically plant eaters.> The other black moor is having problems with her eyes.  We noticed a while ago that they seemed to be very cloudy like she was going blind.  We treated the water with Melafix and this seemed to clear up although it looked like she had a hole in her eye (which has also healed up now).  Anyway, her eyes are fine now but tonight we saw that she had a bit of blood in both of them and now we're really worried.  We've taken out the carbon sponge (in the filter) and added Melafix as I read on the internet it might be septicemia. I suspect most of the problems we have are down to water quality but we don't know what to do about it.   <Water changes.  Most serious goldfish keepers do 90% per week.> We've tried Accuclear and the only thing that helps is partial water changes.  I'm not sure if the partial water changes are ok to do however, as we changed the green "bacteria" sponge in there a few weeks back.   <You should be able to just rinse those out.> I am aware of bacterial blooms but we had this problem before we changed the sponge.  Actually, we left the other green sponge in there too long by accident but I don't know if that could have caused the cloudiness.  It's important to tell you that it is a white cloud and not a green cloud, we have vacuumed the gravel and have no algae build up in there.  We are at desperation point now and just want to help our fish!  Please, please, please can you offer any words of wisdom?   <I would test the water for ammonia, nitrites (should be 0 at all times) & nitrates (should be under 20) and water changes accordingly.> ps - if you don't reply personally to emails, where can I find the answer on the website?  Hopefully you will be able to help us. <You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...  ~PP> Thank you in advance. Yours sincerely, Lynsey Newton

Goldfish tank with cotton wool filter (Another question)  - 09/10/06 Hi there, <<Hello, Teresa. Tom>> I emailed for help a couple of days ago, but I am sure you're very tied up to answer me as yet. But really hope to hear from you. Meanwhile, realized I forgot to ask you about one more thing (so sorry to ask you so many questions). <<No problem at all, Teresa, and sorry for not getting to your post sooner. Things are, indeed, a little busy but it goes with the territory.>> It's about the pea feeding. When I said half a pea previously, I actually sometimes feed less than that - in cooked and squashed form. I feed him very little as that is what he can eat in two minutes. Now I'm wondering if I have actually starved them. There was a period when I gave them nothing but peas. <<Keeping any fish on a diet without proper variety can ultimately lead to some problems. That said, I don't think it applies in this case since you'd have to keep them on the same food for quite some time before you would see evidence of health problems.>> Does the 2-minute rule apply for peas and if I give him an entire pea (thawed but not squashed), will it choke him since he's so little? <<The rule is probably well-applied in this instance. Usually, when raw or blanched vegetables are provided, we recommend removing the uneaten portions after about 24 hours. This is when the food starts to soften and disintegrate to the point where it becomes a source of "pollution" in the tank. Since your peas were 'pre-softened' it was best to remove the food sooner. It's doubtful that your fish would 'choke' on a whole pea even if he tried to gobble the whole thing at once. Fish don't have airways like you and I and, therefore, wouldn't block these with an obstruction in their throats.>> Thanks again and really appreciate your reply despite your busy day. Teresa from Singapore <<I hope this helps and I'll take a look at your first post right now, Teresa. Tom>> Re: Goldfish tank with cotton wool filter - 09/10/06 Hi there <<Hello again, Teresa. Tom here once more.>> I am from Singapore and owing to space constraints at home, I cannot have a big tank. Instead, I have an 18-litre tank with one small fantail (about 1 and a half inches). I've had him for 7 months now since he was a baby. I've a filter box with filter cotton and an air stone. Since the beginning, I've been doing complete water changes, cleaning the tank out, once a week 'cos this is a small tank. <<An 18-liter (~ 5 gallons) tank is very small for a Goldfish home. Luckily, your Fantail is one of the smaller varieties of Goldfish. I'd still never recommend this size tank for this fish but it's what we have to deal with so let's move ahead.>> But I am concerned as to whether I'm doing the right thing. I would hate to lose this little fella 'cos I've already lost his 'brother' (same size) just yesterday. They were doing fine and they were my first pair of goldfishes. They were wonderful companions to each other. But after 7 months, the hyperactive fish died all of a sudden. He looked like a fantail, but had only a single split, and not double split fins. I noticed he became constipated just a month after I had him - he started floating upside down after eating. But after feeding him squashed peas, he was fine thereafter - till a few days ago. One morning, I realized he'd gone blind and couldn't see his food. He was always a boisterous lil' fella, but that day, he sank and rolled to his side. There were no white spots or anything unhealthy on him externally. I took him out to another tank and changed the water daily. He swam around only on one afternoon. After 3 days, he was in such bad shape, I put him to sleep, much as I loved him. <<Sorry to hear this, Teresa. Never an easy thing to do but it's sometimes the only 'humane' thing to be done.>> Could it be due to my changing the water completely each week? <<This could certainly be a factor. Clean water is paramount in all situations but stability is the real key here. Fish can/will adapt to conditions outside of what would be considered optimal for them as long as those conditions are left as unchanged as possible. Once a fish has successfully adapted to certain conditions, even placing them in a tank with so-called ideal parameters can shock them, perhaps to the point of death. Complete water changes don't allow the parameters to completely stabilize adequately which is why this practice is not recommended unless it's an absolute emergency.>> Should I do be doing partial water changes, and if so by how much and how often? <<I would suggest that two liters, twice each week, would be a much better way to go about this.>> I know the question is asked often in this forum, but does the water cycling issue apply even in the case of a cotton wool filter? <<It does. The filter is where the vast majority of the beneficial bacteria grow regardless of the style filter used.>> Also, for a small tank, it's a bit hard to do partial water changes. <<Unfortunately, Teresa, there's really no way around this. Even if you were to keep a Betta, for example, which is much better disposed to living in this size aquarium, you'd be "saddled" with partial water changes a couple of times a week.>> If I do partial water changes, should I rinse or discard the filter cotton at the same time, or only when I do a complete water change (which would be presumably two weeks since this is a small tank?) <<Under normal circumstances, the filter media need only be rinsed in water taken from the tank - never in tap water! - and placed back in the box. Additionally, this should never be done in conjunction with a complete water change since part of the bio-colony will be lost with the cleaning of the cotton media. The result would be placing your fish in jeopardy from a potential ammonia/nitrite 'spike'.>> One other question is: I don't have a substrate for the tank, and I notice that the fish keeps sucking so often, I think he's even ate his own poo 'cos there's hardly any waste in the tank and the water's clear. He gets hungry every so often and is very sharp on his mealtimes: He'd be at the surface, dashing around to ask for his food, just like his 'brother'. I feed him twice a day with very small portions (a bit of flake food in the morning and half a squashed cooked pea at night). When I feed him more, he seems to have difficulty heading down the tank. <<Your Goldfish will "scavenge" whether, or not, you have substrate in the tank. This, of course, means he's going to feed on his own waste, distasteful as this sounds to us, regardless. The reason that he has trouble "submerging" when he eats more than usual is that he's gulping more air with his food than he normally would. In short, he becomes overly buoyant until he gets rid of the extra air.>> Really appreciate your help on this. Thanking you in advance, Teresa Lee <<Happy to help, Teresa, and sorry once again for the delay in getting back to you. Best regards. Tom>>

Re: Goldfish tank with cotton wool filter  9/10/06 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Teresa.>> Sounds silly, but I was wondering again - don't I need to carry out a 100% water change in order to clean the tank floor and glass at some point in time?   <<Not silly at all, Teresa. The cleaning can be - should be - done in sections at different times. This, again, preserves the beneficial bacteria that reside in the tank itself. Now, this would seem to make more sense if your tank had some form of substrate, I'm sure, but it would be a better practice to clean half with one small water change and the other half with the next.>> Have noted your point about the portion of water to be changed, but for a small tank, I find it real tough to sufficiently siphon off all the waste and dirt without taking out at least 20% or so of the water. Any advice on this? <<A 20% change once a week is certainly a good "work-around" to the two smaller changes I originally suggested. Nothing "written in stone" on this one except that I'd like you to accustom yourself and your Goldfish to smaller water changes, for now. You and I both realize that you don't have as large a margin for error with a small tank as you would with a larger aquarium. There is no specific "rule of thumb" that we can follow here other than to find a regimen that works for you and keeps your fish healthy.>> Regards again. Teresa from Singapore <<Have a great day, Teresa. Tom>>

Re: Goldfish tank with cotton wool filter  9/10/06 Thanks again, Tom. <<You're welcome, Teresa.>> Will follow your advice and pray that everything will go more smoothly now. By the way, little Ping has been busy chasing and mouthing the pea for the past two hours! Hope he won't be overeating! Shall retrieve the leftovers tomorrow morn. <<I wouldn't worry about Ping overeating on vegetable matter. Proteins are another issue since the digestive systems of Goldfish aren't "designed" to deal with these well. Regards and 'xie xie' (that's Mandarin for thanks!) Teresa, Singapore <<Cheers and 'Bu ke qi', which I dearly hope is Mandarin for 'you're welcome'. :) Tom>>

Re: Goldfish tank with cotton wool filter  9/10/06 Hi Tom <<Hi, Teresa.>> Thanks so much for your answer. Wished I had found out earlier about this help I can get from this site. <<You're most welcome, Teresa. Glad you found us, by the way.>> In Singapore, the shops are hardly any help. They always recommend medication and I don't like that 'cos in the past, whenever I medicated, the fish died even faster. And once when I asked about butterfly rams, the shop assistant asked me what fish that was. <<The proper medications are worth their weight in gold when applied judiciously. When used inappropriately, they can be worse than no medication at all.>> But to keep on the track - thanks again. I will do partial water changes as you suggested a couple of times each week, rinse the filter cotton or dispose of just part of it. But how often then do I do a complete water change for a tank of this size? <<Teresa, in my opinion, you shouldn't even concern yourself with 100% water changes. Good as they might sound "on paper", complete water changes can be detrimental to your pet's health and well-being. While larger systems are inherently more stable than small ones, the water-change protocol should remain pretty much the same for either. Once you surpass about 25% of your tank's capacity, you venture into the "large" water change range. At 50%, you'd be in what I would consider to be the "massive" range. Think "quality" rather than "quantity" and you'll be fine.>> Also, I didn't mention previously that for the goldie that died (his name was Pong, the one I still have is Ping) - he had been passing only this transparent string of a poo for some time and occasionally the usually solid poop. I now know that that was probably a sign of something wrong. <<A very good indicator, Teresa. Not foolproof but, when combined with other symptoms, this can very well nail down a problem internally.>> Hope to get your reply again and sorry for troubling you as I know you must be getting lots of other requests and tackling your own job, etc. <<You're not "troubling" me - or any of us - by asking questions, Teresa. I'd personally rather address questions like you have now than to address them once a situation has reached the critical stage.>> Regards from Teresa in hot and humid Singapore! <<And mine to you from rather cool southeast Michigan, USA. Tom>>

Goldfish Aren't Bowlfish!  9/4/06 Hi - <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Our calico goldfish (2.5 gallon bowl), very active - we found dead tonight in his bowl.  Was active all day - after coming home from dinner - gone.  Found out our sons ADHD friend dumped a half carton of food in this morning and my son didn't know till later but didn't realize the significance.  Then my mother in law came over and fed the fish some more.  Anyway, my son refused to let us "bury" him so I put him in some new water immediately - no luck.  But when I was going to bed tonight - he was Breathing!  still looked dead - but def gill movement.  So he is fighting for his life.  I completely cleaned out his bowl, put in new water and the chemical and transferred him back. We have no pump but he seems to have taken the transfer ok.  Any ideas on what else I can do or just wait and see?  We could of sworn he was dead - no movement from him for 5 minutes - so we are amazed he is still fighting.   <What a trooper!  Goldfish really don't belong in a bowl.  I'd get him a 10 gallon tank, with a filter & a top, so this can't happen again.  Goldfish are heavy eaters & high waste producers.  They need good filtration & lots of large water changes (some folks do 90% weekly).  with the proper care, they can live over 20 years!  Eventually it will grow large enough to warrant a 30g tank.  In the meantime, a pump & airstone might help him breath better in the bowl, until you can set up a nice tank for him.  ~PP> Gayle and son Christopher  (he named the fish - Wayne Gretzky)

Goldfish in bowl, atrocious English 8/25/06 hello, < Howdy! > I have had a Veiltail(?) fish for about 8 months, and another one that looks just like it in shape, but it was much smaller and blackish red. about three days ago the little one mysteriously died, right before I was going to do their monthly tank cleanout. < You may need to perform the water changes more often. > I have a small tank, about a gallon, gallon and a half and I always keep it clean. < That size tank would definitely benefit from weekly partial water changes! > the water is room temperature, and the filter is underground. I am a first time fish owner and I thought this tank would be perfect for starting up. < That is a common misconception. Unfortunately the smaller the body of water is, the less time between drama and disaster! That tank is truly too small for goldfish of any sort. > anyhow, right when the little fish died, I immediately cleaned out the tank, for fear it would somehow infect the larger fish. About a day later, that one started acting weird. it stopped eating  and swimming, and still continues to lie motionless on the bottom of the  tank. < If you changed out too much water, that can throw the stability of the biological filtration of the tank out of whack. > yesterday I found it floating upside down behind the plant I  keep in the tank, until I nudged it a little bit with my net. my dad  suggested I clean the tank out again, at which time I noticed the water was  a bit warm. < You should pre-mix your water change water the night before, to allow the chemicals to work and to allow the temperature to stabilize. > after cleaning again, I put in the usual 10 drops of START  RIGHT contaminate reducer but it still acted as if it were dying. I have noticed  that its tail and fins were rotting, and the area where its gills are turning red. I actually thought I saw a trace of blood when it moved in the  water. I wasn't sure  what I was doing wrong. < Probably too much food in, too many fish, too small of a tank, and not frequent enough partial water changes. > I haven't changed anything in  their diet, or water type or anything. I thought maybe it wasn't getting enough  oxygen in the water because of its rapid breathing. but please, if you have any  advice on what I should do, please tell me. < Does anyone use aerosols, carpet fresh, room deodorizers, air fresheners or the like? If so, this could encourage the problem we are currently experiencing. > thank you very  much < Good luck! RichardB >

Goldfish growth and size question... sys.   7/31/06 Hi, I have not seen this exact question answered on your site but apologize if it's redundant.  We have 3 new goldfish, 1 common and 2 comets; they are about  1 inch not including their tail.  They are doing well and very active.  They are in a 20 gal tank with a "Penguin Bio-Wheel 150" box filter that hangs on the side of the tank.  Also a bubbler and gravel, decorations.  No real plants yet.  I understand from reading your site's info that the tank they are in is too small, <Will be ultimately, yes... But should be "large-enough" to allow dilution, cycling of waste, psychological and physiological space for now...> anyway we knew that they would ultimately outgrow it and we'd have to get them a bigger home.  (My son is very attached to these fish so we could not give them away but would have to buy a bigger tank.)  How soon should we be planning to get a new tank? <Likely a year or so... growth rates can be sped up, controlled to a point by feeding amount, frequency... partial water changes...> Is this something we need to do immediately or could we put it off for a few months? <The latter> How long do they live and how fast does it take them to get to be 12" whoppers?? <Can live a few tens of years... and won't get this big in aquarium settings... would take a pond, several years there> Also--I read something that said goldfish keepers do a 90% water change once per week, and some other info that says a 25% change once per week-- <Better to limit these chances to this last maximum percentage> and another source advising 10% change at least several times per week while the tank is just getting established.  I've been checking the water and changing 10-25% of the water every day or every other day  What do you recommend?   thanks for answering, Nancy <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm Bob Fenner>  

Goldfish Cycling Distress  7/28/06 HELP!   <It's Pufferpunk here to try.> I am a very bad goldfish dad--I set up a new tank for my goldfish - here's what I have:  30 gallon glass tank with a bubble wand across the bottom which produces a LOT of bubbles, a whisper 50 (??) box filter that will circulate 330 gph--so the water is being circulated pretty well.  I have a large 3" fan tail, a little fan tail (maybe 1" max--he is tiny), and a medium/small Plecostomus.    They've been living happily together for a while.  So, of course I was impatient and didn't let the new tank cycle enough before I put the fish from their old tank to the new and now I have some elevated ammonia levels and the water is cloudy.  I know about the nitrogen cycle and I know that I didn't do things right.  I want to get my fish through this with the least amount of stress that I can.  I did a 20% water change two days ago and am wondering how often I can do this without extending the time for the tank to stabilize.  I'm adding a capful of Stability by SeaChem to my tank per the directions to try and speed things up.  From what I'm reading in the FAQ pages, I need to simply let things run their course as best as I can, with the assurance that things will stabilize in time.  My fish don't seem stressed out and are heartily eating the (limited) amount of food I'm giving them.  Thanks for your help--I just don't know if there is anything I can do other than do some frequent water changes and wait. <I'd do a 90% water change & add Bio-Spira directly to the filter, to instantly cycle the tank.  Otherwise, is the old filter still available?   I'd put that on the new tank then.  You can do as may large water changes as are necessary to keep the parameters at safe levels. Stability won't help as far as I know.  Bio-Spira is the only product that contains LIVE nitrifying bacteria in it.  ~PP> Dallas Ryan

Re: New Tank Syndrome with Goldfish   7/29/06 <<Hi, Dallas. Tom with you to give Jeni a break.>> Unfortunately the old filter is not available.  I can do a massive water change - but I should let the water sit out overnight -   correct? <<Negative. Properly dechlorinated, you can put your new water in almost - give it a few minutes - immediately.>> I want to make sure it's room temperature.   <<The least of your worries, right now, Dal. If it comes out of the tap feeling close to the temperature in the tank, you're "golden".>> I will go out and find the bio Spira right now so that we can get this going... <<Good man, and a good call from PP. The credit's hers.>> Thanks for your help. <<PP did the work. I'm simply filling in a little spot here.>> Dal <<Tom>> Dallas Ryan

Re: New Tank Syndrome with Goldfish   7/29/06 <<Hey, Dallas. Tom again.>> Found the BioSpira off to get it now - will fill up the buckets and let them sit while I go get the stuff - then we'll be good to go.   I won't be able to do a 90% water change - not enough buckets - but I'll do my very best - I'll send out an update - thanks for your help! <<A tip? Don't do the BIO-Spira first. Take out the water that you can, then put new, dechlorinated water in. Take it out again and put new back in. Repeat as necessary. Not the same as a full, pure 90% change but, we must do with the tools we have. You'll get close enough. After all is said and done, then add the BIO-Spira. (Calls for some interpolation, i.e. guesswork :), but there shouldn't be a problem, just a lot of legwork.)>> D <<T>> Dallas Ryan

Re: New Tank Syndrome with Goldfish. Goldfish in Distress  7/29/06 Ahhh - good call - I can definitely get to a 90% change with the 3 5-gallon buckets that I have then...  Then put the Bio Spira in at the  end - I have two filters so I'll put half in one and half in the other... Now, why didn't I think of that? <Sounds like it might be time to buy a Python for those water changes!  Most serious GF keepers do 90% weekly water changes, to keep up with the high waste (= high, toxic levels of ammonia) in their tanks.>   ON another note - I went to the fish store and they had dozens and   dozens of goldfish - big ones - all in a tiny tank - most were lying on the bottom dead or gasping for oxygen.... very very sad...  And they were beautiful ones too... <sorry to say a lot of fish die before making it to our tanks... Sad stare of affairs. =o{  ~PP> Will update on what happens.... Dallas Ryan

Re: Update: New Tank Syndrome with Goldfish   - 08/10/06 <<Hi, Dal. Tom once again.>> Well, just wanted to give you an update: <<Much appreciated...>> I did the 90% water change, and added the Bio-Spira - with no seeming affect - the water was still really cloudy the next day - and then seemed to get a lot greener and cloudier!  So, I did more water changes - that went on until this past Sunday, when I did yet another 90% water change, added more Bio-Spira, and hoped for the best - I was getting really depressed, as the water was never clear, and I was sure it was not good for my fish. <<Frustrating to be sure, Dal.>> So, the water got a little more cloudier, and then it got cloudy and green.  So, I did a little thinking... if the bio-Spira was doing it's job, it would have taken care of the ammonia, producing nitrite, and then other bacteria would produce nitrate, and that's what algae love to eat.  So, when the water started turning green today, I thought that's what was going on.  So, I took a chance and added algae fix to the water to get rid of the algae.  This afternoon when I came home, the water was FINALLY CLEAR!!  The fish seem fine, and for the first time since I put the fish in, the tank is clear. <<Life is good!>> So, I have a couple of questions: <<Fire away...>> 1) Was my assessment right on what was going on with the tank? <<Presented with what you've shared here, it would have been my assessment of the situation. Don't know if we're "right" but the logic is solid. :)>> 2) Is my tank FINALLY cycled? <<Only a check of your water parameters would confirm this, i.e. nitrate levels, however, I'd go with a big "thumbs up" based on what you've described.>> 3) Will I have to go through this same process (cloudy water, etc) every time I do a water change?  That would be a bummer. <<It would indeed and, the answer to your question is no. You won't be doing any more 90% water changes (repeat this back for me) and, your tank should have reached a state of equilibrium at this point. In other words, what's going in is being processed or eliminated. Minor, maintenance-level water changes should not affect your tank - negatively - in the least. From here on, though, leave the Algae Fix in the bottle. It did its job well but algae "problems" from here on need to be addressed at the source. Excessive lighting, over-feeding, lack of water changes, exposure to direct sunlight, et. al., are all responsible for algae growth. Chemical treatment, beyond what you've done so far, is not the way to go. Eliminating the source of the problem is.>> Thanks again for all your help! Dal <<I'd like to thank you for coming back and sharing your experience, Dal. More than a couple of folks will gain from what you've gone through and learned. My best. Tom>>

Re: Update: New Tank Syndrome with Goldfish  - 08/11/05 <<Hello, Dal. Tom again.>> Just a bit of feedback on the questions - > 2) Is my tank FINALLY cycled? > <<Only a check of your water parameters would confirm this, i.e.  nitrate levels, however, I'd go with a big "thumbs up" based on what you've described.>> Yes, all parameters are in the safe and clear range!  WHEW! <<Great!!>>> 3) Will I have to go through this same process (cloudy water, etc) every time I do a water change?  That would be a bummer. > <<It would indeed and, the answer to your question is no. You won't  be doing any more 90% water changes (repeat this back for me) I will not do any more 90% water changes... and, your tank should have reached a state of equilibrium at this point. In other words, what's going in is being processed or eliminated. Minor, maintenance-level water changes About 20% at a time?  A few painters buckets full a week?  For the 90% water changes, I did 6 painter's buckets full - so I'd do 2 / week - this sound adequate?  (don't worry, the buckets are ONLY USED for my fish!!) <<Sounds fine, Dal.>> > should not affect your tank - negatively - in the least. From here on, though, leave the Algae Fix in the bottle. It did its job well   > but algae "problems" from here on need to be addressed at the source. OK - I certainly will leave it in the bottle - I want to get some big snails anyway - and they don't go well with the algae fix... <<True...>> > Excessive lighting, over-feeding, I feed them (one big goldfish, one tiny goldfish, one medium Pleco) about 7 peas a day, and some freeze dried blood worms - they finish this off w/in 10 minutes.  I think I learned my lesson from before with overfeeding.  They seem to really like the peas. > lack of water changes, exposure to direct sunlight, No direct sunlight - some indirect light though.  And the florescent light for the tank.  Maybe leave that off during the day, and only on a few hours at night before we go to bed?  <<Depending on the level of indirect light, you might leave the tank light on a little longer than this. Try six to eight hours, if possible, and observe.>> > et. al., are all responsible for algae growth. Chemical treatment, beyond what you've done so far, is not the way to go. Eliminating the source of the problem is.>> Your site is invaluable!  You all are doing such a great service - I can't tell you what a relief it is to have happy fish in a sparkling tank!  And there will be NO MORE ADDITIONS beyond maybe some snails... D <<Thanks for the very kind words, Dal, and keep up the good work! Tom>>

Stunting <Gold>Fish  7/25/06 Hi everyone, <Hi Sarah, Pufferpunk here> First of all, you guys are great. I am finding out loads about everything aqua on here, and am having a blast. <We aim to please!> I have spent hours popping around, trying to satiate my addiction but alas I fear it has grown worse! <Boy, does that sound familiar!  I now have 8 tanks totaling 440g & looking to upgrade...> Anyway, while going through things I came up with a question I couldn't quite find an answer to but first, the background: Like many other people, I too started out with goldfish, when I was much much younger. In fact, it was one of the infamous carnival comets! (Doe!)  That of course died and I got a couple of fantails which I kept in a small (20 tall) aquarium. Also, when I got these, I purchased a book on goldfish, following my then and still remaining obsessive compulsive nature of wanting to know everything about something that interests me. In that book it talked about goldfish being carp and only growing to the capacity of the tank and did not mention this as being a problem. In fact, if I remember correctly, this quality was listed as being a positive attribute, making it an ideal starter fish. <Actually, GF are extremely poor starter fish.  They are messy & produce a lot of waste/ammonia, requiring large tanks & huge weekly water changes.  Serious GF keepers do 90% weekly.  They can also live up to 30 years, growing over 1', in the proper conditions.> That was many years ago, the aquarium has since been broken down and resurrected again, this time as a tropical aquarium. Those fish died, though of what I honestly do not know since it was over ten years ago. My interest in the hobby has grown and I was toying with the possibility of a small outdoor pond, maybe of the half-barrel variety. This would probably be 30 to 50 gallons, depending on what I might find. <Lots of pond info at WWM.> Now finally for my question: you guys continuously say on this site that goldfish MUST have a very large, over fifty gallons, tank to remain healthy. What changed? <Nothing, I've known this for many years.  There is tons of poor info out there.> Have we learned more or is allowing these fish to grow to their full size now considered more humane? <Of course!  Would you like to be squished into a closet your whole life?  how long could you survive?  Don't you think you'd get depressed & eventually just quit eating, wanting to die?> You speak of "stunting" the growth but unless it causes structural abnormalities (besides the obvious dwarfism) why is this really a problem? In many ways, I see it as an advantage that a fish that can grow big but is bought small because "it was just so darn cute" can remain small, rather than the usual death because the fish grows to the size of it's container! <In the words of the wise scientist Robert T Ricketts: "Personally, I think there is a lot more to stunting than just one or two big items. Fish health and the ability to reach full genetic potential depends on a multitude of factors -- including the genetics, a healthy near-environment (basically water quality for fish), an appropriate environment (this includes decor, swimming space, refuge, current, lighting), and suitable food in sufficient quantity but not in excess. You need to know how big the fish should be (Fishbase is a reliable source for this), what sort of water and physical environment the fish lives in and what its lifestyle is -- schooler, lurking predator, active hunter predator, whatever, whether or not it allows or even may need conspecific or perhaps dither tankmates, or none at all. Any of these can and likely will change during development for any given fish. Tank size hits several of these points -- it allows for areas of current, for visually complex setups to explore, and space for swimming. Plus, it plays on PP's signature line of 'the answer to pollution is dilution'. With increased water volume, pollutants of whatever type will be at lower concentration than the same bioload will give in smaller quarters. Many or most fish seem to like areas of current, many do 'play' or exercise in the current. Hunters get some just by exploration of a complex environment. Schoolers (Auriglobus when young, Colomesus throughout their life) absolutely must have it or they will show 'caged animal' stereotyped behavior just to work off activity normal and in effect hard-wired into the animal. Fish need exercise. All mobile animals need exercise. Koi kept in shallow ponds do not develop normal configurations. They are too long and slender. They need depth as well as length and width. Without exercise, muscle mass will not be in normal proportion to frame and internal organs. Fish need to have whatever exercise they are willing to do to allow normal physical development. The space or volume bit has impact here as well. Pollution, whether from metabolites or hormones of general organics, suppresses normal growth and development. What levels of which are important? We do not know. We do that it varies from family to family for various pollutants over a substantial range. It is highly likely to vary from species to species within a family. In the best of all possible worlds, tanks would all be a high multiple of the length of the fish housed there. In reality, we rarely can provide that other than for the smallest fish. But we try to just as much volume as we can. We provide both current and relative calm, without having totally dead areas, in the tank, and we match the decor to the lifestyle of the fish. Naturally, we feed both well and wisely. We meet the fish's nutritional -- and for the special needs of different species-- and physical food suited to the particular fish. We provide enough to allow the fish to grow normally, but not so much that the fish is obese. Obesity is as great an issue for fish as for people and dogs. Too much food, not the best food, and feeding too often, all lead to problems. Water quality I'll assume as a given. Un-oxidized metabolites (ammonia and/or nitrite) are never detectable, oxidized metabolites (nitrate) are as low as is practical for us to provide, but certainly below 40 ppm nitrate, better below 20 ppm, best at or below 10 ppm. Organics are kept low by large water changes at sufficiently short intervals that hobby testable water parameters are never far off from the source water used for the tank (whether tap or processed or otherwise modified). That means the water you remove should be quite close to the water you will replace it with, excepting perhaps the nitrate titer, and the organic (which we cannot measure). IF you can provide all of this, your fish will, on the average, exceed the normal lifespan of the species in the wild, and frequently will be as large as if not larger than the wild counterparts. Anything less is stunting. Anything less will result in lower health and shorter life. To me stunting is insufficient space, improper diet and exercise, and both chemical and physical environmental deficiencies. Any or all of those lacks can contribute. Any or all can result in a stunted fish." Here is the entire thread I got this from: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4030&highlight=stunting Sorry for the lengthy question, you guys are great for your patience! <Long response for a lengthy Q!  ~PP> Sarah

Not a question but a thank you   7/25/06 Hi <<Hey!>> You have helped me greatly with my fish so I thought I would try and help others with the information I have learnt from you, and similar websites. <<Very cool, thanks.>> I found out that someone from my school had brought 2 small goldfish complete with a goldfish bowl (1 gallon I think) and nothing else apart from some food and gravel. I told him that his fish couldn't live in such a small environment, and all I got in reply was that they were fine. After talking him I found he was quite attached to his fish (he had only had them a few days), so I gave him a list of what I thought he needed. To my surprise he brought dechlorinator, a good filter, some life plants, and a 20 gallon tank. He read up on his fish and now I think he will have brought all the extras he needed such as test kits and a siphon... So this is really a thank you, I've learnt a lot on this website and now it's easier to help others. <<Great to hear.  Thank you for caring to share what you've learned; it is the only way the hobby will grow in a proper/positive direction.>> With Thanks Tara <<Thanks right back at you! Lisa.>>

Fish out of water... missing goldfish... sys.   7/25/06 Hi, <<Hello. Tom>> Just a quick question. The situation is: It's so hot where I live I had to take the hood off. I did a week and half ago. This morning I woke up to a missing Shubunkin. Apparently he jumped out and my dog ate it. <<Double jeopardy? Seriously, I'm sorry to hear about this.>> The water is obviously too high. (It  was about 1/2 an inch from the top). <<I don't think this would have made a lot of difference.>> The Question is: How low should the water be from the top of the tank, or should I put the hood back on? <<Put the hood on, keep the light(s) off (or lessen the period of time that it's on) and keep the level up. More water takes a longer time to "heat up" and, more importantly, longer to cool down. Your Goldfish will tolerate a faster warming period than cooling period. Consider, if possible, running a small fan across the top of your tank to dissipate the heat. This will increase the evaporation of the water, which, without reducing this to a science lesson, will remove heat from the tank water. Also, consider adding an airstone if you don't already have one going. Warm water holds less oxygen than cooler water. We don't need additional stress here.>> Thanks! <<You're welcome. Tom>>

Water Tests Off the charts  7/22/06 Hi, <Hi, PufferPunk here> I'm a long-time user of your web site, but a first-time inquirer but after searching online and multiple pet stores, I'm completely bewildered! I own a 100-gallon tank, very well cycled and in that tank I own 3 telescope-eyed goldies, 3 heaven-gazing goldies (That's what the pet store called them when I bought them a few years ago) and 4 bubble-eyed fish. They are all outstandingly happy in the tank, the smallest is a 5" inch long  heaven-gazer, many of them are around 6", and the biggest is a 10" long  bubble-eyed!!! I never fathomed they could grow that long!! (That can't possibly  be normal, it must be a genetic disorder) but they all live in harmony for  the last few years. Recently, though, I did a water-checkup with test-strips and  the results were completely inconclusive. To give you an idea, when I tested  with an ammonia test-strip (color spectrum from yellow [ideal] to army green  [poisonous]), after I finished the test pad had turned crimson! Same thing with  my other test pads, all of them! My hardness pad (spectrum from peach [very  soft] to heavy brown [very hard]) it had turned gray like concrete! The colors  are so askew it has me very worried, but I wasn't at first, I was thinking what  you're probably thinking right now: the strips were exposed to some substance  and has been compromised. But I bought a brand-new set of Master Freshwater test strips (very expensive) and tested it all again. The results were the same: the  colors where off the charts! Made no sense! I'm in the process of doing a 100% water change and bleach-cleaning all my decorations (my gravel is untouched in a  separate bag for it's bacterial benefit) What could it be? Maybe asbestos in my  apartment? (It's pretty run-down) Maybe something in the water after my last  water change? Have you ever heard of this instance ever happening? <It could be that your 1st test kit was outdated.  It also sounds like your tank is extremely overstocked, especially for goldfish.  They are extremely messy fish producing tons of ammonia.  Most serious goldfish keepers do 90% weekly water changes on properly stocked tanks.  I would allow 30 gallons for every 5" of fish.  If your expensive, new test kits are off the chart, that might be telling you something...  ~PP> Thank you for your time! I appreciate the help! {PS My big bubble-eyed is still growing! I'll try and get you a  picture}

My new 55 gallon tank, with no clue   7/22/06 <<Hello. Tom here.>> (First of all. I'm not good with a computer, so I might have glossed over some rules by accident. My friend just told me to email this address for all my fish needs.) <<Well, we appreciate the recommendation from your friend.>> Hello, I'm Jeremy and for my birthday my friend got me a 55 gallon fish tank and tank stand, and promised to give me these 5 fish from his huge pond: a 4" comet, 2 3" orange goldfish, and 2 3" Shubunkins. <<You've got a very generous friend, Jeremy but my very first recommendation is going to be to have your friend hang on to his fish. These are "pond" fish and, all things being equal, will fare much better where they are. By way of a quick explanation on this, they simply grow to be too large. Even one, let alone five, would be pushing the limits of your new tank eventually. I'd be setting you up for failure and, worse than that, dooming these animals to stunted, unhealthy and shortened lives.>> (He also said he was going to give me this weird sponge covered in thick algae from his 10 gallon quarantine tank, whatever that is). <<A quarantine tank is a separate aquarium where new fish/livestock are kept for a period of two to four weeks for observation and treatment, if necessary, before adding them to the main display tank. This tremendously reduces the chances of adding sick fish in with the healthy ones and potentially wiping out the entire lot. Your friend's thinking, no doubt, is that Goldfish feed largely on algae/plant life in their natural habitat and probably hoped to give you a "leg up" on a food source for these.>> However, he gave me no equipment or decorations! I always admired his pond and the fish, but honestly, I have no clue what I need. I looked at Wal-Mart at all the fish and things they had for fish, so I know what I want in my tank. I'm thinking of having a whole ecosystem in there. <<An enviable goal however, it may be a little early in the game for this, Jeremy. You've got a lot of work/research to do before you tackle a multi-faceted system such as the one you're envisioning.>> Not only fish, but some algae eater, and some plants, and any tropical fish I can add. <<Bear in mind that you cannot add tropical fish with Goldfish. Their needs/conditions are much different and are not, by and large, considered compatible tankmates. As an example, the common Plecostomus (Pleco) is an algae-eating 'machine' but it also has the less-than-desirable appetite for the heavy slime coating that Goldfish develop on their bodies. They can/will attach themselves to an unfortunate Goldfish and...well, I think you can see where this is going. Very unpleasant. ;)>> So, I think the underlying questions I'm asking is: -What are all the machines, decorations, and chemicals, etc. that I need? <<First on your list must be filtration. The "lion's share" of your budget should go here and there are a multitude of options available to you. In my opinion, you can't have too much but there's a balance that you want to look for particularly when considering what types of fish you want to keep. For instance, there are high-quality canister filters that provide a large quantity of filtration but also create heavy currents from the return pipe. There are fish that aren't "built" for dealing with fast moving water, Angelfish, for example. There are hang-on filters that also do a good job of providing needed aeration (by "disturbing" the surface water) and create minimal current action but might not have the necessary capacity. (I have both of the types I've mentioned in my 50-gallon tank in order to gain the "balance" I've suggested.) Our site has much information on filtering aquariums and I highly recommend that you research this aspect. As for decorations, these will largely be up to you. Some species of fish require hiding places to feel secure and relieve stress. These can be constructed with rocks, driftwood, PVC pipe and other aquarium-safe materials. Other fish prefer heavily planted tanks. Again, you have to decide on what fish/livestock you intend to keep and then research their specific needs/preferences. The only "chemical" you need is a good dechlorinator for water changes. Leave everything else on the shelf and, please, don't waste your money on products that suggest that they will "instantly" cycle your tank - which is something else you're going to have to do some serious homework on. The only product we recommend for this is BIO-Spira from Marineland. Quite expensive and must be kept refrigerated. (Doubtful that the folks at Wal-Mart will even know what you're talking about as you'll only find this in a good local fish store.)>> -What kinds of algae eaters should I get, how many, and how do I add them? <<Here, Jeremy, the term "algae-eater" is too broad to give you a definitive answer. The only fish of this sort that you'll find at Wal-Mart is the common Plecostomus, which is what most folks think of when you mention an algae-eater. There are many, many others though you'll have to look hard to find most of them. A good choice here, in my opinion, would be the Bristlenose catfish (Ancistrus genus) but, here again, there are quite a few varieties of these, too. Somewhat unusual looking but they don't grow overly large compared to the Plecos that can, potentially, grow very large. There are also little guys called Otocinclus catfish that do a fantastic job but are problematic in keeping alive early on. Avoid the Chinese Algae Eaters (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri)!!! These grow fairly large and as adults become mean and develop a taste for the skin of other fish. These shouldn't even be sold to hobbyists. In general, here, I would stick with just one of whatever variety you choose.>> -Can I add any more fish other than the 5 mentioned, and what kinds? <<I addressed this earlier so I would look for another way to go here, Jeremy. Lots and lots of information available on compatible community fish or, you might choose to go with a "species only" setup. You'll have plenty of time while your new tank cycles so read, read and, then, read some more.>> -What other supplies do I need? <<Short list? A good quality heater regardless of what fish you choose to keep. With tropical fish this will be an absolute necessity and during the cycling period, higher water temperatures (80 degrees F. +) will assist in cycling the tank faster. A gravel vacuum will be necessary for maintenance/water changes and good-sized pail/bucket will help a lot here. Finally, and not the least of the items I've mentioned, a good test kit for water conditions/parameters. You have to know what's going on inside your tank in order to maintain it properly.>> -Finally, what should I look for in the aquarium water after it's all set up, like temperature and chemical content? <<Briefly, ammonia and nitrite levels should be 0.0. Nitrate levels should be <20 with 0.0 being ideal. pH levels should be kept stable, generally whatever they are coming out of your tap water is best. ("Playing around" with pH will get you into more trouble than acclimating your fish to what you already have will do.) Temperatures will need to be adjusted for the kind of fish you keep. The main thing is to avoid mixing species with widely diverse temperature requirements.>> I think my email is a bit long, sorry, but I'm very appreciative of any information you can give, thank you very much! <<As you can see, there's much to learn, Jeremy. I don't mind answering any, or all, of the questions you may have but it's much easier to do when you can keep them to one, or two, specific topics at a time. Be hearing from you. Tom>>

Fishy =[... Goldfish in a tiny, under-gravel plus filtered world... env. dis.   7/16/06 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Charlotte> I am hoping that you will have a possible answer as to why my Ryukin is at the bottom of her tank sucking (air?) in one spot?   <Not good signs...> She has been doing this now for maybe 2 days... only occasionally swimming about the tank. Her normal behavior has been to swim about in a 5-gallon tank <Too small...> with a bio-wheel filter, as well as an under-gravel filter. <Can be trouble with goldfish, systems...> The tank only has gravel at the bottom, and she seemed happy and healthy.    We have intention of purchasing a 20 gallon aquarium on our next trip to PetSmart. <Oh, good!> We love this fish and we are very concerned that she is in some kind of distress. I've read information at several different sites and have been unsuccessful in finding anything that seems similar to Fishy's latest questionable behavior.   Thank you in advance for any information or advise that you might offer. Regards, Charlotte Greene <Do you have tests for water quality? At any/all lengths the root of the situation here is very likely environmental... I would institute some one gallon water changes (daily)... with treated, stored water. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fishy =[... Goldfish in a tiny, under-gravel plus filtered world  7/18/06 Hi, me again!  I just wanted to send an update ... we bought a 47 gallon aquarium (I told you>>>we LOVE this fish!) and a little friend, too!  Fishy has been in her new environment now for almost 3 hours.  She's already making steady progress and is acting more like herself.  She is more animated; swimming up and down, and back and forth the entire length of the tank.  HooRAY!  We bought the two different types of water quality testing strips and will keep an eye on that... Thanks for writing...."Fishy" and "Fishy, too"!, appreciate your reply! Regards, Charlotte  =] <Ahh, thank you for this update, and good news! Bob Fenner>

Goldfish shut off the undergravel filter? Eats shoots and leaves...  7/14/06 Hello, <<Hi. Tom with you.>> I read on your web site that undergravel filters are not recommended for goldfish. <<Goldfish in particular because of their "messiness" but the recommendation holds for other species as well. I, and others, have addressed this one before but it may bear repeating. We don't recommend against this style of filter because it doesn't work. They can/do work quite well, in fact. The two primary causes for concern, however, is that these MUST cover the entire bottom of the tank and they MUST be maintained properly. When the first admonition is ignored or misapplied, pockets of detritus/mulm can build up in the "unfiltered" areas leading to potentially toxic levels of nitrates in the tank. Also, when not properly maintained, the same situation may arise should the filter plate(s) become clogged and left untended. This one may sound like a case of "pilot error" rather than the fault of the filter and, while we wouldn't argue that point, there are just too many good alternatives available to aquarists to justify the use of a style of filter that has led to a great many problems including otherwise "mysterious" deaths of livestock.>> I have a 46 gallon tank with 2 medium Orandas and 1 Ryukin. Currently I have an undergravel filter and a TetraTec PF500 power filter. I am considering shutting the undergravel filter off. I have a hot magnum filter that I could use to clean the gravel with prior to shut down and then reload with carbon to assist filtration during the transition. Do you have any advice or feedback? <<Your plan sounds fine and will eliminate potential problems down the road. Why run the risk?>> <<Any time. Tom>>

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