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FAQs About Goldfish in General 1


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A gorgeous Red Lionhead Goldfish

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Goldfish Success

What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner


Fish Help Needed <Hi, Pufferpunk here> <<hi its me again>> Hi, I'm a beginner in the fish world.   <Welcome to the wonderful world of aquarium fish keeping!> About two and a half months ago I bought a goldfish, I guess it is a fantail by reading other peoples posts (his/her fins are bigger than the body).   <Do you mean fantail?  They have a split or double tail.> <<yes that is what I mean>> Recently I went out of town and my sisters fed him for me, when I came back hi fins had darkened, upon returning I turned on the light and the darkness on his fins went away.  Now I have noticed that he "eats" the air bubbles. When I  first got him he would suck on the lil pebbles and then spit them back out, he still does and it occasionally takes him a while to spit them back out. <All this sounds normal so far.  He's just looking for food. Just make sure your gravel isn't so large, that he gets it stuck in his throat.> <<Am I not feeding him enough?  How much should I be feeding him?>> <fish are eternally hungry.  I have a puffer fish that could have a huge full belly & he'll beg to be fed more.> <<Will he stop eating air bubbles if I feed him sinking food?>> <Probably> Since I have now noticed that he eats the bubbles he has air bubbles in his feces and it floats and often has an odd casing around it.  He floats to the top of the tank a lot and often has a hard time swimming back down, his backend often floats up, I cleaned the water only about 20% just recently.   <I recommend 80-90% weekly water changes for these high waste/ammonia producing fish.> <<80-90%?  every I have read on y'alls sight says 20%.  Since I will be cleaning so much water will that destroy the bacteria that is supposed to be good?  And how often should I clean the pebbles?  Should I get the water tested?>> <The good bacteria doesn't live in your water, only on surfaces.  You can clean 1/2 of the gravel/week if you're concerned.  All you are removing w/water is ammonia & wastes.> Is this swim bladder or whatever you called it elsewhere or is it because he eats the air bubbles?   <Bubbles in his belly/swim bladder can cause problems.> <<What about the bath salts, I read on many other swim bladder cases about doing that but I wasn't sure, and you didn't suggest it the first time, what do you think?>> <Epsom salt, 1tbsp/5gal could help.> I started out by feeding him tetra fin goldfish flakes, but he didn't seem to like it, and he would wait at the bottom of the tank for it to fall to fin( or in the middle) I then switched him to goldfish floating small size pellet (told to do so by pet store) by Wardley.  He didn't start eating the air bubbles until like two months after I changed his food to the floating kind. What do you suggest I do for him?   <Switch to sinking pellets.  Also, at least 1x/week, feed him shelled > peas, to keep his digestive tract/swim bladder healthy.  I suggest feeding only peas, until he swims normally again.> <<What about oranges?  Have you ever heard of feeding goldfish an orange slice?  The lady at the pet store said they like them but haven't done that.  How much peas do I give him?>> <I think an orange would just pollute the water & add acid to it.  Depending on how big he is, 1 pea or 1/2 should be ok.  Whatever he'll eat in one feeding.> I don't want him to die, he is so pretty a beautiful mixture of orange back and white belly and white fins. > <Sounds like a beautiful fish.  Make sure you get at least a 10g aquarium for him.> <<He is definitely not big enough to need that size aquarium yet, plus where will I put such a large tank, my desk isn't that big." <If you have him in a bowl, then you definitely need to do large water changes.  Just because the fish seems to have enough room to swim, has nothing to do with water quality.> thanks Amanda <You're welcome & good luck--Pufferpunk> <<thanks>> Again--Pufferpunk

Tropical with Coldwater fishes? 7/13/03 there has been many rumors about the idea that you can mix tropical fish with gold fish is this true? <while there are a limited number of specific fishes/species that have a wide range that extends into the limits (often seasonally and almost exclusively saltwater species)) of temperate and tropical regions... dedicated species from either cannot be mixed now... and never will. One of the two will suffer. It is not recommended. Anthony>


Cherbunkin and Sonny? Please help if possible. Google finds only one (not helpful) entry under Cherbunkin. We have a pair in our pond here and would like to know how they breed and what to expect (having removed over 100 who have arrived in the 12 months). Is there a site which describes them and their lifestyle? My - you do have a busy site!                 Thanks. Michael Franklin <Think you're referring to a type of goldfish called a Shubunkin. Try this term or read through our goldfish materials here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Bob Fenner>


Re: a few questions.... >HI >>Hello. >i just bought what i think are two veiltail goldfish. one is bright orange with white tails and top body ,the other is a calico color. How do i tell the sexes between them. >>Truthfully, I don't recollect goldfishes being sexually dimorphic, but we can do a quick on http://www.google.com on sexual dimorphism goldfish.  Here is one interesting link--> http://petplace.netscape.com/Articles/artShow.asp?artID=3667 >also the bright orange colored fish just recently developed some kind of black splotches on his side. and the very tip of the tail...is this tail rot. and if yes how can i treat it? THANK YOU :) >>Fin rot is usually typified by red streaks and obvious fraying of the fins.  While goldfish are *usually* fully colored up when offered for sale, it is still not uncommon for a fish that is growing rapidly to exhibit color changes such as this.  If you only see the change upon the skin, and no knots, nodules, protrusions, or texture changes, this would be my guess.  Also, if he's active, eating well, and you're doing small, frequent water changes, I would surmise that the fish is simply growing at this point.  Of course, if you can provide a clear picture for us, that would help to determine what it may be.  Good luck!  Marina


Fantail goldfish Many thanks Gage <My pleasure Trudy> OK. Today I had the water checked and the ammonia, nitrate and nitrites were good. <did they give you specific numbers?> The water tested hard and high pH of 8.0. So.... I added aquarium salt at 1/2 tsp. per 5 gals <One teaspoon per gallon would be good.> and also a pH tablet called "Correct pH" that is supposed to bring it down to 7.0. <adjusting the pH too rapidly can be dangerous, especially without a pH test kit.  It would be best to drop the pH around .2 per day, any more can cause a lot of stress on the fish. pH is logarithmic measurement and a change of one point is actually a ten-fold change.> I also went ahead and added 1 TBS Epsom salt. Poor Walter and Pearl don't seem to be a lot better although it seems like they are not struggling to breathe as much as before. They are both just hanging out at the top of the tank behind the filter. My questions now are these: How long do I watch for improvement before considering there might be something else going on? <2-3 days minimum.> Are there any other sign of disease or infection I should look for? <Anything out of the ordinary, any spots, sores, fuzzy stuff, do the gills look normal?> Also, how often should I do the small water changes you recommended? I haven't done a change since the one I mentioned which was Sunday night. <I'd go with a 25% change twice weekly until their conditions improve.> When I do the water changes should I add more aquarium salt each time? <Yes, mix the salt into the water before it is added back to the tank.> Thanks again and, as many have mentioned in their correspondence, your time and care is much appreciated!! <Thank you.  One other thing you will want to look at is their feeding schedule, and the types of food that are being fed.  Dry food will most likely cause problems in the long run.  Feed sparingly as well, just because they look hungry does not mean they need food.  Best of luck - Gage> Trudy  


Re: aggressive goldfish Been reading the basics, FAQ's, and jumping around your site-very helpful. <Thank you much for doing this before sending an e-mail. It is greatly appreciated!> It seems to me (an inexperienced, but avid fancy goldfish lover with limited success) that goldfish are- albeit to a lesser degree- aggressive. No? <To a certain extent yes. Goldfish tend to pick at things although not usually in a truly aggressive manner. One thing to consider with many goldfish is if they can catch it and fit it in their mouth, they *will* consider it food. And if another fish in the tank is weakened due to water quality, illness, age, etc., the others in the tank will almost always pick on it. Ronni>


Re: Oranda goldfish Hi <Hello> I have 2 Orandas in a 10 gal tan (yes we are getting a larger  50 gal in the near future)  my question is ..My tank stays cloudy, I did all the tests and my levels are great! And I have a nice filter that came with the tank. <The cloudiness could be from the type of food you're feeding or from overfeeding.> I also change 1/3 of the water every week and half every month. Also, one of my fish, Holly, has not been doing well. She floated upside down at the surface of the tank for about 10 hours and now she is right side up but staying on the bottom of the tank with little movement... Help, what have I done wrong?? <Did you dechlorinate the new water and make sure that the Ph and temperature of the new water were the same as the tank water?> Just yesterday (right before the water change) she was doing GREAT very playful. Lola my other fish seems a bit slow today too... <Definitely points to something in the new water. You should probably do another water change with dechlorinated water.> Thank you for your time ... Carrie <You're welcome. Ronni>


Re: Worried about my Goldfish'¦ Hi there thanks again for the info, <You're welcome.> I bought a nitrite test and when I tested the water in the tube there wasn't even the smallest color change so I assumed it was fine, I'll change 50% today, I must obviously put in a dechlorinaters.  Also what is the difference between mineral water and tap water?  I'm thinking it might be easier to get this under control by buying 40l of bottled mineral water? <If you are using regular bottled water this will be fine. But make sure not to use all distilled or reverse osmosis (RO) water as all of the nutrients have been removed from it. Don't forget that bottled water still has to be conditioned just like tap water. It's very good that there were no nitrites but those may not be showing yet. First will come the ammonia and then the ammonia will turn to nitrites so do keep testing and doing the water changes.> Another thing this morning when I got up both of the big fish were lying at the bottom together (I think they are in love) they follow each other around all the time, anyway there was a long string of faeces floating at the top and it definitely did not look 'normal' it looked almost transparent in sections and then a few big black sections.  There was also some hanging from him (black moor) I read somewhere to give then green peas for constipation and also to vary there diet? So I did and afterwards they floated around for a while and at the moment seem to be really happy and swimming all over? <If there was faeces coming from him he wasn't constipated but the pea definitely won't hurt him once in a while. With the faeces looking funny though that means there is something else not right, especially since they were just sitting at the bottom. It could be an internal parasite. Check here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm to locate the symptoms and treat accordingly. Also do a search at www.wetwebmedia.com to see if you can find some FAQ's about similar problems and also go to http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm and read the articles and FAQ's on Goldfish.> This is more difficult than I thought do you think I should only have the two big ones in the tank? <This would probably be the best. Full grown, these fish can reach up to about 10 inches and your common goldfish can get even larger so they will eventually outgrow this tank. Plus, goldfish of any variety tend to be very messy fish so they'll often overload a system even with just a few fish in it. However, your LFS will probably not take them back if they are sick so you'll most likely need to treat them before returning them. Ronni> PAULA

Re: really worried Dear Ronni, Thanks again for all the fantastic advice and links, this is really helping. I think the trick is to do frequent water changes; my fish are exceptionally friendly when I come near to the tank and I think are 'more settled'. <I agree on the water changes. Goldfish are fun to watch, they get very friendly with the person they associate food with and often come to greet them like yours are with you.> There is something I am still sooooooo confused about I have got advice from so many people and don't quite know which to accept.  How often and how much should I feed?  On the actual "tetra goldfish food bottle" it says " feed at least 2 -3 times a day as much as your fish will consume in 3 minutes or less" isn't this too much?  I tried this yesterday (fed small amount in morning and small amount in evening) and they seem to have A LOT more energy.  The big fantail has also taken a liking to the taste of my plant. <Opinions on feeding really varies. Ideally, two to three times daily is perfect but only if it's very small amounts. Many people only feed once a day and others feed once every other day.> The little white piece of 'fluff' under the black moors tail has definitely reduced in size, it's almost gone. I'll watch it for another day if it hasn't gone completely I'll move him to another tank.  I didn't do this originally because I thought I would just stress him out even more. <Moving a fish into a QT tank produces a mild stressful period but usually not very bad as long as the water parameters are the same.> One last question, I have also been "playing around" with the canopy/lid of the tank and light, I'm almost sure they "prefer having the lid off" they always come up too the top have a look and swim down / all over again.  I've also noticed when I turn the light on after about 20 minutes they tend to get quiet 'still and lethargic' also what is your opinion on having the light on and how long each day?  They definitely swim around a lot more when the lid is off.  Even my fiancé has agreed to and noticed this. <Hmm, this is really interesting and makes me wonder if your hood isn't causing the tank to get too warm, the lights are just too bright, or if it's preventing the proper gas exchange. What kind of lighting is in the hood and when the hood is on does the tank temperature go up? Or, is the hood solid with no openings to allow air exchange? What kind and wattage of bulbs are they? A reaction when the lights first come on in the morning is normal (not desirable but definitely not uncommon) but a reaction to the hood being on the tank is something to be concerned about. I'd recommend against leaving the hood off the tank just because your fish are likely to jump out and injure or kill themselves. But if you don't mind the no lighting, you can always get a screen top designed for use with reptiles/rodents and use it instead of the light hood. Ronni> PAULA


Re: uneven eyes on black moor, etc. Hi - just had a quick question as I haven't been able to locate an answer anywhere.  I have a tank with 4 goldfish (three gold fantails and one black moor) - all seem healthy and happy except the littlest goldfish has started to turn white (he was bright orange) and the black moor's eyes are slightly asymmetrical.  Should I be concerned?   <Nope. Color loss is fairly common in goldfish and just as no humans eyes are the same size, neither will your fishes be.> Also, the fish are now in a 5 gal tank; I've been told I will need to put them into something larger soon (one is 1 inch long, 2 are 2 inches long and moor is about 3 1/2).  How soon? How big? <Immediately! These fish are way too big to be kept in this size tank. Even one of them would rapidly outgrow it. For these 4 fish you are going to need a tank of at least 40-50 gallons, bigger is better. These fish are going to reach an adult size of at least 10 inches each.> Thanks. A. Bender <You're welcome. Ronni>


Goldfish Breathing Heavily Hi there--I've just browsed through your site and it looks helpful.  I was wondering if you could help me with the latest problem plaguing my goldfish tank.... <Will certainly try> - So the tank was dirty.  I changed all the water. - The next few days, they sat at the bottom, and their fins started going.   The guys at the goldfish shop said I might have inadvertently tainted the water with something while I changed it.  So I changed it all again, and added fin rot medicine.  They started swimming again. - Next few days, fins still getting ragged, water gets *really* cloudy.  Back to store, where I get a filter. - Filter clears up water, fish now swimming around but gasping (not at surface).  Fins still wearing away, despite ongoing medication. <It's very most likely that changing all of the water (twice) has caused your tank to restart the cycling process again. All of the problems you're describing (rotting fins, cloudy water, heavy breathing) are very common signs of high ammonia/nitrites. Get your water tested and do frequent, probably daily, smaller water changes. No more than 50% and after few days reduce that amount to 25% until the ammonia and nitrites are both at 0ppm. Stop use of the medication as that may be adding to your problems.> If it's of any relevance, the fish store guys say the water conditioner I'm using is enough for the pH of the water in this area. <Water conditioning chemicals are buffering chemicals designed to reduce (they say remove but I don't trust them myself) chlorine and other chemicals from the water. It's still best to let your water sit for at least 24 hours before doing a water change, even if you do use one of the water conditioner chemicals> I'm at my wits' end with these fish--it seems obvious I'm doing something wrong.  I would be most grateful for your advice. Thanks, Catharine <No problems, I really think once you get the ammonia and nitrites down your fish will be fine. Ronni>


Re: black stuff new fish owner....    do not know anything. What is the black stuff that is accumulating on the stones and stuff in the tank.??? <<Most likely this is actually green algae. It can appear black on certain color substrates and decorations. Get a small Plecostomus and he should clean it up in no time.>> I have 3 fish ....    2 are Shubunkins  ????   they have a fan tail...  and are orange / white / and blue  ....     they scooch around and put their noses in the stones and wiggle around .....    and they will chase each other and swim around chasing one another ....  almost to an aggressive level.   What's up with that? <<Hmm, never heard of this on although I love the name! Possibly Shubunkin? Look around www.wetwebfotos.com to see if you can ID your guys. Also search at www.wetwebmedia.com The chasing around can be quite normal for many species of fish. If they appear stressed (heavy breathing, constant hiding, etc) or have any injuries you will need to separate them, if not they should be fine.>> the other fish is very thin and has a rainbow effect...   and looks more like a gold fish.    He stays by himself doesn't interact much with the other 2. <<No clue what this one could be. If he's much smaller than the others he could be a neon or cardinal tetra. Non interaction is fine also, nothing really to worry about.>> How often do I change the water.???   I have a 10 gallon tank. <<20% weekly is a good practice.>> You got a good book to recommend ????? <<Without knowing the exact types of fish you have I can't recommend any specific titles but a good start would be a general freshwater aquarium book designed for new hobbyists. Read the freshwater FAQ's at www.wetwebmedia.com for a ton of great info.>> my friend died and I inherited the fish.      <<I'm sorry.>> I think I feed them okay ....   but probably too much ....    once a day. <<Be careful of overfeeding, it can cause your ammonia & nitrites to go up and can cause harm to your fish.>> thanks for your help .... Miss Patty <<You're welcome. Ronni>>


Clear slime in fresh water tank I recently received a 75 gal. Fish tank from a relative. I am using it for my 5 large gold fish. Its been up and running for approx. 3 weeks. Over the past few days I've noticed of a build up of clear sludge in between the lava rocks as well as starting to gunk up my power head filter. It also includes some waste from the fishes.  I'm going to vacuum it out but I ran into this problem before when using lava rock and I removed them. Now for the new tank I bought new lava rock as decorations.  Do you have any idea what this slime is and how to get rid of it?  Thanks... <"Just" mulm from the goldfish, uneaten food. Get a gravel vacuum and siphon this out during regular water changes. Instructions, rationale here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm Bob Fenner> Sandra Frongillo

Spawning shubunkins in winter and sharks Hi Bob- thought you'd get a kick out of this.  I have a small backyard pond, about 300 gallons.  Too small for koi so I have about a dozen very nice shubunkins in there, I wrote you about it some time ago (I'm in La Mesa). Anyway here it is dead of winter, short days, hardly feeding them at all and morning water temp is around 58F.  They are spawning like mad!  Every morning for the past week. <Neat! Well, the weather has been summer-ish...> The sharks are doing well, I couldn't help myself, I picked up a male to go with the female I wrote you about.  Very happy with them so far.   Take care, David. <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>


Fantail Goldfish I have been searching the web and the few books I have available to me, for some kind of (any kind) of information on my fantail.  I feel kinda silly, but I'm a little neurotic.  I've had my fish, Kiddo, for almost a month now.  He's doing good, I keep everything clean, feed him accordingly.  He's healthy and active, and we're getting to know each other's routines.  (like I said, I'm a little neurotic.)  But one little thing is bothering me--how big to fantails get when they are full grown.  If I had to guess, I'd say Kiddo's a good two and a half inches.  I'm not worried about getting a new tank or anything, he has a 20 gal. all to himself; I'm just curious what to expect his full-grown size might be. Like I said, I've searched up and down the web on fish sites, and I can't find a THING that profiles fantails.  I appreciate your patience. Stefanie <Hello Stefanie, the largest fantails that I have seen are about the size/shape of a softball.  I found the site below while searching on google, looks like it has some good info. -Gage http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/4468/index.html  >


Goldfish excrement make-up I am terribly sorry if i did not clarify.  I need to know what kinds of nutrients, acids, elements, are in a gold fishes poop.  ~Ashley <Depends on what they're fed. Are you looking to use the water you change from their system on your houseplants? No problem, but also not likely to supply much in the way of essential nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium). Bob Fenner>


Very New Goldfish Owner Hi guys <And gals...Ananda here tonight, fielding the freshwater fish questions.> I am really new at this as I have never had fish before, so please excuse me in advance if my questions are quite elementary. <Okay. We are here to help...> I have searched your website and couldn't find this specifically but would be happy for you to direct me to a link if you have already answered this for someone else. <Well, being new here, *I* haven't answered it before, but I'll direct you here for more reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm > My partner and I were given a small goldfish bowl for Christmas and we bought a Comet four days ago. I think the fish is unhappy because the first day all it did was eat bubbles off the side of the bowl and stay in one area (now moving around more which is good), it doesn't eat food until a long time after we put it in the bowl, it constantly opens and closes it's mouth really fast, and the water went murky after only two days. <Yes...the uneaten food and the fish's waste products are decaying in the fish bowl. Please do a water change immediately -- remove half of the water in the bowl and replace it with new, treated water that is the same temperature.> The bowl is filled with tap water with a couple of drops of some liquid that balances the chlorine or something. <It neutralizes the chlorine (and hopefully chloramine, which is similar to chlorine).> Is it okay to have tap water / no filtration system? <Tap water is usually okay, but no filtration is not recommended! It would be like living in your bathroom and being unable to flush the toilet or take out the trash. Until you can get a tank and filter for Lucky, I recommend very large, very frequent water changes! For a goldfish, I would suggest 1/4 of the water in the bowl be changed every other day, with half of the water being changed once a week.> My partner has since taken out the only bit of plant life in this little bowl (banana lily) thinking that's what made the water murky.   <It is not the plant...it is the fish's waste products that have begun to decay in the bowl.> I hope you can help me as I am worried about my new friend! His name's Lucky, so I hope he stays that way! <Getting him bigger living quarters will increase his luck and his lifespan. For now, a 10 gallon tank and a basic power filter should suffice.> Thanks in advance!      Peta Bellamy <You are quite welcome, and Lucky thanks you for writing. --Ananda>

Very New Goldfish Owner Thanks for the advice Ananda! <You're welcome.> Lucky is much happier now after a water change.     <Ah, good. Do keep up with the water changes.... Part of the reason I suggested a 10 gallon tank and a power filter is that you will not need to do such large-percentage water changes so frequently. And Lucky will enjoy the swimming space. --Ananda>


Goldfish color change First, thanks for the website. I normally use it for marine, but someone at work asked me a question about a goldfish that I do not know the answer to....hoping you can help.   Her child received a goldfish from a fair.  They have had it almost three years, but every now and then it will change in color to a 'blood red', and changes back to its normal color in a few days.  Is this spawning?  I know nothing about goldfish, and any information you could provide would be great.  I checked the FAQ, and didn't see anything.  Sorry if I missed it and am now wasting your time. <Interesting. Might be a change toward reproductive physiology... due to temperature change? Perhaps due to a too-large water change (do try to save the water up that will be used in an open container for a week ahead of use). Some goldfish do change color, but I've never come across a situation where it became blood red. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Eric B


Help please - killer goldfish Hi,   We have a tank containing 3 fantail goldfish.  They have lived together happily since we got them about 8 months ago.  However, last week things turned nasty.  Two of the fish have turned against our Black Moor.  They chase it continually,  appear to be biting it, ram into it when it seeks some shelter in the tank ornament and have even taken to lying on it and squashing it into the corner of the tank.  We have been forced to remove the Black Moor to a separate tank as I am sure the other two would kill it if we left it with them.  We tried re-introducing it into the main tank today after a 4 day separation but it was 'attacked' straight away.  All the fish appear healthy.  There has been no change to the feeding or tank cleaning routine.  Can you please offer some explanation as to why the fish are acting this way?  Will we ever be able to return the Black Moor to the tank and if not will the same thing happen to any future additions? Many thanks, Steve Oates <It may be that the Moor is a female, the other non-Moor goldfish males... or perhaps the Moor being a bit slower breed (due to finnage, large eyes), it is being picked on... Or that their is not enough room for all three... At this point you can try taking out the non-Moors for a few days and see if this changes the social dynamic, or trade in either the Moor or the non-Moors for hopefully more compatible choices. Bob Fenner>


Worms in Freshwater Tank I sent the email earlier about the worms in the goldfish tank. <Ok... For future reference, if following up on a previous Q&A, it is always best to send along the original query and response. We get 30-60 emails daily and really need all the correspondence as we have six different people answering to keep up with the volume of mail we get.> I've just read your posted questions and answers. Based on your responses I wanted to note that the high population level of this invertebrate has not been caused by inadequate filtration or gravel siphoning. I have an optimum filter as well as gravel filtration, and I change their water one to two times a month via gravel vacuum. I also had only three inches worth of fish in a twenty gallon tank when these things appeared. So, I really would like to know exactly how I can control their population level, if you do not have enough information to identify them. <My best guess is that you have experienced a bloom of a Tubifex like worm. They are not pathogenic to your fish, but I can categorically state that they are always seen in instances of excess food or fish waste. I understand that this is not the response you wanted to hear, but it is the truth. They feed off of the waste material and uneaten food. If you have neither, they could not live, let alone reproduce to a plague level. Basically, they have to be eating something. A couple of big water changes, thorough vacuuming of the gravel, and a dose of a copper based medication should knock them out for you. Note that the copper is not safe for other invertebrates.> Your time is appreciated! Thank you. Sincerely, Courtney <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>


Black Moor Going Silver Chaps, Fairly new to the goldfish scene, but have recently set up a new aquarium. We originally had a Veiltail and have added a Black moor, two weeks ago. When we bought him he was totally black, however he now seems to be losing this matt black colour and turning silver. Is this normal and will he return to black in time? <It is quite common for goldfish to shift/change in colors and it is doubtful that it will change back.> Could we be over/under feeding him? <No, it is a genetic thing.> Or might we be leaving the light on too long? We do try to stick to no more than 6 hours but we all enjoy looking at them too much? <I advise people to leave the tank light on whenever they are around.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>


Black Lionhead Dear Robert: Question for you. Do you breed black lionheads? If so, is it possible to purchase?  Thank You, Randy Montoya <I wish I did my friend. I do aspire to breed fancy goldfish when I'm a bit older, have more time. But not now. Have you looked over "The Goldfish Connection" site? Very nice livestock, help. Bob Fenner>


Moving Fish from tank to small pond Bob, I currently have 5 goldfish living in a 40 gallon tank. They are all around 4 - 6 inches in length and very healthy. I have a semi planted tank however I am moving to a house where I can have a small (around 400 gallon) pond. I was wondering if there are any issues with moving the goldfish to the pond once I slowly bring the temperature down in their tank (as it is currently at 79 degrees F).  <You're right... acclimation to temperature change is the biggest obstacle... and all that goes with it... Move them while the weather is still warm/ish... with all their water... even place the water change water in the meanwhile in the pond... to condition the water, establish microbes...> I live in southern California where the temperature will not fluctuate too much during the winter. Any advice would be great. <I live in San Diego... some parts are quite cold, but the issue of thermal fluctuation is of more import than a given value. Please read over the pond design, construction materials here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm to aid you in making the shape of your new pond, filtering same. Bob Fenner> Cheer, Vince


Goldfish Last lightning storm, I had three of my goldfish jump out of my pond not to be found till later the next day, Is this common practice ? I use no type of chemicals other that what comes out of the tap. <it is not uncommon... many goldfish will jump out on land to escape predators, overly amorous activity and other such instances of severe fright/duress... he goal is to jump back in the water moments later after the temporary stressor is removed... doesn't always work. AC>


Goldfish seems unable to find food I've been keeping fish for about a year. I'm learning, but can't figure out why my goldfish can't find food. She was distressed during a heat wave. I cooled her down. She seems to be O.K. now. But she can't find food. I add water to her meal and must practically pour it down her throat. Her tank buddies are all O.K. (6 goldfish in a 55 gallon tank). Whatever mechanism they use --hers isn't working. Any ideas? LOVE your site. Thank you. <Sorry to state, this individual may be blind (a principal cue for food identification, orientation), but it may well be aided by your getting/using a "feeding ring" (an old-timey floating device with a suction disk) so the food is about in the same place, and use good-smelling/tasting floating pellet or extruded stick foods (Tetra, Hikari, Shrimpellets...) about the same time every day to train this fish as to the time, place, foods of use. Bob Fenner>


Sight-impaired Goldfish Hi there <Hello> We have two small goldfish. We often see one of them swimming sideways and have recently noticed that one of his pupils is larger than the other. Is it possible that he is blind in one eye and this is what makes him swim sideways, or should we be concerned that his enlarged pupil and sideways swimming are symptoms of a more serious problem and, if so, is there something we can do? I hope I've provided enough information - I'm new to this! <It is indeed a possibility that the fish is blind on the one side, and quite astute of you to make, relate the observations above, link them... Not much to do in this case other than provide excellent care. I have had several goldfish and ornamental carp (nishikigoi, Cyprinus carpio, a related cool water species) that were unilaterally or totally blind... and they seemed to be fine... eating with the their tank/pond mates and living for several years. Bob Fenner> Thanks very much, Glenys Edinburgh, UK


New Tank Cycle Thanks for the response about the Fluorite. I switched the filter on at lunch and it looks much better already. I will also suction the dust off the bottom. <Sounds good> I'm setting this tank up for my children's two goldfish, a Red & White Oranda and a Fantail. They are currently in a two gallon tank with an under gravel filter system and are growing fast. <They'll really appreciate the change... like heaven> I posted this question in the chat area but didn't receive much of a response. I have also read your sites cycling areas but I'm still a little scared about moving the fish as they are doing quite well. <Move the bulk of the water from their two gallon system with them... and wait another week or more to do so> Should/can I use the rocks, a rock, a plant or little plastic decorations from the 2 gallon tank, and put them in the new tank to speed up cycling? I've read it takes about 4 weeks to cycle and that's OK with me. <Ah, yes... exactly> Boy, ignorance is bliss (for me at least, but not the fish).  <Seems like it used to be...> I think back to when my daughter came home with her fish from pre school and we bought a tank and another fish for my son at the fish store. I just added the fish and some rocks and thought feeding was all we would need to do. After buying a book about gold fish a few weeks later I found out how much more there was. I bought water test kits, started doing weekly water changes and now have bought a new tank after Steve Pro confirmed by suspicions that I need to upgrade. <Yes, good move> Now I'm just scared to move them for fear I'll do them more harm than good. <A giant step in the right direction. Skip the trepidation> My family's life has sure changed just by my daughter bring home that $2 Goldfish. <A "part of growing up"... for all.> Any help would be greatly appreciated here. Mark. <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>


Help with Goldfish Hello, I was looking around on the internet for information regarding Goldfish when I happened to stumble on your website. It does seem quite informative and I also particularly liked the way you handled questions. <Glad we've found each other> Specifically, I have a 20 gallon aquarium in which I kept 3 Goldfish. One Red Ryukin, One Black Oranda and one Red Oranda (all about just under 3"). The fish were doing fine health wise. In fact the Ryukin and the Black Oranda were growing quite well. The Black Oranda also had immense head growth up to the point where his eyes were almost totally covered by the scales on the head. He/She was looking really beautiful. But right from day one the Ryukin has been aggressive to the 2 other fish. He was always chasing them around and trying to peck at them. <A twenty is a bit small for these three semi-large goldfish... do you have anything in the way of decor to break up the physical environment? I like clay pots (hokey I know, but I really like the look) and live or plastic plants...> It did not seem to affect the others until about a few weeks ago I noticed that the scales on the head of the Black Oranda were diminishing. And they kept on doing so. I was not sure if it was having a disease or if the Ryukin was physically plucking out the scales. There was no bleeding and the local fish shops could not help me out either. A few days ago, the Black Oranda finally died. I did feel sad for it since it had been a really beautiful fish except for the recent loss of its head growth. The Red Oranda does not seem to show as much body growth as the Black Oranda or the Red Ryukin. His head growth is also minimal. He does not appear to be as healthy as the Ryukin or the late Black Oranda. (The Ryukin is quite impressive and healthy in appearance). Yet the Red Oranda seems to survive the aggression of the Ryukin. So now I have 2 fish left in my tank and was skeptical about introducing a third. But I would really like to have a third fish in there (preferably a black moor or a black butterfly). <A Moor would be a better, hardier choice... but you might do well with either to first remove the aggressive individual... for a week or two... and then try introducing it to the new "social order"> I would like your suggestion/opinion w.r.t. the aggressive behavior of the Ryukin and if it would be wise of me to introduce a third fish into the tank. Looking forward to your reply. Thanks, JJ <Thank you for writing. Is there a larger tank in your future? I really encourage you to have a fifty five gallon (or larger) for three large/r goldfish. Bob Fenner>


Re: Distinguishing koi from any other gold fish Not really, I think my question wasn't phrased properly. How can I tell a koi apart from a gold fish.  <Oh... the two species are easy to make out when side to side... the Carp are much more "broad-shouldered"... wider at the head by far, larger eyes, scales... than the variety of Goldfish called a Comet... other sport mutations of Goldfish, like Orandas, Fantails, Bubble-Eyes... are much easier still to distinguish. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/koivarieties.htm re Koi Varieties... and in places on WetWebMedia.com re different shapes/sizes of Goldfish> From your answer, perhaps I should have also asked "when is a koi not a koi?" You mentioned golden Orfe. I have seen these on sale but they look a totally different fish - much slimmer. Do you suggest I get rid of my large ?ghost koi? <Not at all... I would keep what you have... it's a common practice in Japan (and elsewhere) to have such a brown or black individual (for good luck) in ponds. They lack "teeth" on their jaws... will not eat each other though quite different in size. Bob Fenner>


Re: Us that had the sleepy fantail and frisky goldfish Oh, Anthony, great-all-seeing-all-knowing-fishy one, <I knew it... it's the deodorant. I thought I grabbed Old Spice, but realized at home it was Old Bay> it's us again! So more than 3 months on and our frisky goldfish is now even friskier than ever. <a better man than I...> We isolated him in his own new tank back in April (you can hear the fish shop register chinking from here!) and he's still fairly humping his own reflection! <hmmm... perhaps he is more like me than I first thought... tell us more?> We did feel sorry for him on his own a few days ago and put him back in the big tank - but it resulted in a pearly fantail being pinned to the back wall with a VERY scared look on its face within the minute! <I'm guessing the sheep in your township are also nervous?> The 'forehead' of this amorous male has now begun to flesh out and become redder than the rest of his body. Is this just another sign of his whizzing hormones?  <indeed... a bit of breeding colour/dress going on here> The white spots on his gill covers and front fins are still as present as ever. <yes... very conspicuous breeding condition> In addition to this - we have the three remaining fish and two fry in the big tank. (The fry are protected in a fry net.) One of the remaining fish can't shake a mild case of mouth rot (the water has been tested and is of brilliant quality).  <it does happen... often a merthiolate or iodine swab works faster if you feel like netting the fish... just keep the meds away from the eyes and gills> This fish was battered the most by the male horn bucket and is the mother of the remaining fry. We took this mother fish out and treated it in a further bowl (There goes that cash register again) but the rot just won't go away.  <often times mouth rot is misdiagnosed as a bacteria... it is often a fungus> After 6 weeks or so, we put her back in the big tank. She seems happier with the other fish. Is it safe to continue not treating her as long as it doesn't get worse? Or should we remove her and make her unhappy? Or should we treat her in the big tank?  <do try a few stains of the mouth with iodine or merthiolate> Is it safe to treat the tank with fry in it?  <depends on the meds... try to avoid it> Or should we remove the fry and put them in the bowl? <they will eventually need to be separated> And as if this isn't all bad enough - one of the remaining two healthy fish has started picking on our pearly fantail and nipping and biting its fins. The pearly fantail isn't fast enough to get away from the gold fantail (he's a bit neurally challenged!)  <that's OK... I'm vertically challenged... no basketball players in my family> Is there anything we can do to stop this? <yep... make that cheeky little monkey watch an episode of the Osborne's on MTV. It will be stupefied into complacent behavior. Else, it is likely a personality/aggression problem that may not be corrected easily or at all. Changing or adding to the rockscape (ornaments, plant, etc) sometimes helps> Someone suggested adding more fish, but six is more than a bloody nuff for us!  <totally agreed and it is unlikely to work anyway. I suspect it was the Shoppe that told you this because they have almost paid for their eldest child's college tuition on your sales> And if we have to isolate them all, we're going to end up with goldfish flipping about in teacups all over our front room. <hmmm... call David Lynch... he may want to use that scene in one of his movies> HHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If all else fails, psst......wanna buy a bunch of very odd fish? <nope... but I LOVE sushi...heehee> Inga and Andy <with kind regards, Anthony>


Goldfish help Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> Awhile ago you helped me out with my ailing gourami's -furunculosis- and I need your help again. I have a beautiful Oranda that is having some sudden problems. He's in with about 9 other goldfish, and has just started leaning to the side. I think one of his eyes is protruding a little, too.  <hmmm... for starters, please add 1 Tablespoon of Epsom salt per 10 gallons of tank water and repeat in 2-3 days. This helps with osmoregulatory function. It may help with the listing and is likely to reduce the swelling behind the eye (exopthalmia). Within 3-5 days we are hoping to see stabilization or improvement. If instead an infection has set in, symptoms will likely manifest soon and we may address them appropriately. A stay in a QT tank with meds will be the likely course of it comes to that> He eats just fine, but when he floats, he either sinks to the bottom a bit sideways, or just floats sideways. <are you feeding fresh food (plant matter) and frozen or just dry pellets/flakes? Excess dry food can cause blockage and manifest in many strange swimming behaviors.> Please help me, Heather <best regards, Anthony>


Us that had the sleepy fantail, Frisky Goldfish Hi, Anthony, it's us again! How's the donut munching going? <cheers, my friend! I have moved onto sopplessata and red wine... look out waistline!> Not a sleepy fantail in sight this time - in fact quite the opposite - we've got a horny little devil that's determined to knock every scale off the other fish in the tank. <he's apparently got bad aim... the cheeky little monkey> The one male (he's the only one with white spots on his gill covers so far) developed these about a month ago. The three females (we're guessing at this) in the tank got really fat - being thick, we just thought we were over feeding them! Then the body rubbing began!!! <have you been playing a lot of Barry White or Luther Vandross music in the house? Dean Martin...ahhh, yes! Me too> We still didn't cotton on to what was happening and were perplexed as to why the tank's water quality seemed to deteriorate so quickly.  <two words: 1)Roman, 2) Orgy> Then we noticed that the fish were losing colour on their sides and that they had developed the cotton-wool fungus. We treated this and continued to diligently clean the tank and water, but it would be bad within two or three days again! We came to the conclusion that we must be the crappiest fish keepers ever! Finally, three days ago we decided to take the male out of the tank, thinking that his hormones must be driving him to be aggressive. All four fish were now missing three or four scales on each of their sides and we were worried that they would get infected.  <I'm wondering who we can get to make tiny little eyeglasses for that male of yours to reduce this...er, problem> Separating the fish calmed them all down. So we decided to reintroduce the male and see what happened. As we put him back in, we noticed two small fry whizzing about the tank... and then the penny dropped... we have a daddy and three mummies!!!! <how cool is that?!?> And now two small fry living in a fish bowl so that they don't get eaten. <exactly> So what do we want to know? <Bingo... but thanks for the smiles thus far just the same> Well, how long is this horny toad likely to be, well... horny?  <wow... I just dream that folks will write in with such questions...hehe> And how much battering can these little ladies take?  <I love this country!> And are the fry likely to survive in an unheated fish bowl (we can't afford to start spending out on more tanks and fish nannies here in the UK!) <in all seriousness... spawning takes days to weeks (less often) and occurs naturally in one or two cycles. Under artificial light and with great captive diets... all bets are off. Could be longer or more often. The real key is to temper the male or comfort the females with bushy plastic or live floating plants or remove the male altogether (your best bet). The fry will only live but months in the bowl. If they are hardy varieties, consider a local fish pond or aquarium shop to send them to. You will want to discourage the spawning as the product can foul water quickly and a mature ripe females can release nearly 10,000 eggs during a spawning period! Yes... too many for a fish bowl <wink>> Questions, questions! Inga and Andy <best regards to our friends across the pond. Anthony>


Quick goldfish aquarium question Gentlemen, <Used loosely, a good enough term> I usually ask you about my saltwater aquarium, but this time I have a question about my goldfish in a 6g desktop Eclipse. I've had this particular set up for a few years now, with an Oranda (now 3"+ tail) and a Moor (2"+tail).  <A lot of life for such a small system volume> A while back, I inherited 2 snails, and decided to put them into the aquarium. I usually do an 85% water change every other week. The water I use is bottled drinking water from the office supply. Well, besides the serious bio-overload that resulted, I saw many, many 1-2mm white balls all over the plastic plant and gravel. I panicked, believing I had created a snail farm, and disassembled, scrubbed, and reassembled the system without the snails. I since inherited a Betta that was going to be flushed - ammonia torn fins, et al. I know that these fishes are a poor match, but they are all doing very well and the bioload has seemed to stabilize fairly well. The white balls are back. Apparently, I was wrong in thinking that they were snail eggs. Do you know what they might be? <My first guess is some form of algae (really)... can be confirmed by observation through a microscope... Likely "not a problem" in the long term. I suggest adding some real plant life (like Anacharis, Myriophyllum, Hornwort... Yes, the Goldfish will likely eat some/all of it in time, but it will help to "use-up" nutrients and light, depriving the mystery organism "balls" of same, and improve the environment all the way around. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/oxgrasses.htm and elsewhere on the WetWebMedia sites re this possibility (perhaps the Google Search tool on the homepage?). Bob Fenner> Thanks for any insight.


Cycling a New Goldfish Tank Hey I have a question--I want to hurry and get my two golds out of a tiny 8 gallon with only a cotton wool and charcoal filter. <Ok> I have a new 29 gallon with an Eclipse filter/hood setup and was wondering if I could simply take the Biowheel out of the new Eclipse--stick it down in the gold fish tank--ok the golds would be a little more crowded, and let bacteria grow on it--and then after a week or so pop it into the new 29 and have instant biological filtration--and move the fish into the new tank at the same time. Would this work? <Not very well. Better to move the fish and the old filter over to the new tank and then after two months, remove the old filter.> I have a spanking new tank and I have heard you can use rocks from the established tank--to speed cycling--or part of the cotton wool from the 8 gallon filter could be put in the Eclipse hood maybe where the filter pad goes? But I kind of like the idea of seeding the Eclipse Biowheel--what do you think. <Moving the gravel would help some too.> Can I add the fish when I add the Biowheel or do I have to artificially feed the bacteria ammonia and then test the water etc. I am still vague on all this cycling business-my fish have already spent too much time in a tiny tank that I have to change water in twice a week--and I have never been sure I'm not killing too much of the beneficial bacteria when I clean the cotton wool--I try to replace some of it and quickly rinse the rest. <Do read up some on the various articles on WWM. Start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm> If I can't do this idea please explain how I do the long process--some say 4-6 weeks--hate to wait that long first I dechlorinate the water--then I add some gravel or other stuff from the established tank--then what--when do I add the ammonia and how often--how much? etc. any help you can give me would be most appreciated. <See above notes.> Thanks, Karen <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>


Goldfish I have four gold fish, I think. They have fan tails, just one. One fish is pearl color with gold spic. Now I was told that was a female. I have a 4inch black and gold spotted fish. I have another black and gold striped fish. Two gold solid gold fish. They all live in 10 gallon tank.....In doors. <Pretty cramped quarters.> Now friend that had them would put ice cubes in her tank and they would chase it all over. Now reading your site...I haven't seen any mention that's what gold fish like to do. So I'm confuse if I should continue doing that. <Doubt it would bother them. They are probably just attempting to eat them.> Now If that pearl fish with the gold spic is female...how does she breed. If the rest all male ......do I need to take special pre-caution and get another tank to keep her babies safe. I only had the fish for two months. Is there any signs when to expect her to want to breed, do I need to gave her anything as a pre-peration. <Much to learn about this. If you are serious about breeding, you will need a larger tank for the adults and I would recommend picking up a goldfish book. You can begin your education here http://www.petlibrary.com/goldfish/goldfish.html.> The tank is sitting on my window seal where it leaks cold air....she told me to put them there cause, one they like there water cold...plus you site say something about that. Two I figure the tank would be great block, I can't the cold and I don't like looking at my heating bill. <Cool water is good, but not fluctuating water temperatures. You do not want the tank water temperature to vary greatly between day and night, a change of 3-4 degrees.> Plus she said give them something to look at and they won't be bored. Never knew fish can get bored....I never had a fish tank. I'm not going to argue. Plus since I got the fish, I fall asleep easily cause of the sounds of the bio-wheel. Plus every morning, they are at the side of the tank where they can watch me, and they sit there looking at me. Waiting for me to get up to feed them. Now can they actually see me.....It's kinda weird. You site suggested to feed them Green Veggies, Why? Is there actual reason, what is the best Green Veggie to feed them or should freeze it in the ice cube....since like chasing ice cubes around. <You feed goldfish greens because they require a mixed diet for proper and complete nutrition, particularly low in proteins and meaty foods else they are susceptible to bloat. I have heard of many people feeding goldfish peas.> Thank you for your time in reading this corny letter of clueless soul. <Have a nice day. Steven Pro>


Goldfish Behavior Question Hello Robert, <Hello> My name is Roland Graham and I have a 120 gallon goldfish tank. My question to you is this...Is it normal behavior for goldfish to hang at the top of the water and then go down underwater and appear to be chewing something in their mouths and then appear to be spitting something out of their mouths?  <Yes, not unusual at all... Goldfishes and most of their kin (the minnows, family Cyprinidae) have a "chewing" apparatus in the way of cartilaginous protrusions on their gill supports... by "mouthing" foods, help to break up, aid digestion> They occasionally thrash from side-to-side like a shark ripping their prey apart when they exhibit the behavior I stated above. The goldfish also do not exhibit this behavior all of the time. I've spoken with people knowledgeable in goldfish and they can't figure it out. <Mmm, I may have an advantage here... am writing reviews of goldfish books, and a few articles on their care, biology currently... "Goldfish" on the brain. What you describe is not unusual> At first, I thought the goldfish had flukes and I did two treatments with Droncit over three days. That didn't work. I did some more reading and thought that the goldfish may have a bacterial infection. I then gave them 3 injections of Baytril spaced a day apart. That didn't work either. I then purchased a microscope and looked at both gill scrapes and body scrapes. I found no flukes or other organisms. <Ah, a thorough approach.> My water quality is excellent. I test all parameters with Hach dip strips. I have 2 Aquamaster 600 filters equipped with Cell-Pore substrate. I have a UV Filter and I have a couple of airstones with the largest Rena Air Pump available. <Sounds very nice. A good-sized system, with adequate filtration, aeration.> I believe that I am doing everything right, but to me the behavior my fish are exhibiting does not seem right. Thanks, Roland Graham <Thank you for writing. I would do nothing extraordinary here. Bob Fenner>


Pigmentation change We have a new pond feature in our backyard. This is our first year with fish, and we have 2 comets, 2 shubunkins, and (I think) a fantail. All have been healthy all season. Recently, one of the comets lost his/her orange stripes and is now mostly a gold color. The other comet still has his/her strong orange spot and stripe. Why did one lose its color? Still healthy, still goes after food, still plays and socializes. <Thank you for writing. For whatever reasons (genetic predisposition, "weather", water quality, nutrition...) some goldfish as individuals tend to lose their color with time, growth. Black Moors produced in the U.S. for instance have tended to go "brassy" rather than stay black for years... Nothing to worry about here.> Thanks for any help you can give. <Enjoy your pond and goldfish varieties. Bob Fenner>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Goldfish Success

What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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