FAQs About Goldfish Systems: Tanks
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, Goldfish Nutrition, Goldfish, Goldfish Varieties, Goldfish Mal-Nutrition,
Related FAQs: Goldfish Systems 1, Goldfish Systems 2, Goldfish Systems 3, Goldfish Systems 4, Goldfish Systems 5, Goldfish Systems 6, Goldfish Systems 7, Goldfish Systems 8, Goldfish Systems 9, & FAQs on Goldfish
System: 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 Disease, Goldfish
|Goldfish are NOT bowlfish... A
minimum sized/volume should be no less than thirty
gallons to support even just one Goldfish long-term. Too
small volumes won't provide sufficient oxygen, room to move, or
space to dilute wastes. Squatter, rather than tall and narrow...
more surface area the better.
please help. Poisoned in a bowl /RMF; brusque as usual
<Holly... what's with the lack of punctuation?>
i have had my goldfish, jack the fish, for 4-5 years. this past week i was
out of town and having him fed. when i got home his bowl was terribly dirty.
<Uggh! Mate, goldfish are NOT bowl-fish. Yours has been Bonsai'd by
metabolic poisoning.... >
i changed the water and cleaned the bowl and then two days (maybe 1 1/2)
later my fish developed dark red spots all over his body. i added melaleuca
to the water and salt yesterday. he is not looking any better today.
however, he is eating and seems fine. i am really worried about him. i have
included a pic. thanks so much for your help!
You want this fish to live some sort of quality existence? It's up to you to
supply it. Bob Fenner>
please help /Neale 7/10/16
i have had my goldfish, jack the fish, for 4-5 years. this past week i was
out of town and having him fed. when i got home his bowl was terribly dirty.
i changed the water and cleaned the bowl and then two days (maybe 1 1/2)
later my fish developed dark red spots all over his body. i added melaleuca
to the water and salt yesterday. he is not looking any better
today. however, he is eating and seems fine. i am really worried about him.
i have included a pic. thanks so much for your help!
<Hello Holly. Goldfish invariably sicken and die in bowls. Maybe quickly
(most die within weeks of being purchased) but some survive for longer
periods. As you've discovered, bowls contain so little water they can't
dilute overfeeding problems. Apart from the fact your fish clearly has
ammonia burns and likely bacterial secondary infections, I can't offer you
any useful advice if you continue to keep him in a bowl. Just isn't viable.
Daily water changes and treating with anti-Finrot medication will help in
the short term, but longer term, you need to plan an aquarium, 25-30 gallons
minimum. Do read here:
Melaleuca products such as Melafix are extremely unreliable and potentially
harmful, and salt provides no real value here. These two products sell well
(and continue to be sold) because they're cheap, and those aquarists with
little knowledge about fish healthcare make their purchases based on cost
rather than usefulness. I can't think of any situation where Melaleuca is
the answer, and salt is only useful in very specific situations, such as
treating against Whitespot where copper isn't safe. Anyway, do read; do
write back if you need some help going forwards. Cheers, Neale.>
Do I have Enough space for all my aquatic pets?
I have a 29 gallon tank with a 350 gph filter and an 80 gallon
sponge filter. The current residences of my tank include 2 fantail
goldfish, 2 mystery snails, and 1 Nerite snail. My question is
do I have enough room in
my tank for all these critters to live out their lives in my 29 gallon tank?
<Mmm; possibly... At least for a handful of years.... I would not add more
I also have a 765 gallon pond with 12 pond goldfish. I could put one of the
fantails in there if I must. But I would rather avoid that because fantails do
not do well in ponds. I also use algaecide in my pond, so adding the snails to
the pond might be harmful to them.
Your thoughts on my problem would be most appreciated. Thank you.
<See WWM re stocking GF. B>
Re: Do I have Enough space for all my aquatic pets?
Thank Bob. :) I have looked over your stocking information as requested.
Very informative. According to what I understand from your site and the
information I get from other sites, I would need 20 gallons for 1 fish and
another 20 gallons for the other fish. Making a total of 40 gallons total
required for my 2 Fantails to thrive throughout their entire lives. Is
<Mmm; well; strictly speaking/writing... yes. Though growing up a bit crowded
will "bonsai" the two.... again, they should be fine living together for several
years in the 29>
And would I need to add on an additional 10 gallons for each of my 3 snails? I
have 2 mystery snails and 1 black horned Nerite snail. Would I really need a 70
gallon tank to keep them all?
<How many times need I key the same stmt.?>
All I have to work with right now is the 29 gallon tank and a 765 gallon outdoor
pond. It will likely remain that way for 2-4 years. I have been advised that
they will live "a handful if years" in my current tank. But I have no other
choice but to be stuck with what I have. Should I put one or even both fish into
my pond to give them a better shot at living?
<I would not>
They were both purchased as small fish. They likely will not get very large. Or
should I move the snails?
<Neither these. As you have stated, the algicide will kill them>
We use algaecide in our pond. So I doubt that would be a suitable home for the
snails. What can I do other than buy a larger tank? Thank you.
<Learn and be patient. Can you make yourself calm? B>
Re: Do I have Enough space for all my aquatic pets?
Yes Bob, I can do my best to be calm. I do suffer from anxiety though.
<Yes; have yet to encounter a human that doesn't... myself included of course.
Have you considered meditation?>
Being calm for me can be extremely difficult at times.
<Again; we share this trait. Some of the blood pressure med.s I've taken for
decades cause me to be very anxious>
Thank you for being patient with me. I just want to be as sure as I can be that
I am doing all I can for them given my circumstances. Thank you for your help.
<Am very glad to render my friendship, input Cam. BobF>
No choice but to put single tails with fancies
What do you do if you have no choice but to put fancy goldfish with single
tailed goldfish? My fish are fantails and comets. I need to put them together in
my 765 gallon pond. My pond is an outdoor pond. I have 2 fantails and 12 comets.
I live in the Arizona desert. I cannot give any fish away. And I cannot return
them to the store. And buying a tank or using another large container is out of
the question. What should I do?
<... leave them in the aquarium. B>
Re: No choice but to put single tails with fancies
Thank you Bob! :)
Just need a little clarification 8/8/15
My 2 fantail goldfish, 2 mystery snails, 1 horned Nerite snail, and 2 ghost
shrimp all share a 29 gallon tank, with a 350 gph power filter, and 80 gallon
sponge filter. I have been told to keep the goldfish in the tank.
They are 3 inches long. I just need some clarification on where to keep the
Fantails as they mature.
When they are larger, and older, can I move them into my 765 gallon pond with my
12 pond goldfish? Or do I just continue to leave the Fantails in the 29 gallon
tank? Thank you.
Re: Just need a little clarification 8/8/15
Thank you! :)
I just want to be sure I got this right
My tank is 30" L x 12" W x 18" H
The store I got the tank from said it was 29 gallons.
<About this... see WWM re>
It has a sponge filter and air pump rated for 80 gallons. It has a 100
watt submersible heater.
<I'd add another>
I currently have 1 fantail goldfish and 7 ghost shrimp in the tank.
<Oh? No need for another heater then... set the one to 70 F.>
I know the fish might eventually eat the ghost shrimp. But I do not have
room for them anywhere else right now.
The store said the fish would eventually grow to be 6 inches. The
goldfish is currently 2 inches long.
As far as gallons and filtration go, is my current setup ok for the fish
and shrimp to live their lives out in? Thank you.
<Ah yes. Bob Fenner>
Re: I just want to be sure I got this right
Thank you Bob! :)
Should I return this fish? GF stkg repeat
I have a 30" L x 18" H x 12" D tank. The store said the tank was 29
gallons. It currently has an 80 gallon rated sponge filter. It contains
7 ghost shrimp and 1 fantail goldfish. They said the goldfish will reach
6 inches. I was told I could put another fantail in the tank. Today I
placed an order for a calico fantail that will be 6 to 8 inches. It was
a small one. Do I have room for this goldfish, or should I cancel my
order? Thank you.
<You can maintain two adult fancy Goldfish in 29 gallons without
My rule of thumb is 20 gallons for the first Goldfish, 10 gallons for
each additional one, to a minimum of 30 gallons for two Goldfish since
they're sociable. Cheers, Neale.>
Is 29 Gallons enough for 1 goldfish?
Will 30 gallons with a sponge filter rated for 80 gallons be enough for
1 fantail goldfish?
<Should be ample. Be prepared to reduce flow rate through sponge to
avoid pushing the Goldfish about too much if it struggles at all.
Re: Is 29 Gallons enough for 1 goldfish?
I forgot to ask. C an the fantail goldfish can live in a 29 gallon tank
for all of its life? Thank you.
<Yes. Two, even; provided they're fancy rather than standard Goldfish
(which get a bit bigger and need more space) and from compatible
varieties (not all fancies are equally bullish/delicate). Cheers,
re: Is 29 Gallons enough for 1 goldfish?
Thank you so much Neal! :)
<Most welcome. Neale.>
goldfish... Real troubles 1/14/14
I am very new at having fish as pets. Yes we bought our fish at
Wal-Mart. We just have a plain bowl no filter no bubbler.
<Ahh, won't work... this fish will soon be dead unless you come to
understand and provide for its needs...>
We got the cold water fish so we did not need a heater etc.
At our home we have very hard water. But we have a reverse osmosis
purifier so we used that water.
<... GF need mineral content; likely the hard, alkaline water is fine.
RO won't do>
We left it sit a day and put 1/2 a tablet of Start Zyme. The fish
are in one day and the water is cloudy already. We thought they
were feeding too much food to them so we changed the water and in one
days time it was cloudy again. There are 3 fish in the bowl.
They are swimming around and they look very healthy.
What are we doing wrong?
<Unfortunately, quite a few deadly errors... the volume of the system,
no filter, aeration, heater (and thermometer); the system isn't
The "Fish" Expert, (He has about 9 tanks and is starting to raise
fish to sell.) at Wal-Mart said we would be ok with these fish in a bowl
that was not regulated.
We are open for any help and guide lines.
<Please read here:
and as much of the related, linked files at top as you find you need to
gain awareness here.
I have a new eBook and print copy out on Kindle (if you're a member you
can borrow for free) that is more "all in one" in reviewing the basics
of goldfish care. I dearly desire you to be successful; not suffer the
ill-feelings of having killed these animals. DO read ASAPractical, stop
feeding for now; change all the water out with new daily (that's been
treated, stored for use)... Bob Fenner>
Goldfish question. :) Env. dis.
Hey! I've had a Goldfish for about 20 years! Just in a small
bowl with just water and nothing else, (s)he's just recently
developed a hugely swollen stomach. Only one fish in the bowl so not
pregnant, also has dark patches under it's otherwise golden orange
scales. Any ideas? Cheers, Benedict
<Hello Benedict. Well, the fish sure isn't pregnant! Almost certainly
Dropsy or similar; do read here for treatment and causes:
As impressed as I am that your Goldfish is its second decade, the
immediate cause is likely environmental. Bowls aren't good homes for
Goldfish. Do read:
Goldfish - tank size - cycling
Short story - I took my 3 yr old to the fair - ended up with a goldfish.
This was about 3 weeks ago. I *knew* nothing about fish.
Giving away fish at a carnival should be banned.
<Happens far too often, fish treated like trinkets instead of living
I purchased for 8 dollars a small plastic container from the fair
Next day he was gasping for air. Being that I knew nothing about fish -
I rushed to PetSmart - got him a lovely 2 gallon tank with filter. He
stayed in there a week while I researched how to take care of him.
Realized way toooo small of a tank for him. Got him a 20 gallon. He's
doing great. I continued my research - I probably need a bigger tank.
There is no way I can get a bigger tank for this fish. I've already
dumped about 600 dollars on tank, accessories, water testing kits.
<Education can be expensive. Despite how common goldfish are, they
really aren't beginner fish. That's especially true in a tank. Honestly,
I think you would be better off to see if a pet store will take it, or
see if you can give it to somebody with a pond. Ponds are really where
goldfish belong. Then, you can do a little research and get some fish
that will be more appropriate for your setup, and will give you
enjoyment instead of headaches. I'll address the questions regardless,
1st question: About cycling:
As much as I would have loved to do fishless cycle - I couldn't keep him
in the 2 gallon any longer, he was suffering. <Good that you recognized
this. Many just leave the fish there.>
I've had him in the 20 gallon for about a week. I am testing free
ammonia every day and shows nothing.
<Hmm. One week is not long enough to fully cycle a tank, and usually not
long even enough for the nitrite to spike. Check the instructions on the
ammonia test kit. Some of them give instant results, others require a
five minute wait period before reading.>
Do I do the water changes? Or wait until I see some free ammonia level
<Should be done weekly with goldfish. They are messy.>
There is a slight reading for total ammonia, is this harmful?
<thought you just said there was none, but yes, any ammonia is bad. The
reality is that you won't be able to completely eliminate ammonia until
the tank is fully cycled when there is a fish in the water, so the best
you can do is minimize it with partial water changes.>
I'm going on vacation in a few days for a week. I bought him an auto
fish feeder, seems to work great. Do I do a water change before I leave?
I'll be gone for 7 days.
<This is not the best time to cycle a tank. Ammonia will build up while
you are gone whether you do a change or not. Obviously, a large partial
water change before you leave can only help.>
2nd question: Adding more fish
I really want to add another fish, he must be lonely? Can I? If so, what
type of fish? The goldfish is about 2-3 inches.
<You definitely do not want to add more fish before the tank is cycled.>
I've read everything about how I need a bigger tank for goldfish - so
can I add a different type of fish - one that stays small? Any
<Feeder minnows maybe, while the goldfish is still small anyway.>
I hate to see him in there alone. An aquatic frog maybe?
<Goldfish are cold water fishes, check the temperature requirements of
the frogs. Might be too cold in winter.>
I don't know what to do with this goldfish in the future when he
outgrows the tank. <Move him.>
Can I take him to a goldfish pond?
<Once the tank cycles, you will be able to keep the goldfish for a
while, but it will ultimately outgrow the tank. Goldfish can get very
large. A pond is a perfect place for him .>
I really care about the goldfish first and foremost. Just need some good
advice. I have no room for a bigger tank!
<As I mentioned above, I think you'd be better off rehoming the goldfish
and stocking the tank with something that stays a bit smaller. However,
should you decide to keep the goldfish, remember they are messy and need
frequent partial water changes.>
<Welcome. - Rick>
Re: Goldfish - tank size - cycling 8/29/12
Thank you Rick! <Welcome.>
I appreciate the fast response. Regarding my
question about ammonia below. I am using the tests correctly.
I bought an API master kit. I still have the 2 gallon tank
mentioned below and trying to cycle that one as well. The 2 gallon
measures 4.0 ppm (no fish in there). The 20 gallon measures .25
ppm. I did a 25% water change with water conditioner and it still
measured .25 ppm. I then did a 50% water change and it was still
.25 ppm. Then I decided to measure my tap water which low and
behold was 2.0 ppm! I added the water conditioner to the tap water
and the measure was .25 ppm. I was very confused and did some
research where I learned about "free ammonia" and "total (includes bound
ammonia) ammonia". The API measures total ammonia.
From what I read the bound ammonia is fine - it's the free ammonia that
is toxic. I figured I'd never know if I had bound or toxic ammonia
and my water is never going read 0 ammonia since it is in my tap water
so I bought a Seachem test which measures only free ammonia.
<Be aware that if you have ammonia in your tap water, that is done to
react with the chlorine to form chloramine. They do that because
chloramine is more stable than simple chlorine. What that means is that
you have to be sure to treat the water with some kind of Dechlor. While
forgetting to do that with simple chlorine will irritate the fish, the
chlorine will be driven off eventually. Not so with chloramine, it
sticks around for a long time.>
So with the Seachem test the 20 gallon tank shows 0 ammonia. The 2
gallon shows .25 ppm. I am wondering is it normal to have 0
ammonia for the first 9 days of a new tank with a fish in it?
<Not really, unless you have a lot of live plants in there. That would
be an exceptionally quick cycle unless you seeded it with an object from
an established tank.>
How long until ammonia builds up to show a reading?
<See the link from last time, there is a graph. In my tanks, I've
noticed the ammonia starting to build up after a couple days. Check also
for nitrites, the second phase of the cycle. It's possible you are
already in the nitrite phase, but you should still be reading some
ammonia while the nitrite starts to spike. Finally, test the
nitrates. That is the end phase of the cycle. While 9 days would be
unusually fast to cycle the tank, it could happen. If you read
low-level nitrates and nothing else, that would be my guess. My
own cycled tanks usually read 0,0,0 because I have live plants soaking
up the nitrates.>
I also have a Seachem free ammonia alert reader that stays in the tank -
that is showing 0.
<The ones I've seen don't last more than a month or two. I think those
are good for monitoring water chemistry when treating for disease. For
every day use it's overkill and not really cost-effective.>
I've decided to keep the goldfish over the winter and either build a
pond (ha ha - husband not diggin this idea) or find a pond for him.
<He will be digging it, or else you will! Best, Rick>
Re: Goldfish - tank size - cycling 8/29/12
I forgot to mention this. On the day I set up the 20 gallon tank I
poured a bottle of Tetra SafeStart in the tank right before I
added the fish. I didn't mention this because I kind of just wrote
this step off since most experts don't believe that the bacteria in a
bottle works. But now I am kinda wondering if it does.
<I've been a skeptic and have never tried it, but the owner of one of my
local fish stores says he's heard good things from his customers.
If it works, it explains a lot.>
I don't see how it would be possible from everything that I am reading
that there is no ammonia in this tank after 9 days of feeding a fish in
there and one water change? Is it possible that this bacteria
actually established in the tank?? <Occam's Razor says yes.>
I have had 0 readings for nitrites and nitrates as well. I'm doing
the tests correctly - I am getting all of the expected readings on the 2
gallon tank that is currently cycling.
<Seems to have worked. - Rick>
Re: Goldfish - tank size - cycling 8/29/12
Thanks so much. I'm pretty surprised that SafeStart worked but I
doesn't look like there is any other explanation. My 2 gallon just
tested negative for Ammonia on day 17. The Nitrites and Nitrates
are off the charts. I've been occasionally adding fish food to it
to keep creating ammonia but should I just leave it alone now and let
the cycle complete?
<Glad I could help. On the small tank, you do want to keep feeding it,
but you also want to do some partial water changes. There is a level of
nitrite that can overwhelm the cycle and cause it to fail, and the
partial water changes will help to avoid that. How do you plan to
stock the 2 gallon tank? There are a few animals that can live in there,
but the selection is slim. - Rick>
Jumbo Oranda and Appropriate Tank Size - 8/28/12
I ordered an Oranda that will be 3- 4 inches upon its
arrival. It will be the only fish in the entire tank. I
am aware this fish will grow to be 8-12 inches long. Provided I change
50% of the water in the tank weekly, is a 30 gallon tank
with a 350 gph filter appropriate for this fish for its entire life
span? What size tank should I get if it is not appropriate?
<As before, if the water quality stays good, and the fish remains under
1/3 the length of the tank, the 30 gal is fine. You can always add more
filtration if you need it. My 29 gallon tank is 30 inches long, so
I would not want a fish longer than ten inches inside. Since a 10
to 12 inch Oranda would be an exceptionally large individual, chances
are good that it
will be able to stay in the 30 gallon tank. If the fish turns out
to be one of the exceptionally large individuals, I'd probably go to a
Unfortunately, you won't know that for a while unless you have
information on the parents.. -Rick>
Re: Jumbo Oranda and Appropriate Tank Size - 8/28/12
Thank you so much for your reply. It was very helpful.<My pleasure.>
And thank you as well for your time and patience with my string of
questions. I am very nervous about losing my fish again because of
something I forgot to take into account. You all have been a extremely
helpful. Thank you again.
<I guarantee every one of us has lost fish due to human error. It's
important thing is to learn from it.
Just watch that water quality when your new fish arrives. I suspect your
cycle crashed when you cleaned the tank and will have to cycle again,
which is stressful for any fish. That means daily or more use of your
water test kit and probably also daily partial water changes until the
cycle is complete. A few live plants will help. Here is a nice write-up
on the nitrogen cycle:
Good luck - Rick>
Oranda Size and Tank Size 8/28/12
<Cam. Not sure if this was answered, I was drafting a reply and it
vanished, so my apologies if this is a repeat. My PC is acting wonky.>
I have a 30 gallon glass tank.
Marineland Penguin Bio-wheel filter 350
50-70 gallon filter
rite size c filter cartridges
2 Top Fin 3000 air pumps
4 airline hoses
4 one inch airstones
9 watt UV sterilizer
Water specifications include:
<All fine. UV sterilizer is overkill. I use mine only when I have a
known illness in my tank. Orandas are sensitive to bacterial infection,
temperature 75-78F (let me know if 78F is too high)
<80F is the upper end of the range, so 78F is fine for summer. Might
want to back off to 68-70 in the wintertime.>
Filter cartridges are supposed to be changed monthly (according to the
directions on the box).
<Some of that is to get you to buy more filters. I try to extend the
life of my filters as much as possible. Regardless of how often
you change, in the first email you said you have multiple filters. I
suggest you change them out in different weeks to avoid crashing your
Weekly water changes of 50% will be made once fish are in the tank
<Good. Use your test kit to determine if you can back off on the size of
the water change to 25%. The test kit will tell you if it's okay.>
I lost my last Oranda yesterday. <Sorry to hear that.> I lost her due to
the damage she received from a previous water quality problem. The water
quality problem was last Friday. I have since corrected this water
problem by changing out all the water in the tank. I tested the water
out yesterday. It is fine now (see specifications above for test
<New water with no fish should be good. Keep checking when populated.
You may have lost your cycle with 100% water change. If so, you may be
in for a month of large daily water changes.>
I ordered a medium sized red cap Oranda.
I have received some wonderful advice and assistance previously from
But my question is will the medium Oranda be able to live its entire
life out alone in the 30 gallon tank I have? <If it stays less than 1/3
the length of the tank.> If it gets to be large in size should I get a
larger tank? <Either that, or rehome the fish.> How many inches are
<7 inches typical, but can get larger.> What exact tank size should I
get for a single large Oranda? <The 30gal should be fine for a few
years. After that, base your decision on the size of the fish. I'd go up
to a 40gal or 55gal if the fish dictates that it's time to change.
Should be able to keep more than one then.>
Thank you for your time.
<Welcome. - Rick>
Goldfish in too small tank 7/27/12
I need some no-nonsense advice I think. In our house we have a
3-4'' goldfish (not fancy, I suspect he was sold as a 'feeder') living
in a 10 gallon tank.
I know this is not a large enough habitat for this fish. My sister
brought three goldfish home from her prom (they used fish as
centre-pieces...) in a small bowl. After two died I finally managed to
convince my mom to buy a proper tank with a filter but 10 gallons was as
large as she was willing to go.
Buying a larger tank it not an option.
<Ah, that makes things tricky…>
What I need to know is whether it is *at all* possible to keep the fish
*happy* in this tank (I don't want to just keep it alive, I want it to
<Not really. Sure, you could keep him alive, and compared to letting him
"take his chances" by returning to a pet store, you may well decide
keeping him in a nice, if small, aquarium is better than the
alternatives. But as you seem to realise, this isn't the right way to
keep Goldfish, any more than it would be "right" to keep a dog but never
take it for walks.>
I think the only other option is to somehow find someone with a large
pond and release him- and I think this is what you will recommend, but I
admit I worry about him being eaten by a heron or meeting some other
untimely end (I'm already rather attached).
<I see the conundrum. On the plus side, a nice pond is about as good as
it gets for Goldfish, and assuming the pond keeper takes reasonable
precautions to keep cats and herons out, pond Goldfish generally do
better (and look happier) than their cousins kept indoors.>
And I keep thinking about an aunt of mine who released her family's
domestic rabbit into the 'wild' when she grew tired of caring for it...
I don't want to be like her.
<That's a much different thing. A garden pond is still a secure, managed
environment; turning a pet animal loose in the wild is a death sentence
in most cases. Some survive in the wild -- there are "wild" Goldfish in
the UK for example in many places -- but most don't make it.>
I just want to give him the best chance at a happy life and I need an
experience aquarist to tell me how to do it! Thank you so much for your
time (and your incredibly informative website) and I think the fish will
thank you too.
<Perhaps you can encourage your Mom to get interested in the Goldfish,
and within a year or two, upgrade the tank with her blessing? In the
meantime, keep up with water changes, minimise quantity of food, offer
more fresh greens and less flake/pellet food, and generally ensure the
10-gallon tank is as clean and healthy as it can be. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish in too small tank 7/29/12
Thank you, Neale.
I'm happy to say that I was talking to my aunt and she has a 40 gallon
tank she wants to downsize and my mom agreed to trade her our 10 gallon,
so now everyone (fish included) is happy!
<Woo hoo! Do check out my piece on stocking 10 gallon tanks. They're
easily overstocked, but can be great community tanks if you choose
species with care. The article covers to common species; e-mail back if
you want some ideas of more unusual community fish.
Goldfish Question, filtration per stkg.,
I have a 29 gallon tank. It has 2 filters. One filters at 20 gallons,
the other at 30 gallons. Combined that is roughly 50 gallons of
There is currently 1 Oranda goldfish in this tank.
My question is, if I were to increase filtration to 70 gallons, could I
another goldfish with the Oranda that is already in the tank?
<Greetings. Your key misunderstanding here is that the "filter
for a 20 gallon tank" statement on a filter means anything. It
means zilch. Or at least, it's wildly misleading. When a
manufacturer sells a filter as "suitable for a 20 gallon
tank" what they mean is "suitable for a 20 gallon tank in the
best possible situation, i.e., lightly stocked with small, Neon-sized
fish that don't make much/any mess." It's much the same as
"servings per box" on cereal packets, or "battery life
on 3 hours" on a laptop -- at best, a guideline, at worst, total
fiction so far as real-world usage goes. A better (if still imperfect)
approach is to use gallons/hour turnover rates. All (non-air-powered)
filters will have the gallons/hour turnover rate stated on the pump
somewhere. If you have a 30 gallon tank, then for small fish a turnover
rate 4 times that will be adequate, i.e., 4 x 30 = 120 gallons/hour.
Bigger fish that make more mess would need up to 6 times, and Goldfish,
being very big and very messy, would need at least 6 and ideally 8
times turnover rates, i.e., for a 30 gallon tank, 180-240 gallons/hour.
With that in mind, go back and look at your filters, and act
accordingly. Of course, this is a guideline as well, albeit a more
flexible one that scales up or down depending on the types of fish
being kept. The acid test is whether your aquarium is clean. Provided
the water is clear, and detritus like faeces are being removed from the
water, and above all else, ammonia and nitrite levels are always at
zero, then your filter is doing its job. If you find the water gets
murky or smelly, then more filtration and more water changes will be
needed, doubly so if you plan on adding more fish. In theory, a 30
gallon tank should house 2-3 fancy Goldfish without problems, but do be
aware that in such small tanks and in such small groups, Goldfish can
sometimes be aggressive, especially if you have a male harassing a
female all the time. Cheers, Neale.>
I have a 29 gallon tank with a 30 gallon filter.
I have 1 Oranda goldfish in this tank.
Will this goldfish be alright by itself in the tank?
<Should be okay assuming the tank is of regular shape.>
If yes, can I add a second goldfish without changing my current system
<I would not. In a 40 gallon setup, perhaps.>
Thank you. <You are welcome, Sugam>
Goldfish Question, sys./vol.
I have a tank that holds 18 gallons.
I am considering putting 1 goldfish in it.
Some sources I have read suggest some fancy goldfish can be kept in 10
gallons of water.
<Nope. Even Fancy Goldfish will get to 15-20 cm/6-8 inches,
excluding the fins. That's about the size of a man's hand.
Imagine that, with great long fins behind it, moving about in a tank
that's, what, 45 cm/18 inches in length. Sure, lots of people *put*
Fancy Goldfish in 10-20 gallon tanks, but the vast majority of them die
within a year, "enjoying" only the most miserable existence
until then. Goldfish are social, so you really want 30 gallons so you
can keep two or three of them.>
Would 1 Oranda goldfish be able to survive in 18 gallons of water?
<No. Well, it might "survive" in the same way polar bears
"survive" in cages, right up until it starts getting Finrot,
Fungus, Dropsy, or something else that kills it. Is that ethical,
humane animal ownership? I think not.>
Would any kind of goldfish survive in 18 gallons of water?
<No. But lots of other options. White Cloud Mountain Minnows would
be great! You could keep 10-12 of them in there, perhaps with half a
dozen Red Cherry Shrimps if you wanted. Obviously you'd need good
filtration, but in a centrally heated home, you wouldn't need a
Re: Goldfish Question 1/18/12
Thank you for your previous reply.
I have one last question.
Would 1 goldfish survive in a 1 gallon tank?
If so, which type of goldfish?
<No fish at all. One gallon isn't enough for fish, even
Goldfish full of air - Please help
I started an aquarium a few months ago, a Bio Orb 60 (60
<Mmm, these are really poor systems for most all aquatic life... too
little surface area, paucity of water movement and filtration... Please
with two 4-inch goldfish.
Recently, I have added two more goldfish
into the aquarium, a week apart. One is about one and a half
inches, and really feisty, and the other is about two and a half
inches, and a total lamb. They all seem to get on well, and given the
size of the tank, I consider the aquarium complete.
<These fish won't live long or well here>
One of the 4-inch goldfish developed a habit of eating bubbles quite
<... these fishes... are physostomous... Have connection twixt their
throat and swim bladder... use this in part for aerial respiration.
Your fish is gasping... "for air">
After talking to some other fish keepers and checking the net, I
concluded that it could be due to the fact that the dry pellets I was
originally feeding them floated, and she might be expecting food to
exist at the surface, so gulped bubbles in a hopeful manner that she
found some food. I have also heard that those pellets are full of air,
and also as she had to come to the surface, she was eating them and
swallowing air in the process.
So I switched to fish flakes,
<... trouble. Please read here:
and made an effort to release them under the water surface, so
that they would not float back up. But her habits seems too set in now
to quit. I'm not sure if you have seen a Bio Orb 60
<I have... some friends (CASCO, SeaClear/Tradewind...) bought the
company a few years back. Oh, how I wish they hadn't... These
expensive "toy" systems are worse than worthless. NONE of
them can/do support aquatic life for anything near reasonable time
frames. They are fish killers>
before, but the way they are set up is that the air pump pumps air
through the centre of the tank via a tube, and the bubbles float to the
surface, and then across to the rim. I have tried discouraging her from
eating bubbles, by tapping sharply on the glass
<My friend... DON'T do this... IS extremely damaging>
when she is doing it, in an attempt to condition her
behaviour, but all its appeared to have done is that it has made
her behave as though she is a naughty child caught eating sweets before
dinner - she runs away when she sees me near the tank, to where
'she' believes she is out of sight, on the other side of the
tank, and carries on eating bubbles. To prevent the bubbles moving
across the water like that, I increased the water level so that the
bubbles gather around the water-friendly
aquarium light, i.e. they won't end up at the rim where she eats
bubbles, but now she still gulps air as though she was still eating
A little while ago, I noticed her resting at the top of the tank, with
her top fin out of water. I realised that her being partly out of water
can't be good, so I kept a closer eye on her behaviour. She needs
to struggle a bit to swim to down to the gravel in the tank, and the
moment she stops swimming she floats up again. A couple of time she
sort of floated on her side - just for a moment, but she did. I checked
the net again and also your site forums - thanks for making other
people's emails available for reference by the way; a lot of
comfort for a worried fish owner!
- and came to the conclusion that it could be swim bladder
I followed a medical regime, and also changed their diet -
fearful that I might have been overfeeding them, I semi-starved her for
a few days (I know some people suggest to totally starve them for 3
days, but I didn't have the heart to completely deprive them of
food (they have got their 'begging' trick down to almost
wrenching my heart out!)) and fed her a thawed frozen de-shelled pea
once a day for 3 days, then fed them flakes in the morning and a couple
of peas at night (for all fish) from then on. But her habits have not
changed. Its painful to see her struggle so much - I don't think
she is in any pain, and she likes her food, but I want to try and
improve her lifestyle if I can.
I'm on top of water maintenance - every one to two weeks I change
about 25% to a third of the water - using the de-chlorinator as
necessary and weekly I use the water cleaner that also balances pH. I
also added aquarium salt to the tank a month ago. I don't think
overfeeding is the problem - the other 4-inch fish (same size), he is
the same breed, and eats more of the food, but has none of the problems
I'm not sure what to do.
<I am. See below>
I honestly don't think she had a bacterial infection such as
swim bladder - I think she is just full of air. Is there something I
can give her to help her expel the air, that might solve her problem. I
am always checking their bodies for signs of other illnesses, but I
haven't seen anything.
<IF possible, convert the Bi-orb to something else other than an
aquarium... a fancy vase or palludarium perhaps. And read here:
re what these fish really need. A system of several times this volume,
w/ sufficient surface area, water movement and biological filtration.
Yes, you've been duped... this "tank" can't
accommodate these goldfish, not even one specimen. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish full of air - Please help -- 12/29/11
Thanks for your prompt response!
I agree that they are overpriced - I'm just glad I didn't buy
it new!! But thanks for the heads up. I will look into a suitable
Unfortunately, as much as I love my fish, I have many financial
constraints on me at the moment (don't we all in this economic
so until I am able to replace the Bi-Orb, could you suggest some
temporary measures that I can put into place immediately, given the
problems mentioned in my last email, i.e. my fish gasping for air, and
being full of air, etc.
<Yes... though it may seem antithetic, do drain this system down 1/4
to 1/3 from the top... having more surface area is of greater use than
the total volume... AND do be VERY careful re feeding... just a few
pellets twice a day... AND DO change out about 20% of the water per
day... and replace w/ simple tap water (cold)... to dilute
Also, I read your article about flakes; is my feeding regime okay, or
should I change it and how?
<Look to Spectrum brand pellets... is what I feed my fancy goldfish
I feed them flakes in the morning and a couple of thawed
frozen de-shelled peas each at night. Am I
I have four fish; two 4-inch goldfish, one that is about one and
a half inches and one that is about two and a half inches.
<Keep your eyes on the ads for sales, perhaps a used system of
size... CraigsList in your area. Your fish will weaken and die soon w/o
being moved to a suitable environment. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish full of air - Please help
Thanks very much for your advice, I will follow your suggestions. In
addition to lowering the water level, I have put in some oxygenating
tablets that I had bought previously, hopefully this will hold till the
new tank comes
<Mmm, they're only good for hours really>
- thanks for the CraigsList reference. Also, I will stick to
Spectrum brand food. Thanks so much for your help!
On a separate note, do you know why only one of the fish is gasping for
air, and none of the others, including the one of the same size and
<Can be ascribed to "different fitness level"... fishes
have high hematocrits (packed cell volumes)... i.e. lots of hemoglobin;
but low dissolved oxygen... about 8 ppm w/ our atmosphere at 21%
(210,000 ppm)... Have to work hard to respire... and given some types
of insults... e.g. exposure to nitrogenous metabolites, hemolyze...
lose oxygen carrying capacity. The one is "weaker" from
<And you. Bob Fenner>
Re: difference... more...? --
I grew a gold fish from a little guy until he outgrew the
bowl..he was gorgeous about 5-6 inches long( in a BOWL), died
when we moved to an oiled heated house, lesson learned too late, we now
have propane heat, is this going to affect my aquarium? AN
<No easy answer to this. I don't see why an oil heater should
cause problems for fish. But any heating system that isn't in
perfect working order and produces carbon monoxide, for example, can be
just as dangerous to fish as it can to humans. So if you place an
aquarium near a furnace or boiler, there's always a small chance of
problems. Think of a the miner's canary. So, place the aquarium
near a vent or a window that's normally kept open, and you should
be okay if you have any worries. But honestly, if conditions in the
house are killing fish, then they're certainly harmful for you,
too. Cheers, Neale.>
Shubunkin Goldfish (9/13/2011)
Hello, I just bought my Shubunkin goldfish (SM) two days ago. At
first he wasn't really moving around or anything, I know that
it takes time for them to get adjusted to a new environment. This
is my first pet and I am not sure if the vase I have him in is
good enough. It is a Beautiful Fish Vase, I bought it because
they didn't have any tanks at the store (Wal-Mart).
Yesterday he was swimming around regularly, I am assuming he had
got used to his surroundings, but today when I cleaned out his
vase he has stayed at the top of the water line gasping for air
it looks like. He doesn't have his mouth at the top were air
could come in be he is still at the top. He doesn't eat the
Goldfish Pellet Food I try to feed him, not even when they soften
I have read that since it is not a tank the water line should be
at the maximum surface area, which is around the middle of the
<Hello Courtney. The fundamental problem is that a Goldfish
can't be kept in a vase or bowl. What you see on TV isn't
always true, and this is one of the biggest misconceptions people
still have about pet animals. In short, you are killing this fish
by keeping him in this vase. He's suffocating, and by the
look of his dorsal fin, he has Finrot too. His life expectancy
doesn't look good. Please do read here:
You'll need at least 20 gallons for a single baby Goldfish,
and realistically 30 gallons for one or two adults. Anything
smaller is inhumane. There's a problem we get around
September when young people going to college buy pet Bettas and
Goldfish as dorm room buddies, and then a few days or weeks later
write to use about why their pet is dying. The immediate cause is
invariably housing, and the reason for that happening at all is
lack of reading. So it's up to you now. Keeping this fish in
a vase isn't humane, and you will kill this animal by doing
this. Goldfish have a lifespan of 20-30 years in good conditions;
in bowls they're lucky to last more than a few months, and at
best, they're hanging in midwater, gasping, and basically
dying by inches instead of all at once. Can't get a bigger
tank? Return or rehome the fish. There are lots of fish-shaped
ornaments that'd work great in a bowl, or else some cut
flowers, which is really all they're good for. Sorry to be so
negative, but there it is. Hope you're able to make a better
home for this chap, Neale.
Re: Shubunkin Goldfish (9/13/2011)
So is it possible to put it in something else?
<In a bowl? Sure. Cut flowers. Pet rocks. One of those troll
things with the big hair. But not a fish, no. Despite what you
see in Tom & Jerry cartoons, a bowl isn't a fish
I don't really know how to measure gallons, like I've
said I am a first time pet owner.
<The average bowl sold in the US, for example, will contain
around 1 gallon.>
Should I be going to look for a small tank for the fish?
<A Goldfish needs a BIG tank. Go get a side plate from the
kitchen, one measuring about 8 inches across. That's how big
a fancy Goldfish will get within 2 years. They are extremely poor
choices for first time aquarists.
Bear in mind Goldfish are POND fish, and as soon as you bring
them indoors, you need to plan accordingly. Many people
don't, and end up killing their Goldfish.>
I really don't want the poor guy to die, he was in a tank
with a lot of buddies but now he's all alone.
<Indeed; alone and dying.>
Should I look into getting a tiny plant for the tank as well?
<No point. Certainly won't magically make the bowl a
healthier place. If you remember your high school science, plants
need strong light to grow, to do photosynthesis. There's no
light above your bowl, just ambient room lighting, and that's
not enough for aquatic plants. Plastic plants are fine, but
obviously without any fish in there because a bowl isn't
suitable for fish, but if you want a vase of water with a plastic
plant in it, then sure, go ahead and try that. You may perhaps be
picking up my extremely subtle intimation here that bowls are
useless. If you are, you are quite right. Pet shops sell bowls to
complete beginners because they're taking full advantage of
your ignorance to take money out of your purse or wallet.
In return, you get something about as useful as a chocolate
teapot (as we say in England).>
And what about him not eating?
<Least of your problems. He's not eating because he's
stressed and his environment is toxic. A bowl is adequate for a
few days or a couple of weeks, provided you do daily water
changes using dechlorinated water. Don't feed the fish
because he won't be in there long enough to make a
difference. You'll either be rehoming him or putting him in a
20+ gallon aquarium. Those are the only two humane options here.
Some tips on surviving with a bowl for a few days here:
Don't for a second delude yourself into believing you can
keep this Goldfish in a bowl for more than a couple of weeks. If
you try, the fish will die, if not quickly, then within a few
weeks or maybe months, and in that time you'll have this sad,
miserable animal staring forlornly at you all the time! Very bad
karma. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Shubunkin Goldfish (9/13/2011)
Well when I said TANK I meant TANK! What will happen if I place a
Betta in with this fancy goldfish?
<Goldfish and Bettas need much different conditions. Bettas
need warm water (25-20 C/77-86 F) with a very gentle current;
Goldfish need room temperature water and a fairly strong water
current from a big filter able to handle their massive amounts of
waste. They are not viable tankmates even if you happened to have
a big enough aquarium, at least 30 gallons, for both species. It
should go without saying that Bettas cannot be kept in unheated
bowls; unless of course you happen to live in Thailand so room
temperature is precisely the same as they'd experienced in
Re: Shubunkin Goldfish
Alright so the fish is now still grasping for air but when the
attention is on him he will go back to the middle of the tank; he
is still not eating the food. He hasn't ate since I've
<You need to be doing daily water changes of 50% of the water
for the next few days. Feeding isn't really an issue here,
and he certainly isn't starving (fish can go weeks without
food, and in ponds, Goldfish spend the entire winter without
feeding). Go shop around for an aquarium, or else spend the next
few days finding a new home for this fish. Those are your
priorities. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Shubunkin Goldfish (9/13/2011)
<Most welcome! Cheers, Neale.>
How Many Fish Should I Have In My Tank, Freshwater... GF
I'm only very new at this, and I'm finding it very frustrating
the information I've been given <by> my the various local pet
shops, which just confuses me more.
<We'll try to help.>
I have a 120L tank with cold water fish in it, fantails ,comets, a
black more a peppered catfish and comets.
<Seems like too much, I would not have more than 3 goldfish in this
sized tank, and even then it's pushing it a bit.>
Every time I talk to the local pet shop they give me different answers
and I am left wondering what to believe. I even had one of them sell me
a paradise fish to put in with the above in my cold water tank!
Needless to say it attacked one of my "boggle" eyed fish and
I had it back on their counter within the hour!
<At least you were able to return it.>
My main concern is I'm not sure how many fish I should have in the
tank. I would like them to grow big as at the moment they are only
between 1cm- 3cms.
<For the moment, goldfish in general get big and messy, and need
lots of space. I would go with a trio here and think about a larger
tank for them at some point.>
Also I've noticed some of them are losing their scales, they seem
rather happy other than that?
<Check your water parameters, they should not be dropping
<See our goldfish section for more.
Re: How Many Fish Should I Have In My Tank, Freshwater
Thank-you from the sounds of that my tank is WAY too full, I have like
12 in there!
<Oh yes, way too many.>
Sick Lionhead Goldfish 11/13/10
Hi I have a Lionhead fish that is about 7 years old. He has never been
unwell. However over the last few months he has developed a very
swollen abdomen, and has gradually eaten less. He now just sits at the
bottom of the tank only moving a little. He shares the tanks (a large
<... unsuitable... Way too small a volume for even a single
goldfish. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GldfshTksF.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BiOrbF.htm
with a common goldfish which is perfectly healthy.
<Mmm, no... foreshortened, stressful lives>
The fish has a very swollen abdomen and a half cm white lump to the
side if his head.
If you could give me any information this would be most
<Read. Bob Fenner>
Re: Attn Neale, GF, not tiny QT 11/9/10
Deborah here again.
You helped me with Sparticus. I added a new fish and he died today. I
think it wasn't in the best condition at the store and got worse
when I brought it home. I have a 29 gallon tank with 1 very healthy
goldfish in there. I've had him for about year 1/2. A 50 gallon
filter and a 30 gallon filter Aqueon outside tank.
I have a small 5 and 1.5 gallon tank that I would like to use as a
quarantine or to pull a fish out when its sick so I don't have to
medicate the whole tank.
<Would not recommend this. A hospital tank needs to be at least as
good as the main tank. If it's a worse environment, then using it
will make things worse.>
Is it okay to start another small filter on the tank so when I have to
pull a fish out I can use one of the extra filters that have the good
bacterial through cycling?
<All filters need to be matured, and once matured, constantly
"fed" with ammonia, whether from fish or some other source. A
common approach is to place the hospital tank media in the main
tank's filter, and remove as required. Hospital tanks are also
operated using Zeolite ("ammonia remover") but you need quite
a lot of this for it to work with something as messy as goldfish, and
it also needs to be replaced every few days, the aim being to keep
ammonia at zero and to replace the ammonia before the Zeolite is
saturated. Zeolite can be cleaned using hot water and then recharged a
few times by soaking in brine, but I wouldn't recommend beginners
Instead, replace Zeolite as required. The plus side to Zeolite is that
it doesn't use bacteria, so you can use medications that might harm
filter bacteria without problems.>
This way the first signs of distress I can catch it in time and pull
him out into the proper set up. I would be able to put the big tank
water in there and tap and medicate. Does this sound safe?
<If the hospital tank was 10+ gallons and the biological filter
maintained appropriately when the tank was unoccupied, yes, it can be
What would you suggest
Although aimed at marine fishkeepers, the basic rules hold for any
Thank you kindly
<You're welcome, Neale.>
Goldfish Tank, Deathtrap 11/5/10
Thank you for all your help in the past with my tropical tank.
Everything is running fine, with healthy fish, which I'm sure is
due to your help.
I am writing today because I have come across a product that has
concerned me. (see link below)
This is a "tank" being sold to keep a goldfish in. From what
I can tell it is very small and has no filter (It looks like the edge
of a sphere, with dimensions H: 37.7 W: 37 D: 11.5 cm). This seems like
such a bad tank for a goldfish.
<A deathtrap for any fish.>
I would really like to write to the shop selling it and inform them of
how much damage this would do to a goldfish. Even if they took no
notice, I would then feel better having tried to stop people buying
this and killing their fish.
My main question is, is this really as bad a tank as I think it is?
Thank you for any advice you can give,
<Unfortunately tanks like this are all too common in the hobby and
have been around for years. Please do let your voice be heard, perhaps
it will do some good.>
Regarding Calico Fantail... fishbowl
Recently I bought a Calico Fantail, and in the last couple days, when I
feed him, he will swim up to the food, nibble at it, make some bubbles,
and quickly swim away. He will do this a couple of times before
actually eating his food. Sometimes he will do this while swimming
backwards. I keep him in a large fishbowl and regularly switch out
about half the water.
<Not good enough I'm afraid. Despite Goldfish bowls being widely
sold and seen on TV, they're NOT suitable homes for Goldfish, any
more than you can keep a German Shepherd Dog locked up in a garage for
its entire life. Bowls are cruel, and eventually kill the Goldfish
placed in them. Your pet isn't eating because he's stressed. As
he grows, he pollutes the water more and faster, so even if you get
away with things for a few weeks or months, eventually there comes a
point where the waste he produces reaches dangerous levels before you
do your water change. That's likely happening here. Because you are
looking after this pet so badly, he's getting sick. If you
don't fix things, loss of appetite will move into bloating, Finrot,
septicaemia, and eventually death. Do read here:
Also, his swimming seems to be a little more erratic than usual,
swimming up and down the sides and back and forth pretty quickly. I
don't have any plants in the bowl yet.
<Least of your problems.>
Could this behavior just be because of boredom?
Otherwise he seems completely happy and healthy.
<No, he's really not. When Goldfish act odd or stop eating in
bowls, they're not happy and they're not healthy; they're
starting down the slippery slope to death. I'm not trying to be
mean here, but I am being honest. You're killing this
I would like to ensure that I am doing everything properly, and keeping
him healthy, as I am already quite fond of him. If you need any more
information, please ask!
<Nope, the word "bowl" was enough to diagnose the problem
I'm afraid. Nothing more needs to be said. Either upgrade the bowl
to a 30 gallon aquarium with a filter, or switch to another pet,
perhaps a cactus. Bowls are basically useless. Pet stores sell them
because there's lots of people out there who buy animals before
buying books about their care. Shame that, but there you go.>
Looking forward to your reply,
<Hmm'¦ we'll see about that!>
Thank you, Katrina.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
11-year-old Goldfish, Laying on Bottom of Tank,
Rhonda, my 11-year-old Goldfish, has been lying on her belly on
the bottom of her tank for the last 3 days, with very limited
swimming or movement.
Her top fin seems droopy. She makes an effort to swim when I come
over to her tank, and is trying to eat, but it seems like she is
spitting the food out or not able to swallow it. I feed her
floating pellets, which she's been eating for the last 8
years. She is in a 10-gallon tank with a Whisper filtration
system and live plants.
<10 gallons is too little.>
I do not usually change the tank water -
<You must! 25% weekly.>
I have actually never tested the water before today - everything
tested normal except for the Nitrite level, which was at 200ppm
(very unsafe). I am making a partial water changes to reduce this
<200 ppm nitrite (with an "I") is deadly, so I doubt
you have this. But you may have a 200 ppm nitrate (with an
"a") level, and that is certainly highly toxic if not
Would you suspect that this Nitrate level could be the culprit
for her behavior?
She does not seem to be tipsy,
so I don't know if this is a swim bladder problem or
<"What". You're keeping this fish very, VERY
BADLY, and that's finally killing her. She's not that old
-- Goldfish live 30+ years -- and the fact she's survived 11
years is more about how tough these fish are than your
fishkeeping skills (which are, to be honest, minimal).>
Occasionally she has rested on the bottom of the tank for short
amounts of time in the past, but she has never done this for such
a long amount of time.
Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you
for volunteering your time for our aquatic friends - this website
is a goldmine of information! I am grateful for any information
you might be able to provide.
<It's kind of you to say such things, but I'm
concerned you've so far not managed to find the gold in our
mine. Do please start reading here:
11-year-old Goldfish, Laying on Bottom of Tank,
ScottT's go 6/2/10
< Hi Sarah>
Rhonda, my 11-year-old Goldfish, has been lying on her belly on
the bottom of her tank for the last 3 days, with very limited
swimming or movement. Her top fin seems droopy.
<I've had this happen before also. Not to worry, I think
it is fixable.>
She makes an effort to swim when I come over to her tank, and is
trying to eat, but it seems like she is spitting the food out or
not able to swallow it. I feed her floating pellets, which
she's been eating for the last 8 years. She is in a 10-gallon
tank with a Whisper filtration system and live plants. I do not
usually change the tank water - I have actually never tested the
water before today - everything tested normal except for the
Nitrite level, which was at 200ppm (very unsafe). I am making a
partial water changes to reduce this level.
<Great idea with the water changes. Change a few gallons a day
until the nitrites go away. Maybe add a chemical product to
detoxify the nitrites quickly today too. It wouldn't be bad
to make a once a week water change routine.>
Would you suspect that this Nitrate <nitrite?> level could
be the culprit for her behavior? She does not seem to be tipsy,
so I don't know if this is a swim bladder problem or what.
Occasionally she has rested on the bottom of the tank for short
amounts of time in the past, but she has never done this for such
a long amount of time.
<In my experience this is completely water quality related. I
had an overstocked tank in which half of the fish exhibited that
Once I installed a plant filter and increased my water changes,
they all started floating again. A droopy dorsal fin is a sign
that the fish isn't too happy. High nitrites, pH might be
low, and a number of things that are hard to test for. If you do
even a 10% change weekly, Rhonda will be much happier.>
Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you
for volunteering your time for our aquatic friends - this website
is a goldmine of information! I am grateful for any information
you might be able to provide.
<Hope this was helpful, Scott T.>
Re: 11-year-old Goldfish, Laying on Bottom of
Hi Scott and Neale!
Thank you both so much for your expert advice, and lightning-fast
I did intend to write "nitrates", as you noted - I
apologize for my confusion. I have made about a 15% water change
thus far and Rhonda appears so much happier already - she's
swimming and eating like normal, with a little more zest than
She is still resting on the bottom of the tank, but only
occasionally - the improvement in her behavior is
I forgot to mention that I normally add Aquasafe and Stress Coat
water conditioners when I do change the water - I have been using
these products for about 8 years. Do you feel these are good
<Dechlorinator is certainly essential with every water change.
Stress Coat falls into the "meh" category to be honest;
it's useful when shipping/handling fish, but otherwise
redundant. Neither produce removes the need for an adequate
aquarium and regular water changes.>
I did read up on the Goldfish 101 information page, and will
definitely be testing and changing her water regularly from now
on. I had (very incorrectly) assumed that oxygen was the only
significant concern, and that having a filter and live plants
would take care of it all.
<Not the case at all. Yes, you can create an ecosystem where
the plants balance the fish, but for that to work you need 100s
of gallons, a couple of inches of small minnows, and intense
sunlight. Seriously. Any attempt to balance fish and plants in a
home aquarium just won't work. It's been done in labs,
and the ratio of animal to plant life required is extremely
different to what you've got in your mind.>
I am including a couple of just-taken pictures of Rhonda.
<She looks cute. Probably needs company though; Goldfish are
gregarious animals and quite "intelligent" by fish
Do you think she does need a larger tank?
She is about 4.5 in. / 11 cm., head-to-tail.
<For an 11-year-old fish she's really very small, and poor
conditions are likely to blame. In any case, Goldfish
shouldn't be in anything less than 30 gallons/110 litres for
two adults. Can they survive in small tanks?
Sure, some of them do, but the mortality rate is high. The sad
fact is the most Goldfish end up dead within a few months, and
small aquaria are very largely to blame.>
Thank you very much!
|Grossly stunted, or more euphemistically,
"Extremely Bonsai'd"... RMF
My black moor is acting "funny" --
I bought a black moor and a fan tail goldfish a few days ago, they are
in a one gallon fish bowl
<... where they will die soon. Unless you read, understand, act
and the linked files above. Follow directions, don't write us w/o
searching, reading first. Bob Fenner>
with a bubble pump and my black moor is worrying me. Today the fish sat
at the bottom of the bowl not moving a whole lot and when it did it
would either swim around the bottom (skim the bottom of the bowl) or he
would flit around and settle again in the same spot on the bottom of
the bowl. He does come up for food and swims just fine then. My fan
tail is just fine and the moor scurries away from my fan tail when ever
they are near enough that their tails touch. I'm fairly new to
having fish so I do not know what to expect, I feed them slow sinking
crumbles and have read that, that is the best food to feed them. I put
something in to remove chlorine and chloramine due to our city water
sometimes having high concentrations of both. Can you help me?
Fed up Fan Tail ! Bring in another Carassius auratus X C.
goeblio w/ industrial dis. -4/6/10
I have a fantail in a 35L tank.
<35 litres? Much too small for Goldfish.>
She stays mostly at the bottom of the tank in one particular spot .
When I feed her she tries to eat the flakes but with little success and
her poo is now clear . She has no marks on her body and nothing around
her mouth although it doesn't open very wide , I have also been
doing regular ammonia tests and changing half the water weekly . I have
looked on your site but cant find anything relating to her symptom ,
would be very grateful for some advice .
Many thanks Rebecca in the U.K
<Do read here:
Goldfish are social fish that need large tanks. You seem to be
providing neither of these essential requirements. The problem with
your fish likely comes down to these. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fed up Fan Tail ! The incredibly stupid biz of BiOrb
making, selling, and buying -4/6/10
It seems incredibly stupid that BiOrb , a well known brand of tank,
should put in <sic> there instruction booklet what fish to put in
what tank and how many.
<Funnily enough, I'm writing an aquarium book at the moment, and
I have just written a bit about expensive spherical aquaria with
minimal practical value. A quick look at their website showed
photographs of 60 litre (16
gal.) spherical tank with 5 goldfish in them -- despite the fact
you'd need at least 210 litres (55 gal.) to keep 5 goldfish happy
and healthy! Very definitely misleading, and arguably against the
Trades Descriptions Act in the UK.>
What fish do you put in a 35L tank?
<Do read here:
35 litres is about 9 US gallons, but because of the tall, cylindrical
shape of the 35 litre BiOrb tank, it can't hold as many fish as
plain vanilla rectangular aquarium. BiOrb tanks are VERY overpriced for
what they are, and practically every experienced aquarists weeps when
they see some poor soul carrying one out of the pet shop! If someone
gave me one of the things as a gift, I think I'd probably go with a
male Betta and a bunch of attractively coloured algae-eating shrimps,
such as Cherry Shrimps and Bumblebee Shrimps. Hope this helps. Cheers,
Pearlscale Goldfish with possible swim bladder disease --
I bought a Pearlscale goldfish from a local pet store about a week ago.
He is about an inch long, so I think he's fairly young. I have him
in a five and a half gallon tank with a small carbon-cartridge filter,
gravel, and a few decorations.
<Too small -- if he grows as he should, this will work just long
enough for you to purchase a suitable home -- thirty gallons as a
minimum for one goldfish, and a larger tank if you ever wish for him to
have a buddy.
Please read here on the proper way to house goldfish:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm. If you
choose not to provide what he needs, this situation is going to get
more unpleasant for you, and positively dire for the fish.>
I was told a small goldfish could cycle a tank himself so I
wouldn't need to purchase zebras to cycle with before hand.
<He certainly can cycle the tank himself. He's doing the same
would do. Do you understand the nitrogen cycle? The problem is not
whether or not the tank is cycling, but the effects on your goldfish as
he lives in his own toxic waste products. Please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm. I really
prefer the fishless cycling method -- it's much cleaner and much
more humane. In any case, if this tank is in the process of cycling,
your water changes need to be large and daily if you want this fish to
live until the tank is cycled.>
I changed a gallon of his water after two days, more than half his
water two days after that, and another gallon two days after that. I
use city water treated with a dechlorinator. I don't know the water
parameters except the temperature, which is room temperature (about 68
<You should buy test kits. Your ammonia levels are likely extremely
Before I even took him out of the pet store bag I noticed him floating
strangely (picture attached). He floats completely vertically with his
head down and his tail up. However, he moves pretty easily around the
whole tank and only floats this way when he is at rest. I fed him about
two small goldfish pellets his first day in the tank and tried to feed
a thawed frozen pea, but the pieces were too large and he didn't
eat most of it.
I haven't fed him anything for three days and today I gave him half
a pea, which he ate quickly. However, he does not seem to be improving.
In fact, I think he's floating vertically more than he was at
first. It's been almost a week and he's only getting worse. Is
there anything else I can do? If it is swim bladder disease, how long
will it take to get better?
<Please understand that there is no such thing as "swim bladder
It is a name for a group of symptoms caused by things like poor water
quality, poor diet, etc. So, think of it as if someone said, "I
have knee pain." The pain itself is not a disease. It's caused
by something -- they fell on it the day before, or they have issues
with the joint, or something.>
I read things on your website about goldfish nutrition, and I don't
know what he was getting fed at the store, but they seem like smart
fish people, so I would hope they were feeding him right. I would like
to avoid keeping live plants in my tank. Is a diet of terrestrial
vegetables enough and the occasional food pellet enough to support
<Can, but he likely has other problems right now.>
I'm not sure this is a nutritional issue. He doesn't look
bloated (but it's hard to tell since he's supposed to be shaped
like a golf ball). His scales aren't stretched apart or sticking
out funny. He's just floating weird.
<There's a chance that he was damaged in the process of netting
him at the store. There's also a chance that he's suffering in
a tank which is too small and not cycled. He was likely not receiving
the right food at the store, and so if this is a problem with feeding,
it's going to take a while for him to regain regular digestion. My
best guess, without having seen him pulled from the store's tank,
or knowing your water parameters, or knowing what the store fed him, is
that this is likely an environmental issue -- the uncycled tank. I
would return this fish to the store, properly cycle the tank, and then
buy a Betta for it -- really, the only commonly-available fish which
can live in an aquarium this small. There are other choices, though...
please read here:
Thanks for your help.
<You're welcome. Please check out the links provided above, and
explore the linked files on the goldfish pages. There's just oodles
about goldfish care archived on WWM, and you'll find that while
you're not the first to make these common mistakes, such as tanks
that are way too small, and failing to properly cycle an aquarium, the
fact remains that what's wrong with your fish is likely due to a
lack of care on your part.>
Black Moor Goldfish... env....
I recently bought a medium black moor goldfish about 3 weeks ago. I
have him in a small fish bowl, about 1.75 gallons. <A dismal life
for any fish.>
He's the only fish I have. I've been good about changing his
water once a week. I just changed it 2 days ago, and I've noticed
it's cloudy again already. I live in an apartment and have city
water, so I let the water set out for several days before I changed the
water to let the chlorine and all out.
<Are you absolutely sure that your city does not use chloramine in
the water supply? This will not evaporate, as chlorine does, and must
be removed with a product, such as Prime.>
I noticed yesterday he has developed white spots on his nose. I
don't know if it is Ick or the cotton-disease or something entirely
different, but either way, I don't know what I should do.
<Fix environment. Unless you do, there will be some new symptom of
illness every week until he dies. If you provide what this fish needs,
you will find yourself pleasantly uneducated about fish diseases and
the myriad of symptoms which accompany them, because your fish will be
He's also been picking up the pebbles from the bottom of the bowl a
<Normal. Do be sure gravel is large enough to prevent it becoming
lodged in the mouth.>
and hanging out at the top of the bowl more so than usual.
<Oxygen is diffusing into the water at the top of the bowl. He's
trying to breathe in an oxygen-poor environment.>
I've never had a fish before, so I have no idea what to do. Can you
<Goldfish need much, much more than what you're providing this
fish. Prior to writing, we ask that everyone first read what is
archived here on WWM.
The answers to your questions and more can be found in the following
and any linked files you find in these pages.
If you have never had a fish before, one would think you would read
prior to purchase, or, at the very least, after purchase. I have never
ridden a motorcycle, so I wouldn't just jump on one and drive away,
expecting to have a positive experience. Please take the time to read
and fix this fish's environment with something in the range of a 20
to 30 gallon aquarium with heavy filtration. This will provide room for
a buddy goldfish, as well, if you choose a 30 gallon tank, and goldfish
enjoy the company of other goldfish. Your fish can live for twenty
years or more with proper care. Please write back if you have any
questions after reading.
Please Help with sick/dying goldfish
I have been researching on your site ever since I got home from work
and have not been able to find an answer to my problem. I have 2 small
fancy goldfish in a 5 gallon aquarium.
<Too small. This is why the fish are sick/dying. For two Goldfish,
you need at least 20 gallons even for babies, and 30 gallons for
adults. This is non-negotiable. Bear in mind there are no
"small" Goldfish, merely juveniles. They get to at least 15
cm/6 inches in the first year of their life, and Fancy Goldfish will
eventually reach about 20 cm/8 inches. That's about the size of a
large rat. Take a look at your 5 gallon tank. Could you even fit
animals that size in their? No.>
I have a hang on the back filter and an air stone for circulation and I
do about a 2 gallon water change about once a week. The tank is in my
classroom at school and over the Christmas break I used an automatic
<These cause more problems than they cure. In a big aquarium,
there's always the risk these things will add too much food given
the absence of the aquarist to keep tabs on water quality; in a small
aquarium, adding an automatic food dispenser is basically adding a time
bomb. Goldfish are herbivores, and the bulk of their diet should be
plant material. A clump of Elodea (Canadian Pondweed) can be added
before holidays, and will provide adequate food for them across a
couple of weeks. Plants contain little protein, so the risk of water
quality problems is minimal.>
I also put in a small 'preset' heater because I was worried
about the building getting very cold when closed up for the break. The
temp stays around 78. When I got back from break about 1/2 the water
had evaporated and my snail had died. I did an immediate water change.
I noticed that the orange fish had some fuzzy white stuff on its tail,
but that seemed to clear up.
Friday everything seemed fine. This morning after the MLK 3 day
weekend, the calico was listless and sitting on the bottom of the tank.
His tail is noticeably drooping. He seems to have either lost a lot of
scales or they have lost their 'shine'. On very close
inspection this afternoon I realized he has a bunch of small holes on
the side of his head (I did not see them at first because of his
coloring). My first reaction this morning was to do a water change,
then I tested the water and it was good except the nitrates were just a
bit high. I had some Maracyn left over from a previous incident, so I
put some of that in too. He did eat just a little when I fed them this
morning, but I am very worried, especially by the 'holes' since
I did not find anything like them either on your site or on the
'fish care' chart in the Maracyn box. The children are very
worried and I'd like to save him, if I can.
<The "if I can" bit is the nub of the problem. These
Goldfish need a proper home. Unfortunately, and I say this as a fellow
teacher, what a 5 gallon tank teaches children is WRONG. It tells them
that animals can be kept in spaces too small for their needs, and if
they get sick and die, that's fine, because we can go buy another
animal to stick in there. From my perspective as a biology teacher,
that's a bad lesson. We should be teaching children that animals
are precious, and that keeping them is a responsibility as well as a
pleasure. Moreover, keeping animals properly is expensive, and if you
aren't willing to make the financial sacrifice necessary, you
shouldn't keep a pet animal. Anyone who told you a 5 gallon tank
was acceptable for Goldfish was either lying to you, and else ignorant.
That you hadn't done your research first is another issue. In any
case, stocking 5 gallon tanks is difficult, and there's almost
nothing that does well in them, with the exception perhaps of Bettas
and some of the freshwater shrimps.
Furthermore, everything you need to know about Goldfish is here, and as
you'll see, almost everything people think they know -- without
picking up a book -- is wrong.
Until such time as these Goldfish are moved to sensible quarters,
they're doomed. So while I could opine that they likely have Fungus
and/or Finrot because of exposure to chronically poor water conditions,
the cures available are predicated on the assumption environmental
conditions improve. Hence the "if I can" statement involves
substantial upgrades to the aquarium as well as the addition of
suitable medications. Unfortunately my experience is that all too often
people will prefer not to spend the money, and instead rationalise
things to a "we'll wait and see what happens first"
scenario, which basically ends up as watching the fish die by inches.
For me, someone who likes animals, that's incredibly
Thank you so much,
<Happy to help. I hope I'm not sounding too hectoring, but
e-mails about sick goldfish in bowls are really, really bad ways for me
to start the morning. I hope you're able to fix things. Cheers,
Re: Please Help with sick/dying goldfish
Sorry to have ruined your day, after reading your email mine was pretty
much ruined, too.
<Believe me, I get to satisfaction from that.>
That and having to spend the day telling each group of children as they
came into my room (I'm a speech therapist, not a classroom teacher,
so kids come into my room 2 and 3 at a time) that my fish was sick and
probably dying and it was my fault for putting them in a tank that was
too small, and no, I'm not getting another one if he dies.
<I can see that would make for a difficult day. But do think about
alternative livestock you could use. Cherry shrimps, Apple snails,
Triops, even carnivorous plants can make entertaining focal points for
scientific and natural history discussion. Pond water is great, because
it often comes teeming with tiny critters like snails and water fleas.
Without fish, all these systems need to do well is sunlight and
aeration. Such tanks can last for most of the year with minimal
maintenance beyond topping up with water.>
In my defense, my comment about "if I can" meant "if
there is anything at all that I can do and it's not too late"
NOT "if it's convenient and cheap and if not then oh well,
I'll just get another fish".
<Good to know.>
It is NOT "Fine" with me if the fish dies.
I'm afraid I was operating on years of apparent mis-information
including: a fish to water rule of one gallon per inch of fish (2x1.5
inch fish = 3 inches, so 5 gallons should be sufficient); goldfish
don't outgrow their environment; if you don't over-feed, have a
good filter, and do frequent water tests and changes then the water
will be healthy; goldfish don't live that long so 2-3 years is
pretty good; and packaged goldfish food is actually for goldfish.
<Yes, all common myths. In your own field of speech therapy, I'm
sure you often hear lots of ignorance from people outside the field:
lack of language skills implies stupidity; people who don't talk
don't have anything to say; there's nothing you can do to fix
speech problems; and so on. All received wisdom in the population at
large, but also completely wrong.>
Also, the pet store sells 5 gallon tanks (not to mention 3 and 1 gallon
ones). I see that my error lies in researching after the fish was sick
and not before I even put it in the tank. I won't make that mistake
<My work here is done then.>
I have a friend that has offered a larger tank, that I will have to set
up at home since my small room at school cannot accommodate it, but
unfortunately I don't think this particular fish is going to make
Hopefully his tank mate will fare better.
<I hope so too.>
I hope you have a better day tomorrow,
<All the better for hearing from you. Cheers, Neale.>
Quick question pertaining my goldies. Sys.
I have a Calico Ryukin and a fancy goldfish and have had to put them in
a 10 gal tank,
<Too small a volume.>
how long will they be OK together like this?
<Not in this tiny world, no>
The calico seems extra skittish, he spends a lot of time in the corner
and if the big guy goes into his corner he jets into the other. The big
Goldie seems fine though.
What would you recommend I do for them on a limited income?
<A bigger system>
I know 10 gals is pretty small for them, I am working towards getting
them a 30 gal tank, but it's going to be difficult so that brings
me back to the question: how long do I have?
<W/o water quality tests, testing, can't tell. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Goldfish tank size 11/29/09
Good morning, WetWeb crew!
<Good morning, Sarah,>
First, I'd like to thank every one of you for the help you've
given me over the last three years. It's been half a year or more
since I've contacted you, but I remain very grateful for the time
and effort you put into both your website and the amazing Q&A
service - as a newbie aquarist when I discovered your site, I can
honestly say my fish and I wouldn't have got this far without you
(especially Bob and Neale). Many, many thanks to you all.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
My question is hopefully a fairly simple one; I have three goldfish,
currently in a 125 litre (just under 28 UK gallons) tank, and I would
like to know if this is big enough.
<Yes, especially for Fancy Goldfish; the standard Goldfish (things
like Common Goldfish and Comets) can get too big for such tanks, and
are best treated as pond fish.>
The goldfish are perhaps 4/5 inches, 2 inches and 1.5 inches
respectively from snout to base of the tail (sorry, would be more exact
but the biggest one rarely stays still - best to err on the side of
caution and assume 5" I
I have done a lot of reading on this subject as I want to do the best I
can by my fish, and I've used your search function to read
everything I can find. Unfortunately, many posts are regarding
different-sized goldfish to mine and there does seem to be some
conflict of opinion at times, depending on the person posting a reply.
I'm struggling a little to find common rules due to the sheer mass
of material; according to your logged replies, my tank's size is
just within normal range or a bit too small. I understand that it's
not an exact science so I'm not grumbling at all, but I would
really appreciate some clarification based on my own circumstances if
<Since Fancy Goldfish get to about 6-8 inches in body length,
that's the number to bear in mind. Given the size of your tank, you
should be fine with Fancy Goldfish of that size, especially if
filtration is top notch.>
Thank you once again for your time, and for all the help you offer the
aquarists and fish of the world!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Goldfish tank size
Thank you very much for your quick reply - that's a weight off my
The filtration is for six times the tank size, which I think is
adequate based on my reading on this site, and they are fancy fish so
it all sounds okay.
<Six-fold filtration rates are adequate for Fancy Goldfish, but if
you find the water getting silty, or the mechanical filter medium in
the existing filter needs cleaning very frequently, adding another
filter may be a solution. I usually recommend eight-fold turnover
rates, but with the proviso that water turbulence is reduced via a
spraybar or similar since Fancies find it had to swim in strong
Thank you again for all your help,
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Fluffy fish. GF hlth.. Env.
I have 3 goldfish, not too sure what kind, as have only had them for a
couple of weeks, though now, one of them seems to be fluffy, it looks
more like a blowfish than it does a goldfish,
<Likely Fungus and some sort of systemic bacterial infection. Not
promising, I'm afraid. Both these things are caused by bad
maintenance in almost all instances, so it really comes down to finding
out how YOU made the fish sick. Once we've established that, we can
talk about cures and prevention.>
also doesn't seem to be very happy, e.g., hiding in the plants and
treasure chest in its tank, the tank is a 9ltr,
<Dismal. Look, a single Goldfish needs something like 25 gallons/90
You cannot, repeat CANNOT keep Goldfish, or indeed any fish, in a 9
litre tank. Just won't work. Did you read anything before buying
these poor fish?
I hate being the person doing the scolding all the time, but if you had
read anything about goldfish, you wouldn't have bought a 9 litre
Here's how it goes. Person decides to buy a pet fish. Walks into
Sales clerk sees totally ignorant person browsing 9 litre tanks, and
thinks, "Sucker!". Sells that customer 9 litre tank, plastic
plants, bubble-operated ornaments, and all the other junk he can think
walks out, and a few weeks later all his/her fish are dead. Neale gets
an e-mail via WWM, that exasperated wannabe fishkeeper is frustrated,
and Neale has to explain that they did everything wrong. Neale, since
he likes animals and cares for them, gets worked up, and writes a
short-tempered e-mail back to that wannabe fishkeeper. Everyone loses,
especially the Goldfish, who's dead.>
just changed the water and put water conditioner in two days ago, fish
only came out with this yesterday, any ideas would be greatly
You need a MUCH bigger tank. No excuses; if you don't want a bigger
tank, or can't afford one at least 90 litres in size, then
don't keep Goldfish.
What you're doing is cruel and thoughtless. You also need a filter,
and water changes should be limited to 25% per week so that water
chemistry doesn't vary too wildly. Goldfish prefer hard water, so
you need to think about that too. Hard water isn't salty water, so
don't imagine for a nanosecond that adding "aquarium
salt" will make things better. What else?
Oh yes, diet. These are herbivores, so if you're feeding just flake
or pellets, you'd likely to end up with constipated Goldfish. See
they belong to my 5 year son,
<No, it doesn't belong to your son. It belongs to you. Let's
remind ourselves we're talking about animals here, not toy
soldiers. Animals come with responsibilities, and a 5-year-old
couldn't possibly handle them. So, let's get real here,
it's your aquarium, not your sons. What are you going to do about
it? Why not show to your son that animals have needs that have to met,
and while they're fun to have around, they're also hard work.
Don't want to teach that lesson? Then don't keep fish.>
Grrr, would hate for it to die.
<As would I. An anti-fungal medication (not salt, or tea-tree oil
such as Melafix) will fix the cotton wool growths that you see. As for
the bloating, if you're lucky, that's constipation, and proper
feeding will fix
it. If you're unlucky and it's dropsy (in which case the scales
will stick out from body, like a pine cone) than the fish is pretty
well doomed short of a trip to the vet for antibiotics.
Hope this helps, Neale.>
Cheers... GF? Sm. sys. 9/17/09
Thanks for email back,
I actually didn't buy the fish or the tank, they were a gift to my
son for his fifth birthday, I had absolutely nothing to do with the
purchase of anything to do with either the tank or fish either, thank
you for all the useful info, and I am sorry you got frustrated with it
<Well, I'm not frustrated with you; if I was, I wouldn't
have taken so long to write back. But I do get frustrated that people
(for whatever reason, good or bad) buy small fish tanks, stick goldfish
in them, and then see them die. It's senseless, it's easily
avoidable, and yet it still happens.
All I can hope is that now you do know what to do, you'll listen to
your better angels and make your Goldfish happier and
Sent from my iPod
<Sent from my MacBook Pro. Cheers, Neale.>
Chocolate Oranda fish 5/17/09
I've just bought two Oranda fish for my daughters and put them in a
21 litre tank.
While looking on your site to find out how to sex them I've
discovered the keeping of them is going to be much harder than I
imagined! Firstly I haven't got the room for a huge tank so what
can I do to make their lives less miserable in pitifully small
<Nothing. 21 litres (or 5.5 US gallons) is simply too small for
Goldfish, full stop, end of discussion. Even a tank five times that
size would be "adequate" for two Goldfish rather than
"comfortable". I can't stress too strongly how many
Goldfish are stuffed into too-small bowls and tanks, and then die
shortly thereafter. It's a shame these small plastic aquaria are so
inexpensive: they are basically a con, and despite being
"cheap" in terms of pounds, shillings and pence, they're
utterly useless for keeping fish, so the shops that sell them are
essentially tricking people into wasting their money. If the tank had a
heater, you could keep a single male Siamese Fighting Fish in there,
but without a heater, that won't work. So you see my point about
these tanks being useless!>
Secondly, what's this about peas, what kind of peas, and what else
can I feed them?
<Cooked or tinned peas generally work. Beyond that, Goldfish
aren't fussy, so if Petis Pois are what you have, they'll eat
Thirdly it said on the box not to overcrowd the tank but I read that
the wee things need hidey holes, help!
<Goldfish don't really care about caves, but they do like things
like plastic plants that provide shade and structure to the aquarium.
But otherwise, provided you don't use garish colours such as My
Little Pony pink and blue, which will stress them, they aren't
fussed. Just think about the colours/objects in a pond, and go with
I've got a filter in my tank that I'll clean out regularly (but
not too regularly because I don't want to stress them out) and
I've got an air pump to put oxygen in the water, is this ok?
<So far as it goes, yes. These Orandas won't live long in 21
litres though. Grab a ruler or tape measure. Look at how big 20 cm/8
inches. That's the size of their bodies when mature; the fins are
on top of that! Now, compare that size to your 21 litre aquarium. See
Oh and I live in Scotland so I think it's a hard water area
although no clue about ph!
<Some of Scotland has hard water, but a lot of Scotland has soft
water. Hence, as you may know, England brews beer (where hard water is
required) while Scotland distils whiskey (where soft water is best).
Since Goldfish need hard water, and never do well in soft water, this
is a key piece of information. If your kettle "furs" up
every couple of months, then you probably have hard water.>
Lastly I'm sorry about being so fish ignorant I thought watching
them swim about would relieve stress but I think this is a myth!
<It's not so much a myth, but rather fishkeeping is easier and
cheaper compared with keeping, say, a dog or cat. But a fish is an
animal, and like any animal, it has needs. You ignore these at your
peril! Some folks assume fish are like pot plants, so that all you do
is add water. They're not, and our post bag each day underlines the
fact much can go wrong if you don't follow the rules.>
Please help me I don't want to be a fish killer or traumatize my
<Many of life's dramas can be read by reading a book about
something before we actually do that thing...>
<Cheers, Neale (who went to school in Aberdeen, no less).>
My goldfish (Pearlscales; big fish in a small
I read your answers to peoples' questions regularly as I have 3
tanks myself. One tank with 5 tiny Pearlscales - fully cycled - no
problems; next tank has 3 larger Pearlscales - cycled media still
waiting for full cycle - water changes every alternate day and use
Prime and salt .
<Tiny = babies. Do remember Goldfish grow big, and quickly! These
are very messy fish, so you will need a big tank.>
slight nitrite readings but fish very happy.
<These two facts aren't related. Nitrite, any nitrite, is
dangerous. Even if your fish seem happy, they can still be biologically
stressed, and you won't see trouble until its too late. Fix the
On the weekend on I bought 2 large Pearlscale ping pongs from LFS for
<Yowser! Expensive fish! Hope you've got a good tank for them.
Let me summarise briefly: seven Goldfish will require a large tank, at
least 250 litres (66 US gallons) to do well. You'll need a
reasonably robust filter,
something with a turnover around 6 times the volume of the tank in
turnover per hour. So a 250 litre tank would need a filter rated at
1500 litres per hour. Sure, these fish aren't strong swimmers, so
you'd use a spray bar and a few bits of smooth bogwood to break up
the water current. But you will need generous turnover just to keep the
ammonia out of the water and the silt from the substrate. Goldfish
across the board need hard, alkaline water: pH 7.5, hardness 10+
degrees dH. If you aren't doing all these things, or prepared to,
you'll have problems. And if you're spending serious cash on
pedigree Goldfish, then you want them to last their full lifespan of
They looked o.k. at the shop, but when I got them home, after floating
them for 15 min.s in bag, I put them in small QT Tank bought for
<"Small tank" and "Large Goldfish" should never
I had put in cycled material in filter and heater and airstone, checked
ph, ammonia, nitrite and temp before putting them in - all good.
<Define "good". Are we talking about 0 ammonia and
nitrite, pH 7.5, and a temperature around 18-20 C?>
The orange one just went to the bottom and sat there breathing heavily.
he made a few attempts to rise over next day, but mostly just sat on
The white one looked more lively and was breathing ok. However, I
noticed they were very pale around gills and gills were mottled.
<Uh-oh; get them out of the small tank, and put them in something
reasonable; 100 litres or so for 2 large Goldfish, at minimum, even as
a quarantine tank.>
Both their faces had a bluish tinge and eyes were a bit opaque.
<Mucous; this almost always means they're reacting to some
negative aspect of their environment. Mucous production is the first
line of defence a fish has against things like poor water quality or
sudden pH changes.>
They both ate a little - i went to Uni next day and rang LFS to say one
was not well. Came home and white one was not breathing well either
gills were sunken, mottled red and white and noticed a couple of flat
largish looking spots in rather than on their tail fins and dorsal fins
but other wise not a mark on their bodies. Woke up today and both were
<Unfortunately, I'm not surprised.>
Took them back to LFS with water from tank. They said I had an elevated
ammonia reading - between 0ppm and 0.25 so there was nothing they could
<The tank was too small, the filter likely inadequate, and so
ammonia accumulated in the tank faster than either the water could
dilute or the filter remove. Completely predictable if you put these
fish in "small"
tanks. I really cannot stress this enough: Goldfish need BIG
I was mortified to think that something i had done had killed them, but
they were never really well and only lasted 2 days - from Sunday to
<While I can't be sure, if the fish were happy at the retailer,
and died within days or being brought home, then it is very likely you
*did indeed* do things that caused their death. Review what Goldfish
need, and act
accordingly next time:
Help - what could have been wrong.
<Hope this helps, but I'm sorry I couldn't help sooner.
Need Help (Another sick Goldfish, another 10 gallon
From Tyson & Jolene
We have just recently got started in to the aquatic world and have not
had the best luck. Just last week we bought a 10 gallon tank and added
about 40% cover fro the fish. We treated the water with Aqua plus which
removes both Chlorine and Chloramine and let the water sit to become
room temperature or the same as the previous water the fish were
We bought 2 Shubunkin goldfish both about 3 inches in length. All
started out great the were swimming around and enjoying their new home
or sow it seemed. We fed them once a day about 10 pellets of Hikari
Wheat-Germ. On the second day we had the fish one (Drum-Stick) started
acting strange always going to the surface and almost gasping for air.
The fins seem fine, all standing and no deterioration but he was moving
around rather slow but there did seem to be an almost spasm or twitch
to his tail which we accredited to stress.
The other fish (Frout) almost seemed to get agitated and attack the
side walls as if another fish. Both fish were opening and closing their
mouths as if eating almost constantly is this regular?
On day 3 of owing the fish when we came home Drum-stick was floating on
the top on his side and one of his eyes had turned red. When you
touched him he would swim away but always float back to the top with
the same side up.
What would cause this? The next morning he had passed.
I have taken a water sample and Drumstick back to the pet shop but I
will no have the results for this email. I changed the water and Frout
seems to be doing better but he now seems to be still opening his mouth
He ate a couple pellets but no many. Do you have any suggestions of
what we might do to give this fish a good and happy home?
Tyson & Jolene
<Hello Tyson and Jolene. This is the third or fourth such e-mail
Must be a record. If you check today's (4/12/2009) FAQs, you'll
find a number of messages about Goldfish:
So please, save me from typing all that out again by reading those
In particular, let me draw your attention to the fact 10 gallons is too
small for Goldfish, and nothing you do will help short of buying an
aquarium at least three times the size, assuming you want to keep
Goldfish (if you were feeling particularly cruel, you could keep a
singleton in 20 gallons I suppose, but they're social fish, so why
bother?). You also need a robust filter, not some poky
unit. Do read my article on keeping Goldfish, here:
Let me summarise though: Goldfish are pond fish, not aquarium fish. If
you want to keep them indoors, you need a big aquarium. The fact your
fish is/are sick/stressed simply demonstrates that water quality is
poor and you're nor providing the conditions this species needs. I
cannot stress this strongly enough; whatever ideas you have about
Goldfish coming from seeing Goldfish swimming in bowls on TV,
that's garbage in reality. Any pet store that told you a
"small" (i.e., baby) Goldfish would be fine in a 10 gallon
tank saw you as being someone inexperienced enough they could
"sell a bill of goods to" as the Americans say. I prefer to
deal with reality, and with Goldfish, that means a 30 gallon tank and a
reasonably powerful internal or external canister filter optimised for
biological and mechanical filtration. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Telescopic goldfish, var., sys. -- 04/12/09
bought 3 telescopic goldfish and after i put them in my tank i noticed
that one of them have a lot smaller dorsal fin is this normal ? is it
bad ? and this is a stupid question will it grow back ?
<Assuming that these were store-bought rather than pedigree
Goldfish, yes, this is probably nothing other than variation. Won't
grow back, but not a problem either. I hope you have a nice big tank,
and that it's already cycled and adequately filtered. Telescope-eye
Goldfish get to about 20 cm in length and three specimens will need at
least 125 litres/30 gallons.
Funnily enough, I've just answered a couple of queries today from
people with sick Goldfish in too-small tanks. In the meantime, do see
Re: telescopic goldfish -- 04/12/09
have two more question. i only have a 10 gallon tank right now plan on
getting bigger is this ok for now ?
and my water wont stay clear why tank to small?
<Precisely so. Goldfish need at least 20 gallons when small, and 30
gallons or more as adults. They are schooling, messy fish -- so
don't skimp on filtration!>
when should i get another tank ?
<As/when the pet stores open in your area. It's Easter Monday
tomorrow here in the UK at least, and that's a bank holiday. But
Tuesday the shops should be open. Buy a big aquarium with a heavy-duty
filter. Don't get mislead by using small, weak filters just to save
a few bucks; trust me, you'll regret it. Cheers, Neale.>
New Tank Set Up,
Goldfish 5/1/08 I've had tanks
in the past and miss them. <Come on back to the fold...> I am
getting ready to start a new tank and at our local aquarium store, I
found a 37gal tank but it is square and tall. It looks really cool and
I wanted to see if that would be an issue in the long run with fish. I
know that goldfish need longer, wider tanks to swim in, but if I were
to keep smaller freshwater fish, would this be a problem? <Not
likely if kept circulated, filtered... carefully fed and maintained>
I am not keeping cichlids or fish that will grow large in size either.
Aquarium stores want to sell you something. <Is their job> I
tested the guy by asking if this tank was good for goldfish, knowing it
wasn't and he said "sure"! I appreciate your help and
your honesty in answering this question for me. <Mmm, as stated,
these fishes do prefer more "squat" profiles than
"show" for swimming, gas solubility reasons... Bob
Safest way to introduce a new goldfish 10/13/08
I'll start by thanking you all for the tireless work you do in
answering everyone's questions and posting articles. It really is
very generous of you and I know the info I have received on your site
has made all the difference to my fish's happiness and my
enjoyment. I have thanked you before but it's worth doing so
<Thanks for your kind words.>
I have an 8 gallon tank (currently empty) which previously housed a
small Black moor for about 8 weeks. During that time it never really
cycled and got stuck at the nitrite stage with me doing water changes
every day to prevent nitrites getting to high (they remained at around
the 0.5ppm level with water changes).
<Likely "cycled" as far as it could; in small tanks the
supplied/installed filter may never be able to remove the nitrite and
ammonia sufficiently quickly enough to cover the mess created by
So, when the new 35 gallon tank arrived I moved the fish in almost
straight away (after 3 days testing) as I figured if he was going to be
stuck in a cycling tank he would much prefer it to be the larger and
more interesting one with the decent filter which (thanks to Neale) is
rated just over 6x water volume.
I'll add now, for everyone else who reads this mail, if anyone
wants to know the advantage of housing a goldfish in a bigger home
(beyond the water quality problem - which is in itself a great reason
to do the right thing) they should see how ridiculously happy my fish
seems now he has space, real plants to munch and something to do all
day. Despite him seeming "fine" before I swear now he's
almost giddy with glee (perhaps I am anthropomorphizing to a certain
extent but the different in behaviour really is remarkable).
<You get it! That's the point to upgrading Goldfish to bigger
tanks -- it isn't that they won't survive in small bowls or
tanks (some certainly do survive) but you don't see them at their
best. Spending a little more money up front turns your pet from being a
lingering fishy ornament into a happy, active pet.>
Anyway, back to my question... The final stage in the "Make Fat
Tony Happy" plan is to get him a friend in the form of another
fancy goldfish. I am now unsure how best to go about it. The options as
I see them are:
1) keep the smaller tank going, keep feeding it and wait until it
cycles then use it as a quarantine tank for the new fish before moving
it to the 35 gallon.
2) wait until the bigger tank has fully cycled then add the new fish
<Also possible; quarantining is the ideal, but if there's only a
single fish in the existing tank, and treating with anti-Finrot or
anti-Whitespot is safe (as it is with Goldfish) I might be tempted to
risk introducing diseases rather than expose a new fish to unhealthy
(non-zero ammonia) conditions in the small tank. It's really 6 of
one and half a dozen of the other.>
I would really prefer option 1 as it seems the safest option for
everyone. However, I am concerned about the lack of cycling in the
smaller tank when my fish was previously kept in there.
<Well, you'd certainly need to keep adding the odd pinch of
flake to ensure the existing filter stays "alive".>
Perhaps 8 weeks wasn't long enough or perhaps in my concern for the
fish I was keeping the nitrite levels too low and now that I can allow
them to build up as they want the cycle will come with time?
<Most tanks cycle in under 6 weeks. Goldfish being Goldfish, short
term exposure to ammonia and nitrite doesn't usually cause undue
hardship to the more robust varieties (Moors, Comets, Shubunkins,
etc.). It's the delicate fancy varieties that are most sensitive
(Ranchus, Pom-poms, Celestials, etc.).
Or perhaps the silly small tank and silly little filter just never will
be up to the job of housing a goldfish, even just for 3 or 4 weeks and
even if I cycle it without a fish as soon as I add one we'll hit
water quality problems immediately.
<This argument certainly has its merits.>
I guess I'm just asking your opinion on the safest, least stressful
approach for both my existing fish and the new one? As I can now do
water changes in my sleep I'm not looking for the easiest option at
all, but the best one for the fish.
<I'd make sure the existing Goldfish and its aquarium is in good
condition, and then add a new fish to that aquarium directly. The risk
is small, and any potential penalties in terms of diseases
shouldn't be difficult to handle. Do take care choosing tankmates:
Moors are best kept with their own kind, classic Fantails, or
single-tail Goldfish like Standard Goldfish and London Shubunkins that
aren't quite so frenetic as Comets (these latter are best left in
ponds). Moors they tend to be a bit hard on the more delicate Fancies,
taking the food and asserting their dominance too easily in the
"pack". Basically, don't combine them with anything [a]
lacking a dorsal fin; or [b] with weird growths on its head.>
Goldfish (BiOrb - the old, old story) 11/25/08
Hello, I was wondering if you can help me, I own a biorb tank ( the
medium sized one) and I have had three fantails and a lion head living
in there for over a year with no problems. Then all of a sudden they
all seem to have got some mystery illness. They are all just sitting at
the bottom of the tank with little movement; they hardly even come up
to feed anymore. The worse symptom is that they are all covered with
this white substance all over their body like a cobweb even in the
gills, and the goldfish's tail seemed to just gradually disappear??
Two of my fish have already died and the other two have still got the
disease rather badly. I have been looking around and I cant find
anything to do with this strange white cobweb like substance all over
their bodies. I clean them out once a week by doing a 2/3rd water
change and they seem to perk up for about 10 minutes after I've
done it. Thank you for your help x
<Hello! I never like answering questions about Bi-Orb tanks because
I know they're expensive and people don't want to hear what I
tell them. But the problem is that these tanks are rubbish. They are
certainly of no use whatsoever for keeping Goldfish. They are too
small, don't have enough surface area for oxygen to get in, and the
filtration system is too weak. They are the wrong shape for Goldfish.
Everything about them is wrong, except for the fact they contain water,
which at least makes them better than trying to keep a Goldfish in a
rabbit hutch. But that's the only "good" thing about
happy after a water change is suddenly they're in good water
conditions. After a while the water goes bad again, and they become
unhealthy. The white "cobwebs" are likely Fungus, and will
need to be treated using something like eSHa 2000 or some other
proprietary formalin/copper-based medication. Avoid rubbish like
Melafix, Pimafix or the use of salt. Finrot may also be present, and
this will likely be why the fin membranes are dissolving. Medications
for this include some of the formalin/copper-based ones that also treat
Fungus, or you could use an antibiotic such as Maracyn or Furanace. It
is possible you're also seeing excessive mucous production, which
appears as whitish slime on the bodies of Goldfish when they are
stressed. In any case, beyond treating for Fungus and Finrot (I'd
encourage you to treat with a medication that cures both) your Goldfish
will need a bigger, at least 30 gallon aquarium with a decent filter.
Do remember NOT TO USE carbon in the filter when using medications.
Your Bio-Orb is of no further value to you. By all means voice your
frustration at your retailer for selling such a piece of rubbish, but
I'm afraid your Goldfish don't have any options but to move to
a new home.
Re: Goldfish (Bio Orb - the old, old story)
Thank you for getting back to me, sadly the last
two fish died this morning. I did have an idea that it could be the
tank, but then i thought why would anyone invent a tank for goldfish,
that goldfish cant be kept in.
i did put them in another tank a few days ago with treatment but it
must have been too late. don't worry i wont be using it again,
luckily i didn't pay for it anyway i got it given (i wonder
thank you for the honest reply.
<Sorry to hear the bad news. By all means use the Bio Orb for Cherry
Shrimps and so on. But I don't recommend their use with fish.
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:
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
Goldfish Aquarium 11/5/07 Hello again! I have two
2-3 inches Ryukin goldfish, bought it yesterday they are in a 10
gallons aquarium. Now my question is, is it okay for them to be in
there? What size of the goldfish will I put them into what size of
aquarium? pls reply soon because I am frustrated about their growing
size, thanks.! <Greetings. Minimum tank size for a full-grown
Goldfish is about 30 gallons, and you should allow at least 5-10
gallons for each additional Goldfish. Fast swimming varieties (regular
Goldfish, comets) especially need to be given space to "stretch
their fins". Ryukin goldfish don't swim so strongly, but
I'd still not keep 2 specimens in less than 35 or 40 gallons. If
you do, you'll end up having to deal with cloudy water and
persistent water quality problems (which in turn leads to Finrot,
fungus, pop-eye, etc.). So there's really no point scrimping on a
couple bucks. The filter is pretty much a fixed cost, and the price
difference between a 20 gallon tank and a 40 gallon tank is pretty
trivial factored out against the 10-30 year lifespan of happy Goldfish.
Please do have a read of the MANY Goldfish articles here at WWM.
Question about my hexagon <goldfish> tank 8/30/05
Hello, <Hi there> I have a 32 gal. hexagon tank with 2 fantails
that are about 3 to 4 inches long. Pity buy from Wal-mart about 3 years
ago, I know, bad me. I have read that a hexagon tank is bad to keep
them in due to the restricted O2 exchange, <Mmm, not as
"good" let's say as the same gallonage/volume shaped in a
more flat fashion> but they are in there with a bubble disc, a
bubble curtain, 9 live plants, was 10 but they ate one, and an external
filter with and aeration valve. <Sounds very nice. Years back, I
helped form, run an aquarium service company... We had many Hex-tanks
with fancy goldfish...> There's no problem with the current
being to strong and the water is good. They have been in there for
about 2 weeks now and seem to be doing fine, is there anything i should
be worried about either now or later on down the road with the tank?
<Mmm, no... other than doing regular maintenance... weekly water
changes with gravel vacuuming, providing a mixture of foodstuffs for
good nutrition... Bob Fenner>
Goldfish problems - 4 fish and a shoehorn
7/10/03 - (AKA- my goldfish has a shoeprint on its face) Hi there
<Howdy> I have 4 goldfish, approx. 6-7 inches in length each,
living in a 10 gallon tank with an underwater filter. <good
heavens... that is overstocked!!! Really sad to hear. The tank can
barely hold one at this size responsibly> I have tested all my water
levels (nitrate ammonia etc) and the water quality seems to be within
limits. <ahhh... no comment> I do not know the sex of any of my
goldfish but they are all 7 years old and were bought when
they were approx. 1 inch <interesting> 1 of my fish is bloated
but is not showing symptoms of dropsy and has now developed a mouth
condition. <water quality (bacterial count, other un-testables) is a
challenge here I'm sure> It looks like the skin is shredding
from its lips and they are swollen. It also has what looks like a
bubble of air or fluid at the tip of 1 of its fins. I would be grateful
if you could advise me as to exactly what might be wrong with it and
how to treat it. Thank you Dawn <these fish really need a larger
aquarium to be held properly if not ethically. The sickness is no
surprise considering the living conditions. Yikes... Imagine living in
an elevator for 7 years with 3 people... who ate beans all day long...
and sang campfire songs... off key. Quality of life issues here have
manifested into a real issue of pathology. My advice is to remove the
other 3 fishes (sell, trade or upgrade to a larger aquarium) and treat
the afflicted one in the 10 gallon tank as if it was a QT vessel. Use a
Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone mixed drug. Best regards,
Tank Too Small 11/-5/03 Dear Sirs or
Madams: <Hi, Pufferpunk here> My son has a 5 gallon
tank that was given to him as a gift. Rather than continue with the
grisly details, first a bit of history: The tank was occupied by
4 fish (I believe they are all Orandas) but was getting very dirty very
fast. I cleaned the filter often to no avail. (speeding up the story
now) Want to a large retail pet place (maybe not a "SMART"
idea?) and they told me I needed a snail to keep tank clean. Put snail
in tank and it was chased into a corner and died (which further clogged
my filter with snail guts). Recently one Oranda has passed
(due to snail guts poisoning the water?). I have one orange, one orange
and white, and one black one left. Is there an algae-eater type fish
that I can introduce that will help keep my tank clean without
conflict? <Please no more fish in that tank! Actually a 5gal
tank isn't large enough for even 1 goldfish. The rule of thumb I go
by with goldfish is 10g/2", if small fish (<3") &
10g/1", if large fish (>3"). So right now, you're
talking about getting at least a 30g for your fish for now. You'll
need a much bigger tank in the future. Goldfish are heavy waste
producers & need a lot of space to live. The easiest way to keep
goldfish long lived (they can live 20+ years!) & healthy is to
change 90% of their water weekly. In addition to very good filtration,
over & above what is recommended for a tank it's size. You will
need to fishless cycle your new tank before adding the fish. You can do
it in a week. Read this article & all the recommended links:
Goldfish can be cute, interactive, long-lived pets, if taken care of
properly.> Any information that you can provide me is greatly
appreciated. Sincerely, Hotdaddydog1 <I hope this
Angry Goldfish 10/16/03 Hello, <Hi.
Pufferpunk here> My son recently acquired a 2.5
gallon aquarium with a Whisper brand filter. He had 3
goldfish...a black moor, a small fantail goldfish and a larger black,
white and orange colored goldfish. <Way too small
a tank for even one goldfish!> All cohabitated fine with the larger
fish being a little aggressive at feeding. The black moor
has since died from ich but the others have been treated and are doing
well. Suddenly however the small fantail has chased, and
nipped constantly at the larger goldfish to the point where my son has
had to use a separation screen to protect the larger
one. The small fantail now hangs by the partition following
the other ones every move. What is going on here?
<Goldfish are very messy fish, that urinate & defecate much more
than other fish. This requires a lot of water to dilute the
toxins of ammonia & nitrites caused by all this
waste. For small goldfish (<2") at least 10g/fish is
necessary. Goldfish can grow quite large & normal
lifespan is 20+ years if cared for properly. larger goldfish
require housing of at least 20-30g/fish. I have found great
success in keeping goldfish healthy by changing 80-90% of their water
weekly to remove the ammonia build up in their water. You
also need to clean the gravel at the same time. There is an
excellent article titled, "Are Goldfish Really for
Beginners?" in the December 2003 issue of Aquarium Fish
magazine. I highly suggest you & your son read
it. You should be able to pick it up at your local fish
store. I think w/more room the aggression problems will be
solved.> Thanks, Debbie <Your
Small tank, big fish Hi: <Hello> My
Daughter just got a ten gallon tank and about a 4" Goldfish and a
Plecostomus. How many and what other types of fish would be good for
this tank. <Oh my.... I don't think it would be a
good idea to add *any* more fish to this tank. Goldfish are
very messy and produce a lot of waste, which makes the water turn
toxic, so any more than just the one goldfish would be really
hazardous. Unfortunately, that's bad news for the
goldfish, because they are schoolers and like to have other goldfish
for company. The plecostomus, if it's just the
'generic' type, will grow to a staggering foot and a half or
more, depending upon what species it is, but they grow slowly, so you
probably don't have to worry about him just yet. My
recommendation would be to give the goldfish back to the fish store,
and instead, get some smaller, easier to maintain fish like guppies,
platies, or swordtails, and perhaps some small bottom feeders, like
Corydoras or Kuhli loaches to add some fun to the tank. This
would probably be a lot more fun than goldfish,
anyway. Here's a couple of good articles to help you on
your way: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwtips4beginners.htm
. Hope all goes well, -Sabrina.> Thank You
Fancy Goldfish I got my wife a 10
gallon tank for her birthday and she picked out a fancy goldfish for
it. The store clerk said the tank should be big enough, but we have
read that the tank may be too small. My wife is also worried about the
fish getting lonely. Is it better to pair them up? If so what size tank
would you recommend getting for two fancy goldfish? Thank You for your
help. Jeff <<Dear Jeff; Yes, a ten gallon tank is too
small. Good call! Goldfish can do quite well in groups; the problem is
tank size and water quality. Keeping one goldfish in that ten gallon is
a better idea than two, but since you realize you will need to upgrade
the tank anyways....goldfish should have space to grow, so you may
start with two, but keeping one goldfish per ten gallons of water is a
better idea. Fancy goldfish can grow to the size of a decent
grapefruit. One more thing, if this is tank has been set up recently,
chances are you are cycling with this one goldfish. Take a sample of
your water to the LFS when you go back, and get your ammonia, nitrite,
and nitrates checked. If the ammonia or nitrite readings are too high,
you will need to wait a bit longer before adding the second fish. If
you have nitrates, you may add the second one. Always do small,
frequent partial water changes to control the
Goldfish are Not "Bowl" Fish!
4/2/4 Hi, Pufferpunk here> Hi, I recently bought a
couple of small goldfish which I have in a large vase, and I was
wondering whether it would be safe to put in a bamboo shoot ? Please
help. <forget about the bamboo, you have much bigger problems.
Goldfish are not "bowl" fish! A vase is not a proper home for
ANY fish. You need at least a 10g tank/goldfish (while small). Please
give them a proper home with a filter & room to swim. Goldfish are
heavy waste/ammonia producers & require huge weekly water changes,
but do not completely clean the whole tank. Read up on the care of
goldfish & cycling a tank.> Thanks <Goldfish grow
to over 12" & can live up to 20 years if cared for properly.
Goldfish are not Bowlfish! 4/7/04
Hi. <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I found your site while researching
about goldfish, and I have found it really helpful, but I have a
problem. <Great, lets see if I can help.> Let me
precede this email by saying that I have never had goldfish before, and
that I got most of my information from the pet shop attendant (which I
have never done before while purchasing pets, and now I know I will
never do it again). <Smart idea!> I was told that it
was fine to keep 3 goldfish (A black moor and 2 feeder fish) in a 2.5
gallon tank. <Huge mistake!> I'm a college student, and I
don't have much space, but I will buy a new, much larger tank as
soon as I get home (beginning of May). <Too late.> I
was also told that I would need to do a water change about 2 times a
month. <Wrong again! GF require 10g/fish, up to 3"
& then 20+g/fish when bigger. GF grow to 12+" &
can live over 20 years. They are heavy waste/ammonia
producers & require large tanks, heavy filtration & huge water
changes, because of this. Most long time GF keepers say that
weekly 90% water changes is not considered too
aggressive. The only fish that could possibly exist in a 2
1/2g tank would be a Betta.> I have had the 3 goldfish since
Saturday (today is Tuesday) and yesterday night I saw my smallest fish
swimming around quickly, as if something was wrong. After a
while, however, it looked okay again, but this morning I found it dead
in the tank. <Not surprised--sounds like ammonia
poisoning.> This has upset me very much, because I feel I have done
everything I was told, and that I have been lied to.
<Not lied to, just advice from the ignorant & uncaring.> My
other two fish seem fine, but I'm really worried that they too will
not live long. <You've got that right.> I am
going to do a water change today, hopefully that will help, and as soon
as I am able, I will go to the store and buy a water tester kit. Is
there anything else I can do? I'm very upset, and I want to do
everything possible to keep my fish alive. <Like I said, no goldfish
will live long in a tank that small. I suggest returning
them immediately. If you must have a fish in there, get a
Betta.> Thank you so much for your help, <Sure & whenever you
life is settled enough for a larger tank, then we can talk
Burst bag of goldfish... and quick action saves
the day She Saved the Fish! Hi I was looking through your website
in desperation. I'll tell you why..... I went shopping yesterday
and found on the sidewalk a goldfish in a burst plastic bag, it was
gasping so I ran into the nearest shop, filled the intact part of the
bag with water and the fish started swimming :) Went to a dollar store,
got a Tupperware and took it home in that. Went to the nearest aquarium
shop and asked for help. They gave me a bag of gravel, a 1 gallon bowl,
Aqua Plus tap water conditioner, and a pH balancer and some flake food.
As he was in about 50ml of water, I put him pretty much straight into
the tank, which I now know is a bad thing to do, I think he went into
cold water shock. Amazingly the fish survived the night, and I am now
rather attached to him. Anyway, he started hanging out near the surface
a lot this afternoon, and I figured he's not got enough oxygen, so
I took out some water; the tank is now 1/2 full. I figure I need a
bigger tank right? He's about 2 inches long, and a plain old
garden variety goldfish as fast as I can tell. DO I really need a pump,
filter, etc. etc. etc.?? Please help as I have become a fish owner not
so much by choice as by commitment, and am therefore completely
clueless about what to do, but want to give this poor fish a good
shot..... Yours in desperation, Jehannine <<Dear Jehannine, good
for you for rescuing a homeless fishie :). You are on the right track,
and yes, he probably does need a bigger bowl, er, tank. A tank with a
filter would be the best thing, but if you cannot manage it, a bowl
will suffice as long as you get one large enough for him to have some
space to grow...regular goldfish will grow to 12 inches in length.
Stunting him by keeping him in too small a bowl will not help in the
long-term. Plus, twice weekly water changes will be necessary to keep
him healthy. The smaller the bowl, the more often you need to change
the water. A ten or twenty gallon tank is best, with a filter and some
gravel for him to dig in. You will still have to do water changes, but
not quite so often. Goldfish can live a very long time, upwards of
10-20 years. You can do a search on the Net, and read up on goldfish
and their care. Here is a good place to start: http://www.petlibrary.com/goldfish/goldfish.html Good
luck and have fun :) -Gwen>> < Welcome to the world of
aquarium fish. If you really want to keep him happy for a long time
then we have our work cut out for us. Little goldfish bowls are
basically little death traps for goldfish. Those bowls really are only
suitable for Bettas and related fish. Your goldfish needs to have the
water circulating or it will suffocate. You need a little air pump with
an airstone to keep the water moving all the time. Unfortunately these
little pumps can be quite noisy. Your bowl could use a little
undergravel filter that fits in the bowl under the gravel. Until the
bacteria bed gets established in the gravel you will have to change the
water every couple of days to keep the ammonia levels down. Maybe after
a couple of weeks you may not have to do as many water changes. In the
meantime don't overfeed and go to the fish store or library to get
a good book on goldfish and do some homework. See if you really want to
keep this guy for the long haul. If you do then you will eventually
need to buy a tank. -Chuck>
What am I doing wrong? Goldfish systems
and losses Hello <Hello there.> I know that you can help me.
<I will sure try!> I have been trying to start a freshwater tank
for some time. I have been doing everything that the pet store has
advised, but I can't get my goldfish to live longer than a week!
<Yikes... that's not good.> I've let the water in the new
tank run for at least a week before introducing the fish, <Try
letting the tank run longer. Set the tank up and let it run
for at least two weeks. During this time add a small amount
of the flake food to the tank (with no fish in it), the flake food will
break down and feed the bacteria needed to promote a healthy tank.>
I've treated the water with a conditioner recommended to me, and
the 10 gallon tank is properly aerated. <A 10 gallon tank is small
for goldfish, you will only be able to keep one maybe two small ones in
there. They are very messy fish. You will also
need to have a filtration system on the tank not just something to
aerate the water. Small hang on back filters like
"Whisper" are very inexpensive and are needed on this
tank.> The goldfish develop white spots and eventually their fins
begin to rot. They get very weak and soon die. I've treated for ich
and fin rot, and I've brought a sick fish to the pet store for
advice. Nothing is working and I am getting very frustrated. I have
thrown out all of the rocks and plants and I would like to try again,
but I am scared of losing another fish. Please help! Tiffany <Well
Tiffany, was this tank used for anything else in the
past? Perhaps it was exposed to chemicals or something, even
cleaning solvents can remain in a tank that will kill
fish. You can always tear down the tank and rinse it out
with very hot water and start fresh. Set up the tank, gravel
and decor inside it. Fill with water, and turn the filters
on. Let it run for two weeks at least, during this time
place in a few flakes. Maybe once every three
days. Break them up to fine powder, this increases the
surface area and they break down faster. I suggest you also
invest in test kits for Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. Test your
water and when these are at zero parts per million then it will be safe
to put in goldfish. There are many good books on the topic
of starting a freshwater tank. I suggest your going to your local
library and getting some out. Also look over the articles
and forum on WetWebMedia.com, there you are sure to find some great
info. Best of luck to you and your future fish family!