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FAQs About Goldfish Systems 4

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Related FAQs:  Goldfish Systems 1, Goldfish Systems 2, Goldfish Systems 3, Goldfish Systems 5, Goldfish Systems 6, Goldfish Systems 7, Goldfish Systems 8, Goldfish Systems 9, & FAQs on Goldfish System: Tanks (Size, Shape...), Lighting/Tops, Decor, Gravel, Plantings, Heating/Temperature, Aeration/Circulation, Filtration, Water Quality (Algae, Smell, Cloudiness... Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling), Maintenance, Trouble/Fixing, & Goldfish 1, Goldfish Behavior, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Feeding, Goldfish DiseaseGoldfish Breeding/Reproduction

Learning to Use WWM...again...  Goldfish systems  1/14/06 Sorry for asking you this stupid question but I am  new and there are many forums on the site. <Use the Google search feature.> My ammonia in my goldfish tank  was 1.0 and ph was 6.2   When I saw this ph I added some baking soda.   The baking soda made the ph go from 6.2 to 7.8 is this dangerous for my  fish. <Yes, not only is it a bit high for goldies, but a pH swing this quick can kill the fish.>     Also i want to know if there are any products out  there which automatically lower ammonia to  0ppm. <Water changes my friend, possibly some dechlorinators or AmQuel to treat your tap water or even some Bio-Spira as a source of nitrifying bacteria to help out your bio-filter. But out of all of these...water changes are the best route, no such thing as a magic cure-all.> Thanks.!!!!!!!!!    <Keep reading WWM, Adam J.> Ryukin Concern  - 1/6/06 Last Wednesday, I bought a Ryukin and he is pretty small. For the first day he didn't really eat anything, only because I think he was just getting a feel for his new home instead of the pet store. <Typical.> He began eating a little of his sinking pellets (which I soaked in water for about 5 min.s. before feeding him) and I feed him twice a day: 7am and 8pm. Yesterday morning he did not eat any of his food, he just let it float right past him, however he ate his food that night. And today, he did not eat his food and I am getting ready to feed him again tonight. If he doesn't eat tonight that would mean he hasn't eaten anything today. Is there something wrong with him? <Mm, not enough info yet to go off....> Could he possibly be constipated? Because I don't believe he's gone to the bathroom at all since I got him last week. (Well I think I saw him trying to use the bathroom yesterday). <Possible, but again, not enough info yet....> And the pet store gave me this sheet saying it's ok to not feed your fish for a couple of days-I'm thinking that he may be on the same feeding schedule like he was on at the pet store-maybe he thinks he doesn't have to eat for an entire day or two? (because the pet store clearly does not feed their goldfish daily judging by their "fact" sheet)   <Mm, they can go several days, if they must - but most any goldfish will go for food any time they see it.> I am going to feed him some spinach tonight. <A good choice for food.  You've read here?   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> And he does not have dropsy or bad bloating because he is not floating at the surface of the water or anything like that-he swims fine. <Ah, good.  Start with a good diet now and you'll hopefully not have such problems.> Do you have any suggestions? Thank you! P.S. The water condition is also fine, except the ammonia level is at .25, it was at 0 when I set up the tank last week. <This needs to be brought to zero.  Ammonia is toxic to fish.> But I was told that it's at that level because it is undergoing the biological filtration cycle. <Fish should not be present during the cycling of the tank.  Please try to locate some Bio-Spira to aid you in this, and do water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite at zero.> I used Stress Zyme to establish the cycle which apparently takes 4-6 weeks to make things normal. Should I change some of the water anyway? <Yes.> JaMeka <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Ryukin Concern (Sabrina's go)  1/10/06 I bought some AmQuel Plus (removes ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and chlorine) last week to get rid of the ammonia level and it is almost at zero now (it surged up to 1.0 last week, now it's slightly below .25, almost a zero by the end of the week). <Water changes are more important....  AmQuel is not a substitute for changing water.> Someone at the petstore told me not to change some of the water right now because the fish could go into shock <Someone at the petstore isn't exactly right, here....  Adding something does not take something away.  The Amquel is just changing the ammonia into a less toxic state.  It will also potentially postpone your cycle more than just water changes.> and it would ruin the biological cycle that is trying to be established. <Prolong it, perhaps - but that's much better than dead fish.> They also told me to use the Stress Zyme every day to speed up the cycle since my goldfish is in the tank. <Mm, I would just urge you to follow the instructions on the bottle, and rely on water changes to keep the fish safe.  Monitor those ammonia levels and do water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite as close to zero as possible while the tank cycles.> I didn't know that they weren't supposed to be in the tank while it is cycling-is my fish going to get sick? <Not if you can keep ammonia and nitrite very, very low.> The pet store also told me not to put my fish in another tank until the cycle is established because putting him in another environment would make him sick. <Mm, not accurate, really; moving a fish from a toxic environment to a healthy environment is usually a good thing.  There are certain things to be mindful of (pH, temperature) when moving a fish from tank to tank, but as long as water parameters are similar, all should be well.> By the way he has been eating now, I think he was stressed out because the ammonia level was high at the time I emailed you. <I imagine so!  He's probably feeling MUCH better now.> After every feeding, I clean out what he doesn't eat so it wouldn't cloud the tank and raise the ammonia level again. I've had the tank going for 2 weeks now, when can I do a partial water change? <As often as necessary to keep ammonia down.> Should I wait until after the 4-6 weeks of the cycle establishment? <Since fish are present, no, I would advise not to wait.> I also noticed that the nitrate level is still in the safe zone but it is almost a .5-.10 not zero anymore, is that bad? <As long as nitrate does not exceed 20ppm roughly, you'll be fine.  Nitrate is not toxic in small quantities.  It will increase slowly as your cycle completes.> Maybe the AmQuel will lower it. The nitrite is still at zero, thank goodness! <It will increase as ammonia stabilizes.  Just keep up with it with water changes.> Well thanks for the response! <You bet.> JaMeka <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Ryukin Concern (Bob's go)  1/10/06 I bought some AmQuel Plus (removes ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and chlorine) last week to get rid of the ammonia level and it is almost at zero now (it surged up to 1.0 last week, now it's slightly below .25, almost a zero by the end of the week). Someone at the petstore told me not to change some of the water right now because the fish could go into shock and it would ruin the biological cycle that is trying to be established. <Yes, advice I agree with> They also told me to use the Stress Zyme every day to speed up the cycle since my goldfish is in the tank. <Mmm, well... won't "speed up"... I would not add more unless the ammonia and/or nitrite exceed 1.0 ppm> I didn't know that they weren't suppose to be in the tank while it is cycling-is my fish going to get sick? <Are already stressed by the exposure, yes> The pet store also told me not to put my fish in another tank until the cycle is established because putting him in another environment would make him sick. <Yes, more stressful> By the way he has been eating now, I think he was stressed out because the ammonia level was high at the time I emailed you. <Likely so> After every feeding, I clean out what he doesn't eat so it wouldn't cloud the tank and raise the ammonia level again. I've had the tank going for 2 weeks now, when can I do a partial water change? <I would hold off till the system is cycled completely> Should I wait until after the 4-6 weeks of the cycle establishment? <Yes> I also noticed that the nitrate level is still in the safe zone but it is almost a .5-.10 not zero anymore, is that bad? <Nope... good> Maybe the AmQuel will lower it. The nitrite is still at zero, thank goodness! Well thanks for the response! JaMeka <Take your time here... feed carefully, don't change much... hold off on the chemical additions... all will be fine. Bob Fenner>

Cycling a new FW tank without fish  - 01/03/2006 Hi <Hello> I recently received a couple of (supposedly Ryukins, but they're actually fantail) goldfish juvies in a 5 gallon bowl/vase (yes, I know, yikes) with a bunch of Anacharis plants. Therein lies my question. I want to buy them a proper tank/filter/etc for them ASAP, but I would like to cycle the new tank without buying any more fish because I only have room for a 10-20 gallon tank. <Can be done... in a word, "BioSpira"... product of Marineland...> They seem fine for now as they're tiny and I'm faced with the wonderful chore of changing their water daily by about 25-50% depending on clarity and state of the fish (changed the water completely twice, once because little hands decided to add play dough and again a few days after when the water became too mucky for a mere partial water change). <Very hard on the livestock as well> I was going to get an air stone but I'd rather get the tank right away (although I suspect I'll need the air stone anyway since cycling takes so long). Is there any way I can cycle the new tank without buying more fish? <Yes... Posted: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm> I do have one other question. One of the fish seems to make quite a ruckus with the gravel, always swimming around in it (not grazing, per se). It's always been quite active from day one (which granted, hasn't been that long). It also seems to go after the other one quite a bit, but I'm not sure if that's just playfulness. Could it be a sign of distress or symptom of an illness? <Yes...> The other one is very mellow and by all accounts seems to be fine. Thanks for your reply Dagmar <I'd get test kits... for ammonia, nitrite, keep changing pre-treated water, and get these animals into a larger, filtered system ASAP. Bob Fenner>

Cycling a new tank without fish   1/4/06 Hi and Happy New 2006 <And to you> Thanks for the prompt reply. I'll be buying the test kits and the tank (with bells and whistles) shortly.   >> I do have one other question. One of the fish seems to make quite a ruckus with the gravel, always swimming around in it (not grazing, per se). It's always been quite active from day one (which granted, hasn't been that long). It also seems to go after the other one quite a bit, but I'm not sure if that's just playfulness. Could it be a sign of distress or symptom of an illness? <Yes...> Do you have a link that might shed some light into my skittish little fellow's behavior other than water quality? <Mmm, am trying to think of how one might phrase a search on the Google tool on WWM... rather than just read the "Goldfish Behavior FAQs". Maybe just "Goldfish Aggression"> The other one doesn't seem affected so my gut is telling me that perhaps its getting sick or has a nervous disposition. His stool is a bit thicker and whiter (like a caramel color) as well, so I'm concerned. Thanks again! Dagmar <Sometimes one goldfish will dangerously bully its tankmates... often becoming much larger, quicker... causing yet more woe. The best solution here is less-crowding and more plants and other decor to "break up the environment". Bob Fenner>

Bettas And Goldfish  1/1/06 <<Mmm, not really... please see here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm>> I checked out the webpage and got a bit of an understanding of the cycling process, but because the pictures that it was referring to wouldn't load on my computer I was still a bit uncertain that I was understanding everything.  I looked up cycling on other websites and every one of them insists that I prepare the tank for a month before the Bettas are placed into it.  Most of them suggest sacrificial fish for the ammonia contribution- which I'm not sure I'm comfortable with doing, but if that is what it takes, then I guess I will have to.   I suppose if I use fish that can get along with Bettas I can just keep them in the tank with them afterwards- but how many will it take?  I don't really know the cutoff points for overcrowding or if just one tester fish per tank will do. < Add Bio-Spira from Marineland and follow the directions on the bottle. You will be able to add fish shortly.> The only established tank I can think to put the Bettas in for the mean time is the 10 gallon tank that now houses my goldfish.  I've had the goldfish a few months longer than the Bettas.  They have grown 3 times bigger than when I originally got them and they seem happy and healthy, so I must be doing something right with their tank.  It's a large tank so I dealt with it differently than the 2.5 gallon ones.  The problem with putting the Bettas in this tank is that there is only the one tank and the Bettas would kill each other in it- wouldn't they? < Bettas would fight and have different temperature requirements than goldfish.> I used to keep the two Bettas in the same minibowl with a divider between them.  Jackie Chan was fine with this but Bruce Lee would angrily throw himself against the divider for hours and hours.  I decided that it was best that they got their own tanks after that.  Not to mention the goldfish are probably not going to get along with them because they are bigger than the Bettas (about 3 in. long) and I imagine they would probably be nippers. I came up with a solution that I think might work.  If I found some way to divide the 10 gallon goldfish tank into thirds, the goldfish being in the middle chamber, keeping the Bettas apart- then I could put a little barb or Danio in each of the minibowls allowing them to get the water ready for a month,  do you think this would work or would all fishes involved just be too stressed out? < I would just add the Bio-Spira, then check the readings and add the fish. The divider may work for awhile but the temperature requirements would be difficult to maintain for all the fish.> I worry that the goldfish may produce too much waste to be housed in the same tank as the Bettas, but I checked their ammonia level and it is fine.  I do a 20% water change once a week for them using a gravel filter syphon.  Does this sound like a good plan?   <Check the ammonia and let that be your guide to water changes. Don't let the ammonia get above 0.25 ppm.-Chuck>

Re: New tank for goldfish, but a snail? Thanks for advice. Unfortunately in need of some more help. As you suggested below i <I> managed to bait the snails with some food and after removing 3 i haven't seen anymore. However, even though there are no fish in the tank the ammonia level remains high - the level in the tank is 1.0 (I've checked the tap water and there is no problem there with ammonia and the pH value is 8) as does the nitrite level (level 0.25) . I had noticed some small white 'thread' like debris in the tank that looked like dead worms and white dust like material that seemed to be gathering on the leaves of the plants. <Not to worry here... all will work itself out in time> To address this i took out the plants and rinsed them in a dilute bleach solution. After rinsing in dechlorinated water i put just one of the plants back along with some rinsed hornwort from a friends pond.. <A good species for many FW aquariums use... Ceratophyllum... best to move in such settings when water temperatures are similar...> I also replaced a third of the water in the tank. The ammonia level has dropped slightly but the worms seem more evident with a number dead (possibly) on the gravel at the bottom and a number swimming around in the tank. I'm concerned that this is still not a good environment for fish and that even if the ammonia level does drop the worms could be harmful. <They will not be> I'm now considering the following options: leave the tank - just leave the tank to settle and hope the ammonia and nitrite levels drop as the tank cycles. Also work on the basis that if the worms are parasites they will die without any fish in the tank <This is what I would do> start again - empty out the tank, boil the gravel and refill the tank. Leave in this state for a few days and then introduce some new plants to the tank and leave to cycle. Any advice would be much appreciated. <Best to actually "ignore" the tank for a few weeks... the ammonia, nitrogen-cycling will sort itself out, the "worms" go of their own accord. No worries Sarina. Bob Fenner>

FW Filtration Options/Choices 12/24/05 Hello,        <Hi there>        My boss wants to add a fish tank to the waiting room at our clinic as part of our major renovation. We decided to go with a 210 gal aquarium. Now I do have many years of experience working with fish, but I have never set up a tank this large before. So what I wanted to know is do you think it would be better to go with a wet/dry system, or more of a closed system like Rainbow Lifeguard. I have worked a little with wet/dry systems before, but I have heard that they have more of a tendency to over flow. <A possibility, but not a dire one if the system is not over-filled, and set-up properly> I've never dealt with a Lifeguard system, but have heard nothing but good about them. <These cartridge et al. closed filtration rigs can work for many types of livestock mixes, but do require a good deal of maintenance> I just want to get the best, and money is little to no concern with this setup. By the way, this is going to be a fresh water tank.  Thank you for your help. <Ahh... Both types of filtration would accommodate your needs here... both have their positives and negatives... I am inclined to encourage you to go with the wet-dry at this time... more flexible, easier to change the type (even go to marine) than the closed/cartridge approach. Bob Fenner>                                                                                                -Andrew

Re: Plumbing Pentair AF system for 50 gal corner aquarium on acrylic stand -- Goldfish  1/1/06 Dear Bob and Crewballs, <Heee! Maybe Mel Brooks will option the movie rights? Who will play me....? Not Brad Pitt... Now, who's that character on Mad Magazine covers? Oh yeah!> Just a follow up to let you know that the Pentair system went in   pretty much as described, and everything's running.  The Pentair system is pretty much a kludge in and of itself, <Agreed... a good deal of inappropriate for biological use spa gear...> and ab definito so is DIY plumbing a neat job in a physically difficult location.  It   should be no surprise that installation took awhile to get everything water and airtight. <Yikes... am a big fan of 100% Silastic on their thread to thread connections...> I generally followed your advice about everything.   For instance, I enlarged the inlet diameters to keep pressure down on that side of the pump. <Good> The design worked out well.  On the dry side of the "U" tube, I connected the 3/4" submerged inlet to a 1-1/2" Tee (at top of tank level) to a 1" union to 1" flex tube to a 1" ball valve to another 1" union to another 1-1/2" Tee attached to the PanWorld 100 PX inlet.  A note about this second Tee:  The bottom is sealed with a cap, the top has a 1" hose barb and the middle a 3/4" threaded bushing -- the Tee is attached to the pump as though it were a priming-pot and sits exactly level with the pump.   The system is easy to prime.    I close the valve in front of the pump, fill the pump side of the inlet from the top of the first Tee, cap the Tee, and open the valve.  There's enough water in the  top Tee and the tubing, and enough of a fall into the bottom Tee to get sufficient vacuum to pull water over the wall of the tank. Primed!   <Ah! Good planning! Well, credit for luck for good planning at least> I added a few loops of extra length of tubing here and there to make maintenance easier.  I moved the outlet up just below the surface. <Okay... good just in case there is a break in the line...> I'd file a few things not discussed in our correspondence under "plumbing lessons learned."  You can make a pretty damn good "double tap" release for maintenance by assembling a ball valve to a union to a ball valve.   <Yes... cheaper than manufacturer/store-bought ones...> Teflon pipe compound is better than Teflon tape for threaded joints.  Always use flexible silicone cement as well as   hose clamps for hose to hose barb connections. <Yes>   If you're building a Triple sized Pentair AF system plan on gluing the modules together.    Duh. The units are a yard long and have opposing axes of rotation onto the same nipple.  Some fun, eh? <I don't know what the folks were thinking... were they?> More important, ignore anyone who tells you to figure each 90 deg PVC plumbing fitting as 1 foot of dynamic or static head.  That is so much crap.  Either they don't know themselves or don't have your interests at heart.   <Just a very, VERY rough generalization for sure> Actually, don't ignore them -- slap them.  If you're not arithmetically challenged, you can try using http:// www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/jan2003/featurejp.htm for some relatively -- and I stress the term "relatively" -- simple advice on figuring head height. <Yes...> It seemed simple to me, but I got an A- in Fluid Dynamics.  Also, don't bother calling Pentair and asking them how to figure dynamic head for their units.  They are clueless about this. <Heeee!>    Figure the triple mechanical module as 40" and triple chemical and heater modules as 30." <Okay!> I'm not sure what your feelings are about brass in a freshwater environment, <Best to avoid... the copper in the alloy is problematical in soft/er, more acidic water...> but I used brass ball valves in the two places where   some degree of fine control was important.  BTW, Doesn't brass function as a sort of mild algaecide? <Yes... but at the "expense" of poisoning all> I tried to swap out the light in my U.V. sterilizer, broke the crystal, decided it was stupid to   replace the crystal and globe when for a few dollars more I could  love up to a 15 watter -- so up I moved. <Good> On someone else's advice I bought the Pentair Fluidized Bed bio- filter instead of installing a second chemical module for bio-media.    I did it even knowing how you feel about it.  You aren't armed are you? <Just my two... oh, not even half-brained... no worries> So... Triple Pentair AF and a PanWorld 100 PX on a 50 gallon goldfish tank ... Overkill? <More is better than less...?> We're looking at more than $700 in filter and plumbing here.  That's what?  About 18 times more than an Emperor 400? <Hee hee heee hhhheee> One of the tech guys at Marine Depot, where I bought most of this stuff, told me he thought I was the first ethical goldfish keeper he'd met.  I don't know about that.  I think I got in over my head, started spending money, and then had to spend more to make sure the earlier money wasn't wasted. The system makes roughly the same amount of noise as the Penguin 200 we have on our 20 gal tank.  It's noisier than the Filstar <Wow! Haven't heard that name in years... I got rid of this Penn Plax Euro import as their buyer back in the early nineties> it's replacing, but not too obtrusive for our living room.  With the pump output throttled back approximately 20%, I'm getting about 350 gph total output.  (Impossible to be sure without a flow meter, but comports with the 16 - 18 feet of total dynamic reckoned for a presumed flow rate of 350gph(?!))  Break that down into 100 gph from the fluidized bed and 250gph out the sterilizer.  The fluidized bed "waterfall" outlet had to be set slightly below surface level (over   Pentair's dead bodies) to prevent micro bubbling.  Note that the system is not introducing visible bubbling of any size, nor does it regurgitate gunk.  And those were two problems were what made me get rid of my old filter to begin with. <And so it goes...> Currently, the only chemistry in the system is a bag of Purigen.  I kept the first month simple to set a baseline.  Chemical parameters   are excellent, although the water is tending toward too hard.  After two weeks without a water change ammonia and nitrites are 0, and nitrates at 10 - 15 ppm, with, I'm guessing, the work done by the long established bacteria colony in the substrate -- the Purigen doing a little to help keep the nitrate level down.  GH is about 250, and KH 175, so I'll be adding a Water Softener Pillow. <Mmm, if the goldfish have been in similar water... I'd skip these... your parameters are well-within tolerance of fancy goldfishes>   The system runs about three degrees warmer than the old filter system, probably   a result of the hotter UV lamp and the additional friction in the plumbing.  The animals are healthy.  In fact they seem restored. Algae growth on the acrylic is retarded.   What's most surprising is the mechanical filtering.  It stood to reason that the 25 micron filter wouldn't do as good a job as the nominally 1 micron filter passes on the Filstar replaced by the Pentair or on either of the units I've got around for occasional water polishing.  Wrongo.  I've never seen aquarium water this clear.  Anywhere. Worth it?  Yes, actually. Rich <Good... I do hope you have at least one other set of cartridges, the discipline, developing routine to bleach/wash, dechlorinate, air-dry the extra set/s between switch outs... these things really do clog rather too easily... and worse with age, poor wear/use... Cheers, and thank you for sharing, the update. Bob Fenner>

Filtering and Tank size  12/24/05 Hi there, I have a small white fantail goldfish but am having some difficulty with his tank. The tank is a 18x9x10. He's a year old now and sadly his tank mate died after having swim bladder problems so he's all alone. <No worries. Goldfishes don't get/feel lonely...> I take a pint of water out and replace it with a fresh pint each week and feed him once a day. <Mmm, better to change a bit more out, feed twice daily. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm> My problem lie's with the filter I bought a few months ago. It is  what the pet shop recommended me for the tank size but when I got is up and  running it was blowing him about everywhere. In the end he just swims against  the current or hides in his treasure chest. I went back to the pet shop and  explained what was going on and was told that it was quite normal and the fish  would get used to it. <Mmm, am not so sure here... some current, circulation is useful, but there are limits> Its been quite a few months now and I only switch it on for a hour or  two each day because I can't stand the sight of my fish swirling about. It's  just a shame. Is this ok? <No...> The pet shop said his filter should be on 24 hours a day  but I really don't think he could handle that all the time. The filter is the smallest I can get and is on the lowest setting. Is it possible to not use  it at all? <I would trade this filter in... talk with someone else at the shop... perhaps the owner or manager... there are small/er hang on units that do a good job for this size (about ten gallons) and type system> I was told that all fish need a filter whether you change the  water on not, did they only say this to sell me it? Thank you, Steff <Do speak with someone else at your LFS. Bob Fenner>

Quentin and Light - 12/22/2005 My goldfish, Quentin, is acting very strangely and I'm afraid that it's all my fault! <Uh-oh!> I always turn their light out when I  go to sleep and on again in the morning and they seemed to be doing  really well ( "they"- I have another goldfish, Henry). Well, I made a  terrible mistake and in my rush to leave the house this morning I  forgot to turn on their light ( I left at around 8 am) and when I got  home this evening at 7:15 I noticed that Quentin was acting oddly- he  was floating on his back and the spots under his front fins and the largest slits on the side of his head <His gills?> looked pretty red inside. <This is not from a change in his lighting....> He's  swimming around a bit and he ate his dinner and Henry is doing fine-  what could this be? <Likely environmental disease.> Does it have anything to do  with them being  in the dark all day? <Nope.> Should I leave their light on all night to make up  for it or will it confuse them? <They won't much mind either way.  Best to just let them have night.> I feel terribly guilty and all I want to do is help out my little friend! I noticed that you had given some advice about adding roughage to their diet and I've been told by others to use zucchini- but when I put a slice in the tank it makes their  water very cloudy and I just can't help but think that it's not good for them!! <There is much you need to read, and soon.  Start here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> Thank you! Michelle <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Possible Water Quality Issues/Goldfish  12/20/2005 Crew-- <Jason>      Before I begin, my water parameters are listed at the bottom.      I have 4 Fancy Goldfish in a 55 gallon aquarium.  In the past few days, two of the four have spent most of their time in the upper corners of the tank, fins clamped. They also occasionally, but not always, breathing near the surface.  When I approach the tank they begin to begin and behave normally (begging, etc), but still with fins clamped.  I see no redness in their gills or on their bodies.      I understand that these could be signs of Nitrite poisoning, <Mmm, not only> but my Nitrite kit gives me 0.0.  The tank is well aerated, with lots of surface motion.      My first reaction was to do a water change, 50%.   <Good> In case of nitrite that I am not detecting, I have added aquarium salt at the rate 1 TBSP/5 Gallons.  The only other chemical I added was dechlorinator.      Although my experience with fishkeeping is still limited with only little more than six months, that experience points me in the direction of some sort of water quality issue. <Yes, most likely>   However, my water parameters seem to be those of a healthy tank.      So, what else could be wrong? Jason AMMONIA: 0.0 PPM NITRITE: 0.0 PPM NITRATE: 10.0 PPM (approximate, hard to read the card that low) pH: Between the 7.2 and 7.6 mark, same as tap water Temp: 76 degrees <Likely some other (non-tested) aspect of water quality... An aerosol, cooking oil/surface scum on the tank surface... Perhaps something as simple as low oxygen concentration... I would increase aeration, surface disruption, skim or wick some water from the surface. Bob Fenner>

Possible Water Quality Issues/Goldfish, update  12/21/05 Mr. Fenner-- <Jason>      I still haven't determined if this illness is water quality related or Costia et al.  Symptoms, as reported on WWM and other sites around the internet, and I suspect that I may never know without a microscope.      Because of this, I am taking a "conservative" shotgun approach -- raise the temperature to 80 degrees and salt, plus do salt baths on those fish that look up to it.  Also, I am doing small water changes twice daily.     This is a bit more aggressive than what you suggested, but still far less drastic that suggestions of Formalin that I've gotten from other sources.     I've also started mixing in a bit of Anti-Bacterial food with the daily feeding.  These fish are clearly stressed, and I believe that this is time when a bacterial infection is most likely to move in.  If this is a bad idea, please let me know. <Is a good idea>     So, after a day, the bad news is that I've lost a fish, and another looks to be on the way out.  Both the dead fish and its dying comrade have very bloody gills.  The good news is one of the two more healthy fish seems to be improving.  It was not damaged in its gills in the first place, just where one of its pectoral fins meets its body.  As of last night, most of its pectoral fin was a bloody red. This morning, the redness had receded some, and redness that remained had a "rust" color of dried blood to it. Thank you for your suggestions and help. Jason <Cause/s? Is still likely, originally environmental "insult"... Hopefully the remaining fish has not gone "too far". Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible Water Quality Issues/Goldfish, update  12/21/05 Crew-- <Jason>      I just thought I would update -- yesterday I said there was no redness in the gills/body, but today there is a clear bloody redness on the gills/gill covers of two Goldfish.      I suspect Costia.  Does this sound right?  I don't have access to a microscope, so I can't check for sure. Jason <Could be Costia, or other parasite... or just some disagreement with water quality... I urge caution and control in applying "medicines" in general... particularly with such symptoms. I would err on the side of under-treatment here and simply change out about a quarter of the water, add a level teaspoon of salt per ten gallons of water... and observe carefully for change in their condition. Bob Fenner>

Surface scum - 12/20/05 My Elite 799 (I Think) air pump leaves many small  air bubbles on the waters surface. <Due to organic (protein) build-up at the waters' surface.>   This happened four days ago when I  added 2 new sacks of gravel. (They were washed well.) I also added two ornaments.  I have a 10 gal tank with two 4-5 in. Ryukin goldfish and  one 1-2 in Red Cap Oranda. I know I heard all of you GASP!!!) <Gasp!> I'm buying a new 60  gal soon.  I also have an AquaClear 20 filter. <Water changes may be in order. A bit of paper towel laid flat over the water surface and quickly removed may also help mop up the surface layer. Adjusting the filter such that it breaks up the water surface, and adding carbon, may also help somewhat. Best regards, John> Sick algae eater  12/8/05 Hi. My name is Barbara. <Hi, Barbara. This is Catherine.> I came upon your webpage while doing a Google search for fish diseases. I hope you can help me, as I have called all my local aquarium stores in the neighborhood, and none has found an answer to my problem. <Will try.> I have a 10 gallon tank, with two fancy goldfish, and one comet. ( I know I am not suppose to mix them, but I found out a little too late.) <Mixing comets and fancy goldfish should be fine. They are the same species, like the same water conditions, food etc.> Anyway, the goldfish are happy and appear healthy. I also have in my tank an algae eater. I don't know the correct name of the species, but it is or was predominantly black and very dark grey.  <Sounds like some sort of Plecostomus, but it could also be a Chinese algae eater, or several other species. Many of these fish grow to be a foot or more in length and require 50+ gallon tanks.> Anyway, my question is, is that in a matter of two days, my algae eater has lost nearly half its color. at first I thought it was white fungus growing on him, but upon closer inspection, its as is if he is becoming transparent like an albino fish. He was not this color when I bought him 3 months ago and he is approximately 3 1/2 inches long. I feed him algae pellets, one every evening. Despite his lack of color, he feeds well, and is active. But he really looks awful. All of the color is gone around his face including his sucky lips, but his eyes have remained black. These are not spots, as the color loss is uniform and appears to be moving down the length of his body. <Poor little guy.> Please help, he is my 4 year old daughter's favorite fish, named Buddy.  <I have a very sweet stray cat by that name. He still needs a home. Your problem is likely environmental. First, goldfish of all types are extremely messy fish; that is they poop A LOT. Fish poop contains ammonia which is highly toxic. This contaminates the tank and requires filtration to convert the ammonia in the tank to nitrite and finally to relatively harmless nitrate. I suggest, getting a freshwater test kit and testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. They should be 0, 0, and less than 20 ppm.  You don't specifically say the size of the fish, but most people find that for 3 small-medium goldfish, a well-filtered 30-50 gallon tank is necessary to keep the water parameters inline. Until your water parameters become good, you should 2) do water changes 30-50% daily. Obviously the water needs to be dechlorinated and at the same temperature as the tank.  The other problem is that you have goldfish which like water around 68F, whereas most algae eaters prefer temperatures of 78 or 80F. In the long run, having fish at the wrong temperature causes stress and can lead to infection and disease. Try reading http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm> Thanks a bunch,  Barbara <Hope it helps. Keep us posted. Catherine.> 

Cramped Goldfish  11/30/05 Hi, My 2 1/2 yr old goldfish is not doing too well. He stopped eating about a week and a half ago. He lays on the bottom and just sits and looks at me. He always came to the top when it was feeding time. I have him in a 5 gallon tank with a filter and bio-wheel and all that good stuff. He has no visible external problems. I got really worried after about 3 days of not eating. So I read things on your site along with other places. He did this once before after his little partner died earlier this year. I was transporting them from a friend's house after a long vacation away and think he died in his carrier container due to lack of air or stress.  <<You sure you've been reading *this* site?  Marina>> I finally bought another goldfish and he perked up and began eating again. The older one seemed to outlive the replacement too! I do believe the replacement had problems from the beginning though (his mouth rotted away at the beginning, and I cleared it up because he was fine for months.) Anyway, I have taken water quality tests to the local pet store, even though these 17 yr olds have no idea what they are doing and they said my water is pretty good, pH slightly low, so I bought test strips, pH increaser and decreaser, tried new food, and half of the aquatic department.  <<Another person messing with pH.  This is *not* good.  MH>> I changed water (I used to use distilled, but I just changed to spring water after reading that it doesn't contain enough minerals or something like a week ago.) I don't use tap water because the conditioner clouds the water and makes it smell bad within a day or two. I have done EVERYTHING! I even bought a new friend for him, he just acts as a shield for the smaller one. Now I'm worried about if something internal is wrong that I am endangering the new one! What do I do?! Please help! Joanne <This is a water quality issue. In two and a half years your goldfish should be longer than a five gallon tank. A lot longer! He is not because he is being stunted by his own waste. I'm afraid these problems will continue until you upgrade him to a much larger tank. At least 20 gallons. But for right now I would do several daily 50% water changes. Use no chemicals except dechlorinator. Stop trying to alter the pH. Goldfish can thrive in any reasonable pH, but a sharp swing can kill. For this reason I strongly suggest you use treated tap water only. If you keep down the amount organic material in the system by doing frequent partial water changes (using a gravel vac) your water should not smell. But these are stop gap measures until you solve the underlying problem of keeping a goldfish in a five gallon tank. Don>

The Temperature of the Ideal Goldfish (He's Right On!)...  11/29/05 Hi Guys,  <Girl, this time! I'm Catherine.> I have asked this question at a lot of forums but have been unable to get a convincing answer. Goldfish are classified as coldwater fishes temp range 15-25C, and this is given as primary reason why they cannot be kept with other tropical fishes as tropical fishes need warmer water at around 30C. Now I live in a warm country, India, where throughout the year average temp is 28-30C except for 2-3 winter months. There are a lot of people in this country who keep goldfish. Goldfish is one of the most popular fishes. This means that this fish not only survives but breeds like hell in average water temperatures of around 30C. I don't think that anybody uses chillers in their aquariums or ponds. In light of above I have following questions: What is the ideal temp for goldfish? <Goldfish like temperatures around 20C. However, higher or lower temperatures can be tolerated for periods of time. If you keep goldfish at higher temperatures, they often have shortened lifespans and are more likely to get diseases. As the goldfish hobby becomes more popular in India, breeders may select for fish that are more tolerant to warmer temperatures.> Why can't goldfish be kept with other tropical fishes if goldfish can thrive at 30C? <If you are keeping goldfish at 30C, they can be kept with tropical fish. However, goldfish tend to grow quickly and may eat smaller fish. They are also very messy fish (that is, they poop a lot). That means they need a large tank and care must be taken to keep their water in good conditions (lots of water changes).> Sandeep Raghuvanshi  <Hope this helps. Catherine>

Goldfish, Algae, and Tankmates - 11/25/2005 Hello! Your site has been very informational to me. Thanks! I have a "common" or "feeder" goldfish, approximately 2in. long, in a 10 gallon tank. I am running an Aqua-Tech 5-15 gallon power filter. The water levels seem to be stable now. (I was uneducated and allowed it get out of control) Nitrates-0ppm; Nitrites-0ppm; pH-8.0 (Is this too high? If so, what can be to lower it?)   <Actually, a stable pH is more important than a "perfect" pH - I would leave this as-is.> I just have two some-what unrelated questions. (1) After realizing my error of not fully cycling my tank and allowing an ammonia spike, I began to add StressZyme Biological Filtration Booster with every water change to help the bacteria grow. I believe this is causing my rocks and decor to develop an orange/copper color. <Algae growing, most likely.  I would stop using the StressZyme; you probably don't need it at this point.> Is this solved just through frequent water changes or do I need to take further action? How much filtration booster, if any, is necessary now that my tank has cycled? <None, really.> (2) I am beginning to notice algae growth in my tank. Should I just clean the tank during a water change or is there a more effective method of removing algae... I've considered getting a Pleco. <Whew, don't do that.  "Common" Plecs grow to be FAR too large for this small tank.  There are a few species that stay relatively small and eat algae, but none that will be okay with goldfish, especially in this size tank.  If the algae is on the glass, you can use an algae scraper to remove it - my favorite are the magnetic type; you don't even have to get wet!> However, I would really like to add a small Black Moor. (With the intent to get a larger tank in the next few years.) Can I add both or is my system to small to handle all three? <Far too small, I fear.> Is it ok to just add the Black Moor? <I would not, not until you have upgraded tank size.  You'll be surprised how fast your goldfish grows.> Sorry if I missed something already posted. I tried to look for my answers. Thanks for all of the great info!!! <And thank you for your kind words.> Amanda <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Dancey Two, now Orangey is acting oddly  11/22/05 Hello - We have a 5 gallon filtered tank (I know that this is considered small but it has worked fine so far). <Read your subject title above...> We have had two fancy goldfish (Orangey - fan tail, and Dancey - calico) and two small Danios (I think that is what they are called, the were "starter fish" when we got the tank, their names are Watery and Flashy) that have lived happily and uneventfully together since January (so about 11 months). Dancey recently went to "heaven" due to from what I think was a bladder issue -- she would struggle while swimming, then plummet to the bottom almost bouncing/skidding on the rocks and her underside was getting red).  <Partly environmental, perhaps also nutritional...> I ended up euthanizing her after taking her out of the tank for awhile (to a more shallow water dish to ease her struggle) to see if she'd improve (I froze her, which I read was humane, but then found some other sources after the deed that said it may not be as humane as once thought - please comment on this if you have more info.). <Is humane> I couldn't watch her suffer much less have my young daughter see her that way day after day so I feel at peace with it all. OK. So, now we have Dancey Two, a very small fancy calico goldfish who for the past few weeks has seemed at home in the tank with the others. Yesterday however, I noticed that Orangey is hanging out one of two areas near the bottom of the tank for long periods of time (not on the bottom, but near) and doesn't appear to be eating much - he normally is swimming about and readily comes up to eat. He had some discharge trailing his bottom (constipation?), <Not likely> I noted at least one whitish spot on the edge of his tail and a few scales disturbed (this scale thing is not completely new, but seems more pronounced). Dancey Two looked a little red were her pectoral fins attach to her body and possibly on one of her sides (made me think of possible internal hemorrhaging but that may be extreme) but she seems to be swimming about OK and is eating. The Danios appear and behave as usual. So I did a half tank water change last night and placed two frozen peas in the tank. No one has touched the peas after almost 24 hours. Orangey continues to hang near the bottom but doesn't appear distressed. Questions: is Orangey's behavior a sign of a problem? <Yes> If so what should I do to help him? <... Really... get a much larger system. A twenty gallon at least> Are the reddish areas on Dancey an issue when she seems to be doing OK otherwise? <Are an issue. Warning sign of unsuitable, vacillating water quality most likely> What do these reddened areas indicate, if anything?  <Are "petecchia", bloody splotching... due to possible innumerable causes...> <<Pronounced "pe-TEE-kee-ah".>> Any advice would be welcomed. Please note however that as much as I love animals/companion animals and can't live without them, I appreciate practical and humane treatment of sickly fish/animals and do not wish to prolong any suffering with complicated or heroic therapies. Thanks so much! Michelle <Outstanding. We are of similar mind/ethos here. Please do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm.  You really need a larger world for these fishes. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dancey Two, now Orangey is acting oddly  11/24/05 Thanks so much for listening and for the advice! I will be looking into larger systems tomorrow. I quickly read the information from the web address you provided - not only was it helpful, it was easy to read and written with a bit of humor both of which I appreciate. <Ah, good> Just to note, one pea has been eaten, by which fish I am not sure. Orangey now appears to be out of hiding but tending to float up to the top of the tank when not swimming, and when swimming he is tail up, head down - I think he is having buoyancy issues. Probably hid to keep himself down (?). <?> I added another pea. You had mentioned nutrition as a possible problem - <Yes. See Sabrina's piece on "Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish"...> I will look into that further (when I asked our local fish/aquarium place if I should add some food variety they said flakes were fine for goldfish, <Ah, no> but I am wondering if that may not always be the case). Wish me luck as I venture into new (and more voluminous) waters. Thanks again! Michelle <Welcome my friend. Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Should I Leave my Gifted Goldfish? A Student's Dilemma, A School's Poor Practice  11/22/05 I searched around the site but couldn't find answers that fit more specifically to my situation. <<Thank you for the effort, I'm fairly certain this particular question has not come up.>> I have a goldfish which I got in August as a welcome to college present from my school. <<Pardon me, but that's just brilliant, eh? Give the student something else to worry about that is COMPLETELY inappropriate in the conditions they can provide! A Betta splendens can do just fine in this situation (as long as its bowl is either heated, or the room's temperature conditions are stable), but a goldfish? Shame on them!>> I don't know what kind it is, so I'd commonly refer to it as a carnival fish (because it seems like the exact kind that could be won at a carnival). <<A "pond comet" type of goldfish, fancy only in its coloring, maybe its fins, but otherwise close to the wild form.>> I currently have him in a small bowl (which I know isn't good for the poor thing, but I honestly can't afford an aquarium and don't have the space). <<The dilemma of the student. But not often blessed upon them by others, especially a school.>> I'm hoping to be getting money for my birthday, which is soon so that I can buy him a larger tank. Tomo seems to have adapted to living in a small bowl a lot better than all my friend's fishes did (seeing as they all died within a few days). I change the water regularly, so it usually does not get cloudy. <<That's the thing to do, and a small sponge filter helps as well.>> My problem is that I'm leaving for a 5 day vacation. Last time I left school I was able to have my uncle look after Tomo while I was gone, but this time they will not be home and therefore won't be able to take care of my fish. So I am wondering if I should attempt to take Tomo home with me. <<In this situation, I might seriously consider this option.>> It is about a 3 ½ hour drive, which will most likely take longer now that it has started snowing and sleeting. I'm worried that Tomo won't survive being moved and/or the climate where I'm going (which is very different than the one that he's used to now - much colder). <<Tomo can most certainly handle the move, as a few hours isn't so bad, but the question IS can you afford to provide what is necessary for this trip for him? He will not survive in the bowl for the five days, NOT because of a lack of food (the animal can easily go for a full week without feeding), but because of the buildup of ammonia, which would most certainly make the fish ill and might well kill him.>> But I'm also afraid to leave him for 5 days alone, so I don't really know what I should do. <<If there is absolutely no one else available to take care of him, then find some sort of containers to begin aging a bit of your water for him. You can take him in the car, either bagged as fish are shipped (banded together with air replaced with oxygen - maybe there's a fish store nearby that can do that for you right before you leave - we have procedures posted, just Google and hit "cached" to see your keywords highlighted), or in a bucket with a battery-operated air pump.  The car's heater should keep the fish's temperature stable enough. As for cooler weather/conditions, you might be able to begin acclimating the fish to that, as pond fishes are certainly able to tolerate temperature drops, but give this one no more than a few degrees cooler in a 24 hour period. If it drops too much it could spur disease, but it could also spur the fish to go into "winter mode". He would sink to the bottom, stay near moving water, not eat, be quite lethargic. A Styrofoam cooler is your friend here, and could actually be a very nice substitute for a full-blown tank for quite some time (I would line it with a plastic trash bag, though), as could a Rubbermaid-type of plastic tub, though these offer no insulation.>> Thank you for any suggestions that you might have. Whitney <<I hope this has helped answer your questions well enough that you are confident in whatever decision you make. Marina>>

The Goldfish Tank of Hannibal Lecter  11/20/05 Hey there, Crew! <Sarah> I've already saved the life of my tropical fish thanks to you all, but this is a different matter! I recently purchased a beautiful 80 gallon goldfish tank from a Chinese restaurant (they were selling it so they could get a saltwater tank.) It has 8 goldfish in it (2 fantails, 1 long finned, 1 black moor, one white goldfish, and 3 typical goldfish, one of which has no eyes but gets along just fine.), about 5 inches on average, and a Pleco who is around 7 inches. From what I've read, the tank is balanced life-wise. <Good> At the restaurant, the fish were very relaxed and easy going, but now they're grouping together wherever they go, and the white goldfish is "riding on the sides" of the other fish. I thought it might have something to do with breeding, but it doesn't have any white spots on its face or fins. Every so often, it'll nibble at another fish's tail or fins. <Mmm, very likely has to do with the change, move... environmental> Also, one of the typical goldfish has a strange cloudy blob on its eye. It's not very big at all though, it only covers about half of the eye. I researched a bit and thought it could be fungus, but it doesn't say anything about it growing on the eye. Your disease page brought me to that conclusion, but I really just want to make sure it's not some extremely dangerous illness that is contagious and will make my fish spontaneously combust or something of the sort! Thanks a million! No... wait... a billion! With some fava beans and a nice Chianti - FFTTPPTHHTHTH! Sarah <Heeeee! Not turning my back on you! I do hope you moved a good deal of the "old water" and placed this back in the tank... The most I would do at this point is add some "aquarium salt", check your water quality, feed sparingly... (all covered on WWM re Goldfish) and all ought to settle out in time. Bob Fenner> 

Sick bubble-cheek goldfish  11/19/05 My daughter has a five gallon tank with 2 goldfish (1 bubble-cheek and 1 bubble-eye) and 2 small frogs. <Need more space/volume...> She recently lost her other one (very emotional). My husband tries to keep up on cleaning her tank regularly. Recently, we have noticed the bubble-cheek fish's bubbles are huge. It has a very difficult time moving around. <Mainly "the breed"> It is sort of swimming on its side with tail bent. I placed peas in the tank and my husband changed 25% of the water. We are hardly experts on keeping a tank. We have managed for about a year. We really need help with this because our daughter has really grown attached to "Bubble-Brittany". Please let us know if there is something we can do to save this fish. Thanks! <The best is/would be to provide larger quarters... more stable, better psychologically... twenty or more gallons... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm.  Bob Fenner> 

Help needed regarding goldfish  11/18/05 Hello, I have not heard back from anyone yet and now have a new problem to add. My fish all have long trailing white poop. I understand that this could be a bacterial infection, internal parasites or constipation. <Yes> I am concerned about adding anything else to the tank while we are still cycling. What do I use to treat it that won't interrupt the cycle, or do I wait? <Just wait... could be "just" the cycling> All my fish seem to still be eating and very active. Thanks again for such an informative site. It has been wonderful to lookup my questions about the things I am noticing.  Monica Subject: Help needed regarding goldfish.First off I have made a huge mistake. I purchased a 46 gallon upright tank, heater, bio-wheel 350 power filter, 40 pounds of gravel, and 20 pounds of lace rock. I researched African cichlids before going to the store and made the mistake of taking my daughter and husband along. They fell in love with a goofy looking telescope goldfish. <I see another... wait... that's many! fish tanks in your future> Not knowing any better I was told to get 5 fish for this tank and not to add any more till the tank is completely cycled.  <...> After reading this site I have realized that 5 are too many for this tank as it is. Now I am experiencing all sorts of problems. My ammonia is between .50 and .75 and to keep these numbers in this range I have been doing daily water changes and added zeolite chips to my filter. <Good> My pH right out of the tap is 8. I am using Cycle and Aqua Safe for the dechlorinator and good bacteria's. I had a bacteria bloom on Sunday so I cut down on feeding and it has cleared up. All the fish are small, 1 to 1 1/2 nose to base of tail fin, and so I have been feeding the twice daily in small amounts. <Make this very small amounts> ALSO, of the five fish one now has what looks like fin rot and is not as gold as before. Igor the aforementioned telescope as well as one fantail look bloated (scales seem fine though). And the red cap Oranda has a wormy thing I believe an anchor worm by its dorsal fin. <Possibly> Ritchie Black moor is the only one OK. The tank has been set up for only 2 weeks now, and my daughter and husband are already attached to all these guys. I have read so many articles on goldfish and have several books now. Not sure what else to do about the sickies though. Any advice would be most appreciated.  <I would seek out, use an organophosphate based medication for the Anchor Worm (can be done during cycling), and some aquarium salt as a cathartic... and not feed much of anything till this system cycles... Perhaps you can find some Bio-Spira for hastening the cycle (better than Hagen's "Cycle"). Bob Fenner> 

Goldfish, Systems, Compatibility - 11/16/2005 Hello, my husband is in the military and we are stationed in Japan. About a week ago a colleague gave us his 20+ gallon tank (Japanese manufacturer so can't read any of the writing on the tank) <You can figure gallonage by taking (in inches) Length x width x height divided by 231.> and fish with a couple of filter systems (one very large covering the entire top rear portion of the tank and one smaller one attached to the side). There are also a couple of bubble contraptions. I'm sorry I don't know the names, but I have never owned fish before!  <You'll get there, no worries!> The following fish came with the tank: 1 Moor - 2 years old 2 Orandas (1 is fairly small - maybe the length of my pinkie - purchased recently I believe and the other 2 years old) 1 Spotted goldfish - don't know the name - purchased recently I believe <Possibly a "shubunkin"....> 3 Corys (albino) - 2 years old <Not compatible with the cooler water desired by the goldfish.> 5 Zebra Danios - again purchased recently I believe <Will do okay in cool water, like the goldies.> Is this too many fish?  <Yes, by far - goldfish are tremendously "messy" - heavy waste producers. We tend to recommend ten to twenty gallons per goldfish to allow them to survive to adulthood.> The Moor and larger Oranda have bodies about the size of my 2 year old's fist.  <They will grow, and fast.> It is difficult to ask questions here because the Japanese pet store owners don't speak much English and I don't speak much Japanese in regards to fish :-).  <Much/most of your questions can be answered online - here, and elsewhere. Uhh, that is not to discourage you from getting out and learning to communicate with the folks around you!> The guy at the fish store said 50 fish can go in our tank which I find outrageous.  <He's smoking crack. Or something. That's quite impossible. Sure, 50 fish can go in the tank - 50 *dead* fish, that is. Maybe the salted/dried kind - you could probably get a hundred in there if you squished 'em down. The fellow probably just wants to sell you fifty fish.> I just want to be sure that there is sufficient room for the fish we have now. Again we are clueless since we've never owned fish before, but don't want to do anything harmful to the little buggers. <I'd like you to read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm . This should help you get a handle on the things you need to know.> Thanks for your help, -Christy <Any time. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish, Systems, Compatibility - II - 11/17/2005 Thanks so much for the quick response and the information!  <You bet, Christy!> I am glad to hear that I wasn't the only one who thought the 50 fish was crazy, <Heh! Nope, it's not just you, no worries.> but maybe he misunderstood what it was I was trying to ask.  <I do hope so. Language barriers often yield miscommunications.> Well, I am not sure what to do now with the goldfish since we don't have room for another tank!  <How about a small pond outside or on a balcony? Bathtub? No? Aww, come on.... (grin).... I'm sure you will find a way to manage, or re-home them.> We will have to look around to see if we can find them a home.  <Sounds great.> Thanks again, -Christy <All the best, -Sabrina>

Kamikaze Goldfish - 11/15/2005 We had three fish in an 11 gallon tank until recently, one goldfish and two Shubunkin; we renamed the goldfish 'Kamikaze' after he jumped out of the tank four times over a fortnightly period, <Wow.> the last time spending half the night under the sofa. He was dry to the touch when we found him and only the slightest movement of his gill cover stopped us from just chucking him in the bin. <WOW. Close call for him.> Jumping out of the tank? What the hell's that all about? <It could very well be that his water quality has become poor or even toxic; fish will sometimes jump out of a tank in hopes of a cleaner environment. They don't know there's no water to land in.> He now only has about half his tail because of the damage he did the last time and big patches where his scales came off.  <Yeowch.> We then bought a tank which is roughly two-and-a-half times bigger, <So, about 25 gallons or so, yes?> put Tails (3 years old), Gorazilla (2 1/2 years old) and Kamikaze (2 years old) in it (using old water, old gravel, letting it mature) plus two new lemon goldfish (Honey and Pumpkin), a kind of Dalmatian effect Shubunkin with red gill covers (Patches) and a tiny goldfish (Fatty), <So, we're looking at seven goldfish in a roughly 25 gallon tank? This is far too much fish and too little "space" for maintaining safe, good water quality.... Please read here for more about goldfish systems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .> which our eldest son's best friend had been keeping in a green plastic box in his drawer. <Ohhhhhhhh my. A major improvement for THAT fish, to be sure.> So far so good. New tank has under-gravel filtration and a big pump, also there is a range of live plants in the water (two got eaten). Tank left with pump working for a week before fish put in, using old water, old pump and filter, three old fish put in a week later and left for a week, new fish added after that and have been in for two weeks. Water tests fine.  <Fine being....? Be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate - ammonia and nitrite must be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm. If it is not, do water changes to fix.> Yesterday we realized that Tails, the oldest, had lost half his tail and his fins and tail are full of microscopic bubbles (*not* white spot, I'm sure); I watched as Patches zoomed round nipping at Tails' tail and just about everybody else's, took him out and isolated him (after Kamikaze leapt out the back of the new tank in a new bid for martyrdom), <Wow. Just wow. Please consider a very close-fitting lid on this tank; Kami's bound and determined, it seems.> put in a load of anti-disease tonic in the tank <Mm, this, perhaps, is a bad idea.... Never medicate unless you know what you're treating FOR and WITH, or you can actually end up causing more problems when all you're trying to do is help - it can get quite frustrating.> plus a bit of stress enzyme, then gave him back to the shop. Again, what's with the tail-nipping stuff?  <Could just be an amorous male.> Everything we've done has been on the advice of the shop, and they should know given they've got a full-scale tropical reef going in their shop. <Mm, it can be very, very tough to expect any one person to be extremely well-versed in all aspects of fishkeeping.... Understand that the folks at the shop need to know a little bit about everything - most every shop employee will have areas in which they are "weak".> Is it my imagination or do goldfish just sit in the tank thinking up weird things to do? <HAH! I do think you are onto something, here!> New diseases to manifest? <Hoo! May be.> Or am I just crap at this?  <Nope. You'll get there. I do heartily recommend reading that link above....> The new tank should be paradise for them, all checks out, plants to wreck, <I do bet the plants are going over VERY well for these animals' pleasure.> loads of nice oxygen in the water, all feeding fine, loads of gravel to chew on and things to hide under - are they just ungrateful or what?  <Mm, perhaps just a little unruly? Actually, I don't think they really have the capacity to be grateful or ungrateful, and I think you're on the right track with the right questions and the right attitude to learn their needs.> Jon <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish question... Systems, disease  11/11/05 I got my goldfish about 2 months ago and he's been very energetic since. But for the last two days or so he's been sitting at the bottom of the tank, or floating at the top, but there are no signs of any injury. He's the only goldfish I have in there. There is a plant in there too in a 1-gallon bowl. <... too small> He gets Wardley essentials goldfish flakes once a day, and I do not feed him on Sunday because I read it's better for their digestion. <Yes. Good> His tail is the split fin tail and usually it's sticking up and "perky." But for the past two days it's been flat and droopy and I don't know why. I've changed his water, and I use bottled spring water for him. If you could offer any help it would be greatly appreciated. He's been eating regularly, so I'm not worried about that. I'm just worried if he's sick (his symptoms don't match anything I've read)...Thanks! Mary <Is... largely environmental... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Rescuers Have Quality Issues, Questions 11/7/05 Marina, <<Matthew, Pauline, fish, et alia.>> Last time we talked my wife had rescued 16 goldfish in a small bowl. <<I do remember.>> We had bought them an 8 gallon fish tank (we know that's too small). We lost 5 of them, in the first few days. All the fish got ammonia burns in the first two weeks after we bought the tank. In fact that's what Gorbachev's black spot was on his head (but we didn't know it). Later on they almost all the fish turned black. This was after our first email correspondence. <<Yes, understood. Zeolite fixes ammonia rather well in fresh water applications, great to have on hand for emergencies. Use/utilize either as carbon, or if using undergravel filtration, place into a filter bag (even better, nylon stockings knotted up) and bury under the gravel between the lift tubes.>> We quickly found out that the high ammonia levels were not unexpected when you have 11 goldfish in an 8 gallon uncycled aquarium. <<Quite correct.>> We read up on ammonia burns and figured that what was happening was not totally unexpected and decided on doing 40% water changes every week, and to wait for the cycle to happen. <<The water changes can (and should) be done more frequently in this situation, taking care NOT to disturb any inner tank surfaces (where nitrifying bacteria reside). Then, gradually reduce number of changes, and percentage of water changed as conditions improve, to end up with about 30% per week for these goldfishes. Of course, this may not be possible until they're moved into larger digs.>> We didn't email you because we figured that we understood what was going on (and I think we were right). <<I agree. You two seem to have a good grasp, and are well able, willing to educate yourselves. You show very good diligence, too. As a matter of fact, let's hear it for diligent pet owners! <stands up and claps> >> Indeed, as the weeks went by the fish started to turn back to gold and we were happy. But then after a month (a week ago) I noticed the fish getting stressed again, despite our 40% water changes each week. So I decided to test the water. <<The tank water, or the water you're using to replace? I am going to assume the tank water right now.>> The previous test of the water was done 3 weeks ago and it showed no nitrates or nitrites at all. I can not measure ammonia with my test kit. <<You do need to get an ammonia test in order to more accurately ascertain what stage the system is at in regards to the biological cycle.>> So yesterday while doing a 40% water change for the week, I noticed some abnormally stressed fish. I tested the water and both the nitrates were 300 ppm and nitrites were 50 ppm. <<HOLY CANOLI!! Those are some ASTRONOMICAL nitrate readings!  <<<and nitrite....  nitrite is toxic/deadly above just one part per million....  50ppm nitrite is.... unheard-of high.  -SCF>>>  Right now, I'm concerned also about the water you're using to replace - do test that. If a municipal source is testing positive for nitrite this is a problem (especially as far as the EPA is concerned), yet they allow nitrate levels as high as 40ppm! That's no way to keep water conditions for a fish, is it?>> I had a hard time understanding why these readings were so high. <<Check the source water, get a professional lab to test (or request agency's test results of municipal supply) if you're on a well/cistern setup. Also, we need to address the methods of husbandry (following below).>> Even though I was doing what I though heavy duty water changes the nitrate and nitrite levels were through the roof. <<Not unknown, my friends.>> Here is a quick list of what has been happening: 1. We have two mechanical, charcoal filters operating in the tank (one has a bio wheel). <<Am hoping that it's a good activated carbon, which needs regular rinsing in a freshwater application before becoming fully saturated.>> 2. We do 40% water changes every week. We do this with a gravel filter suction device. <<A gravel vacuum. Stop using this device for now, it disturbs the benthic bacteria. This could actually be the root of your fishes' troubles.>> 3. All 11 fish that were alive a month ago, are still alive. 4. We feed one pinch of flakes, twice a day. <<Good to keep feedings spare right now, also helps to allow the water to cool a bit as this reduces the fishes' activity. When that happens (around 65F) they will hang out at the bottom, likely near a stream of air bubbles or under the outlet of the power filters.>> 5. The water temperature is maintained at 73°F 6. Replacement of a mechanical filter every 2 weeks. <<I would suspend replacement in favor of simply rinsing in the old tank water. Nitrifying bacteria are also residing here. You might also want to consider getting a canister filter set up with "bio-media". That is to say that you need more water volume, and more importantly, you need places for your nitrifying bacteria to live and grow unfettered.>> 7. Small amount of algae showed up on the aquarium windows a week ago. <<Not a problem unless plague. This is utilizing/fixing nitrogenous wastes.>> My question is why all of a sudden are the nitrate and nitrite levels so vicious? I know this has something to do with cycling the tank. But I never thought the levels would go so high, so fast. Especially with our heavy duty water changes. <<Actually, if you're vacuuming vigorously, and vacuuming the entire gravel bed, you're causing this situation by removing those all-important bacteria. This is causing cycle after cycle (bacteria must rebuild their numbers sufficiently to create balance). If you keep removing the bacteria, then you will never gain sufficient numbers to adequately oxidize wastes.>> I would like to understand the mechanics of how these high levels could have happened. <<As above.>> Thank You, Matthew and Pauline Pratt <<And posthumously Gorbachev. His death was not in vain! Viva Che'! Oops.. sorry, got ahead of myself there.  You understand the life cycle of the nitrifying bacteria, now you need to understand how to coddle them and grow their numbers (culture them). Gravel vacuuming removes them, as does wiping down tank sides and replacing mechanical filtration. You need sufficient safe areas for them to grow and continue to live.  When vacuuming an established tank, you should not vacuum more than 1/3 (one third) of the total bed. Yours is not quite established as evidenced by these high levels, in my opinion. This must be alternated with replacing the mechanical filter, which should stop for now in favor of rinsing. Keep the water changes going, but make them smaller and more frequent right now - 30% every three to four days (or twice a week).  Do NOT vacuum the gravel at all right now. Test your make-up water for chloramine (a chlorine-ammonia compound used for sterilization in municipal water supplies instead of the more volatile chlorine - not an issue if you're on well-water), ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. If it's coming up positive for anything except the chloramine, your problem begins here and must be corrected. I will assume that you already know that the chloramine must be neutralized before you can use the water for water changes (but am iterating here for the benefit of others). If you can find it, BioSpira will supply you with live bacterial cultures and will help reduce these levels of nitrogenous wastes immediately. You should be left only with nitrate readings, which are finally controlled by water changes (which should NOT be adding to these levels - do test your make-up water).  I hope this is clear and helps. Marina>>

Too Small For Goldfish (Water Quality, Environmental Disease, Etc.) - 11/07/2005 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Actually, Sabrina here, in his stead.> I'm Stacy from Greece.  <Hi Stacy - in the future, please remember to capitalize where pertinent - your name, the name of your country, the beginnings of sentences, the proper noun "I", etc.... It takes a long time to correct these, and they must be corrected prior to posting on the site.> Around the middle of October I purchased 2 fish that I kept temporarily in a very small tank. One is a regular goldfish (which I named Espresso) gold and everything and the other one is this matte scaled white goldfish (Latte) <I'm drinking a Latte right now.> with completely black eyes, Veiltails and a small belly. They are very active beautiful fish and I bought Espresso because his tail was ripped from another fish in the pet shop and I felt bad for him. I have been reading so much on the internet and have been educating myself on goldfish, <Ahh, good.> so I decided to upgrade them into a 15 liter tank and add another fish, <Woah, back up a bit, here. 15 liters is less than four gallons U.S. Please.... PLEASE read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm . Goldfish get big, are messy waste producers.... and need ten to fifteen U.S. gallons apiece to live adequately together.> so I went to the pet shop and was lucky enough to come across a beautiful calico Pearlscale the kind with a pretty round bubble on its head, and fat Pearlscale stomach. The Pearlscale (Cappuccino) is about 8 centimeters long, the same with the goldfish, although Latte is probably around 6 cm long.  <.... and these three fish are all in less than four gallons? Please consider a much larger system, and fast....> I put a little fake coral in the tank and gravel and a Micron filter (I don't know if you know it). This is my water changing schedule: once a month I take out 1/4 of the water and replace it with water I have kept in a couple of water bottles since the last time I changed the water. <This is much too little, much too infrequent - these fish will be in a toxic environment likely within a week in such a small system. Please read that article I linked for you.> I change the little thing in the filter and I put the anti chlorine stuff inside, and then an hour later I put another thing called Aqua safety that is supposed to gather up all dirt and put it through the filter. <Mm, such tonics are usually not useful or effective.> I only trust Tetra and Otto for my aquarium. I feed the fish twice a day with Tetra pellets and I hand feed the Pearlscale and Latte because they are slow to get the food.  <Better read here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> These are my concerns: Is the aquarium too small for the fish? <Oh yes. Much too small.> Because they look as though they have so much space and they co-exist so peacefully. Is the filter fine <I am not familiar with your filter.... I would recommend taking a look through the FAQs and articles on WWM about goldfish and about filtration for more info on this.> and should I do anything to the water because a few times (few) I see a couple of the fish going to the top and opening their mouths above the water.  <An indication that their environment has become toxic. Be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.... Anything outside of these numbers should be considered toxic. As you start testing your water, I think you'll be surprised at the quality of the water and how quickly it degrades in this small system.> The goldfish with the ripped fin, developed after the first couple of days that I got it, to now, (approximately one month) a black colouration where the rip is and oddly enough, on his head also <Possibly just his coloration, but could be ammonia burns, as well.> but he is so active and he has had this for weeks now. Also, it appears as though the Pearlscale is getting thinner, something which I really hate to see because he is so cute fat, and I feed him approximately 3 pellets a day so I'm wondering how this could happen.  <I'd like you to take a look at that second article I linked you, regarding nutrition, for this and more information.> They seem so healthy and I haven't done any tests to the water or anything, <It is urgent that you do so.> but I just had those concerns. Also: is it okay to have a cover on the aquarium or is that bad, like no oxygen or anything?  <Depends upon the filtration and/or aeration.... though there should be something in place to prevent them from jumping out of their little home.> I know this is a lot of stuff and that you are probably very busy but I love my fish so much and I want to make sure that they are healthy for a very long time, so please can you help?  <Lots of reading in your future.... those linked articles, and the FAQs and articles linked, in blue, at the tops of them.> Oh and this is quite random but I've looked on the internet and never found out, do fish have personalities?  <I certainly think so.> I mean do they recognize me as a different being then when lets say my mom comes into my room? <This is something difficult to impossible to quantify - but I think some fish can learn who specifically is their food provider, and respond more to that person than others.> How smart are they and are there fish that are mean or sweet? <Mm, maybe not "mean" or "sweet", but driven by different needs/desires.... and thus seem mean or sweet.> That sounds like such a stupid question but I always just wondered.  <Not a stupid question at all!> Anyways, thank you very much for any help! -Stacy <You bet.> <And continued....> Hi, it's Stacy again, Sorry to bother you but I think the colours on my calico Pearlscale are sort of fading, and the water doesn't ever look crystal clear like I usually see it in the pet shop aquariums! <Both of these problems are related to poor water quality. Test your water, and URGENTLY do a large water change. And please PLEASE read those articles. There is much here that you need to know.> Not only that but the tank really smells. <Also poor water quality.> I don't understand what I'm doing wrong because I clean it well and have a filter and everything! <Just as above.... read, research, and improve this tiny world as soon/best as you can. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

More On Goldfish Care - 11/14/2005 Hi Sabrina! Thank you so much for replying it really helped! <Glad to be of service.> Ok so I changed things around a bit now. Firstly: I am gathering up some money to get a bigger aquarium because anything more than 15 liters here costs a lot and I have to pay out of my pocket money (I'm 16 years old). But the point is I will definitely upgrade them soon enough. <Excellent.> Secondly: I am applying a bacteria starter into the aquarium <You likely don't need this, if you just keep a handle on your aquarium cycling.> and after 10 days of using it, there is algae growing on the glass and gravel, and they like eating it off of the rocks. I clean the algae off the glass weekly, and now I do water changes once a week. Every Sunday I take out 1/4 of the water and put de-chlorinated water into the tank. I read somewhere that goldfish don't want the water completely clean so I leave the algae to keep growing in some places. <All good - as long as your water tests check out okay.> I was really worried about the ammonia smell and found that the ammonia level was obviously very high. I stopped feeding them as much and gave them each a pellet of food per day, and this along with the weekly water changes made the tank stop smelling and the ammonia level fine. <Great.> Not only that but I think that because they didn't have a regular feeding schedule before their nutrition was off-balance and that's why their colours were fading. <The ammonia level alone may have influenced their coloration, actually - but nutrition is, of course, quite important.> Now the fat fish is back to normal and his colours are very bright and the goldfish that had black on him (which was for sure from the ammonia) has lost the black and is totally gold. I have a more precise schedule now and they are very active, and they don't go to the top to breath air anymore!! <A good sign.> I'm really happy because they look so good but I understand that I have to get a larger tank, I wonder if you know any tanks being sold on the internet or anything that are at a low price? <Mm, I would suggest to take a look at your local newspaper(s) at the for sale ads - and you might even check out eBay (with your folks' permission, of course).> Exactly how much liters would I need for 3 fish? <Ideally around 115 liters at a minimum, for these fish to grow to adulthood.> If you can please let me know because I want to get them the best kind possible. Oh, I read on one of the FAQ answers that fish like to eat peas. Would it be ok to put one or two peas inside? <Sure.> Every when would I put them in? (sorry for all these questions!) <No need for apology - here, take a look at this for more on goldfish nutrition: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm. > Is it OK for algae to be growing in the tank and to what extent? <Sure. You wouldn't want it coating everything, say, or becoming a "nuisance" to you, but goldfish can/do eat it, and should not be a major concern.> Thank you so much for replying to my previous email! <No problem, glad to be of service.> I can't tell you how much info I've gotten from your site! <.... and thank you very much for these kind words.> Best Regards, ~Stacy~ <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish Bowls, Environmental Disease (Or, When in Rome...) - 11/03/2005 Hi Sabrina. <Hello, Victoria.> Thank you so much for such a quick and informative reply. I have to congratulate you for your correct diagnosis that the fish are suffering from environmental related causes. Sure enough, the next day after writing to you, the other fish started and continues to suffer badly. He is bobbing about on his head/upside down at the bottom of the tank and twitching a lot. He is not responding to food. Poor guy, looks like he is trying hard to fight it.  Strangely, the first fish that was sick seems totally alive and well now. After reading your site, I have tried mashed up peas and adding some Epsom salts thinking possibly swim bladder <disease> and well a good idea for a change anyway. I have also had the water tested today by our local aquarium people. They determined that the nitrate and ammonia levels are 'fine' <The word 'fine' really means nothing.... You need to get the readings.... Anything at all above zero for ammonia and nitrite is toxic at the least, and perhaps deadly. Nitrate above 20ppm is problematical.> but the pH level is at 6.4 which I understand is very dangerous.  <Mm, no, not necessarily. A little lower than usual for goldfish, but not dangerous.> They recommended a testing kit and a powder that increases the pH level to bring it to neutral which I am slowly in the process of adding.  <This, actually, may prove more dangerous than a somewhat low pH. A stable pH is much more important than a "perfect" pH.> It has been about 4 hours now and the sick one seems to have responded slightly although he has yet to right himself. Do you agree that a high pH level <Mm, actually, 6.4 is "low".... as in, lower than neutral (7.0).> may well be the cause of their misery?  <No. I think very strongly that this brand-new, cycling system has (or at least had) detectable ammonia and nitrite.> What usually causes high pH levels only?  <Many factors.... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwph,alk.htm .> We did a 50% water change a few days before they became sick and added recommended doses of conditioner and algaecide at this time as per normal.  <I would discontinue the use of the algaecide.... Some of these are toxic if overdosed.> I tested our tap water which we use to fill the tank and it is 'neutral'.  <Ah. Then something, perhaps as a result of too much life in too small a space and the tank cycling, caused the pH to drop. Instead of using powders and such to raise the pH, do water changes with your neutral tap water.> Lastly and most importantly, Is my little fish likely to recover?  <Quite possible.> Again, our sincere and continued thanks!! -Victoria <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish Bowls, Environmental Disease, STOP and Think Before Playing with the pH - II - 11/05/2005 Sabrina, <Hello again, Victoria.> Wish I had continued to consult you rather then our local aquarium 'experts'. While I only added the absolute minimum of the pH corrector, it caused the pH to correct straight away to neutral.  <Yikes!> This rapid change I suspect is what sadly pushed the little sick one over the edge very quickly.  <Very sorry to hear this.> I just wanted to say thanks again for all of your help.  <Any time.> You all seem to really know what you are talking about and are building up an extremely helpful resource which will likely save many a fish from their ignoramus owners. <Mm, ignorance is curable.... fortunately. And thank you very much for these kind words!> Best regards.... -Victoria <All the best, -Sabrina>

Goldfish in Uncycled Ten Gallon 11/3/05 I came across your website...and find it fascinating! I have not come across so much information on goldfish as on your site. We bought our son two common goldfish about 2-1/2 weeks ago. We first put them in a bowl, but soon realized they needed more space. I bought a 10 gallon starter kit at Wal-Mart, (it came with a filter and a light hood), plus gravel, a "sunken boat", and live plants. Also, I had a conch shell that I brought from Florida and put it in the tank (after washing it well with warm water).  After a few days of being in the tank, I noticed a smell coming from the tank when I fed them (there was a lot of leftover food at the bottom). I figured this was the problem, so I siphoned about a third of the water (with the fish still in the tank) and put fresh water in. The problem seemed to get better, but there is still a lingering odor coming from the tank. I also had to replace the filter (after a week!) because it was very slimy and the water was pouring out from the wrong side. There is also a bit of what looks like algae on the sides.  I have never tested the water....I guess after reading all the posts I need to do this. I have been feeding them the regular flake food from the store, but, today, I gave them a couple of peas. One of them started acting a little strange later on (not wanting to eat the flake food and not being very playful, like the other goldfish). We have been thinking about getting an algae eater and a small "catfish" from the pet store.  We were told the algae eater would eat the algae and the small catfish would eat whatever fell in the gravel.  Would it be OK to put these two together with Denis and Nemo?  If so, should I change the water first? I have heard that I need to change the water completely and wash everything in the tank, including the gravel...does this sound right?  I am sorry for all the inquiries, but we are so new at this and would really want to keeps our new buddies for a long time. Thanks a lot, Nancy <First, do not add any other fish. Goldfish like cool water, 65 to 70. The Corys and Algae Eaters (AE) are tropicals and need warmer water, 76 to 82. Also, the AE gets big and becomes very aggressive. To limit algae growth do not overfeed and do regular water changes of about 50% a week.  Use a gravel vac to remove old food and waste. The rest of the algae you'll just have to wipe off the glass. Never clean the entire tank. You need to grow two beneficial bacteria in the system to control water quality. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.   Most likely the less active fish is already having problems due to water quality. Also, your two Goldfish will need a much larger tank in the future. They can easily grow over a foot. It may be better to exchange them for a few small tropicals unless you can supply them with a 40 to 50 gallon tank. Don>

Goldfish Bowls, Environmental Disease - 11/02/2005 Hello. <Hi.> I have two Pearlscales (at least I believe that is what they are) in a BiOrb. I have had one for about 3 years and the other for about 2 years. Originally they lived in a glass bowl without a filter and seemingly without problem <Astounding.... Goldfish, though resilient, really require more than that....> but we purchased a BiOrb about 6 months ago as we thought a larger filtered system would suit them better.  <Better that it be larger still. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .> We feed them no more then once a day, approx. 8 sinking pellets and always have a plant in the tank which they seem to nibble on regularly. We have not noticed any significant issues until the last few days when the slightly larger Pearlscale has taken to sitting on the bottom and appears to be having difficulty breathing... gills and pucker constantly working... kind of imagine it must be like hyperventilation in humans... poor little guy.  <Likely environmental, from this newly set-up system cycling.> If I place my hand into the tank or mimic feeding time he swims up to the top seemingly without problem although perhaps a bit more feverish then usual. He seems to jump up almost poking out of the water before re-submerging. Upon re-submerging, I notice a lot of bubbles coming from his gills and maybe his mouth?  <The bubbles are not an issue.... goldfish can gulp/expel air readily.> As the other fish is showing no signs of problem and we have not done anything out of the ordinary in recent times, I am assuming that this is not environmental but am unsure of what may be affecting him and how to ease his suffering.  <Is likely environmental. Read also here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm .> I have read through a lot of the instructions on your very helpful website and while there is plenty of information regarding fish sitting on the bottom, I haven't seen one where it is a single affected fish sitting on the bottom + laboured breathing + this excess bubble thing.  <The one affected fish is perhaps just more sensitive than the other. You really must test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and keep ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes. This is urgent.> My fish and I would be grateful for any assistance. -V Smith <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish, Small Tank, Aeration - 11/02/2005 Hi there, <Hello.> I have one young goldfish in quite a small tank with an undergravel filter. <"Quite a small tank".... Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm ?> It has been set up about a year now, and the fish seems healthy and happy. However, I have the pump on a timer switch so that it only pumps for 8 hours per day. This is because the fish tank manual says that any longer than 8 hours will over oxygenate the tank and will kill the fish. <Uhh....> The same manual also instructed me to strip the tank down every fortnight, cleaning the gravel and filter plate and filling up again with new water. <Err....> I do not do this as clearly there is no point in having a biological filter if no bacteria can become established. This means I am unwilling to trust the manual about the 8 hour pump idea. <Good.> Should the pump only be on for 8 hours daily? <No.> Won't this prevent a good water flow to the bacteria bed?  <Mm, could.> And just one other quick question. I have one Amazon Swordtail plant  <Amazon Swordplant, perhaps?> and was wondering if they are viable in an undergravel filter. <No.... not usually.> Many sources say plants are not. <Many plants are not, in fact.> I have left it in its pot to ensure that its roots are not constantly exposed to circulating water. Is this correct procedure? <Mm, I wouldn't.... I would actually explore other filtration options, and if this tank is less than ten gallons, I would explore options for a larger system. As for the plant, leaving it in the little pot/basket will not be of help to it; the pot and fibrous material ("rockwool") around its roots should be removed, and the roots buried in an appropriate substrate.> Thanks a lot, -David <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Ten Gallons + Two Goldfish = Bad Water (This is Not Fuzzy Math) - 10/31/2005 Hi, I have a 10 gallon tank with 2 goldfish: an 7" comet and a 3" fantail.  <Actually, these two fish are way more "mess" than ten gallons of water can support. Something on the order of 30 gallons would be a minimum for these guys, preferably a 40.> I set up the tank 4 months ago and have had problems balancing the nitrate load.  <I can imagine. Goldfish are super poopers - major producers of nitrate. They need larger tanks to compensate.> I have a Penguin mini-100 filter and discovered this week that the BioWheel was not turning.  <Likely the cartridge needs to be cleaned or replaced, or the bearings of the wheel need to be cleaned.> Initial readings 1.0 ammonia <Toxic. Should be zero.> 160 ppm nitrate <Very dangerous - should be less than 20ppm.> .025 nitrite <Should be zero - this is also toxic.> Ph 7.3 <Just fine for goldfish.> After a 15% water change one day, and a 50% water change the next, readings went to 0.25 ammonia <Still hazardous.> 40 ppm nitrite <Still high.> 0 nitrite Ph above 7.4, but I only had a mid-range tester. <Might want to check the pH of your source water. It is possible that dissolved organics (fish waste, etc.) in the water have lowered the pH in the tank; you'll need to be cautious as you raise it back to that of your tap.> I added sea salt to the system to about 1%.. <Actually, this may have aided in raising the pH.> Fish rebounded a bit, but after 2 days, were sitting on the bottom again.  <The conditions they're living in are toxic. They need a bigger tank; unless you do daily or twice-daily water changes, I don't think you can keep up with their waste output in this tiny space.> I added an airstone yesterday. Today, six days after the initial water change (I saw the fish had red fins on the day of the 50% change), <Also a sign of toxic conditions in the water.> nitrate went up again to 80, so I did another 15% water change.  Readings are 0 ammonia 25 ppm nitrate <Still high, but better.> 0 nitrite But pH reading is now 8.  <Check the pH of your tap water. That's probably where it's headed, closer with every water change.> I tried to add pH down, but after few hours it hit 8 again.  <I advise against using these sorts of products in your situation. Your source water is too heavily buffered, and these huge swings in pH are deadly. Letting the pH settle at 8.0 is better than allowing it to fluctuate.> I know I need to raise my alkalinity ( buffering capacity), but how do I do that?  <Mm, actually, the fact that the pH bounced right back up suggests that your water is already very heavily buffered. You can get test kits for carbonate hardness and total hardness, to see how buffered your water is.> I have Seachem Neutral regulator here and their Discus buffer product. I keep reading about adding club soda (seltzer water), but this is very confusing and unclear.  <Mm, right now, the important issue is to make this environment inhabitable. The only good solution here is a larger tank to support the lives of these fish. Otherwise, you'll be doing daily water changes to keep them healthy - and that's not good for you or them.> Our pets belong to our 5 year old and he has cried several times this week already. I am unsure what else to do and would appreciate your help. <Start by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .> Thanks, -Eileen K. <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish Environmental Disease - 10/31/2005 Question: We have three red Lionheads. Up until yesterday, they were all fine but when observed yesterday, one of them had red color radiating from the base of the fins outward on most fins. One of the lion heads is now getting a bit, just a bit, aggressive towards this one with the red fins. We do not know what has caused this "red fin" showing up. How should this be treated? <This is actually more than likely environmental disease - caused by poor water quality. Test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; ammonia and nitrite must be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm. If this is not so, correct the problem with water changes.> Thanks for your help. <You might also take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm . Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

More Folks Want Bowl Bannings..??  Legislation Gone Wild! 10/28/05 I thought the crew might like to know that Rome has banned goldfish bowls because they view them as a form of animal cruelty. Too bad the entire USA doesn't follow in the footsteps of Italy's capital. Cheers! (not J :) Nicole <Thank you for this. We posted a few days back. BobF>

Fishbowls banned! (In Rome) 10/25/05 CNN just ran a story on fishbowls being banned in Italy and I thought you might find it interesting!  ROME, Italy (Reuters) --  " The city of Rome has banned goldfish bowls, which animal rights activists say are cruel, and has made regular dog-walks mandatory in the Italian capital, the town's council said on Tuesday.  The classic spherical fish bowls are banned under a new by-law which also stops fish or other animals being given away as fairground prizes. It comes after a national law was passed to allow jail sentences for people who abandon cats or dogs."  Here's the link to the full article:  http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/10/25/italy.fishbowls.reut/index.ht  <Thank you for this. BobF>

Goldfish protrusions We have a 10-gal tank, basic filter it came with from the store. there are 4 goldfish (apprx. 3 in. long each now) <Too crowded... you need a system/tank of at least four times this size... now> and a algae eater (4in.) My goldfish (sorry, I don't know what kind, just the basic kind they have at Wal-Mart) basically looks like it swallowed something too big for it's system. we started out with one snail (Apr. '05) and now have about 10. We were wondering if it would be possible for the fish to have swallowed a snail or a rock? <Yes> you can see protrusions on either side of the fish and blood spots at the protrusions. we are going on the 4th day now. I am real curious what is going on and the only thing close to figuring it out was that it might have "holes" <?> but then I think that is only for pond fish and they are not ulcer looking. <Oh... Furunculosis... aka Ana aki> I also noticed yesterday that it has a little bump at the base of it's tail. <Good observation> This fish seems to be bloated as I was looking at it today. after reading on your site and searching - I am starting to wonder if it might be diseased but cannot find specific info, mainly because I am not sure how to word everything. I have spent quite a bit of time reading and redirecting myself with this great mass of information that I didn't even know existed! <Am glad you have written in...> I didn't realize there was so much info out there and am so excited to check back often to learn and find answers to this new hobby of ours. I really appreciate all you guys do in putting this information on websites for us, this is fantastic! Thanks in advance for any help or direction to info. Krysten <It may be that your goldfish has a parasitic crustacean complaint... called Anchorworm... or another called Fish Louse... (you can look these up under these names or Lernaea, Argulus) but much more likely what you are seeing is resultant from "poor environment"... greatly increased by these fish being too crowded... Do consider a larger world for your aquatic charges... and soon. Bob Fenner>

I May Have Made a Mistake - Goldfish Troubles 10/18/05 I am a first time tank owner and I have had 1 shubunkin in a 5 gallon tank for about a month and a half.  <Too small for a goldfish!> He looked lonely. The lady a Wal-Mart said that I could have 1 fish for every gallon of water. I added two more goldfish. Charlie Brown (the original fish) is doing fine but the other two seem to be a little dazed.  <Ive heard the one inch of fish for every gallon of water but never the one fish per gallon. Both rules are false. Small (less than 3 inch) goldfish require at least 10 gallons each. Larger ones require more. Goldfish are some of the messiest fish you can have. The fish are probably a bit dazed from transport and change of scenery. Give them some time, a bigger tank, and a filter.> One of the new fish has lost a piece of his tail fin. Im not sure if this happened in the transfer or if it got into an altercation. Will this hinder his life expectancy? He stays really close to the bottom of the tank and for the most part away from the other two.  <He could have lost the fin in many ways. If he stays in excellent water quality and gets a good diet, he should make a complete recovery.> I also did a 25% water change today and tried to use the vacuum for gravel and it seems like the water was cloudier when I finished than when I began. My instruction booklet said to change the water at least every two to four weeks but as I read your site, it looks like I should be doing this more often. Please help. I've lost fish before and I don't want to lose these if possible. (The others were Bettas in bowls.)  <Gravel vacuuming stirs up the gunk on the bottom. It is normal to have it took cloudy for a few minutes to an hour after you finish. You are going to need to do 50% water changes daily until you get a new tank. Goldfish poop. Poop contains ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to fish. Certain bacteria will convert ammonia in nitrite. Nitrite is also toxic. Other bacteria convert nitrite into nitrate. Nitrate is not nearly as toxic.  Good news is that the necessary bacteria are found in the air. Bad news is that it takes about 6 weeks to get enough of them growing in a tank (assuming you have some sort of filter) to do ammonia conversion. This is called cycling the tank. The other part of the bad news is that bacteria can only do so much; if your tank is too crowded, conditions will become toxic for your fish. You probably have this problem now.  The fish with the hurt tail may be more sensitive to the ammonia and this is why he is sitting on the bottom. This fish will probably not improve unless you improve the water quality. You can measure your levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate with a test kit available at any fish store.  Once you have a tank that is big enough (30+ gallons) and that is cycled, I recommend changing 10-20% of the water weekly. For more information read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.> Thank you for your help. Mrs. Ware  <Any time. Please keep asking questions. However, please use correct grammar and capitalization. Changing mrs ware to Mrs. Ware is time consuming. Catherine.> 

I Think I May Have Made a Mistake - Follow-up 10/25/05 Catherine, I think that is the problem. No, I did not cycle after I did the 50% water change. No instructions I had told me to do that after each water change, I put the water in and the water conditioner and the fish. Sigh. <Let me clarify, a tank cycles when you set it up. Fish poop. Fish poop contains ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to fish. After a week or two, bacteria that can convert ammonia to nitrite colonize (start growing in) the tank.  You don't have to do anything -- the bacteria are in the air. Bad news is that nitrite is also toxic to fish. Good news is after a few more weeks, bacteria that convert nitrite to nitrate colonize the tank. Nitrate is not nearly as toxic to fish. The entire cycle takes about six weeks.  Once you have fish in the tank, you have to do frequent, large water changes to keep the toxic compounds under control until the cycle finishes. Once you have your bacteria in the tank, they stay in there (especially in the filter and in the gravel) unless you put antibiotics into the tank or over clean your tank.  When you do a 50% water change, you just need to put water conditioner into your tap water, mix it, make sure it's at the same temperature as the tank and add it to the tank. If you allow the water to sit on the counter or in the closet for a day or two, this allows for air to move into the water and for the pH to stabilize. It's a good idea, but is generally not critical.> Is he going to die? I do have the test strips and when I tested the water it showed .5 stress. There are plants in the water and for the filter cycling I have the bio wheel. I'm not sure if this is what you are referring to.  <.5 stress? Unless you have strips that tell you numbers on your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, it's hard to say what that means. Probably means that your water conditions are not ideal. The bio-wheel is a good for promoting biological filtration. (That is, it's a good home for the beneficial bacteria.)> If I put him in a different tank, will he do better? This is the larger one I was preparing for the other two fish. It's a ten gallon and the water has been cycling since about 7pm 10.23.05.  <As previously stated, your goldfish is being poisoned. Moving him will help temporarily, but he will poop and cause the same problem in a different tank. Even small goldfish need about 10 gallons per fish and as they grow, they need more room. The larger the tank you have, the better.> And to confirm-each time I change the water I need to let it cycle? For how long?  <See above.> <Good luck, and please read the links I sent in my last email again. Catherine> 

Re: I think I may have made a mistake 10/25/05 Catherine,  <Hi, Mrs. Ware! Wow, that's hard to type, my last name is Ward and Ware is just weird, anyhow....> I wrote Sunday 1016.05 regarding my shubunkin fish and his two friends (response received 10.17.05). I did get a larger tank to ward off the over crowding, but now my once healthy and active shubunkin looks like he's dying.  <Arg. No good. Probably ammonia poisoning. Did you cycle the tank? For more information, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm > His fins look like unraveling silk, and there is some kind of white sticky-looking stuff on his body and gills. He has stopped eating and he stays mostly on the bottom of the tank.  <Doesn't sound so good. Maybe fin rot (bacterial infection), maybe fungus. However, I'd treat the same way, get the water parameters in good shape and add about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of salt for every 5 gallons of tank water. Add the salt over 2-3 days.> When I got the other two fish, I noticed that one had some little white dots on it, but later that day they were gone. I read somewhere that the white dots could be something called "ich"?  <Could be, though I doubt they'd be gone that fast. If it was ich, they will reappear. Look around WWM for more information.> So, I removed the fish I thought was contaminated, and left the smaller of the two new ones in the tank. The smaller fish began to nip at the Shubunkin's side repeatedly. Then the shubunkin would chase the smaller fish. This continued until I noticed that the shubunkin was leaning off to the side as he swam.  <Then you separated the fish?> I have separated all the fish, replaced 50% of the water in the tank. To answer your previous question, yes I do/did have filters in place.  My fish is dying and I don't know what to do, please help!! <Basically you still have environmental problems, I think. Please get a test kit and verify your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are 0, 0 and less than 20. Do 50% water changes daily and use a salt treatment. Read up on cycling the tanks. You can use Bio-Spira from Marineland or Cycle (less consistent results) to cycle the tank faster. Add decorations (or live plants) so the fish can hide a bit and feel less stressed.> Thank you, Mrs. Ware  <Hope it helps, Catherine>

Re: I think I may have made a mistake = A Double-Whammy 10/25/05 Catherine, after reading all the information on the sites you sent, I set up my 1st tank incorrectly. Unfortunately, this is the one all three of the fish have been in at one point or another.  <Good news is, a poor environment isn't a disease per se, therefore it may stress the fish, but it's not communicable.> The shubunkin is the only one in the 5 gallon right now. I thought I was "cycling" the larger tank for the other two. Not so! There is nothing in the water that is contributing to the growth of the good stuff.  <Light bulb of understanding!>  As I said earlier, I am a beginner so I don't know the English terms for a lot of that stuff I read.  <Ahh, new aquarium and new language, double whammy. Please keep reading.> Can you help me out, in layman's terms? What can I put in the water, if anything, to promote the growth I need? Does this tank (10 gal) need to cycle for three weeks or more before I put my fish back in?  <In an ideal world you would have tanks that are cycled and are big enough they can handle your fish. However, you can do two things. One is to do large water changes. You can also add BioSpira by Marineland or Cycle (less effective). These two products have bacteria in them.>  Sorry to be a pest, but I've just gotta know. Mrs. Ware  <Keep reading and asking questions. Catherine> 

Goldfish Behavior, Systems.... - 10/21/2005 Dear experts, <Uhh, just pet-fish geeks, here! ;) > Sorry to bother, but last summer my son won a goldfish... the regular orange kind, nothing fancy. Long story short, he was outgrowing his 3.5 gallon tank, so I went to buy a 10 gallon and decided to get him a friend. <Please read here regarding goldfish systems.... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm . > So we got a black goldfish with the bubble eyes. <These fish require more space....> We did set the tank up for 24 hours before getting the new fish. <Actually, this is inadequate; be prepared to be changing some water.... and read on WWM re: cycling.... and other water quality topics.... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm .> Anyhow, I thought the orange goldfish would be happy to have more space and a friend, but he won't leave the new cute black one alone in what I would call an aggressive manner! He constantly chases, and rams him in the side, and won't let him rest, or worse, eat! He is mean! <Or possibly flirtatious.... Or just even playful. But it could spell doom for the more delicate bubble-eye.> This has been 2 days now. Will this behavior stop, or does one need to go? <Well.... Ideally, they need a larger tank. Watch them closely for a few days, and please consider a larger system. If in a few days there is still trouble, you may want to consider removing one or the other.> Thanks, Wendy <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish In Too-Small Confines - 10/20/2005 Hi WWM. <Hi, Xan; Sabrina with you, today.> I bought a regular goldfish and a fantail goldfish the other day from local pet store. I also bought a 2.5 gallon tank with air pump, gravel, plants (etc., etc). <This system is *drastically* too small for goldfish....> I filled the tank up with 1/2 tap water <Did you use a water conditioner to neutralize chlorine/chloramine??> and 1/2 filtered water and gave the fish their new home. <Uncycled, dangerous....  soon to be toxic to the animals....> They played around for a couple days or so but the regular goldfish never ate at all. I thought it possible that it was just over-fed at the pet store and would eat when ready. <No, they're usually quite piggish.  The problem here is environmental toxicity from an uncycled, too-small system.> A couple days went by and I noticed that the Fantail goldfish, who eats like a pig and is very active, stopped playing with the other goldfish. Then I noticed that at the top of the water, where the air was coming up from the pump, was starting to foam over and the regular (sick) goldfish was constantly at the top "eating" the foam/bubbles. <Gasping....  His gills have been burned from exposure to toxic ammonia, nitrite....> I didn't know what to do but within the next day it died. I removed the sick/dead fish immediately and did about a 30% filtered water change and the foam pretty much went away at the top. So what do you think killed the fish? Not eating, bubbles at the top, water pollution?? <Poor environmental quality, without a doubt.> How should I prevent this from happening to other fish in the future? <Start reading, researching....  Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm and especially the link about Goldfish Systems, Components, and Maintenance, and also here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm with emphasis on cycling, water quality.... and more.> Should I use live plants in the tank or not, because the ones I had were starting to die. <Might take a look at this article, as well:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> p.s. Also on the dead fish, before it died I noticed that the top fin had a couple sections missing, like it was attacked or something. <Also from toxicity of the water, more than likely.> Thanks a lot,  -Xan <Much for you to learn.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Goldfish losing scales - bad water levels  10/19/05 Hi,   I am having a little bit of  trouble with my goldfish and I would love any help that you can give me.  I have had Harry, a Red Cap Oranda for  almost a year.  He is about 2 inches  long, (just body, without tail) and he lives alone in a 5 gallon tank. <Too small...> I change 50% of the tank water once a  week. <Too much...> I switched from flake food to  pellet or stick food a few months ago because I found that I am able to make  sure that there is no uneaten food left on the bottom of the tank to  decompose. <Good>   However, I am wondering  if the food may not be so good for him, because it almost looks as if it doesn't get digested and just goes through him and stays practically whole.  I feed him Tetra brand food Tetra Exotic sinking mini sticks for ornamental goldfish. <A very good food> My main problem is this recently, I  have noticed that he is missing some scales. I see missing spots on his body,  and I see scales floating in the water.   <Not good> Sometimes there is just one floating scale but sometimes there are a few  stuck together a big chunk of scales.  At first I didn't think much of it- that they would just grow back.  But he keeps losing them; there are a  couple patches missing on each side.  Doesn't look like there is anything on his body besides missing scales nothing growing out of them or any other colored spots on him.  He sometimes scratches against things like the airstone at the bottom of the tank, or the plant in the middle of the  tank. <Mmm, what type of plant?> I took out an ornamental rock <Could be a/the source of trouble here...> when he got bigger so he would have a lot of room to swim and left one plant in  the middle so he has a hiding place.  I recently moved (little over a month ago) to a new place.  Since moving, I haven't checked the  levels of water (until today) because at my old place, they had always been fine  Ã¢ the pH used to be around 7.2, no ammonia, and very low levels of nitrate.  I checked the levels today and even went  out and bought new test kits in case they had expired.  The pH is about 6.0 <Too low... would keep neutral (7) or higher...> the lowest the  test kit will read, the ammonia is about 4.0, <...?! More than 1.0 is deadly toxic> and the nitrate is between  20-40. <I'd keep below twenty ppm>   I was really surprised,  because like I said, I change half the water twice a week.  I was also surprised that both ammonia  and nitrate existed at the same time in the tank. <Not I... your system is so/too small... the water changes too large... your biological cycling microbes are checked or bumped off too easily...>   I have been freaking out a little  because I have no idea how these levels got like this.  I changed the water last 2 days  ago.  After reading the levels, I  just now changed half of the water again and tested again, but there was no  change in results.  Also I checked  the level of the tap water and it is 6.8 so I think I will have to start using  pH up is that correct? <Yes... or just small amounts of baking soda, sodium bicarbonate... to the water that is to be added after changes> I don't  like the idea of using it, but I think I will have to.  I add some salt to the water when I change it about a tsp, because I am afraid of using more, even though I think  I should be adding more like a tbsp.  I am wondering if maybe the pH test kit is inaccurate because my water  isn't exactly freshwater anymore.  If there is a little salt, like a tbsp per 5 gallons, will the pH test  kit for freshwater not be accurate and will I need a saltwater test kit? <The kit is accurate for both likely... no worries> Harry seems to be acting great energetic, loves to eat.  I am  wondering if maybe when I switched the food, I may be feeding him too much now,  and maybe there is more waste and that is making more ammonia? <Maybe... Sabrina has just looked up the composition of this food... it's a bit high (42%) protein... from fishmeal... I would only feed this half the time... using greens et al. listed on WWM on Goldfish Nutrition the other half> I don't know,  just a guess.  About how many   pellets should he eat a day?  He can  eat about 10 in a min.  I would  guess that I give him around 20 a day, which seems like so much, but they say to feed what he can eat in 2 min. I feed him throughout the day.  Like 4 pellets every few hours or  so.  (And he is still always looking for  more food!) <Don't use this as an indication... I would not feed period if the ammonia is over one ppm... and would NOT adjust the pH till the ammonia is below one ppm (these two coupled together, high pH and ammonia presence, are much more toxic>   I bought a new plant today, one that is softer so in  case it scratches against him, it won't hurt him. <A live plant?> So what should I do at this point?  I am hesitant about using Amquel or any  of that stuff, because I don't like not knowing the levels of harmful  ammonia.  Should I just keep  changing the water every day about 50% until the levels improve and maybe use pH  up? <Do keep changing the water... but no more than 25% in one day, cut back/out feeding to an absolute minimum, don't change the pH... and do look into getting a larger system... at least twenty gallons>   And I'm also confused about why  the water is so acidic when the excess ammonia in the water should, in theory,  make it more alkaline.  Any  ideas? <The concentration of ammonia is too low to affect pH> Any advice or help you could   give me would be greatly appreciated!  Thank you so much! -Jessica <Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

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