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FAQs About Goldfish Systems 1

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

Related FAQs:  Goldfish Systems 2, Goldfish Systems 3, Goldfish Systems 4, Goldfish Systems 5, Goldfish Systems 6, Goldfish Systems 7, Goldfish Systems 8, Goldfish Systems 9, & FAQs on Goldfish System: 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

I have one FAQ finished I think (hope)   1/31/06
Mr. Fenner,
I have gone through this very long FAQ and corrected spelling and grammar as best I could, and removed a repeated FAQ. Is this what you are looking for?
<Yes Agnes. Will supplant/post with credit to you. Bob Fenner>
Happy Reading,
Agnes Gray

Fat Fantails Hello there, we have two fantails, one of which is quite big.  We decided they had outgrown their tank and moved them to a much bigger tank about ten days ago.  Since then the bigger fish has grown visibly, and the tips of his fins have gone very black. At first I thought I was imagining it as he is over two years old and I had assumed he was fully developed, but now he has very black edges to all his fins and he seems very happy. Is this normal?  Have you ever heard of it?  My whole family is amazed by it. Looking forward to your response. Kind regards, Angela Magee <<Dear Angela; It is common for goldfish to change color as they grow. Your fishes' growth may have been stunted by being kept in a too-small tank. I am happy to hear he is still growing, sometimes the stunting is irreversible. Fantails can grow quite large, and it is in the fishes' best interests for you to provide adequate space for them to grow out properly: I have seen black moors with bellies the size of grapefruits. I would advise you to continue with regular partial water changes, good feeding, and perhaps some research on the Net to help you understand your goldfish and their particular care. Feeding, diseases, simple water chemistry, and other info can be found by Internet search. Here is a link to a page full of goldfish websites to start you off with: http://www.fishlinkcentral.com/links/Freshwater/Goldfish/ -Happy Fishkeeping! -Gwen>>  

Goldfish has to deal Hello again! I have asked a couple questions in here before. I thought I had my cycle down and over - guess again! History - 10 gal office tank, 1 Red Cap Oranda, aeration, Eclipse hood and (just replaced the old Whisper filter today) Penguin BioWheel 125. Added Bio Spira with fish, never saw any nitrites, always had nitrate (using treated city water). Now on day 23.  I have been seeing ammonia creep up since the beginning - have not let it get above 1ppm, and I have .25 nitrites. These values are with regular 2 gallon detoxed water exchanges about 1-2 X a wk, with a gravel vac. I added Fritz Turbo 700 the other day when the ammonia was up to 1ppm, this dropped it down to 0 within a couple days, made the water super cloudy. Then over the weekend the ammonia went right back up... I have now resigned myself to the fact that I will have to put the fish thru a complete cycle. I have stopped gravel vacuuming, and am feeding sparingly. I will continue with the water changes if the ammonia gets to 1.5ppm (treating with Bio-safe), but I have a couple questions: Will lowering the ammonia stall the cycle? If yes- how high is safe for my fish? Nitrites- how toxic are they- and at what level should I take action-? I do not want to slow the cycle down by diluting them too far, but don't want to put the fish in any danger as I really am attached to the little bugger! I do not have the tank heated, the office is about 68 degrees, and the hood gives a little heat to the system during the 12 hrs it is on. I will be leaving for a vacation in 9 weeks and need to get this stable before then so I don't come back to a dead fish. Someone will feed him 1-2 times while I am gone for 12 days, but I don't want them to have to trouble over the water! Thanks again for all your info!! Jo <<Dear Jo; Are you saying this tank has an Eclipse hood AND a Penguin BioWheel filter? Why? And what is Fritz Turbo 700? I will agree with you that you need to properly cycle this tank. The Bio-Spira should help, it's a good product but be aware that it has an expiration date...as I recall, it has to be added more than once to be effective. As for the toxicity, do water changes when ammonia reaches 1ppm, and when nitrite reaches the same level. Ideally, .50ppm would be a better target range for both (ammonia and nitrite are pretty much equally toxic), but yes, you will slow the cycle if you do that. Thing is, it depends on the fish...if the fish seems to handle the higher level, then go for it. If the fish seems to rest more at the bottom of the tank, breathe too fast, or in any way show discomfort (not easy to tell, but try your best) then upgrade to doing the water changes at .50, so as to keep the levels at .25ppm. Nine weeks gives you ample time to cycle this tank. Aside from the Bio-Spira and a good dechlorinator, please do not add any more additives, and let the tank be! Do not rinse your BioWheels, advice which might sound redundant, but some people actually do! -Gwen>>  

What am I doing wrong? Goldfish systems and losses Hello <Hello there.> I know that you can help me. <I will sure try!> I have been trying to start a freshwater tank for some time. I have been doing everything that the pet store has advised, but I can't get my goldfish to live longer than a week! <Yikes... that's not good.> I've let the water in the new tank run for at least a week before introducing the fish, <Try letting the tank run longer.  Set the tank up and let it run for at least two weeks.  During this time add a small amount of the flake food to the tank (with no fish in it), the flake food will break down and feed the bacteria needed to promote a healthy tank.> I've treated the water with a conditioner recommended to me, and the 10 gallon tank is properly aerated. <A 10 gallon tank is small for goldfish, you will only be able to keep one maybe two small ones in there.  They are very messy fish.  You will also need to have a filtration system on the tank not just something to aerate the water.  Small hang on back filters like "Whisper" are very inexpensive and are needed on this tank.> The goldfish develop white spots and eventually their fins begin to rot. They get very weak and soon die. I've treated for ich and fin rot, and I've brought a sick fish to the pet store for advice. Nothing is working and I am getting very frustrated. I have thrown out all of the rocks and plants and I would like to try again, but I am scared of losing another fish. Please help! Tiffany <Well Tiffany, was this tank used for anything else in the past?  Perhaps it was exposed to chemicals or something, even cleaning solvents can remain in a tank that will kill fish.  You can always tear down the tank and rinse it out with very hot water and start fresh.  Set up the tank, gravel and decor inside it.  Fill with water, and turn the filters on.  Let it run for two weeks at least, during this time place in a few flakes.  Maybe once every three days.  Break them up to fine powder, this increases the surface area and they break down faster.  I suggest you also invest in test kits for Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. Test your water and when these are at zero parts per million then it will be safe to put in goldfish.  There are many good books on the topic of starting a freshwater tank. I suggest your going to your local library and getting some out.  Also look over the articles and forum on WetWebMedia.com, there you are sure to find some great info.   Best of luck to you and your future fish family! -Magnus>  

Oranda and Indianapolis water Hello! <Hi there>       Just needed to ask a quick question, first the info... I have recently set up a 10 gal tank in the office for 1 juvenile (1 1/2" w/o tail) Red Cap Telescope Oranda (cute!). <Very cute, was just given one just like it as a birthday gift for my office tank!  Delightful and beautiful fish.> After using a de-toxifier for our chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia in the water, I let the tank sit for a few weeks with the power filter and aerator running. <Good man!  I see many people simply get a tank and fish and put them together at the same time.  Letting the tank sit and run is one of the best things you can do for the long term health of the fish!> I added Bio-Spira along with the fish to the tank 6 days ago. Fish is happy, swimming and eating and looks great. <Congrats>       From the beginning I have had daily test results of .25-.5ppm ammonia (same as the water source), and no nitrites, and nitrates at 20-25ppm (again same as water source) PH is 7.6-7.7. <Not unusual in city water settings.  Takes a little bit of extra work to get things to stay balanced, but nothing too hard.> Water did get a bit hazy and bubbles would collect on the surface after I fed flake food instead of the sinking pellets, <flake food breaks down a bit quicker in the water than the sinking pellets it adds extra nutrients and such to the water which feeds the bacteria.  Just be sure to not over feed the tank, only feed what the fish can eat in few minutes.  If possible you can offer really small meals throughout the day rather than a large meal all at once.> did a 25% treated water change on day 5 by vacuuming the gravel and it helped a bit (not gotten worse since). <Keep up with this, since your city water is not the best to start with you will probably have to do water changes quite frequently.  Also since the fish is only in a ten gallon tank, the water quality can get bad quickly since goldfish produce such a great amount of waste and ammonia.>       I was wondering - after these days of feeding 2x daily would the chemical tests be indicating that the Bio-Spira worked and I have a cycled tank, or is it too early to tell? I have not seen an increase in ammonia nor nitrate levels over what is in our wonderful municipal water originally, and would expect to have seen that by now if it were going to happen. Am I correct in my thinking? <You are correct; at least that is what I'm thinking.  I doubt you should have any problems provided you don't over feed the tank and you keep up on the water changes.> I will be testing daily for several weeks anyway. Also, is the level of ammonia present (.5ppm) in our water supply stressful to the fish at all after I add a ammonia Detox? <It's kind of a debatable topic.  I say it is slightly stressful, but you are adding a detoxifier in the water so it shouldn't be that bad.  Also goldfish are pretty hardy fish.  I had fish in water very similar in my previous office and they became accustomed to it and thrived for many years.  I did notice that their growth was a bit slower than the ones at my home (luckily natural spring water bubbles up out of the ground at my house).  Just realize that you should test at least once or twice a week as the months go on.  Gradually you should get the hang of the system and only need to test sparingly.  But, I don't foresee any extremely bad situations happening.>       If the level of ammonia does indeed go up- at what level (ppm) should I do a sizable water change for the safety of the fish (considering my water already shows at .5ppm)? <If your levels do become quite high you shouldn't do a massive change at once.  Do small ones every day rather than a 50-70% water change.  I find this is less stressful on the fish and less likely for them to possibly get ill.   But, if the levels get around 1.5ppm I would be concerned and getting them down.  Over 2.5ppm then I would be very worried.> Thanks for all your help and the great information on your website. <Glad we can be of help!  That is what we are here for. -Magnus>  

Gravel size and Goldfish Hello All. <Hi there> I have a 72 gal established aquarium of Goldfish. Presently there are four fish, 4-6 in size. I messed up the filter and the tank is recycling (again)! After the cycle I have three 1-3 in. Ranchus to add to the tank. My concern is gravel size. When we had a 7" Oranda she would constantly suck up gravel and get a stone stuck in her mouth. <Many goldfish owners have problems like that.  when I first started into goldfish I, on numerous occasions, had to pop a stone out of the mouth of my goldfish.> I had gone by previous advice and put med size stones when starting out and as I say, had constant problems. I am concerned with these Goldies growing and having the same problem with the stones getting stuck in their mouth and before I add the new little Ranchus, I'd like to change the gravel to a smaller size. Or should I? <Yes you should, the smaller the gravel is better for goldfish.  They can suck in the gravel, roll it around and feed off of them and will be able to spit them back out with no problems.  The problem comes when you have larger gravel that is the same size as their mouths.  Smaller is safe for these fish.> I really don't want to have anything happen to these little jewels!  I worry about wrecking the good bacteria that goes along with the gravel and I also worry about having to go through yet more tank cycling. Is it possible to add a little bit of new stones every few weeks and take a little of the old out? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <Keeping the filter medium when you change the gravel will greatly reduce any sort of re-cycling that will happen when switching the gravel.  But, if you are still worried I would set up a smaller tank and allow that to cycle so when you are going to change the gravel you can simply move the goldfish to the other tank for a short time and change the gravel at your leisure.  Trust me, I've changed gravel in goldfish tanks and beneath that gravel there is some dark water... no matter how much you vacuum you will have lots of waste trapped below the surface and it might get extremely dirty for your goldfish. That is the method I had used, and with the two tanks running it definitely put my mind at ease.> Regards Robyn <Good luck with the goldies! -Magnus>  

Slimy Aquarium - 05/31/2004 I just wanted to know. I have 2 Calico fantails and the glass in the aquarium has a film all over it. How do I clean this off? <This is probably just algae - best removed manually, with an algae-scrubbing pad or scraper.  If your tank is acrylic, be sure to get one that won't scratch it.> I am new to fish. <Welcome to the hobby, then, Mike!> Thanks Mike <Wishing you and your fish well, -Sabrina> 

Goldfish help Hello. I have just finished reading several of your articles, but still have some questions. Help! I have had a 20gal tank for a couple of years now. I have gone through several tropical species and have learned a lot through trial and error. Well, finally I thought my tank was going to be set when I got 2 fantail goldfish. For a few months, everything seemed fine, though I noticed that they dirtied up the tank a lot more than my other fish ever did. Anyway, about two weeks ago my water started getting cloudy, so I did a water change and even added an ammonia removal media to my filter. I am really struggling with my water quality. The PH is really low and I can't get it up and stay there. And no matter what I put in it, the ammonia levels stay above 2ppm. As you can guess, one of my fish died. I did another water change, but the ammonia levels are still off the charts. Now, if it doesn't die that is, I have one lone fish. Once I get the water stable, should I add another goldfish? He already looks so lonely. Currently, he is 4 inches. I need some advice on both points. Could my struggle with the water quality be due to the gravel - I read somewhere that goldfish tanks should not have gravel? Should I clean it more often than every other week? Was 2 four-inch goldfish simply too many for a 20gal tank? Thanks Jamie < Don't add any more fish until you get your tank chemistry under control. First is the ammonia. It should read zero. Don't feed for awhile. Vacuum the gravel with a 30% water change and get all the junk out of there. Gravel is fine if it is cleaned. Check the ammonia again. If you still get a reading then service the filter. Get the ammonia levels down to zero with water changes or ammonia removal media. When you have a zero reading then you can feed your fish only enough food that it will eat it all in a couple of minutes. Overfeeding is a major cause of ammonia problems. The ammonia should then be converted to nitrites and then nitrates. The ammonia and nitrite levels should read zero. Nitrates should be no higher than 25 ppm. - Chuck>   

Strange behavior Hi, We bought 2 goldfish to go in a 48 liter tank with pump - had all the levels checked out at the local aquarium before we introduced the fish. They have been fine - eating really well etc... However I have noticed that the black moor keeps going to the top of the tank and wedging himself above the filter, sitting there for hours.  He is perfectly upright, and comes down every now and again and swims around the tank and then eventually goes back.  He looks healthy and as soon as I put his food in (flakes) he charges out and eats loads. He seems to get on with the other fish and swims round with him. I have turned down the filter in case he does not like this up too high and he does have stuff in there to hide under.  Should I be worried or is this just something he likes doing? Karen << Dear Karen. Please forgive my frustration, but it never fails to amaze me how much misinformation is still being handed out regarding the cycling of new tanks. I hear this a great deal, and I feel sorry for folks like you who have been given false information by inexperienced store personnel. Quite frankly, it depresses me. What levels did they tell you to have to have checked "before" adding your fish? There is nothing to check, except pH, which is great but it's not even pertinent to the cycling process. You need to add fish, and THEN start testing your water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, in that order, over the next month. It is the fish that produce the ammonia, which is converted to nitrite, and then converted again to nitrate. In other words, you are growing nitrifying bacteria and until you have enough, your tank will need to be tested weekly, if not more often. Right now your black moor is probably suffering ammonia toxicity, and you should go back to your LFS and ask them what they felt they needed to test BEFORE the fish were added. Ask them to explain cycling to you, and ask them to test the water for ammonia now that the fish are in it. I hope they have an intelligent answer. Sorry, this is a sore spot for me. It drives me nuts, this complete lack of training being given to supposed "expert" store employees. Black moors especially are pretty sensitive fish, and should not even be used to cycle a tank with...he may develop ich, or a bacterial eye infection from the stress. If he does, please email me back and I will tell you how to treat him. It is a good sign that he is eating. In the meantime, get your water tested, do some water changes to keep the levels as low as possible, and cross your fingers. And tell your store guy to read this website. -Gwen>>  

Strange Behavior II Hi there Gwen Thank you for your reply. Eventually they did advise us to take some water in for a test and you were quite right, the nitrite level was high. We did a water change - put some tonic in the water and he seemed really fine and was swimming around for about a week and then suddenly we found he had passed away - I had only looked at him that morning and he looked happy and healthy and was quite shocked when I found him dead. It is such a shame and we were gutted. The other fish, a fantail goldfish, has been really fine throughout all of this and seems to have adapted really well. Do they prefer to be on their own or should we get another one like him for company as I am worried that he may be a bit lonely? Kind regards, Karen <<Hello again. Chances are that the one water change you did was not sufficient to reduce the ongoing nitrites...keep in mind that these toxins are being produced by the fish each day, all day long, as waste. You would have had to test the water more often, and do water changes every other day to reduce that high level. I would recommend buying your own test kits (ammonia, nitrite, nitrates) and testing the water yourself until your ammonia is ZERO and nitrites are ZERO. Nitrates should be kept low, around 20-60ppm, by doing regular partial water changes. Do not add another fish until your ammonia and nitrites are zero. Might take a few weeks! -Gwen>>  

Goldfish Tank temperature Hey Thanks for all the help for my previous queries :) I have 2 red cap Orandas in a 10 gallon tank. I never realized this problem would arise since it's the first summer I would have a fish tank in the house. But I started noticing that as summer's coming, my tank's temperature also is going up. I usually maintain the tank temperature at 76 and now it's gone up to 80. I tried to cool it by changing about 10% or less water at frequent intervals (just the last 2 days that is) but it's of little help. And it's just the beginning of summer!! Although we have air conditioning in the apt it becomes hot. Any tips for keeping the tank cooler in the coming months?? Any alternative to using the air conditioner?  < Keeping the tank lower and out of direct sunlight will help some. Try and get some additional aeration in the tank by using an airstone. Water carries less oxygen the warmer it gets. Leave the lights off the tank too until it cools down.> Also I would like to know what the feeding schedule and how much to feed the fish in summer? Whenever I feed peas to my fish, one of them eats more than the other. Is it going to be bad if he eats more peas?? Thanks and I really appreciate your help! < As the summer weather increases the water temperature, the fish's metabolism will increase too. They will be hungrier, eat more and generate more waste. You will probably have to service the filter more and increase the amount of water you change too. Try not to overfeed either fish. Make sure all the food is gone in a few minutes. Leftover food will cause serious problems. The stress on the fish with increased temperatures and over feeding may lead to bloat.-Chuck.> Sweta  

Burst bag of goldfish... and quick action saves the day She Saved the Fish! Hi I was looking through your website in desperation. I'll tell you why..... I went shopping yesterday and found on the sidewalk a goldfish in a burst plastic bag, it was gasping so I ran into the nearest shop, filled the intact part of the bag with water and the fish started swimming :) Went to a dollar store, got a Tupperware and took it home in that. Went to the nearest aquarium shop and asked for help. They gave me a bag of gravel, a 1 gallon bowl, Aqua Plus tap water conditioner, and a pH balancer and some flake food. As he was in about 50ml of water, I put him pretty much straight into the tank, which I now know is a bad thing to do, I think he went into cold water shock. Amazingly the fish survived the night, and I am now rather attached to him. Anyway, he started hanging out near the surface a lot this afternoon, and I figured he's not got enough oxygen, so I took out some water; the tank is now 1/2 full. I figure I need a bigger tank right? He's about 2 inches long, and a plain old garden variety goldfish as fast as I can tell. DO I really need a pump, filter, etc. etc. etc.?? Please help as I have become a fish owner not so much by choice as by commitment, and am therefore completely clueless about what to do, but want to give this poor fish a good shot..... Yours in desperation, Jehannine <<Dear Jehannine, good for you for rescuing a homeless fishie :). You are on the right track, and yes, he probably does need a bigger bowl, er, tank. A tank with a filter would be the best thing, but if you cannot manage it, a bowl will suffice as long as you get one large enough for him to have some space to grow...regular goldfish will grow to 12 inches in length. Stunting him by keeping him in too small a bowl will not help in the long-term. Plus, twice weekly water changes will be necessary to keep him healthy. The smaller the bowl, the more often you need to change the water. A ten or twenty gallon tank is best, with a filter and some gravel for him to dig in. You will still have to do water changes, but not quite so often. Goldfish can live a very long time, upwards of 10-20 years. You can do a search on the Net, and read up on goldfish and their care. Here is a good place to start: http://www.petlibrary.com/goldfish/goldfish.html  Good luck and have fun :) -Gwen>> < Welcome to the world of aquarium fish. If you really want to keep him happy for a long time then we have our work cut out for us. Little goldfish bowls are basically little death traps for goldfish. Those bowls really are only suitable for Bettas and related fish. Your goldfish needs to have the water circulating or it will suffocate. You need a little air pump with an airstone to keep the water moving all the time. Unfortunately these little pumps can be quite noisy. Your bowl could use a little undergravel filter that fits in the bowl under the gravel. Until the bacteria bed gets established in the gravel you will have to change the water every couple of days to keep the ammonia levels down. Maybe after a couple of weeks you may not have to do as many water changes. In the meantime don't overfeed and go to the fish store or library to get a good book on goldfish and do some homework. See if you really want to keep this guy for the long haul. If you do then you will eventually need to buy a tank. -Chuck> 

Keeps Killing Biological Filter I have a ten gallon tank containing three average size goldfish, one large goldfish and an average black moor. For the past several weeks I've found that they've been gasping for air at the top of the tank. Several times, the goldfish have developed red marks on their faces. Each time I've done either a partial or total water change and cleaned the sides of the tank. Afterwards, the gasping stops for two to three days and then continues with a transparent brown film on the sides of the tank and gravel. I've tried parasite treatment, ick treatment, algae treatment and anything else I've come by. Any advice at all would be appreciated. I can't stand seeing my fish like this. < Check the nitrates. Your filter should be turning the water over at least 3 times an hour. Goldfish in general are pretty messy so you may need more, especially in a ten gallon tank. I suspect that the biological filter is having a tough time keeping up and is slowly converting the ammonia to nitrites. A slow conversion may have led to elevated levels of ammonia and have started burning the gills, thus the red on the face. I would recommend a filter that you can easily service, make sure there is no left over food after every feeding. and to check the nitrates so you can establish a regular water changing schedule and not have to wait until the fish are so stressed that they are gathering at the surface of the water.-Chuck> 

Goldfish and Water Quality - 04/13/2004  Hi,  <Hello, Sabrina here, today.>  I have a very large goldfish (he is the only fish in his tank). He started to get Finrot over two weeks ago. When I tested the water, the ammonia levels were extremely high and the PH levels were very low.  <Yikes! I think it probably goes without saying, but I will say anyway, please test your water on a regular basis. Perhaps with every water change, 20/20 hindsight, I know, and I know you've learned that lesson, but just wanted to make sure you realized.>  I quarantined him for three days and treated him with medication and changed the water in his aquarium. All the tests were fine then. From the time he has been sick until yesterday, he has been lying on the bottom on his side and moves his body across the bottom of the tank. I have been treating the tank with Melafix for the last four days.  <I, personally, do not hold a high opinion of Melafix. Though it does not seem to cause any ill effects, I am not convinced that it does anything good, either. Anyhow, that's pretty much irrelevant at the moment, so.... moving on....>  As of yesterday morning, the fish constantly sits upright on the bottom of the tank and is very alert. His fins are a little better, but definitely no worse.  <Good news, for sure.>  However, he has a lot of brown spots on him. I read that this can be seen when a fish is starting to recover from ammonia burns.  <Agreed; often one will see brownish hue in the fins, where they were red/inflamed/bloody before, from the ammonia.>  The problem is he still isn't swimming and most importantly, he hasn't eaten for 10 days.  <YIKES.>  I don't know what else to do for him. Are there any suggestions?  <Certainly. What have you tried feeding him? I would definitely offer him some greens, like thawed frozen peas (squeeze the shell off, first), blanched cucumber/zucchini, or other goodies. I used to give my goldies asparagus as a kid, just to get the stuff off my plate.... win-win situation, that was. As for the lingering problems from the ammonia, I would like to recommend keeping the tank *VERY* well aerated, first and foremost. The damage you see on his outside is representative of the more dangerous damage to his gills; vigorous aeration may increase his activity level, if he's currently stressed from laboring too much just to breathe. If you are still very concerned about ammonia burns, and feel that it is necessary to medicate, I would try Nitrofurazone ("Furacyn", by Aquatronics, for one proprietary name). This is a very mild med, and supposed to help with issues from ammonia poisoning. I would not medicate, though, until after seeing if vigorous aeration and tasty veggies don't bring him about.>  Thanks.  <You betcha. Good luck with your goldie, and please feel free to write in for further assistance, or if you wish to update us on his progress. Wishing you well, -Sabrina> 

Action accessories for goldfish   We are a small company in a trade center.  We recently bought the fish and turtle booth.  I have been looking for a wholesale distributor of aquarium decoration, including action ones.  I'm not real good with this computer.  Do you have any sites that I could look at?   The place where we get most of our supplies has high prices on decorations. Coinman Collectibles - Phillip Butler/Bonnie Prowant The only fish we sell are goldfish.   (We have really strayed from our original product line.) <Do look into Blue Ribbon's line... as well as the "scuba man" series being offered in T.F.H. Magazine (Tropical Fish Hobbyist) Bob Fenner> 

Goldfish are not Bowlfish!  4/7/04 Hi. <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I found your site while researching about goldfish, and I have found it really helpful, but I have a problem.   <Great, lets see if I can help.> Let me precede this email by saying that I have never had goldfish before, and that I got most of my information from the pet shop attendant (which I have never done before while purchasing pets, and now I know I will never do it again).   <Smart idea!> I was told that it was fine to keep 3 goldfish (A black moor and 2 feeder fish) in a 2.5 gallon tank. <Huge mistake!> I'm a college student, and I don't have much space, but I will buy a new, much larger tank as soon as I get home (beginning of May).   <Too late.> I was also told that I would need to do a water change about 2 times a month. <Wrong again!  GF require 10g/fish, up to 3" & then 20+g/fish when bigger.  GF grow to 12+" & can live over 20 years.  They are heavy waste/ammonia producers & require large tanks, heavy filtration & huge water changes, because of this.  Most long time GF keepers say that weekly 90% water changes is not considered too aggressive.  The only fish that could possibly exist in a 2 1/2g tank would be a Betta.> I have had the 3 goldfish since Saturday (today is Tuesday) and yesterday night I saw my smallest fish swimming around quickly, as if something was wrong.  After a while, however, it looked okay again, but this morning I found it dead in the tank.   <Not surprised--sounds like ammonia poisoning.> This has upset me very much, because I feel I have done everything I was told, and that I have been lied to.   <Not lied to, just advice from the ignorant & uncaring.> My other two fish seem fine, but I'm really worried that they too will not live long.   <You've got that right.> I am going to do a water change today, hopefully that will help, and as soon as I am able, I will go to the store and buy a water tester kit. Is there anything else I can do? I'm very upset, and I want to do everything possible to keep my fish alive. <Like I said, no goldfish will live long in a tank that small.  I suggest returning them immediately.  If you must have a fish in there, get a Betta.> Thank you so much for your help, <Sure & whenever you life is settled enough for a larger tank, then we can talk goldfish.  ~PP>> 

Fancy Goldfish  I got my wife a 10 gallon tank for her birthday and she picked out a fancy goldfish for it. The store clerk said the tank should be big enough, but we have read that the tank may be too small. My wife is also worried about the fish getting lonely. Is it better to pair them up? If so what size tank would you recommend getting for two fancy goldfish? Thank You for your help. Jeff  <<Dear Jeff; Yes, a ten gallon tank is too small. Good call! Goldfish can do quite well in groups; the problem is tank size and water quality. Keeping one goldfish in that ten gallon is a better idea than two, but since you realize you will need to upgrade the tank anyways....goldfish should have space to grow, so you may start with two, but keeping one goldfish per ten gallons of water is a better idea. Fancy goldfish can grow to the size of a decent grapefruit. One more thing, if this is tank has been set up recently, chances are you are cycling with this one goldfish. Take a sample of your water to the LFS when you go back, and get your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates checked. If the ammonia or nitrite readings are too high, you will need to wait a bit longer before adding the second fish. If you have nitrates, you may add the second one. Always do small, frequent partial water changes to control the ammonia/nitrites/nitrates. -Gwen>> 

Goldfish are Not "Bowl" Fish! 4/2/4  Hi, Pufferpunk here>  Hi, I recently bought a couple of small goldfish which I have in a large vase, and I was wondering whether it would be safe to put in a bamboo shoot ? Please help.  <forget about the bamboo, you have much bigger problems. Goldfish are not "bowl" fish! A vase is not a proper home for ANY fish. You need at least a 10g tank/goldfish (while small). Please give them a proper home with a filter & room to swim. Goldfish are heavy waste/ammonia producers & require huge weekly water changes, but do not completely clean the whole tank. Read up on the care of goldfish & cycling a tank.>  Thanks  <Goldfish grow to over 12" & can live up to 20 years if cared for properly. ~PP>  

Goldfish Tank Trouble 3/31/04  <Hi, Pufferpunk here tonight>  Hi. I'm a beginner and did not realize how uneducated (or misinformed I should say) I was until I found your site.  <A little of both probably.>  It's helped out a lot.  <Great!>  I have a 10g with one black moor goldfish. Topfin filter and tank. It's been set up for almost three months. The water kept getting REALLY cloudy, so going on the advice of the people at PetSmart, I did massive water changes (50% or more) every week.  <Actually, unlike most large chain pet stores, I have found most PetSmart employees to be fairly well trained in fishkeeping. I even heard a girl explaining to a customer about cycling a tank! The girl's advice wasn't far from the truth. Most long time goldfish keepers swear by 90% weekly water changes, as do some discus breeders. They are very messy fish, producing large amounts of waste & ammonia. I myself, do 50% weekly water changes on all my tanks (no goldfish here though). That 50% you were doing was probably keeping the ammonia & nitrites down to non toxic levels, but your tank had never fully cycled.>  I have since found your site and have let the water go, just doing 10% water changes. It's been about five weeks now and the water is crystal clear. I have been taking the water to PetSmart to have it tested and the ammonia keeps coming up high.  <See, I was right--not cycled yet.>  So I bought the freshwater Master Test Kit from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals.  <Good test kit, I have the same one.>  I have been adding Ammo-Lock and Stress Coat every week when I do the water change. I did the tests on this past Sunday (21st) and these are the results:  High Range pH (suggested for goldfish?): 7.8  Ammonia: off the chart (greater than 8.0 ppm)  Nitrite: somewhere between 0-.25 ppm  General Hardness: 7dgh or 125 ppm  <pH is easily acclimated for most fish & isn't much concern. It's the ammonia & nitrite (& nitrates over 50, best kept <20) that are toxic to fish.>  My assumption is that the tank has not cycled because of the massive water changes.  <I don't believe that to be true. The cloudy water & ammonia spikes are part of the process of cycling with fish. Next time you should do a fishless cycle, if you don't want your fish to suffer. See: http://www.tropicalfishcentre.co.uk/Fishlesscycle.htm >  The booklet for the test kit says that even if you use Ammo Lock and your ammonia is "non-toxic" the kit will still pick it up. Is it really non-toxic?  <Yes, Ammo-Lock will break down toxic ammonia into non-toxic ammonia, so it will test positive on the ammonia test.>  I'm wondering how often I should add the Ammo Lock and what else I should do? Stress Zyme?  <Stress-zyme won't do anything & is a waste of $$$. See if you can find Bio-Spira. Stocks are extremely low for this product right now. It is the ONLY real source of live nitrifying bacteria for your tank. You will need to do a big water change to remove the Ammo-Lock from your tank before adding Bio-Spira, or the bacteria will have nothing to feed on & it won't work.>  Also is there any way too cool down a tank without doing large water changes? For some reason the temperature keeps creeping up to about 74 degrees.  <Other than floating bags of ice in there consistently or buying a chiller, you fish will have to acclimate to that temp.>  Sorry so long winded. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me. Tara  <Good luck with your fish. ~PP> 

Tiny Overstocked "Tank"  3/4/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> A friend of mine has this 2 1/2 gallon tank. In it there is three goldfish and one algae eater. The water is so milky and after they do a full water change it turns milky within a couple of hours. Tested water all seems fine. What could be done to help it. <1st of all there are way too many fish in there.  The only fish that could possible live in a tank that size, would be a Betta, or a few small white clouds (like 3).  A small goldfish needs at least 10 gal/fish & they can grow over 12" each.  Every time you are completely cleaning out the tank, you are causing it to recycle all over again.  Do a search on WetWebMedia on cycling a tank.  Please get a much bigger tank for all those fish.  It's ok to be removing a lot of the water every week, because goldfish are messy fish, but you should not be removing everything out of the tank to clean it.  Just remove 80% of the water (leave the fish in) & clean the gravel with a gravel cleaner every week.  Make sure to add Dechlor & use the same temperature water that is in the tank.>   Thank you Georgia Luce <You're welcome.  ~PP>  

Goldfish and Water Quality Hi, <Hello.> I own a Oranda/Lionhead (can't tell which species exactly) and I've just noticed (since an hour ago) that he appears to have some redder than normal red spots on his bubbly head. These are probably indications of blood, perhaps an outbreak; he also seems to have a lot of red streaks in his fins. <Signs of irritation, usually due to inappropriate water quality - do please test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, correct with water changes if necessary.> Usually, he is a very happy swimmer, always upbeat and eager to be fed. Even recently, I haven't seen any abnormal behavior changes, until today. During feeding time, he didn't seem too excited about the food, and kept dawdling around near the middle of the tank. I am terribly worried about what kind of disease/condition he has come up with, as he is a very fond member of our family. <This definitely sounds like he's just having trouble with the water quality....  please test, let us know how it comes out.> Normally, he lives in a 50-gallon tank (estimation) with 8 other goldfish (not Lionheads). To give you a rough estimate of how big the tank is, the dimensions are apprx. : 4 ' long, 1.5' tall (height), 1' width. <Sounds like a standard 55 gallon tank.  Nine goldfish is quite a lot of goldfish in this tank; goldfish are really, really messy eaters (er, they poop a lot).> I change the water usually every other week, as I know that ammonia levels can add up (lost a number of fish due to this). <I can imagine so.  I would recommend weekly water changes, if at all possible, and some very hefty filtration.> I haven't recently checked the pH, ammonia level/other chemical levels for awhile, as I assume that the water changing automatically makes the tank water suitable for the fish. <Not a safe assumption, unfortunately; testing for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH is the only way we are able to get a real feel for what's going on in the tank.  And, when in doubt, water changes *never* hurt.> Back to the Lionhead fish issue, I was hoping you could give me a vague diagnosis of several diseases he could possibly have and what types of treatments are available. <Mm, although there are other slight possibilities, I'm fairly confidant that the problem here is simply water quality.  Fortunately, that's an easy thing to fix!> Thank you so much! <Any time.> By the way, I have already started to put him in a "medication/hospital tank" to prevent the spread of disease and to help with treatment. <Likely unnecessary....  I would test your water first (might be a good idea to make that your first step, whenever anything seems amiss), then, if everything checks out perfect (ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate ideally less than 20ppm, likely higher with so many goldfish in the tank), then we should start exploring other avenues.> I've given him a tablespoon of salt for his 1-gallon make-shift tank. <That's a little bit much for a one gallon tank; I wouldn't use more than a teaspoon or two.  Not a big deal, really, though.> Again, I would be most grateful if you could provide any advice or information whatsoever. <So please check your water, and get back to us; I'll be glad to be of further assistance.> Alice <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>  

Goldfish and Water Quality - II - 03/07/2004 Hello Again, <Hello.> My Oranda seems to have recovered from his previous "streaky-finnage" (streaks on his fins) and blood hemorrhaging on his head. I took him out of his 1-gallon hospital tank today, and put him in his original tank (with the other nine fish). He seems to be fairly happy and well-off, with only a few remaining red streaks on the very tip of his dorsal tail.   <Good to hear that.> The pH of my aquarium turned out to be 7, the NH3/NH4 level turned out to be 0, and I didn't check the nitrite/nitrate levels.   <Please do make a habit of testing nitrite, at least - it should be considered as toxic as ammonia.  Nitrate, though not quite as much of an issue should still be monitored, and kept below 20ppm, ideally.> Thanks for your help!  Alice <Any time, glad to be of service!  -Sabrina>  

Goldfish and well water -II Gwen, I purchased some dip sticks to test my water the pH was very high at over 8.2. I put in some pH balance "fizz tablets", tested it again, and it was still high. We have well water, but have a water softener also. For as long as I have had fish, I always bypassed the water softener and used hard water to fill my tanks. Am I correct in doing this? Soft water contains salt and is harmful to the fish, correct? Well I went to the market and bought gallon jugs of distilled water and added water conditioner to it to fill my tank. Noah and another smaller goldfish seem to be a lot happier and healthier. They are both swimming around nicely, but I fear that it may be too late for another one of my smaller goldfish. She seems to be close to expiring. I don't understand why, I never had water problems before, and am having them now. Any ideas? Please let me know if I am on the right track or not. Thank you for all your help thus far.  <<Christina, I am not sure if you are doing the wrong thing or not. It depends on how your fish are doing. Goldfish can tolerate a high pH, but they don't like fluctuations in pH, or toxins like ammonia, nitrites, or high nitrates. Soft water is perfectly acceptable, some species prefer a low pH, like discus, and some prefer a high pH, like African cichlids. It just depends on the species. What I do recommend is that you test your pH on a regular basis, to determine if the pH of your well water is stable or not. Diluting it with distilled water is acceptable also, so long as you are making sure that the proportion of dilution is always the same, and therefore the pH is always exactly the same when you do water changes. In other words, if you have put aside 5 gallons of well water at 8.2, and you add 2.5 gallons of distilled water, you should bring the pH down to, well, let's just say you test it and now it reads 7.6. So, each time you do a water change, you know that you must dilute your well water 50% in order to have a stable pH of 7.6. BUT if your well water pH fluctuates, then you will have to change the dilution ratio accordingly.. Make sense? Hope this helps -Gwen>> 

Redcap Goldfish I Hi, I am a beginner with fish... and I just got a Redcap gold fish. I was wondering if well water is ok for this kind of fish? Should we have boiled it first? My mom has this small tank, I don't know how many gallons it is though.  How big of a tank do I need for just one Redcap goldfish? Write back soon! Thanks <<Hello :) Congrats on your new fishie! Well water should be okay, you can test the pH with a test kit from your local fish store. Goldfish like a pH between 7.2-7.8, roughly. Your moms tank should do fine, if it is 10 gallons or so. If it's smaller than 5 gallons, you may need to buy him a bigger one in a few months or so. In the meantime, be sure to do partial water changes every week to keep your redcap healthy :) Make sure the new water is the same temp as the tank water. Good luck! -Gwen>>  

Redcap Goldfish II - Problem My fish has died!!!  :o(  What do you think I did wrong? I now have a 10 gallon tank.... <<Hello again. I do not know what you did wrong. Have you had your water tested? This is the only way to know. Go to your local fish store and take a sample of your tank water. Have them test ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. This might tell you what went wrong. -Gwen>>  

Goldfish Colors 2/29/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I just got 6 goldfish today.  One is really big and the other 5 are medium size.  I've noticed one's like a white color and the other 2 have an interesting black stripe running down their back at the top.  Do I have to be concerned about this?  It's really freaking me out that they might be sick. Please answer my question and what I can do to help. <The black is a normal coloration of your goldfish.  It may fade as it gets older.  What freaks me out is that you have so many fish & bought them all at the same time.  Goldfish need at least 10 gallons each at under 3" & 20gal each when larger.  Either you have a very large tank or your fish are severely overcrowded.  Goldfish are very dirty/heavy waste producing fish.  Even at the stocking levels just mentioned, 80-90% weekly water changes are recommended to keep the ammonia levels down to non-toxic levels.  Adding that many fish to any sized tank at one time, will result in the death of most, if not all of your fish.  Please try to do something to remedy this, like get a much larger tank, or return some of these fish to save the others.  I apologize, if you really do have a huge tank.  ~PP>  

Goldfish maintenance I used to have to clean my one goldfish's bowl every few days or once a week. It's getting more and more frequent (daily).  Does my fish have a disease? >>Hello. Hopefully not. However, your fish is probably growing to large for its bowl. If you don't buy it a new, larger home, your fish might get sick and die. As it grows the ammonia levels will rise too quickly for the amount of water changes you do, and the fish will become stunted. You really should think about buying your fish a bigger home. Regular goldfish (comets) can grow up to a foot in length, and fantails and other fancy goldfish can grow large enough to resemble grapefruits. HTH -Gwen<<  

Goldfish and bleach Help!!! My son has had 4 goldfish in a 10 gal tank for the last 2+ years. Yesterday I took all the fish out and put them in a 1 gal holding tank using water from the main tank. I then emptied the water out and cleaned the tank and gravel with bleach. After cleaning I rinsed completely and reset the tank. <If you do smaller bi-weekly (or even weekly) water changes you will not have to do a complete tank clean.  Goldfish are messy, and if you just keep up on cleaning and vacuuming the gravel you will have an easier time with it.> I have done the same process every 8 months or so and have never had a problem. This time however all 4 fish died after sitting listless on the bottom of the tank for about 20 minutes. Before I buy more fish and start again do you Have an idea what happened?? And what I should do different? <I do not like getting bleach near my fish tanks.  If I had to guess what had happened I think the fish had been poisoned with bleach that had not been fully washed out from the tank. If you do get more goldfish, and you keep the same cleaning schedule, all you have to do is wash the tank out with warm water rather than bleach.  But, I suggest you alter your schedule and do smaller weekly or bi-weekly water changes and gravel vacuuming. doing that and adding the freshwater will be more beneficial to your fish than letting them live in the same water for 8 months then totally starting over. My other concern is that 10 gallon tanks are far to small to keep goldfish for long periods of time.  They are messy, and require large amounts of water so the tank doesn't become to disgusting to quickly.  I have moved my goldfish to larger tanks and the cleaning schedule is greatly less demanding then it was when they were in tiny tanks!   Hope that helps -Magnus>  

Saltwater Goldfish?! - 02/10/2004 Hello <Hi.> I have one 9 year old 5" goldfish in a 10 gallon tank with a little gravel on the bottom. The temperature is normally kept at 73 degrees. It has a Penguin BioWheel mini power filter Flow: 100 GPH. There is also an aerator pump in his tank. I change 30% water once a week to which I add 5ml (1 capful) of "Cycle" and use "AquaPlus" to dechlorinate water.  He eats approx. 12 Wardley pellets a day. <So far, so good....> 3 weeks ago while I was gone he was overfed. I had just done a 1/3 water change and came home 3 days later to a smelly, dirty tank. Fish was sitting in the corner but swam around when disturbed. Still eating good. Thought he might be doing "flashing" motions across the tank once in awhile. <Likely the "flashing" is a reaction to irritation (ammonia, nitrite) in the water.> I tested his water: there was a bit of ammonia and nitrites in the water and the nitrate reading was high. <Bingo.> I did a 25% water change and siphoned a lot of waste from the bottom. Changed the charcoal filter and added a capful of "Cycle". Did not feed fish anymore this day. <Larger water changes may be more appropriate while the water levels are off....> The next day the water was clearer and all reading were a little lower. pH 7.5.  I did a 20% water change. Not so much waste at the bottom. Fed as usual. <Okay> I tested the water the 3rd day, pH was the same and all other reading were almost normal. But noticed red streaks on tail fin. <"Almost" normal - I assume that means some ammonia, some nitrite?  Elevated nitrate?  This must be rectified with water changes.> 4th day - ph same, ammonia close to 0, nitrites less than 0.3, nitrates medium 5th day - all readings the same, except nitrate level less? 6th day - all readings the same except nitrate levels rising 7th day - ammonia 1 (touch higher), nitrites 0.2 (touch higher), nitrates 7 (higher) Did 25% water change  (6 days since last water change) Noticed foam on top of water surface after I had changed the water? Maybe from aerator? Ammonia or bad bacteria in tank? <Something does seem "off" here....  What kind of test kit(s) are you using?  And again, if you are reading any ammonia and/or nitrite, water changes are crucial....  must keep these at zero.> Tested water 3 days later to find ammonia close to 0, nitrites 0.1 and nitrates 6 Tested water 2 days later to find ammonia perfect, nitrite 0.1, nitrites 7-8, pH 7.5 Did 25% water change  (6 days since last water change) <Sounds like the tank is cycling.... perhaps to account for the accumulated waste from overfeeding, and the resultant increased waste output of the fish.> Feb 1 5 days later fish water was cloudy, sticky and the fish lost two pieces of his tail fin. <Yeowch> Why did his water get so bad? His tail fin seems to have white mucky stuff around it? I don't think its ICK. <No, doesn't sound like ich at all.  Sounds like bacterial fin rot, brought on by the poor water quality....> His fins have been red for 2 weeks now and have gotten redder each day. All his fins now have red streaks on them. He's still eating well, but sitting at the bottom of his tank most of the time unless disturbed. <Water changes.... and perhaps an antibacterial medicine, if proper water quality does not improve his fin erosion.> Changed 80% of his water and put in a new charcoal filter <Ah, good.> Added 2 tsps. of salt to the water and another 2 tsps. 12 hours later. <Perfect, this should help.> Fish seemed better with salt. Swimming around more. Eating well. Think he's still "flashing" once in awhile. <Probably still a reaction from the water quality....  keep testing, correcting when necessary.> Feb 2 He seemed to do well with this addition of salt but I wasn't sure of the dosage so I called an aquarium place in the city. <.... One to two tablespoons per ten gallons, possibly slightly more for a goldfish, but not by a lot....> He told me to change 1/3rd of the water (which I had already done yesterday) and to add 7 Tablespoons of salt (less the 4 teaspoons I had already added) <Oh.  My.  Goodness!  That is a LOT of salt....  FAR more than I would be comfortable recommending....> and raise the temperature to 80 degrees. <If the goldfish is dealing with a bacterial infection, this is not a great idea....  For one, bacteria multiply at a greater rate in higher temperatures, and for two, goldfish do not do well in such high temps.> Then in 3 days, change another 1/3rd of the water and add another 7 Tablespoons of salt. <WOW.  Okay, so we've got 2/3 of the original 7 tablespoons in there after the water change....  that's 4.67 tablespoons.... PLUS the new 7 tablespoons - up to 11.67 tablespoons....> He said to continue this every 3 days for 2 weeks.  Thought this was too much salt, so I asked him to repeat this process and he affirmed it. <Holy wow.  So, just to appease my curiosity, figuring this: we have 11.67 in the water now.  Take away a third of it (water change), we have 7.78 tablespoons, plus the new seven, up to 14.78T....  Three days later, now 16.85T....  Finally ending at 18.23T in a 10 gallon tank - if I'm figuring correctly, that's nearly one fifth the salinity of marine water....Yikes!  Far, FAR too brackish for a goldfish....> So I did this! Of course dissolving it in a cup with some of the tank water first. Pouring it in very slowly and not directly on fish. By the way, I'm using a pure sea salt. <Which will *dramatically* affect pH, making it far too high for this animal, especially in the state he's in.  This would wipe out the bacteria, without a doubt, but cause many problems to the fish in and of itself....  more harm than it's worth.> Feb 4 Changed 1/3 water and added 7 Tablespoons of salt.  Fins a little less red. Feb 7 Tested water - pH 8, ammonia 0.1, Nitrites 0.2, Nitrates 6, General Hardness 120ppm, Carbonate Hardness 60ppm.   <The high salinity is probably starting to kill off your nitrifying bacteria, at this point, hence the ammonia and nitrite refusing to settle; water changes, with no salt, are in order....> Changed 1/3 water and added 6 Tablespoons of salt. Only has redness on tail fin now, but it still seems to have whitish stuff (not ick) around the edges of tail fin. <Likely the bacteria causing his fin rot have started to die, along with your biological filtration.> So I'm supposed to do 3 more water changes and add another 21 Tablespoons of salt over the next 8 days. I'm scared about using this much salt!! <I would be, too!  I'm glad you're concerned!> Should I do this? <Frankly, in my opinion?  No!> He said that if this doesn't work, I could then try "Melafix"? <I do not stake much on the effectiveness of Melafix.  It may help, and is worth a shot, but you *must* continue water changes, and be diligent about them, as long as you see any ammonia and/or nitrite on your tests.  You may want to consider an antibiotic, like Kanamycin or Nitrofurazone ("Kanacyn", "Furacyn", and "Spectrogram" are some proprietary names).> Do you think this is safe? <The salt?  No.  The Melafix?  Not harmful, may help, might not.> Should I stop the salt? <Yes.> Should I instead be using Melafix or a broad-spectrum antibiotic like furan, Kanamycin sulfate, spectrogram, Nitrofuran-G or Maracyn & Maracyn II? <See now, you've read my mind.  I do not like to recommend the Maracyns unless you know *specifically* what bacteria you are treating - Maracyn I (erythromycin) treats *only* gram-positive bacteria, and Maracyn II (Minocycline) treats *only* gram-negative bacteria.  I would go with Kanamycin, Nitrofurazone, or a combination of the two; these are my antibiotics of choice.> Or should I wait until salt treatment is over and then use one of these products? <I would slowly (over a few to several days) lower the salt, 'till you've got about 2 tablespoons per 10 gallons, then begin treatment with antibiotics (if necessary).  First and foremost are water changes.> I'm not sure if his fins turned red from the bad water quality, <This is, if not the entire problem, at least what started it.> from parasites, <Unlikely, from your descriptions> or he has a bacteria infection. <Quite possible.> Would he have Fin or Tail Rot? <Likely.> He has never lost his appetite!! <A *wonderful* sign!  What tough fish there are in the world!> I'm sorry this was such a long letter, but I am concerned about the salt. <Goodness, don't be sorry!  The more detailed the description, the better - and *certainly* don't be sorry about being concerned for your fish!  That's a good thing.> Hope you can at least lead me in the right direction. <I hope so, too.> Thank you for your time. <Any time - glad to be of service.> Teri Odenthal <Wishing you and your salty goldfish well,  -Sabrina>  

Saltwater Goldfish?! - II - 02/14/2004 Hello <Hello again, Teri!> Thank you so much for responding to my email. <You bet.> I have to admit that this goldfish actually belongs to my friend, and she wanted me to try and help her. She continued to follow the advice given to her my the aquarium guy in the city, but has now realized that this "salt treatment" he recommended is too much!! Anyways, this is a continuation from my last email, ending on February 7th, when I last tested and changed the water for my friend (I do this for her when she's working): Feb 10th My friend, still convinced that this aquarium fellow knew his stuff, changed 1/3 water, added 7 Tbls. salt, (I figure the fish has about 17 Tablespoons in his 10 gallon tank now?) added 1 capful "cycle". and left temperature at 80 degrees. Feb 13th Finally after my friend read your email, she started to worry about adding this much salt. She changed 1/3rd of the water, added 1 capful of "cycle", changed the carbon filter and did not add anymore salt. Or should we add a little to lower the quantity slowly? <I would not add any; just do water changes daily to lower the salinity.  If you need to do large water changes, as I suspect you will (nitrifying bacteria may have died off), then figure how much is in the tank now, and add some salt to the water change water, so as not to bring the salinity down too rapidly - don't want to shock the fish.> She is slowly lowering the temperature. It is now at 78 degrees and she will continue to lower it over the next few days until it reaches about 74 degrees. <Even lower is better with goldfish; this is a coldwater fish by nature.> She told me the fishes tail fin had some red on it again, but it was a lot darker colored than before, and that the fish was still swimming quite fast around the tank and settled down in the corner so quietly. <Redness is a sign of irritation from something in the water being inadequate - I suspect ammonia and/or nitrite.> He is still eating good. Was last fed this morning. She said the water looked very clean, but I told her to test the water. <Definitely.  Just looking "clean" really gives absolutely *no* insight into water quality.> These tests of course would be after the 1/3rd water change. Ammonia 0-0.1, Nitrites 0.1-0.2, Nitrates 10?. <Again, what sort of test kit(s) are you/she using?  If she's reading ammonia and nitrite even *after* a 1/3 water change - yeah, I'm sure the fish is having to endure lots of ammonia and nitrite issues.  The tank will re-cycle as you come down in salinity, and may require even daily water changes to keep the fish healthy.> She did not check the pH. I bet its too high though! <With all the sea salt?  Likely.> She then added another capful of "cycle" and will check the water again tonight. If it's still off? Should we do another water change so soon and how much? <As much as necessary to keep the ammonia and nitrite down.> Do we add more salt? <If you do large water changes, yes, I would add some salt, so as not to shock the fish by changing the water properties too quickly.> She thought of using Melafix or the antibiotics you mentioned also. Should we try Melafix first <I do not have a high opinion of MelaFix; it is worth a try, if you are interested.  It may help.  It shouldn't hurt, at least.> and can we use it with salt in the water? <Yes.> Or just go straight to the antibiotics? <If you see a white or milky edge to the eroded fin, I would probably go ahead with a mild antibiotic.  I would not do this until you've gotten the salt content to a manageable level, though.  This will also give you a handful of days to observe the fish and see if he begins to improve on his own with improved water quality.> I think its scary using antibiotics, no? <Not if used properly.  Again, my antibiotics of choice are Nitrofurazone and Kanamycin; the very low dosages of them in Aquatronics' medications (Furacyn, Kanacyn, Spectrogram) provides for a very mild treatment.  I have not had any fish react adversely to either.> Thank you for reading this again, <Any time!  Truly, glad to be of service.> Teri and my friend with her beloved salty goldfish <Wishing you, your friend, and the salted fish well,  -Sabrina>  

Saltwater Goldfish?! - III - 02/14/2004 Hello Sabrina <Hi, again!> Thank you again for your email and for answering my questions so thoroughly.  We are so relived to correspond with you about our "salty goldfish". <Any time, really.  So glad to be of service.> Thank goodness for email!! <Indeed!  What a valuable resource communication is!> Yes, we figure that salt has played havoc with the biological system because we were already changing 1/3 of the water every 3 days. We didn't have a problem with the water when we used to change it once a week, before the overfeeding episode of course!! <Heh, when it rains, it pours!> Guess he could have a 20 gallon tank.  I have not talked to my friend "Karen" yet after she tested the water last night, so I don't know what the readings were, or if she had to change some more water. I did print out your last email to us and left it at her house.  I peeked through the window to see the fishy and he seemed to be swimming around normally. <Swimming is always good.> By the way, we are using: A-7820 Hagen Test Kit - Ammonia for Freshwater - 0.0 - 7.3 mg/l- 70 tests A-7825 Hagen Test Kit - Nitrite Test-Fresh and Salt water Nitrite Test- 0.0 - 3.3 mg/l- 75 tests A-7845 Hagen Test Kit - Nitrate-For Fresh and Salt Water- 0.0 - 110.0 mg/l-80 tests A-7815 Hagen Test Kit - pH Wide Range 4.5 - 9.0- for Freshwater and Saltwater- 100 tests A-7830 Hagen Test Kit Carbonate and Total Hardness For Fresh and Salt Water <Sounds good.> From Feb 1 - Feb 10 (gone from 7 up to 17 Tablespoons of salt) Feb 14 - removed about 5 Tablespoons with 1/3 water change. Is losing 5 Tablespoons too shocking for fish? <Mm, possibly, the best way to gauge this is through using a hydrometer.... the SeaTest box-type is the only one that I know of that reads low enough for this purpose (the new Marineland one might, as well).  I would not add it back at this point, though, as he's already acclimated to the lower salt level - that's certainly better than going up and down quickly & repeatedly.> So I figure that there is about 12 Tablespoons of salt left in the tank, unless she has changed some more water since. I hope that if she has already done a large 80% or so water change, she will read your email soon and add some salt so the fish is not shocked by the change in salinity. If she has changed close to 80%, that removes 9 1/2 tablespoons of salt? leaving us with 2 1/5 Tablespoons in tank? She should add how much salt? Maybe 4 Tablespoons? <Again, if the fish has had time to acclimate, I would not add any back.> If the water readings are okay, we will continue to change a small amount everyday until about 2 Tablespoons are left. Maybe adding back half of what we take out? <Sounds good.... again, the best way to deal with this is using a hydrometer, so you can better understand how much salt is in there.  However, goldfish are such resilient fish, it is likely not necessary to be terribly accurate.> I'd better get off the computer in case she's trying to phone me. Thank you so much!! <Any time.> Teri <Wishing you and all well,  -Sabrina>  

Saltwater Goldfish?! - IV - 02/18/2004 Hello again <Hi, Teri!> Saturday Feb 14, as noted in "salty goldfish part III" we changed 1/3 water and did not add anymore salt. 12 Tablespoons left in tank. Added 2 capfuls of "Cycle" and changed the carbon filter. Tested water after this water change.  Ammonia 0-0.1, Nitrite 0.1-0.2, Nitrates 10. Lowering temperature from 80 degrees to eventually 74 degrees or less. <Wonderful.  Keep up with the water changes, please try to get ammonia and nitrite to zero.  What is the pH looking like?> Sunday Feb 15, the next day , she changed 15% of water and did not add salt. 10.2 Tablespoons still in tank. <Okay> Tuesday Feb 17. I tested the water - temperature at 76 degrees now, pH 8, ammonia 0.1, nitrites close to 0.1, nitrates 5. I suggested she change 30-40% of water, clean the carbon filter and add 1 tablespoon of salt. This would leave 7-8 tablespoons of salt in the tank. <Cool.  How big of a tank again?> Wednesday Feb 18 we will test the water again. I want the ammonia and nitrites to read 0, right? <Yes, exactly.  And try to keep nitrates less than 20ppm, which you are currently well under.> The fishes red fins looked better on Feb 4th after there were 12 tablespoons of salt in his tank and/or when water quality was finally better after changing 30% every 3 days. <Improvement in water quality is the likelier one, I wager.> They started to turn red again anywhere from or after Feb 7th after there was 14-17 tablespoons of salt in his tank and are still getting quite red again. Otherwise he's eating and acting quite normal. <Sounds good, except for the redness in the fins.  With lowering salinity and pH back to normal, and improving water quality, I expect this will subside.> So, I think I've concluded that the salt will help relieve stress from poor water quality only if the water quality is improved first. <Agreed.> It will not help if the water quality is poor, nor will it help keeping a bit of salt in the water to help prevent stress in a fish if the water accidentally gets bad. <Agreed, again.  Water quality is of paramount importance.> His fins turned red before we started removing any salt from his tank. I think I'm convinced that too much salt killed the good bacteria and caused bad water quality, but were these readings of ammonia and nitrite enough to redden his fins? <Yes.> Could the large amount of salt itself have caused stress and the return of the red fins? <Yes.  Or the heightened pH from the buffers in the marine salt.> He started to look better with the salt treatment before, would you advice leaving some salt in the tank for awhile to see if his red fins heal again after we correct the water quality? <I keep many/most of my freshwater tanks salted at a rate of one to two tablespoons per ten gallons of water.  You may wish to use a salt marketed for freshwater use, as this will not influence your pH.> Thank you so much again for reading this!! <Any time, really, glad to help in any way.> Teri, Karen and Salty Goldfish <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>  

Saltwater Goldfish?! - V - 02/23/2004 Hello Sabrina <Hi again, Teri!  Hope all is well.> My girlfriend phoned me Sunday Feb 22. The goldfishes fins are still red and getting worse. The dorsal fin has a red spot on it too. <Drat.  What are the water parameters at this time?> Seems we're starting all over again. He's still eating but darts around once in awhile. <Signs of irritation....  could just be the salt and water parameters, could be illness.> We've been changing about 20% of his water every other day. Salt in tank is approximately 6 Tablespoons now. <Forgive me, please refresh my memory - what size tank is it, again?> We are having someone pickup "Melafix" for us today. <Although I am quite skeptical at the effectiveness of this stuff, it is at least not harmful, and does seem to help speed up regeneration of damaged fins.> I'm also having him check on "Aquatronics" A 3 Kanacyn, A9 Nitrofura-G or A10 Furacyn. Do these antibiotics have both Nitrofurazone and Kanamycin in them? <No.  Kanacyn is Kanamycin sulfate, Furacyn is just Nitrofurazone, and Nitrofura-G is Furazolidone.  As far as I know, Spectrogram is the only Aquatronics med that combines both Nitrofurazone and Kanamycin.> What about other brands if we can't buy "Aquatronics" here? <There are certainly other brands/options.  The reason I recommend Aquatronics above others is simply due to their very wide selection of effective products.> You said "Aquatronics" antibiotics provides a mild treatment. <Indeed, they tend to have low (but still effective) dosages.> Nobody around here seems to carry Spectrogram; which I read has both Nitrofurazone & Kanamycin as active ingredients. I could order it through the mail if necessary though. <I do not believe it is utterly necessary to use that particular product....  My next preference would be either Kanacyn or Furacyn> They do all carry "Mardel" Maracyn 1 and Maracyn II, which I read can be used together without damage to the biological filter? <I would rather say little damage to biological bacteria; these are both pretty mild on our nitrifying pals.  HOWEVER,  I will not recommend using both Maracyn I and II at the same time.  It is not the nitrifying bacteria that I would fear for, but the fish.  I have tried twice to treat using both of these at the same time, once on a terribly ill fish, and once on a group of not-very-ill fish, and in both instances, the fish reacted horribly to having so much medication in the water, even only several minutes after adding the second med.  I will not repeat that procedure, and I will not recommend it to others.> You said you would not use them though. <Mm, yes, true, but don't take that to mean that these aren't good products.  The issue with them is that Maracyn I is erythromycin, which is only effective against gram-positive bacteria (that's bacteria that do have a cell wall), and Maracyn II is Minocycline, which is only effective against gram-negative bacteria (that's bacteria that do *not* have a cell wall).  I don't like to recommend these unless the person asking is very, very positive of what illness (and therefore, what bacteria) they are dealing with; if the bacteria is misdiagnosed, and the person uses the wrong one, it will be completely ineffective, and the fish is out of luck.  I will never recommend using both Maracyn I and Maracyn II at the same time, as above.> I don't think they contain Nitrofurazone & Kanamycin? <Correct, as above.> If we decide to use an antibiotic and I finally understand which one to use, is there any precautions? <Follow the directions, to the letter.  When treating, keep in mind that a ten gallon tank with two inches of sand in the bottom is not containing ten gallons of water; try to account for water displaced by decor and substrate.  Some medications are safe to overdose (or even double - or triple - dose) and some are safe to use in conjunction with certain others.> What do we do about the biological filter? Do we have to re-cycle the tank again after treatment? <Depends upon what med you use.  I would still recommend Spectrogram (Kanamycin & Nitrofurazone); failing that, I would recommend Kanacyn (Kanamycin).  There are several other antibiotics available that would be effective as well; these are simply what I have had wonderful results with, especially in treating goldfish.  They are also very, very mild on biological filtration.> What about the dissolved oxygen level in the water? Medications "antibiotics" lower the level, right? <If you do not have a test kit for oxygen, you can add an airstone to the tank if you feel it necessary.  The goldie would probably enjoy that, as well.  Otherwise, do keep an eye on the fish for labored breathing.> Should we have left the temperature closer to 80 degrees if he was not healing? Its at about 76 degrees now. <I would (slowly) drop the temp further; high temps will increase the rate at which bacteria multiply.  Plus, with lower temps, there are higher levels of dissolved O2.  And on top of that, goldfish prefer cooler water; it might make him feel a bit better.> I know his symptoms were getting better after the salt treatment, water changes, the temperature at 80 degrees and then started to reappear at the highest level of salt, even after same amount of water changes and before we started to lower the temperature. <If it were me, I might seriously consider medicating at this point.  I have always had goldfish respond very well to Kanamycin and (although I am skeptical as to its abilities) MelaFix.  These can safely be used together.  The Aquatronics' dose for Kanamycin in Kanacyn is low enough, you need not make adjustments as to exact volume of water (for example, one whole capsule for one ten gallon tank).> Anyways, I will observe goldfish today and see what his fins look like. You know they never really looked like "fin rot". Does losing pieces of his tail fins, like he did 2 weeks ago, mean he has "fin rot"? <It could be a strong indicator.  So far, it does sound possibly like a bacterial issue; I have not seen anything in your emails that would indicate parasitic problems to me.  Though the fish may simply be irritated by the water parameters and salt, I think I would medicate.  A photograph of the fish's affected fins would be great, if you can provide it.> I should keep my questions to a minimum, heh? <No, not at all!  Truly, I am glad to help....  the more I can help, the better.  I'm glad you are so eager to know more about your fish.  I can recommend some good titles on fish health, if you're interested?> Oh well, the whole picture is getting clearer thanks to you!!  Teri <Glad to hear it.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>  

Saltwater Goldfish?! - VI - 02/28/2004 Hello Sabrina <Hi, Teri!> Me again! <No, not you again!  Just kidding.  ;) > I want to try to make this as short as possible. <Not necessary....  do feel free to take your time, be as lengthy as necessary.> We have a 10 gallon tank and I have attached "Our Goldfish Daily Record" and pictures of our fish. <Yes, thank you, the pics are immensely helpful.  By the way, *excellent* record keeping.> As you can see we have not used "Melafix" or "Antibiotics" yet.   <I would do so....  It looks to me that you might be dealing with fin rot, from the pics.> Please excuse our figuring on the salt levels left in tank. We did not buy a tool to measure the salt accurately. Aquatronics products are no longer sold in Canada? <Mm, didn't realize you were in Canada.  Or more likely, I did, and I forgot.  And again, Aquatronics are certainly not the only product available to use; I usually recommend them as they are usually very available locally in the US, and have a very broad selection.  There are certainly other good products out there!> I could order them online. I did purchase an antibiotic though. I have attached a page on this "Seachem" product.   <The "Kanaplex", yes?  This would be absolutely fine.  I didn't realize Seachem sold antibiotics other than Metronidazole....  this is good to know!> As you will see, our water tests are finally great. Not sure about pH though?   <A pH of 8.0 can be quite irritating for goldfish.  What is the pH from your tapwater (or whatever source water you use for the tank)?  Do please start using a salt marketed for freshwater use as you do water changes to replace the saltwater mix.  It will lack the buffers of the saltwater mix that is causing your pH to stay high.> We were getting ready to start treatments with Melafix and/or Antibiotics, but now we're more concerned about the scratching, darting. <Quite likely attributable to the high pH.  Do keep your eyes open, though, be on the lookout for any other developments, like ich.  Again, I think this is a result of the irritation from the high pH.  My pond fish show these signs in the summer when our tap water jumps up in pH (from 8.3 in the winter to 9.2(!!) in the summer) if I have not tested the tap and become aware of the pH issue before a water change in the pond.> I will change about 20% water Thursday morning because I there's poop on the bottom and his filter is plugged up again with brownie wastes. Wish me luck! <Good luck!> Karen's not home till Friday and I hope fishy doesn't decide to jump out!! He probably won't. I'm being paranoid!! It's getting a bit frustrating isn't it?   <It is always frustrating dealing with sick fish.  Don't worry, you're not alone in this.> Thank you for reading and looking at all this. <Any time.> And again thanks for all your help. <One last comment/suggestion:  I assume the pics are of fishy's permanent home, yes?  It would probably make him feel better and safer if he had a couple spots to hide if he felt necessary.  A couple of fake plants and a (new, clean) terracotta flowerpot would make him quite at home.  Once you're done helping him get healthy again, I would very strongly recommend getting some greens in his diet; a few pieces of Anacharis/elodea (a water plant that goldfish like to eat) would make him quite happy, I'm sure.  Also, shelled peas, blanched veggies like zucchini, cucumber, or spinach would be a good supplement.  There are also some good frozen veggie foods, like Ocean Nutrition's "Formula Two", that you can find at the fish store.  Keep in mind, these fish are vegetarians by nature, and unfortunately, a diet of only pelleted or flake foods can lead to some health complications, like constipation and bloating.  Adding some plant matter into his diet will prevent this (and taste yummy, too).> Teri & Fishy <Do please keep in touch!  Wishing you, Fishy, et al well,  -Sabrina>  

Saltwater Goldfish?! - VII - 03/07/2004 Hello Sabrina <Hello, Teri!> Thank you again for your reply on February 28th. <You bet.> My computer was down for a few days, so I couldn't send you a update until now. <No problem.> The last record I sent to you ended on Wednesday Feb. 25 with fish darting around on the bottom of tank off and on. Can't remember if I told you that the red spot on her dorsal fin was gone and that the part of her upper tail fin that fell off a couple of weeks ago is starting to grow back. <Ah, wonderful news, for sure!> Thursday Feb 26 - fish seemed pretty normal this morning. Didn't jump the tank, thank god!!  Water readings perfect. pH still at 8. Temperature 76 degrees. Changed 25% water (4 days since last change). I am babysitting her today so I did not spend all day with her but when I checked her this afternoon and this evening, she wasn't doing any darting around. Did notice she was holding her body vertically up with head towards the water return once in a while. She really seemed to like swimming under the new water I was pouring in. <Fish that are having (or recovering from) some sort of irritation will certainly do this.  It probably feels good to have the water flowing on and around them, soothes their itchin'.> Friday Feb 27 - Karen was back home and said fish was darting around the tank this evening quite hard. <Uh, please forgive me, I'm having a huge brainfart.  I've probably asked this, but as it is an incredibly important issue, I will kick myself if I don't confirm - are you using a dechlorinator when you do water changes?  Something that removes both "chlorine" and "chloramine"?> Saturday Feb 28 - fish still darting around once in awhile. Water looking a little cloudy. Water readings still good though pH is hard to read on color chart, but I think its gone down to about 7.9?  Sunday Feb 29 - fish still darting around. Not hanging out by water flow now. Water readings - pH the same, ammonia 0.1, nitrites 0.2, nitrates 5. Water cloudier than yesterday. Mostly because of white slimy stuff from her fins. <How are those fins lookin'?  Any better?> Did a 30% water change and added weekly dose of "cycle".  We're surprised she hasn't hurt herself from her strong darts across the tank!  Monday Mar 1 - removed carbon from filter cartridge, added 1 teaspoon of "Melafix" Temperature now at 75 degrees.  Tuesday Mar 2 - Karen wasn't comfortable with all the brown mucky stuff on gravel and rocks (which the tank has always gotten for years now) so she decided to take the gravel out (not the fish) and clean it and also cleaned the glass inside. She usually does this once in a while. <Yikes - huge tank cleanings like this will completely wipe out the nitrifying bacteria that we need in our tanks!  Siphoning the gravel using a gravel vacuum will remove detritus from the gravel.  If the gravel is too large to vacuum, I would recommend (slowly) replacing with a smaller grade gravel.  It should never be necessary to completely clean the tank.> She then added 1 Tablespoon of "Freshwater Aquarium Salt" and 2 teaspoons of "Melafix". Figure we didn't have anymore than maybe 1 Tablespoon of "sea salt" left in tank by now. <Sounds great.> Wednesday Mar 3 - fish seems very happy. She's does a few fast swims back and forth sometimes, but no hard darting back and forth! We were very happy!! We are lowering her temperature to 74 over the next 12 hours. <I'm sure those cooler temperatures are feeling good by now!> Will continue to add 1 teaspoon of "Melafix" daily to her tank until Monday (7 days of treatment). Might have to do another water change again before Monday, but we'll just adjust the dosage of "Melafix" somehow. <Exactly.  Just compensate for the amount removed in the water change.> Parts of her tail fins are still bright red, so if the good water quality and/or "Melafix" doesn't clear it up, we'll use the Kanaplex antibiotics. <Sounds like a plan.  Uh, I'm still curious on the dechlorinator issue....> Thank you for all your advice on the fishies home and diet. We are looking into getting a 20 gallon tank for her, so we can add some more decorations to her home. <Oh, wonderful!!> Terracotta pot is a great idea! Karen used to have a lot more rocks and decorations in this tank,  but when the fish got bigger she removed them. She mainly feeds her green pellets but does give her shelled peas and some frozen bloodworms once in awhile. Fishy loves them. Thanks for the other food idea's! <You betcha.> Please let me know what you think or if you have any further suggestions for us and fishy. I'll keep in touch and let you know what's happening. <Please do.> Teri, Karen & Fishy <Wishing you all well,  -Sabrina>  

Saltwater Goldfish?! - VIII & IX - 03/15/2004 Hi Sabrina <Hi again, Terri!> Yes, we do use AquaPlus which claims to take care of any "chlorine" and "chloramine" in the water. <Ah, whew!  What great relief.> We've been adding 1 teaspoon of Melafix every day now for 7 days with one water change in-between of 25%. We did leave the filter cartridge in the pump but removed the carbon from the filter for this week, so that the foamy material would still catch any debris from the tank. The pH is still around 8 and ammonia and nitrite have been kept at 0. Nitrates are also low. Figure we have about 2 Tbls of aquarium salt in tank. The temperature is now at 74 degrees. <Yay, better and better.> Her fins are looking better and she's eating well, but yesterday on her 7th day of Melafix treatment, I noticed that about 15 minutes after I added Melafix, she shook or shivered a bit and then did a few darts on the bottom of tank. Didn't notice her doing anything weird after that, but then I am just babysitting again and was only with her again for a half hour this evening to feed her. <It could be that the MelaFix is slightly irritating.  I'm not a fan of the stuff, but I've never had any negative effects from it.  I don't doubt, though, that the fish might find it irritating.> On the Melafix bottle it says that "Treatment can be continued if necessary" So I will change 25% of water today, March 8th, and add more Melafix, to keep it at 7 teaspoons for maybe another 2 days or so? I'm not sure if they mean to add another teaspoon (increasing the dose each continuing day)  or to leave it at 7 teaspoons for the extra days? Any idea how long we should continue Melafix? <Mm, that's pretty much up to you....  I am still very, very skeptical of its claims, but as I said, I've not seen any ill effects from it, either.  If you have reason to believe it is irritating your fish, I would discontinue use.  If you see what seems to be improvement, and feel like you can attribute that to the MelaFix, well, keep goin'.> Thanks again for keeping in touch and reading all this! Your information has helped us along so much!! <You betcha.  And sorry for the delay in this reply.> Teri, Karen & Fishy ------------------- Hello again Sabrina <Hello again, indeed :) > March 8th - I tested the fishy's water, pH 7.9, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 3-4. <Yahoo!> Temperature 74 degrees. Fish was acting normal and ate. I changed 25% of his water (4 days since last change). <Excellent.> Even if the biological filter is working fine we're worried the water might get bad because there's no carbon in the filter. Anyways, again like yesterday in a cup, I mixed 1 1/2 teaspoons of Melafix with some of his tank water and poured it in slowly. Day 7 we had 7 teaspoons of Melafix in her tank and today, day 8 we will keep it at 7 teaspoons. <By number of teaspoons, I do assume you mean by following the directions of one teaspoon daily, yes?> Well she did the same thing today as yesterday. After about 5 minutes of adding the Melafix, she darted around and her dorsal fin was down. <Yeah, it does sound like the MelaFix might be irritating the fish.> She settled down after about 15 minutes and I left the house. Oh yeah, I did add 1 teaspoon of salt to keep the level at about 2 Tablespoons. But this same flashing occurred yesterday without the addition of salt. <I think, from how you describe, that you can attribute it to the MelaFix.> Karen's not home, so I will check on fishy in a few hours from now.  You know of any problems using Melafix? Maybe I shouldn't keep it in her water anymore? <As above, I have not seen ill effects from it, myself.  I do not doubt, though, that the fish might find it irritating.  If it were me, I would probably discontinue using it after seeing what you've described, unless I were seeing very noticeable improvement.> Thanks again <Any time.> Teri, Karen & Fishy <Please do keep us updated.  Wishing Fishy a speedy and complete recovery,  -Sabrina>  

Saltwater Goldfish?! - X - 03/16/2004 Hello Sabrina <Hi, Terri!> Thanks for your reply again!! <My pleasure.> Well after adding 1 teaspoon of Melafix daily for 7 a days, we decided not to up the dose but did leave this amount in her tank for another 5 days. Then changed 25% of water and put filter with carbon back in. Didn't add any more salt or Melafix. There still might be close to 2 Tablespoons of salt in tank. <Sounds fine.> Karen says fishy is doing well and seems happy. Haven't noticed any darting around. <Wonderful.> The only concern Karen has is the red part at the bottom end of fishy's fin. This is the only red part left. We think it might just fall off like the one above did a few weeks ago. Except this caused her water to get real stinky and cloudy because it happened during the night. I might have to take some more pictures of her to send to you. <If you could, that'd be great.> The  top part of back fin has already grown back about 1 inch! <Excellent, I'm so glad to hear that!> Her water is looking really clean and still tests perfect. We might now consider changing 30% of her water once a week like we used to? <This would definitely be a good idea.> We still have the Kanaplex antibiotics but are very hesitate to use them because of her age and the way she acted with the Melafix? <I have not had any fish react poorly to a low dosage of Kanamycin - including sensitive scaleless fish.  I doubt that it would harm your goldie.  However, from the sound of it, she's well on the rebound, in which case, medication should be unnecessary.> Oh my, what a 2 months with fishy. Poor thing, with her overfeeding, dirty water and extended salt bath. Lucky she's a hardy one! <Yup!  Amazing how durable our fish can be, at times.  I think you need to give yourselves a pat on the back for being able to do so much and so well for your scaly bud.> And we're happy that she's now happy. <Me, too.> Please keep in touch. <You bet.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance, and do keep us updated!> Thank you,  Teri, Karen & Fishy <Any time - I'm delighted to have been of service.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>  

Sucking air at top of tank.. I just recently purchased a black moor from a local store. He is in a three gallon Eclipse tank with one snail. <A three gallon tank will be to small for this fish.  Goldfish are very messy and need lots of water to balance out the amount of waste they produce.> For the past five minutes he has been sucking air of the water surface. <This is a sign that the fish isn't getting enough oxygen.  The water at the surface of the tank is higher in oxygen, because that is where the gas exchange happens.> Do I need to put a bubbler in the tank? I thought the filter system was sufficient. It looks like he is dying... <Adding an Airstone (with air pump) will definitely help increase the gas exchange in the tank, and help raise the O2 levels.  But the problem will become worse as the fish becomes older.  As the fish ages and becomes larger the three gallons will not be able to support the fish. Sickness can occur and low oxygen conditions will start to show up (like red streaks on the fishes tail).  I usually say that a 10 gallon is needed for young goldfish then as they become older 20-30 gallon tanks should be used.  They might survive for quite a long time in small tanks, but the problem is that you will have to do many more water changes to keep up with the fishes waste production.  This is just a headache, and will really take away from enjoyment of the fish.  The large the tank, the easier it is to care for these fish. Good luck -Magnus.>  

Re: Sucking air at top of tank.. Thank you! I am disappointed that the pet store did not tell me that he would be too big for my tank. I DID tell them how small it was. For his sake, I will take him back..... Thanks, Steph <Sadly that is the way of most fish stores.  Either they don't say something and rather make a sale, or they hire kids at minimum wage that don't know how to care for the animals.  With a 3 gallon tank you could look at getting a Betta fish!  Sometimes referred to as Siamese fighting fish.  These guys will thrive in a 3 gallon tank, as many times they are doomed to live their life in a cup of water.  They are very beautiful fish and will quickly become one of the family.  They are air breathers so the water quality doesn't have to be as exact as other fish.  They make for a beautiful addition to any small tank.  If you would like to raise goldfish try a larger tank.  They are very fun fish, but the joy of fish is quickly taken away when you have to constantly be changing the water and bothering with the tank to keep it clean.  Good luck and I hope I didn't sound to harsh before. -Magnus>  

Lotsa Goldfish - and African Dwarf Frogs, and more.... 02/04/2004  Hello,  <Hi, Yolanda! Sabrina here, tonight.>  I've tried to search the internet and look around and I am not getting much help.  <Well then, I hope we can be of service to you.>  We have a 10 gallon aquarium. We've had 4 goldfish and a Black Moor for about 4 or so months now.  <Wow. Please note that these very messy fish get very large; they should be kept in a tank that allows for about 10 gallons for each fish.... these five fish should be in something closer to fifty gallons, rather than ten. For some great goldfish information, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm >  Recently a friend of mine bought 2 African Dwarf frogs which my children wanted and came home and SURPRISED ME!. The man at the store told him that the goldfish and frogs are compatible tank mates.  <The ignorance of some pet shop employees can be quite unfortunate. I'm sorry you received this poor information.>  One of the frogs passed away over night.  <I'm sorry to hear that.>  Then we returned it and got another one today. Now the same store told me that the frogs can not coexist with the goldfish because the waste of the fish is toxic to the frogs.  <This is quite true, especially in such a small tank with so many goldfish.>  I also bought Algae Eaters. One larger black one and two skinny fast swimming ones. Ask me their scientific name and I am of not any help. lol. I was told that the two skinny ones can not be in the same tank with the Goldfish because of the temperature difference.  <I wouldn't add *anything* to the goldfish tank, until it's either a much larger tank or housing much less goldfish; would you consider a small pond in your yard or on your porch for them?>  Well, The last part of my problem is here. Today since I had the frogs in the tank I bought a thermometer. The tanks temperature is about 78 degrees. It's a glass thermometer.  <That's pretty warm for the goldfish. Just right for the tropicals, though.>  I have already lost a black algae eater and frog in two days. After the man at the store told me the frogs and Goldfish are not compatible.  <Very sorry to hear that.>  I got three Ghost shrimp to be in a different tank if the frogs are not compatible with the goldfish. But I really didn't want to start another tank as I don't have the room in our home, it is cramped already. The tank we have is lit and has a filter. I've put in live Lilies also to try to help with environment. I think something's been nibbling on them though.  <Likely the goldfish; they are avid plant eaters. It's actually a good idea to supplement their diet with plants like Anacharis/elodea/Egeria, or with thawed frozen peas (squeeze the shell off), or other greens.>  Also another thing. I got two Roxy feeder fish  <Perhaps you mean "rosy" feeders? As in "Rosy reds" or "feeder tuffies"?>  and the other goldfish seem to think they are food.  <So.... these are in with the goldfish in the 10g tank, as well?>  I didn't think the other ones would try to eat them as they are only two inches themselves. Please tell me if all these aquatic creatures can coexist in the temperature of our tank.  <The rosy reds can well tolerate cold temperatures - but please do rethink the amount of fish you have in there; it's going to be difficult to impossible to keep up with nitrogenous wastes....>  The tank is not heated. It is the temperature of the area as it's near the heat source of the home. Please, if you can help me, I would greatly appreciate it. Ok, I will list what I have together so not to confuse anyone: 4 Gold fish  1 Black Moor  <Black moor is a type of "fancy" goldfish, but all are the same species.>  2 Roxy's (tiny ones) about 1 1/4 inch  3 Ghost Shrimp  2 skinny Algae Eaters  1 larger Black Algae Eater  <Ah! A thought - perhaps this is a Plecostomus? Try a Google search with that name.>  2 African Dwarf Frogs  I don't know what to do now. Can they live together in harmony?  <All of these? In one ten gallon tank? No, not really. If you can part with them, I would remove all five goldfish (either to a new, larger home, or perhaps a small pond). If the large black algae eater is a Plecostomus, I'll caution you - they have the potential to reach two *feet* in length, but they are very, very slow growers. I am not too clear on African Dwarf frog care, but I do know that they require exceptional water quality to thrive - if you don't already, please do test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. I would think they are likely compatible with the rosy reds, shrimp, and algae eaters.>  God bless and thank you Yolanda  <You as well, Yolanda. I'm sorry I don't have more palatable advice; but I do wish you well with your tank, and commend you on your quest for more aquatic knowledge! Enjoy, -Sabrina>  

Shrinking fish In my 20 gal tank are two 2 inch Goldfish, two 2.5inch Goldfish and one 5-6 inch Shubunkin (measured including tails). I've had them for 2 months and I feed them 2x/d, knowing that "most goldfish problems are from overfeeding". I also don't want to cloud my water too much because I probably clean the AquaClear 300 every 3 wks and change 1/3 or 1/4 water every 2-3wks.  Problem: I think my fish are smaller or rather skinner! Is that possible? Or am I just used to seeing these fish now and don't think they are sooo big anymore compared to when I first got them.  >>Hello. I recommend you buy yourself some test kits. Ammonia, nitrite, AND nitrate. Test them all, and test regularly. You should always have zero ammonia and zero nitrites. But the nitrAte test kit will tell you how often to change your tank water. Try to keep the nitrAte level in a safe range, say around 40ppm. I believe you are not changing your water often enough. With the amount of fish you have in such a small tank, you really should be changing around 50% of your water per week! Your fish will become stressed if the nitrate level gets too high, and they will also become stunted and stop growing, which can lead to disease and possible death. Please buy some test kits! -Gwen<<  

Goldfish in Tiny Tank 1/23/04 <Hi Mike, Pufferpunk here> I just got my daughter two "goldfish" (at least I think they're goldfish). By the labels, one was a "gold fantail" and the other was a "Cali fantail." Anyhow, the Cali fantail (it's definitely a fantail fish, white in color with dark black eyes) developed small black specks along its back after the first few hours in the tank.  <Calico goldfish should have some "freckles".  I don't think you need to worry.> It is a 1.5 gallon tank.  I used tap water and treated it with Wardley "Chlor-Out."  Both fish seem absolutely fine.  Just wanted to know if I needed to worry.  Also, after only a few days the tank is getting cloudy.  What can I do about this?   <Your tank is way too small for 2 goldfish (or any other fish for that matter!).  Goldfish are not bowl fish.  If they are under 2", you could keep them in a 10gal for a while, but when they get bigger, they'll need at least 10g/fish.  Give them some swimming room.  They also need a filter.  The best way to keep healthy goldfish is 80-90% weekly water changes for these heavy waste & ammonia producers.  Make sure to feed them shelled, frozen (thawed) peas at least 1x/week, to keep their digestive systems' healthy.> Thanks.  Mike <Do this, & your friends can live up to 20 years--Pufferpunk>  

Gold Fantails and Black Moor Fantails Hello,  I have a question about Gold Fantails and Moore Fantails. <Great fish, I've had them for many years and grown to love them.> I recently got a 1 gallon tank for Christmas.  I went out and bought a Gold Fantail and Black Moore Fantail. <First off a one gallon tank is WAY to small for a single goldfish let alone a pair of them.  Goldfish are extremely messy fish.  I suggest at least 5 gallons of water per fish for a small goldfish, and at least 10-20 gallons of water per adult fish.  These fish produce a lot of waste, which fouls the water quickly.  thus making the fish sick, and most likely die unless you do large daily water changes (which also isn't that good for the stability of the tank.).  If you wish to keep the goldfish then I suggest you get a larger tank as soon as humanly possible.  You can save your gallon tank for a Betta which would be more than happy to live in a gallon tank rather then the small cups they live in at the store.>   They said that they could live together. <These fish can live together with no problems if given a large enough tank.  I would suggest a 20 gallon tank.  When I started out with goldfish I had a pair in a 10 gallon tank, they were fine for a while, but the waste buildup caught up quickly and my fish became sick on a regular basis.  I did my research and realized that I needed to bump up the size of the tank, and also the filtration.  I set up my first 55 gallon tank and adding a lot of filtration/aeration/water circulation and my goldfish have been happy and healthy ever since.>   My Black Moore Fantail died so I got another one. <Not a very good move, if your fish died, it is telling you something is wrong.  I suggest that you do some research on the needs and care of goldfish.  I'm sure there are a few good books at your local library you can find to help you.  If not then doing a search on the internet can also help out. You can read our FAQ section here at WetWebMedia to learn more.>   The second one is a little smaller then the Gold Fantail.  My question is should I put them together? <if you get a larger tank then they can go fine together.> The other Moore looked like it was eaten or something had gotten a hold of it and recently I have noticed that the Gold Fantail is chasing the Black Moore Fantail. <There isn't enough room for them both. With that little amount of space the fish are fighting for room.> Do you think that they are playing or is the Gold Fantail trying to eat the other?   <Fish don't "play"...  their brains really haven't evolved that method of thinking like our mammal brains.  They really are very simplistic.  Eat, poop, sleep, swim, breed... those are the main thoughts a fish has.  The fish isn't trying to eat the other... though if it were small enough the other goldfish would have no problem eating another fish.  I had large Comet goldfish that would eat fry and small fish if it was small enough to fit in it's mouth.> Did I do something wrong when putting them together? <Putting them in the small tank is the real issue.  I suggest a larger tank ASAP.  Once you have a larger tank you will no doubt enjoy the fish that much more.  Plus the large the tank you have the easier it is to care for it, and the more happy and healthy your goldfish will be.> Please respond back quickly because I don't want either to die.  Thanks a lot.  Benji <Hope this has helped you understand why your fish had died, and what is happening.  These fish are very messy, and need to be kept in larger  and heavily filtered tanks. Next time you are at the pet shop, look around for books dealing with goldfish.  They usually aren't that expensive, and you will no doubt learn a great deal how to care for these interesting fish. Good luck with the fish. -Magnus> 

Fish in a Bucket Hi, Our friends unexpectedly gave us a goldfish last night... he's a Shubunkin and is currently sitting in a bucket waiting for his tank, which is arriving tonight.  He's not looking too good, sitting at the bottom of the bucket and not moving much (OK I'd be pretty unhappy stuck in a bucket as well), what can I do to cheer him up until we have the tank up and running properly? <Hi Jen.  Shubunkins are better designed for swimming than the fat boy Goldfish, so no swimming room is no good.  I am willing to bet the bucket does not have filtration either.  At the very least aerate the water with a pump and change part of the water once a day until the new tank is ready (dechlorinate the water in a separate container first, and match the water temp as closely as possible).  You could also try to rig a filter onto the bucket, preferably one that has been running on an established tank.  A bunch of Anacharis (pretty common plant at most fish stores) would not hurt anybody's feelings either, it will provide shelter and something to munch on.  Best of luck, Gage> Thanks, Jen 

Plants, Fish, and Information for a New Beginner Over the last few days I have been pouring over all of the info you have on this site, it's amazing, THANK YOU!! I have learned so much. <And thank you for the kind words, I'm glad you're enjoying it!> We live in the middle of nowhere and our only choice for fish supplies is Wal-Mart or the internet. <Eek!> So, as I'm sure you'll understand, I'm trying to figure all this out on my own. <Yes, research will be your best friend!> I do think I've come up with a plan that will work, but wanted to run it by you folks to see what you'd think of it first so I don't hurt my fish or waste time or money. <We will help however we can.> 10g tank from Wal-Mart with the Tetra Whisper filter that came with it, a few plastic driftwood ornaments and a pretty coarse river rock gravel. <Smaller gravel, pea-sized or less, is much easier to care for and keep clean, you might want to take this into consideration.> We have a Fancy Goldfish  who is about 5" and a Koi who is about 2". (We were not aware of the size of the adult Koi and he will probably eventually be put into my brother's pond.) <Ultimately, the fancy goldfish may have to go into the pond, as well; these also get potentially huge and worse, they are very, very messy fish and really foul up the water.  Goldfish really aren't a great choice for small tanks, unfortunately.> The hood has the regular incandescent lights. I would like very much to give my fishies some real plants, as I've learned this is much more healthy for them and the tank in general. <A wonderful plan!> The tank has been set up for about 3 days and all is going well, as I'm monitoring everything I possibly can. Here is my plan...to add some Java Moss and Java Fern. <Two of the best plants you could possibly choose.  These are nearly indestructible.> I've learned that Goldfish will eat darn near any plant, which is ok with me, I just don't want to waste money on a beautiful plant and then see it get devoured in a week. <Fortunately, these two that you've chosen will not be eaten by the goldfish.  Java fern leaves have a really nasty taste to them (I do not know from experience, just from reading - I'm not too keen on licking my aquarium plants, hehe) so the goldfish won't eat it, and the java moss (no relation to the java fern) is too tough for them to tear apart, though they will "suck" on it a bit, and get any food that has settled into it.  I would also recommend plant of the genus Anubias.  These thick-leaved plants will withstand anything the goldfish can dish out.> I don't mind if they nibble on the plants, I know that would be good for them. <You might want to get them some elodea/Anacharis plants specifically *for* them to eat.  These are cheap, and very good for them to nibble, but they won't last terribly long - they're just too yummy!  The goldfish would love you for it.> Would any other plants be very easy to care for and withstand the Goldfish grazing on them? <Nearly any Anubias, as above.  Not a whole lot else will stand up to these herbivorous fish with perpetual munchies.> Do I really need to add Fluorite substrate, or something like it to have these plants grow? <Java moss, java fern, and Anubias will all do just fine without.  Be certain to only plant the soft roots of the java fern and the Anubias, not the thick rhizome, or the plants will rot and die.> Will these plants grow with the regular incandescent lights, or should I replace one of them with a grow bulb? <Mm, if you can go to a fluorescent "strip" light instead of the incandescent, that'd be a plus, but none of these plants (the "food" plant Anacharis/elodea included) need anything terribly special.> BTW, once the tank is cycled and the Koi begins to get too big he will probably be replaced by a small school of Danios or Guppies. <I would do this soon, to be honest, and re-house the goldfish, as well.> I would like a schooling fish that remains as small as possible, and know that both of these are ok with Java Moss & Java Fern. <As are just about any other fish.  You might want to look into white cloud minnows, as well, as these are attractive and inexpensive, as well.> Also, we have a 5g tank that is set up the same way with a 2 1/2" Kissing Gourami and a "Mixed Fruit" (?) Tetra who is currently around 1 1/2". <Oh my....> Poor Kisser ended up in there because he was tormenting the poor Goldie. He was extremely lonely, so the Tetra came to keep him company. <I'd like to note here, tetras are schooling fish, and do best in small groups.  Also....  that kissing Gourami will ultimately grow to be one foot long, more or less.  He will also be a terror, as you have noticed with the goldfish.  Unless you want a *really* big tank, I'd strongly recommend trading him for some of the small schoolers that you like.> They've only been together less than 24 hours and are best friends already, swimming side by side and playing chase. No "kiss fighting" going on from the bully. <This is ultimately their way of trying to establish a "pecking order", since they don't have any of their own kinds to do so with.> I would also like to add some plants for them and remove the plastic ones. Again, I was thinking Java Moss and Java Fern, but also adding some Water Sprite to float on the top. I've read that Gouramis love to nibble on this plant. <They do, indeed!  It would also be a good choice for the goldfish.  I'm not sure how long the watersprite would last, as it would definitely be chewed upon, but it grows and reproduces like mad, as well.> Ok, what do you think? Please don't slam me to hard if I'm doing something wrong! <I hope I'm not slamming at all!  I'm glad you're researching the care of your fish, that's the biggest, hardest step - and the more you learn, the more fun you will have, even with bumps in the road like kissing gouramis and koi in too-small tanks.  Live and learn, and definitely research fish you like *before* you get them, now.  That's probably the toughest lesson of all to get down.> I really am trying my best to give these fishies a healthy, happy life. Starting at Wal-Mart doesn't help a lot, I think their people try, but they are not a pet store. <Well put.> When you also factor in not having a ton of money to spend it can get tricky. I know we'll upgrade everything in the future, but this is what we are working with for now. <And with knowledge, it will become great fun, and great tank(s).> Thank you so very much for your help...for all of us Newbies!!! :)  -Heather <And thank you again for the kind words.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Goldfish, meet Filter. Hey A couple of days ago my fantail goldfish was partially sucked up in the filter (that filter was replaced so the incident would not happen to the other fish in the tank).   <Ouch!> A lot of his fins were sucked off and only the ridges are left of the tail, the small "threadlike" things that run through the tail and hold the webbing I think.   <The 'rays', yes.> He's been isolated and seems to be doing better, I know his tail will grow back but I'm not sure how long I need to keep him in isolation (I don't want the others to pick on him while he's still trying to recover).   <Until he is back to normal, or nearly so, I would keep him separate, for sure.> By reading some of the FAQs I learned that I should put in some medication to help him heal but I'm not sure what it is or how much.   <I have found Kanamycin and/or Nitrofurazone to be quite useful in treating fin rot, and preventing/eliminating bacterial infection.  Aquatronics manufactures these as "Kanacyn" (Kanamycin sulfate) and "Spectrogram" (Nitrofurazone/Kanamycin combo).> Also, I am at college and have to go home soon, I can't leave the fish in my dorm because there is no one to check in on them and all sorts of maintenance work has to be done to the room over the month long break, so I need to take them home with me.  What is the best way to transport all of them and especially the weak one?  Its a four and half hour drive, and I'm not quite sure the way to give them the most stress free ride.   <I have transported fish long-distance (four days' travel, at the longest) using Styrofoam crates lined with clean, unscented, watertight trash bags, filled partway with aquarium water (and treated tapwater as necessary), and aerated with battery-operated aerators.  For a (comparably) short drive such as yours, you could probably get by quite well with a large bucket with a battery-operated aerator.  A five gallon bucket filled halfway would do nicely; keep it covered so it'll be dark for the fish.  The sick fish, if still undergoing treatment, should be transported in a separate container.  Try to avoid bumps, don't drive like a maniac, etc., etc., and always wear your seatbelt ;) > Appreciate your advice,  Jessie Howard <Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina> 

Fish tank Advice 11/21/03 Hi crew and all you fish lovers (Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a 10 gallon tank (with 8 wonderful, small, 7 cent feeder goldfish - I saved them-, 1 Pakistani loach, 1 Otocinclus sucker, 1 Corydoras and a Kuhli loach-he has been an inch for years now, I don't know why!) Don't worry, it wasn't overcrowded and I have an excellent filtration system and I did frequent water changes! <Sounds very overcrowded for goldfish.  I recommend smaller goldfish, <3" get 5-10g/fish, larger ones, >5" need at least 20g.> FIRST some history:   I had a  29g saltwater aquarium for about 6 months. I started out with a few fish and live rock, waited a month, added more fish, and so on and so forth; like all the books say to do. But all my fish were dying! I finally got to the point where I had a 12 damsels (3 blue damsels, 3 yellow tailed damsels, 2 Domino damsels, and 4 striped damsels) and 3 fierce little Chromis. <Sounds very crowded for SW & aggressive fish such as damsels.> They were all thriving! So being that I am a teenager with little money, my dad surprised me with a Maroon Clownfish, WOW a beautiful fish! And also  two turbo snails- they really are turbo.  So I added them all. I had them for about a month and a half, when, again, my dad gave me another gift : ) An Anemone!!!! So I added him too. I had Spaghetti (the Anemone) for a week, when Meatball (the Clownfish) just went crazy rollin' in Spaghetti! Quite a fun thing to watch, too. Anyways, for what reason, I don't know, Spaghetti started to show bad signs. He got very, very small, pulled his tentacles in and sat in this pathetic position for about 5 days. THEN he vanished! My nitrite level rose to a deadly level.  But poor old Meatball! Slowly all my fish died over the next two months, except for 3 yellow tailed damsels and a Chromis, all of which I still have. I did every other day water testing, but nothing abnormal levels of anything. : ( So I had the unlucky saltwater tank from hell. <Sorry to hear that.> I just now emptied my saltwater tank (I plan to sell back the fish, snails and live rock back to the store) about a week ago. I decided to put the fish from the 10g tank into the 29g tank, they deserve it and the koi is beautifully fat and big! So I let the water cycle for about a week than added the fish, with some new plants and other decor. <In what way did you cycle the tank?> Now, my question: Would it be a really bad idea to add some other fish to my tank with goldfish (Like some neon tetras, or Danios, or something)?? <No, your tank is still overcrowded, even in the 29g.  Just the koi itself will be getting over a foot long.> Another: If it wouldn't be a bad idea, what would be some specific types of fish to get? <None> Or would it be a best idea to just get another tank? <Yeah, like... a lot bigger!>      Thank you so much! I love your Website!!!! -JOE- <You're welcome & thanks for the compliment!--Pufferpunk> 

Koi, goldfish systems  (cont. from above)     I let the filter, powerhead and bubble run and also added some of the fishes own poopy water. : ( Yuck! <That is not cycling a tank, that is only filtering fresh water.  The bacteria a tank needs to break down toxic ammonia & nitrites lives on solid objects (like gravel, tank walls, ornaments & especially filter media), not in the water column.  Read this article & all the recommended links: http://www.tomgriffin.com/aquasource/newtanksyndrome.shtml>     I will think about getting a new tank, maybe a 55g or something of that size. <Good idea, now you'll know how to cycle it!>     I also plan to (when the koi gets too large) give him to my grandfather. He has a large pond with koi. <Sounds like he'll be happy there, why not do it now, since you're tank already sounds overstocked.>     I have one quick question... well, sort of. I do know that my koi is a boy. But since I put him in the tank he has had an activity level and behavior change. He has been really active! Like swimming everywhere and chasing his own reflection all over the tank. His new behavior is chasing the goldfish, rubbing on their tummies and when my goldfish get in a group, he goes and rolls in the middle of it. He doesn't have ich either.      IS HE BEING OVER STIMULATED WITH HIS REFLECTION OR WHAT? <I have always found goldfish of all kinds to behave "silly".  He could just be happy to have more room & better quality water (although that won't last long in an uncycled tank).  If you can find it, add Bio-Spira to the water.  It has all the live bacteria your tank needs to be instantly cycled.>     Thank you for the fast reply, hope to hear from you soon! : )        Joe. You're welcome & good luck--Pufferpunk>  

New Goldfish Hello Thank goodness for your site or my fish would be dead. <Phew!>  We recently purchased a 5.5 gallon tank with a hanging power filter, we ran the tank for 24 hours and then purchased two orange and white Orandas (about 1 inch + tail) and a baby Pleco ( 1 1/2 inches).  We were told they would all thrive with small weekly water changes. <You were lied to.> After 48 hours the tank started to cloud. <that's normal> Then through pure luck I found your site. <Yay!> We now know the tank is waaay to small for these guys.  We will purchase a 33 gallon this afternoon, upgrading again after the pocketbook recovers from Christmas. <Understandable, the 33 will be fine for a while.> Would running the 33 gallon tank for a week with some of the original decorations be sufficient time before we transfer the fish? <Should be ok, the 5.5 has probably barely even cycled, might as well move them to the big tank, larger quantity of water, harder to foul up.  Although, your goldfish will do their best.> We did a 2 gallon water change last night and will do another tonight.  Should I change a larger amount of water? And should I continue daily water changes up until the change? <Maybe every other day.  2 gallons is good.> Now, because I am very wary of asking the "fish experts" at the store, what would be suitable for the smaller tank?  We would like a Betta but not sure if we could add 1 or 2 more species of freshwater fish to the tank. <A couple of female Bettas, or maybe some white cloud mt. minnows?  A small group of tetras? Plants and shrimp?  I have a 3gal tank with a piece of rock covered in java moss, an Anubias, and a female Betta. One of my favorite tanks, and the plants listed are really easy to care for.> If we can, what kind and how many?  Do we start the cycle over in the small tank or just add the new fish? <I'd focus on getting the larger tank going first, then plan out the smaller tank, you are in the beginning stages, so starting over is really not a set back in this case.> The original fish seem active and healthy other than the cloudiness. <Tanks get cloudy when they cycle.> We will be getting a test kit (another important fact not informed of while buying the fish) as well. <Test kits are the window into your water quality.> I now know to do my research before hand.  Hindsight is wonderful.  Any help to this naive fish owner would be greatly appreciated. <Read, Read, Read... and enjoy http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwtips4beginners.htm -Gage>  

Small tank, big fish Hi: <Hello> My Daughter just got a ten gallon tank and about a 4" Goldfish and a Plecostomus. How many and what other types of fish would be good for this tank. <Oh my....  I don't think it would be a good idea to add *any* more fish to this tank.  Goldfish are very messy and produce a lot of waste, which makes the water turn toxic, so any more than just the one goldfish would be really hazardous.  Unfortunately, that's bad news for the goldfish, because they are schoolers and like to have other goldfish for company.  The plecostomus, if it's just the 'generic' type, will grow to a staggering foot and a half or more, depending upon what species it is, but they grow slowly, so you probably don't have to worry about him just yet.  My recommendation would be to give the goldfish back to the fish store, and instead, get some smaller, easier to maintain fish like guppies, platies, or swordtails, and perhaps some small bottom feeders, like Corydoras or Kuhli loaches to add some fun to the tank.  This would probably be a lot more fun than goldfish, anyway.  Here's a couple of good articles to help you on your way:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwtips4beginners.htm ; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm .  Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina.> Thank You  

Tank Too Small 11/-5/03  Dear Sirs or Madams:  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  My son has a 5 gallon tank that was given to him as a gift. Rather than continue with the grisly details, first a bit of history:  The tank was occupied by 4 fish (I believe they are all Orandas) but was getting very dirty very fast. I cleaned the filter often to no avail. (speeding up the story now) Want to a large retail pet place (maybe not a "SMART" idea?) and they told me I needed a snail to keep tank clean. Put snail in tank and it was chased into a corner and died (which further clogged my filter with snail guts).   Recently one Oranda has passed (due to snail guts poisoning the water?). I have one orange, one orange and white, and one black one left. Is there an algae-eater type fish that I can introduce that will help keep my tank clean without conflict?  <Please no more fish in that tank! Actually a 5gal tank isn't large enough for even 1 goldfish. The rule of thumb I go by with goldfish is 10g/2", if small fish (<3") & 10g/1", if large fish (>3"). So right now, you're talking about getting at least a 30g for your fish for now. You'll need a much bigger tank in the future. Goldfish are heavy waste producers & need a lot of space to live. The easiest way to keep goldfish long lived (they can live 20+ years!) & healthy is to change 90% of their water weekly. In addition to very good filtration, over & above what is recommended for a tank it's size. You will need to fishless cycle your new tank before adding the fish. You can do it in a week. Read this article & all the recommended links: http://www.tomgriffin.com/aquasource/newtanksyndrome.shtml   Goldfish can be cute, interactive, long-lived pets, if taken care of properly.>  Any information that you can provide me is greatly appreciated.  Sincerely, Hotdaddydog1 <I hope this helps--Pufferpunk>   

Angry Goldfish 10/16/03 Hello, <Hi. Pufferpunk here>    My son recently acquired a 2.5 gallon aquarium with a Whisper brand filter.   He had 3 goldfish...a black moor, a small fantail goldfish and a larger black, white and orange colored goldfish.    <Way too small a tank for even one goldfish!> All cohabitated fine with the larger fish being a little aggressive at feeding.  The black moor has since died from ich but the others have been treated and are doing well.  Suddenly however the small fantail has chased, and nipped constantly at the larger goldfish to the point where my son has had to use a separation screen to protect the larger one.  The small fantail now hangs by the partition following the other ones every move.  What is going on here? <Goldfish are very messy fish, that urinate & defecate much more than other fish.  This requires a lot of water to dilute the toxins of ammonia & nitrites caused by all this waste.  For small goldfish (<2") at least 10g/fish is necessary.  Goldfish can grow quite large & normal lifespan is 20+ years if cared for properly.  larger goldfish require housing of at least 20-30g/fish.  I have found great success in keeping goldfish healthy by changing 80-90% of their water weekly to remove the ammonia build up in their water.  You also need to clean the gravel at the same time.  There is an excellent article titled, "Are Goldfish Really for Beginners?" in the December 2003 issue of Aquarium Fish magazine.  I highly suggest you & your son read it.  You should be able to pick it up at your local fish store.  I think w/more room the aggression problems will be solved.>      Thanks, Debbie <Your welcome--Pufferpunk>  

Color changing goldfish Howdy all, <Hello.  Sabrina today.> I have enjoyed the site for over 8 months now.   <Good to hear!> Anyways my question: I have a 40 gallon tank with 5 gold fish (I know very messy fish and I do regular weekly water changes).  I have had all of these gold fish since they were the 7 cent feeder size and now are well over 5 inches and more.  I have one that has been changing color to all white (smallest fish at 3 inches) while 3 others are somewhere in between white and orange (medium between 3 and 5 inches) and the largest of all is a bright deep orange (closer to 7 inches).  I was wondering if this is normal or is this due to nutrition?   <Absolutely normal.  Might possibly be due to pH, nutrition, temperature....  In any case, perfectly normal, and no cause for concern.> The white fish also has one cloudy eye but eats regularly.  Water temp is 78 degrees <Whoa!  I assume the goldfish are the only fish in the tank??  Drop that temperature!  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 68 degrees Fahrenheit is reasonable for goldfish - drop it a couple degrees a day until you're somewhere down there.> and water quality is 0/0/0 across the board. <Great.> Your help is always appreciated, Vince <Do please also make use of the goldfish FAQs for more info.  -Sabrina> 

-Tetra Freshwater Additives- Hi everybody, I started out with a fish bowl with two goldfish in it, as a present from my girl friend. Next day I was at the book store looking for a book on goldfish. The day after the small bowl was changed with a 2 gallon bowl (it had to be a bowl to preserve the original present :). I slipped in a small filter and started doing 50% water changes every three days. Next, I added some Tetra Nitrate Minus, thinking it would help me keep the nitrate level low. <Hmmm...> MISTAKE. Too little water, too much bioload. As it says on the package, using Nitrate Minus with high levels of nitrate did increase the KH to 15dH pH to 8.5+. The little guys were doing fine, but I owed them a proper tank. So, I bought an 18 gallon tank, transferred the substrate (with the Nitrate Minus mixed in it), the filter and the little guys into their new home. It's been three weeks and I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and less than 5ppm nitrate. <I wouldn't get so hung up in nitrate, it's the least toxic of the three. You need to be concerned with ammonia, nitrite, and pH. The nitrate level makes little difference.> This time the KH is stable at 5dH but the pH has gone up to around 8.3 from first fill measurement of 7.2. The package says that the product has a stabilizing effect on pH and KH. What do you think about this product, it looks like I don't need to make any water changes yet, but it somehow doesn't feel right. <I would suggest a 25% water change every two weeks for these critters with a gravel vacuum.> Should I do water changes to try to bring pH down slowly. <I would stop using the Nitrate Minus, and as the pH goes back down to around neutral, pick up some Seachem Neutral Regulator to keep the pH buffered at 7 if needed.> With KH being around 5dH, I'm afraid to have a sudden pH crash. The fishes seems to be doing fine. Should I change anything? <Like I said, once the pH drops back down (with goldfish this should happen on it's own) use some Neutral Reg.> Tetra also has  another product called Easy Balance, which is supposed to decrease the water changes to %50 every six months. Sounds too good to be true. Still you'd have to remove the solid waste from the tank bottom somehow I guess. <They can come out with any magic juice and make any claim they want but you'll be hard pressed to surpass the effectiveness of a good water change with a gravel vac. I would save your money!> So, do you have any ideas about these products? Are they any good, or needed? <In short, you don't need either. Frequent partial water changes with a gravel vacuum combined with conservative feedings are all you'll need to keep these guys happy. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks,  Husnu 

Freshwater refugium Hey Bob, I just finished setting up a tank for my fat boy goldfish to house them for the winter. I am looking into making a section of my sump a refugium of sorts, Do you have any suggested plants? I was thinking duckweed, water sprite, or maybe water lettuce if I can get my hands on some, I understand it is illegal now. I do not need fish and game knocking down my door. <Oh yes! Some "cool water" "bunch" plants... Egeria densa/Anacharis, Ceratophyllum/Coontail-Hornwort, one of the Myriophyllums/Parrot's Feather-Milfoil... Bob> Thanks, Gage 

Undergravel filtration, and funky water quality Dear fish saviors, <Good afternoon, Kaz - Sabrina here with you this lovely (rainy) lunch hour> I've had a long and generally successful fishkeeping career but this year 2 of my goldfish died (at ages 19 and 17 years old). <Oh my.  What a loss.  I'm so sorry to hear that.> Only one sad survivor was left. I was away, the water went 'off' and they died :( Anyway, I worked hard to stabilize the tank with the Lone Black Moor (who had some scars, general poor condition, floating prob.s etc). He came good and after a few months I got LBM some friends - a small comet and a small fantail. My problems came back. The new guys were hungry all the time and I am guilty of giving in to their shameless begging. <Just say 'no'! to fish obesity ;) > Also I changed fish food on advice of LFS (sinking pellets, 34% protein) and am not sure if this has contributed to the instability. <And what were you feeding with before?  Do your guys get any vegetable matter?> LBM seemed happier and with more energy but developed two little white spotty bits on his head. These then seem to have gone away (I treated with fungal cure) but he has a new one further back on his head. <Can you describe this in a bit further detail? Do the spots stick out? Or are they pits?  Are they fuzzy looking?  Waxy looking?  Look like cauliflower?  How big are they?> After uncontrollable pH problems I checked with LFS and changed my filtration system (from charcoal and wool type filter to undergravel filtration).   <Filtration isn't very directly related to pH swings (except as far as organic materials building up), I can't imagine why they told you to switch....> But my question is (I know it's very naive but..) how do I keep it clean? I have used the gravel siphon cleaner thingee and have done a 25% water change since I got the UGF two weeks ago but my plants are disintegrating. <Argh.  UGF and live plants do *not* play well together, and there's not much of a way to make 'em work out.  Your only plant species is elodea, correct?  Perhaps try letting it float only, and see if it grows any better.> We work in centimetres and litres here in Australia <I wish we did, too!> so I'm not sure of how many gallons but tank is 24inches x 12inches x 12inches. It is certainly not overcrowded, with the LBM and his two new little friends and the plants are (or were) Elodea. <Okay, I do believe that's about 15 US gallons.  I usually recommend goldfish to be kept in tanks where they'll have 15-20 gallons per fish; they are hefty waste producers, and can foul the water very, very quickly.  Three goldfish in a 15g aquarium with an undergravel filter.... well, I can guess that in short order, you'll have some serious nitrate problems, possibly other water quality issues, even with the best maintenance possible.> How do I clean the crud which I assume is collecting under the plastic UGF tray??? <Wonderful question.  I've heard using silicone air hose fed down the lift tube(s) and siphoning from there will help get some of the grunge out.> Should I go easy on the gravel siphon thingee? <Gosh, no.  Vacuum like a madman.  And slap that wet/dry filter back on the tank, too.  Then when you vacuum your gravel, let the filter cartridge stay in the filter so you've got plenty of bacterial life still around. Probably only vacuum about half the tank each time, as well.> Did another partial change today and the fish are happy and starving but there are lots of floaty bits of plant matter still in there. Should I siphon these out? <Yes, absolutely.  Dead, decaying plant matter will contribute to ammonia problems just as will fish waste.> When I do water changes I use Cycle, ammonia treatment, <Skip the ammonia remover, unless you're registering ammonia on your ammonia test - oho, I should mention/ask that you should be testing for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH - if you don't, please do get yourself a kit, so you can have a better grip on your water quality.  And far better than using ammonia remover schtuff is to simply do more frequent water changes.> pH stabilizer, <What's the pH out of your tap?  It's far more important to keep pH stable than to keep affecting it chemically; goldfish are very pH tolerant, so if your tap water's anywhere close to decent, they'll be fine without pH altering chemicals.> StressZyme, Tristart chlorine and chloramine remover. I let the water sit for 24hours, make sure the temp is the same etc. <Wonderful.> My main concern is that I found out from your site that UGF require lots of work but what type of work? Can you let me know what I need to do to keep my friends happy? <Mostly the weekly vacuuming of gravel, jamming air hose down lift tubes.  UGFs must be cleaned thoroughly and religiously, lest all that waste building up in the gravel begin to poison the fish.  If it is in any way possible whatsoever, please, please try to get a larger tank for these fellas.  Believe me, they'll thank you for it.  Wishing you and your scaly pals well,  -Sabrina> Cheers, Kaz 

Undergravel filtration, and funky water quality - take two Thanks, Sabrina, Will head off and get the testing kit today. <Wonderful!  Try to get a liquid reagent type kit, the test 'strips' that you just dip in the water can be grossly inaccurate.> I suppose what puzzles me is how come I could keep the same number of goldfish (and same type) in the same tank for 8 years (since the last fish arrived) with little problem - long living and happy fish - and now everything's going wrong??   <Likely you going away and the water turning south started your problems.  These are really, really messy, waste producing fish, and in such a small tank, missing even one regular water change will result in a buildup of waste toxic enough to kill them.  Hence the major reason I usually recommend 15-20 US gallons per goldfish, there's SO much more room for error in a larger tank.> The white spots on the remaining old fish are small and very white, about large pinhead size, they seem to stick out and after a few days just fade to nothing. <This sounds like either Lymphocystis or fish pox, both of which can be found in goldfish from time to time.  Lymphocystis is kinda cauliflower-like in appearance, whereas fish pox looks rather waxy.  Both are viral infections, and there is no treatment.  Fortunately, neither are often fatal.  Just maintain the best water quality you can, with regular water changes and testing, and he should be fine.> Apart from plants in the tank I don't give them any veggies - should I?  Thanks!  Kaz <Couldn't hurt.  Mine adore unsalted canned peas (rinse, and squeeze the inside of the pea out of the shell).  Blanched zucchini is another good one.  Lots of goodies out there for them, but just the Elodea will do, if necessary.  Best wishes to you,  -Sabrina> 

Fun with Your Goldfish - Revisited Hi! <Hello again, Eitan!> I have two Veil-Tails and two Shubunkins in an aquarium, <Still in the same size tank (8gUK)?  I cannot stress how much these guys need large volumes of water....> I have heard that you can teach goldfish to follow your finger along the glass. Do you know of any methods that I would be able to teach them to do this? <Indeed.  Just get them to start accepting food from your fingers during feeding time, and get them to the point where they'll take the food from you even when your fingers are mostly in the water.  Soon, they'll associate fingers with food, and will follow your fingers quite gladly, hoping to get some food out of 'em, even through the glass.> In addition, I have made a (fish-safe) hoop for them to swim through but they seem to be ignoring it! Are there any ways to tempt them to go through it?! <I hate to break it to you, but goldfish really aren't that bright.  In fact, they're pretty dumb.  If it doesn't involve food, they're not interested.> Also, the Veil Tails sometimes swim to the top and it looks like they stick their mouth's out of the water and breath the air. <Very likely they're just looking for food - but it could be due to a lack of oxygenation, as well.  If in doubt, add an air stone to the tank.> I use a Fluval 1 plus filter <Regardless of your tank size, this is vastly under-filtered for four goldfish.  As I said in our previous email, these are MESSY fish.  Simply said, they poop a lot.  Weekly water changes (or more often than that, even, in such a small tank with such a heavy bioload), infrequent feedings, and heavy filtration are a very serious must.  Goldfish really need to have 10-15 US gallons per fish to be easily maintained.> and add a biological supplement and an Easy Balance product to neutralize the pH and reduce ammonia and nitrate levels every week, so I think the water should be clean. <Adding chemicals without doing water changes really isn't a good idea.  When you do water changes, you should use a dechlorinator.  Goldfish are tolerant of a very large range of pH, so keeping it steady at whatever comes out of your tap is more important than trying to keep changing it to 7.0.  Please do very frequent water changes, vacuum the gravel when you do them, and get a much stronger filter - I prefer the hang-on-the-back types, myself, and I believe you'd find them very easy filters to use/maintain.  And most of all, I cannot stress how important it is to aim for a much larger aquarium soon.> Thank you very much for your help and I am sorry to take up your time, Eitan, London <No prob.  -Sabrina> 

Goldfish and Nitrates (or the lack thereof?) Hello Crew, >>Greetings, Marina tonight. I have recently set up a Goldfish tank with specs as follows: Fish: 2 comets and one "other" - total fish length about 25 cm Plants: About 10 plants - Java Ferns and other hardy types secured to bogwood and rocks Size: 75 x 29 x 40 cm Volume: about 80 litres (21 gal U.S.)   >>My calculations give me a hair over 23 gallons U.S., but still small for this number of fish. Filtration: Eheim Aquaball 2212 internal (rated for 100 - 200 litre aquarium) plus an Eheim powerhead for surface agitation. >>Best way to sort rating is flow rate.  We shoot for a minimum of 3x the tank volume/hour, a bit more is good, too. I have a small bag of carbon hanging in the outlet flow of the filter to try to counter the yellowing of the water from the bogwood. Placement: Outside! The tank gets about 4 hours of direct sun in the morning at the moment and the daily temperature is between 22C and 27C. There is a heater in the tank so the night time temperature doesn't fall below about 18C. >>Bit of a swing, I'd set the heater to reduce the swing there, it can lead to illness in the "other" fish, though my own goldies do just fine in our outdoor in-ground pond. I'm feeding flake food twice a day with occasional frozen bloodworm, mysis and shelled peas. >>Sounds pretty good to me. All three fish are eating well and are very active during the day. The tank has only been running for about 3 weeks but I was lucky enough to get filter media and gravel from an established tank. I have never detected ammonia in the water but initially the nitrites rose quickly to about 0.3ppm, but fell away to undetectable levels within a few days. The nitrate level slowly rose to about 10ppm and I have been executing 10 litre water changes every three days. >>Wow, great.  Especially getting the established media.  You have effectively eliminated any cycle.  The plants are probably taking up a good deal of the ammonia and nitrates with the good sunlight giving them energy to make use of the available nutrients. But yesterday, the nitrate level was undetectable, and I've repeated the test today with the same result. I'm using the same test kit on my reef tank and it does detect about 5 - 10 ppm nitrate. My question is: where has the nitrate gone?! >>I think it's been used by the plants, my friend.  No worries. I have another question, if I may: when the weather gets colder I'm going to move the tank indoors. Will the tank I've got accommodate these three fish in the long term or should I get something larger? >>For several months to a year, I should think so (especially if you keep up with regular water and carbon changes--though the water changes may need to be increased).  The comets can easily reach a length of ten inches (just over 25cm) or more within a year (mine have), and that's a LOT of fish in a 23 gallon tank.  Plan on a larger flat for them, eh? Thanks very much, John Kellett >>My pleasure John, and best of luck.  Don't worry about LACK of nitrates!  Marina 

- New Freshwater Tank Issues - Hi, I also sent this to By Bob Fenner, I don't know whether it will go to the same place so I am covering my bases!!  <You have indeed covered them.> I am a new aquarist with a major problem!! I have just bought a 38 gallon freshwater tank, it's still cycling. I bought 3 fancy goldfish, one small Oranda died yesterday, he had flip over and ich.  My other two now have BAD cases of Hemorrhagic Septicaemia and a moderate case of ich and fin rot!!! <No fun.> I went to a very reputable fish store here in NJ called Absolutely Fish. I put in my plants, a live culture of bacteria and Bio-Spira to jump start the cycle.  24hrs later I put in the fish, I guess now that was a HUGE mistake, a couple of days later they were sluggish. Upon calling the fish store they told me NOT to medicate etc., etc., because it would ruin my cycle... Watching the fish die is torturous, especially my little Oranda (ping pong ball look alike with fins!!!).  So today, I removed the other two fish, into a 3 gallon tank (way way too small I know, but it's the only empty tank I have, my 12 gallon is occupied with my thriving Betta) I medicated with Maracyn II and parasite clear by fungus... I have the bio wheel in there but no filter cartridge... I plan to change one gallon of water a day so that there is enough oxygen, and the water quality is healthier...  In the 38 gallon I am continuing to cycle it, without water changes.  I then added an all natural completely organic ich cure called Prevent Ich made by Kordon.  I am supposed to put this in the tank daily for a week according to the directions.  <I wouldn't bother treating the main tank with anything as long as there are no fish in it. Give it time to complete the nitrogen cycle, although you may need to put something cheap and disposable in the tank to help move the cycle along. Even once the cycle is complete, you should add new fish one at a time to allow the biological portion of your filter to adjust to the new load.> My questions are: am I doing the right thing with the two remaining Orandas? <I think so.> Do I vacuum my tank remove gravel etc., etc., and start the cycle all over again to get rid of any disease?  <It's my opinion that the problems you've observed on your fish were due almost entirely to water quality - presence of toxic substances like ammonia - and so if you take the time to cycle the main tank properly, they should be fine when you add them later.>  How long can my fish stay in the 3 gallon?  <Long enough if you do frequent, large water changes - 25-50%.>  I want them out of there ASAP!! <Be patient, it will pay off.> By the way, my nitrites were at .25, ammonia 2.0 - 3.0  Nitrates 5.0 <Give it some more time.> What do you think?  Please help because I am despairing and I think the guys at the fish store are more interested in the cycle, than my poor fish... <Well, the fish are dependant on the cycle being established... one leads to the next.> I look forward to hearing from you.  Many thanks,  Marie <Cheers, J -- > 

Algae Problem Hi, I've had my one goldfish for about two years now that I won from a school fair.  I don't really know too much about goldfish though and what other types of fish they get along with.  However, I have what I believe is algae (mostly green and some brown) growing on the sides of the 10 gallon tank and on the aquarium ornaments even after a few days from when I changed the water .  I was wondering if I should get an algae eater and if so what type would maybe cause the least stress to my goldfish.  Or if an algae eater is not the best solution what other options do I have in order to keep the algae growth to a minimum.  Thanks in advance. Liz. <Hi Liz.  Goldfish are best kept with other goldfish, I have seen people keep a Plecostomus with their goldfish, but would not recommend it.  If I were you I would just use an algae scrubber pad to scrub off the algae before water changes.  Best Regards, Gage> 

Goldfish problems - 4 fish and a shoehorn 7/10/03 - (AKA- my goldfish has a shoeprint on its face) Hi there <Howdy> I have 4 goldfish, approx. 6-7 inches in length each, living in a 10 gallon tank with an underwater filter. <good heavens... that is overstocked!!! Really sad to hear. The tank can barely hold one at this size responsibly> I have tested all my water levels (nitrate ammonia etc) and the water quality seems to be within limits. <ahhh... no comment> I do not know the sex of any of my goldfish but they are all 7 years old and  were bought when they were approx. 1 inch <interesting> 1 of my fish is bloated but is not showing symptoms of dropsy and has now developed a mouth condition. <water quality (bacterial count, other un-testables) is a challenge here I'm sure> It looks like the skin is shredding from its lips and they are swollen. It also has what looks like a bubble of air or fluid at the tip of 1 of its fins. I would be grateful if you could advise me as to exactly what might be wrong with it and how to treat it. Thank you Dawn <these fish really need a larger aquarium to be held properly if not ethically. The sickness is no surprise considering the living conditions. Yikes... Imagine living in an elevator for 7 years with 3 people... who ate beans all day long... and sang campfire songs... off key. Quality of life issues here have manifested into a real issue of pathology. My advice is to remove the other 3 fishes (sell, trade or upgrade to a larger aquarium) and treat the afflicted one in the 10 gallon tank as if it was a QT vessel. Use a Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone mixed drug. Best regards, Anthony> 

Goldfish Problems 7/10/03 Hi again. Thanks for replying so quickly. <cheers, my friend> I was shocked to learn how over stocked my tank was and was it puzzled me so I rechecked the volume against the dimensions and I'd made a mistake... sorry.   <no worries at all :) I was honestly quite impressed that you could even fit four 6-7" fish in a "ten gallon".> it's a 37 gallon tank that I have. Is this still overstocked? <not at all, its reasonable.. especially if the tank is low and long (30-36")... else there is some concern with tall tanks for gas exchange/surface area. Add extra aeration in such aquaria> and will it make a difference to the way I need to treat the sick fish I described earlier? Thanks Dawn <some difference, yes... although it is still best to medicate any fish in a separate bare-bottomed hospital tank (10 gallon would work here). Most medications harm living biological filters. If you do decide to medicate the main display, test water quality frequently (several times weekly) for a few weeks afterwards and be prepared to do extra and larger water changes until the water quality recovers. Kind regards, Anthony> 

Tank Shapes for Goldfish I have three goldfish (regular Comet/Shubunkin types) who are outgrowing their 29g tank faster than expected (from 3 inches to 6 in less than a year), and need a new home. I looked at the 55G tanks (48 x 13.5 x 19.5) but realize that they are not really any wider or deeper than my 29G tank (30 x 12 x 18). A "40 breeder" that is 36 x 18 x 16 would give them more turn-around space, but less swimming length than a 55G. And I live in an old apartment building that might collapse with a larger tank.... The 55, being more common, would be easier to get hoods/lights/stands for, but I don't like the idea of a 10 to 12 inch fish trying to turn around in one, <Agreed> and the 18 x 36 tank would be more fun to aquascape (not that that really matters, since the goldfish specialize in destroying plants they don't eat ;-) ). <Yes, very difficult to maintain plants with them.> Either type of tank would be heavily planted, and filtered--as is the current tank. Any thoughts on which would be better? <Of the two, the breeder tank would be better, having a greater surface area and more turn around space.> Thanks, Diane Brown <You are welcome. -Steven Pro> 

Goldfish Tank Size Hello Everyone, My daughter "won" a fantail goldfish at her preschool and brought it home in a bag. I went out and purchased a Top Fin Aquascene2 Tank. It has an undergravel filter system with an airstone. I brought the tank home, set it up and added the fish. Her older brother of course decided he needed a fish as well. So the next day we purchased a red and white Oranda and added that night. I purchased kits to test the water, a book called The Goldfish by Carlo DeVito and Gregory Skomal, and also an Amazon Sword Plant with in a week of the tank purchase. Six months later the fish and plant (though it does show signs of being nibbled) are doing very well, however, I have come to realize that this tank is woefully undersized for these fish as they are growing. <Correct> Now they are two inches each. I am going to purchase a new tank, but am having a hard time with the research I have been doing. Different sites all say different things about tank size. For example: 10 gallons per fish, 1 gallon per 1 inch of fish, 30 square inches of surface area per inch of fish (Gold Fish Sanctuary) and various charts that give a ratio of fish per gallon. <All of these rules are nearly useless and here is why there is no uniform rule: It all depends on the fishes metabolism and activity level. A male Betta that gets to two inches in length needs a very different environment than a two inch Giant Danio. Also, six one inch Tetras is very different than one six inch Cichlid.> Based on what I've read about the fish we have, I'm guessing about a total length of 6" fully grown per fish. I want to size the new tank big, because I'm sure my youngest son will want a fish of his own within the year. I will get a fish along the same lines which will give me 18" of total length of fish. So that gives me a tank anywhere from 18 gallons to 30 gallons. I don't think I can persuade my wife to get a 30 gallon tank for 3 fish. But I don't want to do the fish wrong by under sizing. <I would recommend at least the 30 gallon tank and strongly advise you to consider a 55.> I have been visiting your site daily for about three weeks and enjoy the knowledge and passion you bring to the hobby. I've checked out the fresh water area and read the questions each day on your site and also in the chat rooms and have learned a tremendous amount. However, I haven't been able to find anything specific about goldfish and tank size. I've read that increased filtration <Along with increased water changes, look into a Python water changing system and position the tank near a faucet and drain. I have a customer that has an extensive collection of Fancy Goldfish. She performs weekly 50% water changes to keep them in optimum help.> can allow you to house more fish in a smaller area but I don't think I want to go that route. Any assistance you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Respectfully, Mark Malacky <Have a nice day. -Steven Pro> 

Goldfish System Filtration Hello There! Wondering if you guys can steer me to the proper canister filter for our 75 gallon bowfront aquarium. This aquarium has been up and running for 4 months. It houses 5 Fancy Goldfish ranging in sizes 2-5 inches. The aquarium has cycled. Yes, I know that Goldfish are messy :-)  The problem lies with the fact that I am now having to change the water (this is a 70% change) twice a week in order to have anything resembling clean water for these fish. We are presently using a Fluval 404 canister filter. <Just one? I would have used at least two for a standard community tank. For goldfish, I really like to use trickle filters if possible.> Filter media (floss) is changed on a rotating schedule a day after the water change. Half of the media is changed, sponges are squeezed out in the tank water. <The water changes are helping, but removing and disturbing your filtration is not. Even tough you are under filtered, all of this "maintenance" has got to be wreaking havoc on your nitrifying bacteria.> Tank is vacuumed every water change! I truly have stopped over feeding, as I did at first. Lights are on about 9-10 hours daily.  So, we are figuring that the Fluval filter is not the proper filter for our setup. <I agree.> To be fair, I understand it is made to work below the tank, and we have it set up beside the tank. Our tank sits on the hearth about 5 inches off the floor, with the canister beside it. <This is both a plus and a minus. The reduced head pressure should make the pump's work easier and increase the flow, but it will make it harder to clear the air out of the canister.> With the tank covering the fireplace opening, there is no type of hang on filter we can use. There is A LOT of air trapped constantly in the Fluval, although we are constantly messing with it. We were thinking of switching to an Eheim canister, the biggest they make! It would be another enormous expense, and as much as we are enjoying the fish, the every other day chores (water change or filter change) are getting exhausting and I don't want to put money into something else that is not going to work out. Sorry if this is so long! <No worries> Do you have any recommendations on what we are doing wrong, <Yes to the water changes, with perhaps being able to cut back to one per week of about 50%, but with 5 goldfish in a 72 you are going to have to perform large frequent water changes. It is the filter itself and your cleaning of it that is hurting you. I would add a second canister filter, as that is all you could add due to placement, and I would clean each filter less. Once per month for each, one every other week on alternate schedules.> and if the Eheim would work for us? <Yes, in combination with your Fluval.> Thanks much for your time! ~Robyn~ <I do want to mention that you should be applauded for your incredible efforts thus far. Few people are willing to put in the amount of time and effort you have done. -Steven Pro> 

Natural Environment of Goldfish I would like to know something about the natural or preferred habitat of goldfish - open water shallow water rocky shore line.  If I were to create an aquatic environment to mimic their natural environment what would I do and how do you know this? Thanks <Search at www.wetwebmedia.com and www.fishbase.org and/or your favorite search engine for goldfish or goldfish origin. You'll find a wealth of information regarding the origin and habitats of goldfish. Ronni> 

Water, Water Everywhere Would a goldfish live longer in bottled water or tap water? Email me back please soon. <Either is fine as long as it's not distilled water and whatever you use has been conditioned properly to remove chlorine, etc. Ronni> 

Fish tank in the office... Hi, <hello> I have a few quick newbie questions for you.  I plan on putting an Eclipse Six aquarium in my office in the near future.  I want to stock it with two small red Orandas...I know I'm overstocking, but generally how fast do Orandas grow?  The 1" of fish per gallon rule should still apply while the Orandas are still small right? <With proper care, Orandas can grow quite rapidly. The 1' of fish rule is based on the adult size of the fish, not the juvenile size.> I plan on getting a large tank when I settle down and stop moving from apartment to apartment.  I don't usually work on weekends, so would it be okay to feed them only during the week and not on weekends, or would this irregular feeding schedule affect the stress levels of the fish?   <It's not going to be good for them if you do this. They could miss one day but it's not recommended that they miss both days.> Should I space out the feedings to be every two days, to account for the gap in the weekends?   <No, because then they'll only be getting fed 3 days a week.> If I feed less frequently, the Orandas won't grow as fast right?   <Well, they won't grow as fast but they will die much sooner. The reason they won't grow as fast with less food is because they won't be getting the nutrition they need. So in effect, they'd be slowly starving to death.> Also, would you recommend refrigerated bacteria such as Bio-Spira or Fritz-zyme #7 to magically cycle the tank?   <I never recommend these although others often do. I feel it's best to let the tank cycle naturally.> Would I need an ammonia source to test the bacteria or can I add the fish in immediately?   <When I start a new tank I ask my LFS to provide me with a bacterial start (a bag of dirty water). I add that to the tank and also add one or two small, hardy fish. I then test the ammonia and nitrites daily and do water changes as necessary until they are both at 0ppm.> During maintenance, can I siphon gravel in such a small tank with the fish in, or should I remove the fish so that the siphoning does not stress them out?   <Siphoning the gravel with the fish in there is fine as long as you make sure not to hit the fish with the tube.> Can you recommend any websites with pictures of aquascaping so I can get a good idea of how to decorate the tank?   <Check out http://wetwebfotos.com/ > Thanks for all your help, you guys are great! Hong <You're welcome! Ronni> P.S. I failed miserably in my last attempt to keep fish, so this time I plan to do it right! <Do a lot of research and you should do fine.> 

Goldfish Filtration and Aeration Hi, I have a 60 liter tank to house 6 goldfish. It has a electronic filter included. Do I really need an air pump with air stones as well? Or is it an optional thing? Thanks Spence   <Hi Spencer.  I would not add this many gold fish in this size tank, they will foul the water quickly.  1 goldfish for ever 10 gallons of water, would be nice, so that would be 37.853 liters (all those years of math finally paid off!).  An additional air pump is always helpful, but not always necessary, really depends on the other filter, how much water it is turning over per hour, what type of filter it is, etc.  The link below has a lot of FAQs on Goldfish and Goldfish care.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfishfaqs.htm >

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