Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Goldfish

by Bob Fenner


Black  Moor Breathing Air (12/24/2003) I'm absolutely brand-spanking new at owning a fish (having just been given a black moor for Christmas), and therefore don't know much about fish behavior. The moor is currently sitting in a small (maybe half-gallon) fishbowl while my 2 gallon Explorer tank goes through it's first 24-hour cycle. <Cycling takes a lot longer than this.> However, the moor seems to spend his time at the top of the small bowl, skimming off the surface. The behavior (to describe it) looks as if he is trying to breathe out of water. <exactly> Since the small bowl is unfiltered, I changed about 1/4 of the water this morning (he's been in since last night), and it seems like this new activity has only begun this evening. Should I be worried? <Yes. Two possibilities here. First is not enough oxygen in this tiny bowl. Solve this with an air stone and a small air pump. Second is chlorine/chloramine poisoning. Did you treat the water you added with dechlorinator. If not, you need to treat the water in the bowl right away with dechlorinator. If this is the cause, the fish should improve.> I spent about an hour on the site but wasn't able to find an answer for this question, so I presume it to be something so common most anyone would know the answer. Thanks for your time.  - Ken <You're welcome Ken. Do spend some time reading WWM articles about Black Moors and goldfish in general. The first thing you will learn is that 2 gallons is far too small for keeping a Black Moor healthy. You might want to pick up a good book about goldfish care too. Barron's has an inexpensive (<$10) one you ought ought be able to find at any large bookstore. Steve Allen>

Water Problem? I had accidentally filled about 1/4 of the bowl with tap water, and when I recognized my error about two hours later I added AmQuel (otherwise, I am using bottled filtered water). <You can actually add 1/2 tap water to a tank, without harming a fish, as long as it is the same temp.  100% tap water without dechlorinator, can burn a fish's gills.> It must be lack of oxygen. Unfortunately, I don't have an air stone/air pump (and will not likely be able to get one tomorrow, it being Christmas). Since is it most likely that, and since I don't have a ready solution to solving the air problem, and since all I have is a two-gallon tank, my options are fairly limited. I could try to take the moor back on Friday, but I wonder if that bowl would suit him that long. Should I take my chances with him in the two-gallon tank, and put him in early? <I'm not exactly sure what your question is.  What is the fish in now?  A 2gal bowl, even without any filtration will suffice for a goldfish until tomorrow.  Then you can get it a nice 10g tank (it will need a larger one later) & a decent filter, gravel, etc>. I'd rather not have a fish die simply because someone got me a pet I really don't know anything about. Thanks again. - Ken (probably should have gotten me a puppy. *Those* I know how to take care of.) <People shouldn't buy pets as presents--Pufferpunk>

Do orandas need table salt? 10/5/03 Hi there, I've got 2 orandas and one keeps staying on the bottom of the tank. I put Interpet Gold in to buck him up, but no change.  I went to the petshop and was told they need table salt in the water. <non-iodizd salt (kosher/cooking salt) is very helpful foremost all FW fishes. Adds electrolytes, stimulates protective mucus, reduces pests and infections, etc> He said to put half a table spoon in (level). I am afraid to do this because I also have a goldfish, minnows and a white fish with an orange head. <the normal dose is 1 TBN [tablespoon] per 10 gallons. It can usually be tripled... but your minnow here will likely be irritated> If I put the salt in what is it going to do? <very helpful as per above> I have had the tank established for 2 months now, it holds 25 pints of water. Thanks, regards Linda <do consider that the goldfish is best kept only with its own kind. Mixing the minnow and other species is unnatural and problematic for optimal goldfish care. Best regards, Anthony>

Goldfish behavior question Hi there, <Hello, Sabrina here at the moment> I bought two small fantail goldfish some months ago. They are presently in a 30 gallon tank (no other fish) they eat like crazy and are getting pretty big 3-4 inches from nose to end of body- not including tail. <Sounds great so far.> The problem is one seems to have grown about an inch longer than the  other and spends all its time pestering the other fish.  Swimming behind it , pushing it, constantly annoying it. The smaller fish just keeps on going , looking around for food. Short of separating them , is there anything that can be done to stop this annoying behavior..... <This is actually pretty normal, and not to be concerned about unless you're seeing signs of stress in the other fish.  It may actually be courtship ritual, or just playfulness - or perhaps harassment.  But it is pretty normal.  Just keep an eye on the smaller fish, look for any signs of distress (clamped fins, nips/damage to fins, etc.).  All should be well.  -Sabrina> I cannot tell how annoying  it is to the smaller fish, it is annoying to watch.  Elena

What IS IT?  What's a "cloe"? Ah, a goldie! Part deux.. >They are just the cheep little gold fish like you get at a carnival. >>GOTCHA!  Now I can help! >We bought our son a .24 cent cloe at the fish store just over a week ago.  She was doing so well in our 10 gal. tank and he was so in love with the whole thing we decided to pick up 2 little 12 cent cloes for "friends" the bigger cloe aka Dorothy appears to be bullying one of the little ones aka Denis.  Tonight we returned home to find Dorothy trying to eat a very long mucus thing with little black spots.  I am assuming an egg sack???? >>If so, it's possibly from a snail, for goldie eggs are scattered about the roots of plants, usually those that float on the surface of the water. >Any thoughts??  Also after about 20 Min. she didn't seem to be getting anywhere and had started acting very funny. My husband fished her out of the tank and pulled whatever it was she was eating out.  Any more thoughts???   >>Be sure no one's dropped anything they shouldn't be into the tank, otherwise I would watch and wait. >Oh by the way the other small cloe is named Elsie.  My 5 year old did the Naming. >>I do love children, and stories like this, well.  I'm better off keeping those thoughts OUT of my old head, my own boys are 14 & 17, it's not time to have more!  Now, onto the more important bit.  Please know that your "cloes" can easily reach 10" apiece in size, and this being the situation, they can quickly outgrow and over pollute the tank they're in.  You will need to keep up with regular water changes (weekly would be best, on the order 1/3 the tank volume).  In the beginning it's best NOT to vacuum the gravel, and don't scrape or wash down the tank sides.  Do search our site for very good goldfish husbandry information.  Best of luck, and have fun!  Marina  

Moving Goldfish to New Tank Hello: <HI> Thanks for all yr help in the past. MY fantail and moor are doing well and we have just purchased a 55G tank for them. <Sweet> History: 2 fish (7 or 8 months old?/each is less than 3" in length), 1/2" of 'regular' gravel (1/8" diameter pebbly material), corner 'box' filter, Eclipse System 1 Bio-Wheel filter. Setup in April, cycled with the fancies, but they seem to be pretty healthy and happy, My NH3 never went above .50, but my Nitrates hit 50 ppm once (~5ppm ever since) <Sounds good> How should I actually migrate or move these goldfish from a 10 Gallon tank to a 55 gallon tank? One suggestion is to move everything into the new tank and remove old filtration after 2 months. Do you think this would mean, move the fish, filtration and all the plastic plants, gravel on day 1? Isn't there a risk of inducing cycling again, stressing the fish? <The new tank will cycle and could cause extra stress on the fish.> Another possible plan would be to cycle the new tank by seeding the new tank with filter and gravel from the existing tank. Using either the bottled ammonia method, or introducing food that will decompose and feed the biomass. I was thinking I would also just siphon water from the old tank to the new tank every day hopefully introducing some bio-elements to get the system going in the new tank. <Or... if your filter for the new tank has a biowheel, or something similar, you could let it hang out in the old tank for a while to allow the bacteria to colonize, then move it over to the new tank.  You could also transfer some of the existing gravel from the old tank to the new tank to get the cycle started.  I would put the new filter media in the old tank for a while, and move some old gravel to the new tank, test the water in the new tank frequently, once it is cycled move the fish over.  The water conditions will be more stable in the 55.> Finally I purchased a Whisper60(3) with the tank. I would like to supplement this with another filter. I was thinking of a big bio-wheel since it has treated us so well up to now. Would a canister be more appropriate? <I would go with a canister filter, they have more horse power, and a larger variety of media that you can use.  If I recall, the Magnum canister filters even have an additional return that you can purchase that includes a couple of biowheel.  Best Regards, Gage > Thanks again,  Francis, Lilo and the 'boys' in Brooklyn

What IS IT?  What's a "cloe"? >We bought our son a .24 cent cloe at the fish store just over a week ago.  She was doing so well in our 10 gal. tank and he was so in love with the whole thing we decided to pick up 2 little 12 cent cloes for "friends" the bigger cloe aka Dortathy appears to be bullying one of the little ones aka Denis  Tonight we returned home to find Dorothy trying to ?eat? a Very long mucus thing with little black spots.  I am assuming an egg sack???? Any thoughts??  Also after about 20 Min. she didn't seem to be getting anywhere and had started acting very funny. My husband fished her out of the tank and pulled whatever it was she was eating out.  Any more thoughts???  Oh by the way the other small cloe is named Elsie.  My 5 year old did the Naming. >>I wish I could help you better, but I have NO idea what a "cloe" is!  I cannot find it via Google, our site, or anywhere I've tried (I keep ending up in geneology sites).  Could you try a picture, or see if there's any other name it goes by?  Very sorry, Marina

Setting up a UV on a goldfish tank (07/26/03) Hey folks, a quick question or two.   <Ananda here tonight to give a shot at answering them....> I have six (I know, I know 5 is the magic number) fancy 4" goldies (really 2 Black Moore, 2 Red cap Orandas and 2 brassy Ryukins) in a 55 Gal. with a Eheim 2026 filter and a Coral Life 9 watt UV sterilizer. <Having read about how messy goldfish get, I'd consider an additional filter... that Eheim is going to turn your tank water over only about 5 times an hour. For my messy fish (puffers), I have the tank turnover at 12 times an hour, and I still have more nitrates than I'd like.> As a new setup the sterilizer is off.  My gravel substrate is cultured and the water conditions are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and a pH 7.8 (a little bit high) filter is still ramping up. <How are the nitrates doing?> The sterilizer is rated for a flow rate of 100 to 200 gph, slower being better.   <Yup.> The Eheim is rated at 250 gph but can be throttled back.   <I wouldn't.> My assumption is that the filter full of media and with a head of 34 inches plumbed to the UV then into the tank is developing something less than 200 gph.  A guess as to how much less?   <There are head pressure calculators around on the web... I don't have any canister filters, so I am not sure.> And should I throttle back to let the UV get the parasites?   <I would get a dedicated powerhead for the UV.> Thanks, Rick <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Goldfish ID <Hello! Ryan with you> Hi, I just bought a group of goldfish and this one was with them, but the shop have no idea what it is !!!  I an living in Holland and any help would be great, thank you Mark. <Mark, I'm sorry but the image didn't come through.  Send it back and we'll do our best! Ryan>

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 u 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 inthe 10 gallon tank as if it was a QT vessel. Use a Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone mixed drug. Best regards, Anthony>

Help with my Black Moor gold fish - Internal Parasites 7/10/03 My sister just got 2 black moor goldfish, one recently died. But the other has been pooping out this whitish, stringy stuff. <Often a sign of internal parasites. Do seek and feed medicated fish food to correct> And tonight we noticed a  orange worm looking thing coming out of (I'm assuming its butt) it is not living or anything, but it was like 2 inches long with that white stringy stuff on the end, then he shook real good and it fell off and floated on the top.  Then a few minutes later he did it again. And meanwhile he ate the first stuff that was at the top. Can you tell me what this is, and if the fish is ok? Thanks Very Much......          Michelle & Spike (fish)   <If the fish is eating dry foods (flakes or pellets) then it may very well be suffering from internal parasites... else the feces would be solid and darker in color. Kindly, Anthony>

Dojo Loaches in Koi Pond >I have a question about the dojo loach. I live in North Carolina and I have a 700 gallon Koi pond with about 8 Koi and 7 goldfish with 2 500gph pumps and filters.  I just put 9 Dojos in.  Will they live through the winter in this climate? >>Any measures to ensure the cyprinids are alright are appropriate for the Dojos.  I do believe you may soon reach your limits of fish load, though.  The loaches, if thriving, may add quite a tax on the system, though certainly not as great as the Koi themselves. >Sometimes my pond is frozen with about 2 inches of ice on it. Will the loaches be able to live through that like the gold fish and Koi? >>Not having had direct experience with freezing, and VERY little with snow, I give a qualified "yes".  If someone in your zone knows otherwise then I hope they will offer their advice.  I'm assuming your pond is both sufficiently deep and circulated/heated during winter months to prevent complete freezing over of the entire pond surface.  Marina

Big Fish Death in Pond - 7/7/03 Dear crew, Today I went out to check my pond to make sure everything was in order, but I noticed my largest fantail was gone.  The pond is always securely netted, held down by rocks. It is not a big pond, only about 350 gallons. I have searched most hiding places , but I don't want to go ripping up the pond to look for this fish. I think he could possibly be stuck somewhere.  I know right now it is breeding time and I wonder if it is a female that is hiding laying eggs.  All my other fish seem to not be acting in an unusual way as they would if an attack had taken place by a predator.  Any thoughts are appreciated. Hoolden <Oxygen deprivation is often a leading cause mid-summer when the largest fish die/first. Especially if the water is green (unicellular algae). Respiration of the plants and algae at night drop O2 levels and kill the big fish first. Do get an O2 test to confirm. Hoping too that you do not turn off any pump or aerating features at night (dangerous!). Anthony>

Goldfish Discoloration Hey Crew, <Hey! Ryan with you> I'm trying to diagnose the goldfish in my pond. Some have whitish patches on their sides, not spots, not fluffy, more like a discoloration. We have 11 common goldfish, 8 are orange and 3 are black/grayish. It can be seen on the orange but not on any other fish, including the 5 Shubunkins and 1 fantail. Also we have only one female common and she got battered around quite a bit from spawning, so as a result she has the patches the worst. <Not uncommon with goldfish, but always hard to diagnose.> They have had this for about two months, and show no signs of being unhappy or stressed except for scratching against the stems of the lily, which all of the fish do. Only the female has shown signs of getting worse. She now swims with a little waddle when she swims slowly, no problems floating in one spot so I doubt it is the swim bladder but more like a fin problem. <What are your fish eating?  Is the diet varied?> I have seen some of them with white poop which I guess is an internal infection. Also our fantail has a white growth above one of his eyes. I know it sounds like I have the unhealthiest fish in the world, but they really do quite well. They all are eating, spawning, and growing normally. Our baby from last year's spawn is growing noticeably fast. <Still sounds like you may have some water quality issues.  Is there adequate filtration/circulation?> For treatment I was thinking of quarantining the female and the fantail, or maybe just the female, then medicating according to disease. Also feeding medicated food to the rest of the fish. The only problem is I don't know what kind of medication to feed them. <Lots of great stuff out there, I would recommend something with some garlic included.  It's a still a debate about whether it works or doesn't, but many people I've talked with swear by garlic's natural antibodies.  Seems to help with internal infections.>   If it helps there also has been a lot of silt building up on the bottom, especially since all our hair algae died off quite suddenly. <Again, possibly a circulation problem?> I have been vacuuming a little at a time, and I suppose our dojo loaches take care of some of the stuff decaying down there. I've heard a build up of debris on the bottom can bring on certain diseases. <No amount of detritivores can make up for good aquarium maintenance.  Keep up the regular cleaning!  Have you considered UV sterilization?  It can certainly help with undesirables.> Thanks for the help, this site is the reason I have got the dojos (which I love) and why I'm starting up a 32g tank. <And the best of luck with that!  Quarantining the fish isn't a bad idea- but only do this if conditions get worse.  These things sometimes clear themselves up.  If you can send us a photo, we'll be glad to have a look and see if we can give you more detail about what's going on with your fish.  Talk to you soon-Ryan>

Oranda with Ich <Good Morning, Ryan with you> Hi Crew, I have a 20 gal long tank with a 170 penguin filter with one 6 in Oranda. The Oranda got ich, started using Clout Bout and making 20% water changes 5 days ago.  She is showing signs of improvement ammonia levels have risen slightly, have treated with ammonia down and no change.  When fish has been cured should I remove her and do a complete cleaning of the tank including washing of the gravel and complete water change?  Also at this time would I be able to return my dwarf African frog to the tank in the future?  Would I be able to add another Oranda to the tank? <Whew! I'm out of breath just reading that one!  It sounds like you're doing the right things - removing the frog was a good step.  I would keep up the water changes, and perhaps try a different medication if Clout Bout doesn't seem to be working.  There are much more effective treatments for this parasite.  Be sure to read up about freshwater Ich here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm Be sure to follow the medication directions to the word, and use activated carbon to remove the old medication before trying something new.  I certainly wouldn't add another fish to the mix at this point!  Good luck-Ryan>

Goldfish Interrupted Hi, <cheers from Anthony while Bob is away competing in the Red Kangaroo rodeo in OZ. The winner of the competition is the last man standing and still cogent after numerous kicks to the head> I was told that a Goldfish can be in a 5 gallon tank with out a filter and pump...Is this true...if the water was change regularly and i have a gravel pump? <even daily water changes will only but your a matter of months. They are large adult fish that routinely stunt and die in such small unfiltered aquaria> I have one goldfish, I think it is called fan something... <sure... an American fantail. I had one reach 18" long in an aquarium and had to put it outside in a pond before it was four years old! That is proper husbandry for a goldfish if I may say so> he or she is a big one like maybe 3 1/2 inch long not counting tail. The reason I am writing also is that the water is turning slightly yellow. is that cause of feeding or not having a filter...? <both and ammonia buildup that will likely kill the critter in time. Do do small daily water changes in the meantime but do make plans for this little fellow to get into a much larger aquarium very soon> thanks for answering these ?'s. flo

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: