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How big a tank should I get?


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I'm looking at getting Fin and Ginger a proper sized tank and I'm not sure what size to get. Fin is a Comet and is about 4 inches or so and Ginger is a Common and is currently about 2-3 inches. I was initially thinking 55 gallon would be ok, then read the 40 gallons recommendation for each single fin GF. So I looked at a 90 gallon at the pet shop and figured I could get one of those and it would give me room to add one fancy multi-tail GF too. Then I started thinking about a few decorations like a few rocks/wood and perhaps a school of small fish to complement the goldfish. No idea what those small fish would be yet or if that's a good idea?

Given that type of loose plan and thinking lifetime of the fish 90 gal starts to seem on the small side with the three Goldfish, decorations that displace some of the water plus the small compementary fish. Going by the guildlines of 40 per single and 20 for a fancy that would put me at 100 gallons but that's not accounting for the complementary fish or the decorations. I love to hear from those with real world experience what size tank would be best for the fish based on my plan?

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I may be wrong, but I don't think it matters whether single tail or fancy--they all poop the same and that's the biggest issue! The recommendation is 20 gal per fish minimum (more is better), and 10X the filtration level (i.e., a 55 gal tank needs at least 550 gph filtration; a 100 gal needs 1000).

I just got a 90 and it will be home to 3 goldfish (1 not yet purchased) and one BN pleco, with 1000 gph filtration from 3 filters.

Get the biggest tank you can afford--that's usually the best plan! :) I'm not sure about a school of smaller fish . . . they might well get eaten by the goldies even if you can find some that can live in the same conditions (some minnows can, I believe). I would skip the school if I were you. :)

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I may be wrong, but I don't think it matters whether single tail or fancy--they all poop the same and that's the biggest issue! The recommendation is 20 gal per fish minimum (more is better), and 10X the filtration level (i.e., a 55 gal tank needs at least 550 gph filtration; a 100 gal needs 1000).

on one hand I feel this is true but on the other hand, single-tailed goldfish need more swimming space simply because of the size and shape they are/grow to be. I think people recommend more gallons for single-tails is to accommodate that - it's easier to suggest a bigger tank, which usually means a bigger footprint, than to say they need a tank with x length and x width. especially because most tanks are of standard sizes and we don't expect people to go out and buy a custom-shaped tank just because they have bought comets, commons and shubunkins on misleading info! I do personally feel single-tails do better in a pond as ponds tend to be much larger but if someone is able to accommodate a very large tank indoors then good on them. :)

to the OP: I think that you should get as big as you can afford/cope with! :D it would be better to be understocked with a huge tank than to keep needing to upgrade because you find your fish keep outgrowing it. I also personally wouldn't house any smaller shoaling fish with them, as once they get big enough (Fin is well on its way!), they may see these fish as a tasty snack.

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I'd like to point out Shakaho's and Alex's explanations to me as to why tank size doesn't matter between slim bodied fish and fancies. They can be found in this thread.

In the same breath, though, I'd also like to echo Cath in saying please get however big a tank you can manage. The bigger the better, always.

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Absolutely! As I said, always get the biggest you can. My point was more re: stocking. A big common or comet will have the same amount of swimming room in a 90 with 2-3 companions as he will in a 90 with 1 companion. So the poop/filtration is the main issue at that point.

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I would suggest looking on Craigslist or something similar for a used tank and then spending your money on new filtration. You can find awesome deals on used tanks that clean up very nicely. I just scored a 75 gallon rimless for a song.

Edited by Smegy Psiren
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Yes--I just found a 90 gal with stand, top, lights, a bunch of smaller stuff (heater, pump, etc.) AND a $200 Eheim filter for $400. I was really excited to get the nice big filter to add to what I already have!

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Oh goodness--that's just silly! They are no less suited to tanks than any other goldfish. I'm sure ALL fish would rather be in ponds (until they die an untimely death by raccoon, heron, cat, etc. etc. etc.), but they are just fine in large tanks. See the link posted above to Shakaho's and Alex's explanation about why single tails don't need more room than other GF.

If anything, I think this does a disservice to fancy GF--the implication is that they need LESS space. They all poop the same and they all need clean water, and as much of it as possible. ALL GF owners (single tails AND fancy) should strive for that.

Personally, while I would love to have a pond, any fish I put outside would be dead the first night. I live in the woods and my farm is called Blue Heron Farm for very good reason. ;)

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Hi Johnson,

Obviously, the more room you can give them, the better, but think in terms of the total picture rather than just gallons per fish type.

Make sure that you really can keep up with the tank size you are getting. Personally, I think 2 in a 55 with good maintenance is better than 3 in a 90 that is so overwhelming that you avoid thinking about it some weeks. I don't know and I have no evidence but I tend to think that goldies in all-goldie set-ups with thin or no substrate and simpler, easy to clean ornaments last the longest.

My best advice would be - get a roomy tank you like and can keep up with, invest in a good filter and a python-type system to make water changes easier and thus more frequent, choose ornaments that can be easily be taken out and cleaned, stick to goldies, maybe a pleco or a snail in the tank. Have fun with the hobby. :)

Edited by motherredcap
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Long bodied goldfish do better in ponds than they do in aquariums.

Fancy goldfish do better in ponds than in aquariums. They benefit more from moving from an aquarium to a suitable pond than do long bodied fish.

Long bodied goldfish do better than fancy goldfish in ponds and in aquariums.

Both fancy and long bodied goldfish do well in large aquariums with 20 gallons per fish.

Both can survive in a 10 gallon tank. Common goldfish have lived for 4 or more decades in nothing bigger than a 10 gallon tank. Fancies have lived into their teens in such a tank.

Common goldfish have lived for decades in a bowl. I can remember as a child, back when most goldfish lived in bowls or ponds, seeing black moors that had lived more than a year in a bowl, but most were dead in a month.

Fancy goldfish are clumsy swimmers, and like clumsy people, need more space to maneuver than do the agile, long bodied fish.

Of course goldfish would prefer to be in ponds. We don't keep goldfish in aquariums for their welfare, but for our pleasure. As long as they have good food, clean water, and some companionship, they are perfectly happy there.

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Oh goodness--that's just silly! They are no less suited to tanks than any other goldfish. I'm sure ALL fish would rather be in ponds (until they die an untimely death by raccoon, heron, cat, etc. etc. etc.), but they are just fine in large tanks. See the link posted above to Shakaho's and Alex's explanation about why single tails don't need more room than other GF.

If anything, I think this does a disservice to fancy GF--the implication is that they need LESS space. They all poop the same and they all need clean water, and as much of it as possible. ALL GF owners (single tails AND fancy) should strive for that.

Personally, while I would love to have a pond, any fish I put outside would be dead the first night. I live in the woods and my farm is called Blue Heron Farm for very good reason. ;)

I actually agree with great_kahn - I think this is just a difference in opinion between goldfish-keeping in different countries. most goldfish people in the UK I know also believe that single-tails are more suited to ponds. I definitely wouldn't say it was a "silly" idea. a pond may not be suitable for you, but here, in the UK, there are rarely any predators that the pond can't be protected from. of course all goldfish would be happier in a bigger water capacity, but as far as I'm aware, most fancies aren't as 'hardy' as single-tails, and would not winter as well as them, which is why, at least in the UK, fancies are not suggested to be in ponds as much. there is also the fact that some fancies need more unique care that may be harder to provide in a pond, such as with a bubble-eye or celestial. dismissing someone else's opinion as "silly" seems a little rude. :(

Edited by cathface
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Wow, excellent feed back. So forget the schooling fish idea and stick to three Goldfish.

I have the space for something pretty big, so taking care of it would be the issue. I don't want it to be to much of an ordeal to keep up with it, so I like the idea of keeping it simple with a thin substrate and decoration/lay out that's easy to clean. The 90 gallon tank I looked at was a nice size for my house as long as it's a good size for the three Goldfish, which has been my concern. As long as the 90 gal tank is big enough to make keeping the water quality high then it seems the space would be good for the fish.

Absolutely! As I said, always get the biggest you can. My point was more re: stocking. A big common or comet will have the same amount of swimming room in a 90 with 2-3 companions as he will in a 90 with 1 companion. So the poop/filtration is the main issue at that point.

A pond would be cool but that's a whole different deal. I'm looking for the ambiance and pleasure one gets from watching the fish and having them inside the home. Where as a pond is an outdoors feature. I have heard of people here in Fort Collins losing there pond fish to the birds we get here which inlcude Heron. These fish I have are more like pets as my family is in love with them like a family dog, so losing them to a predator would be unacceptable. If I ever did have a pond I'd stock it with fish that the family and myself have not attached to yet.

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I have to say don't limit yourself. If you have the room get a 300 gallon. Get as big as you have room for. You well always want to add fish and if you don't they will love space.

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Hi and Welcome, It sounds like Fin and Ginger are going to be getting a bigger aquarium soon. Congrats on that. They are going to love it. If I may suggest, When setting up your tank I would go for keeping it simple. This way you can see how "managing it" goes and if you are enjoying it "simple". You can always add more to the tank. A lot of us here have bare bottom tanks (myself included) and they are easy to take care of. I did have gravel and a bunch of ornaments but had taken them out since joining Koko's. Now, If I only had all that money that I spent on all that fish stuff. :) You should post some photo's of your lovely fish.

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There is absolutely no excuse for losing a pond fish to a bird. People who have that happen are those who refuse to cover their ponds because they don't like the look of a net or other cover. I have herons, egrets, cranes, etc. walk or fly past my house regularly. The ponds are covered so they hunt elsewhere.

I don't know where the idea came from that pond fish aren't pets. What I like best about ponds is that it is so much easier to interact with fish in a pond than in an aquarium. I can sit beside the pond and the fish all come over to me, mouths out of the water so I can put food in it. I reach into the pond to pull out some debris and they are all nibbling on my arm. A fish that wouldn't come near my hand when in an aquarium, is taking food from my hand when I call it's name a week after I move it to the pond.

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Johnson, my cousin used to live up near Horsetooth and he had a pond without much predation but it was above ground. The fish came in during the winter. Honestly, I think they had a worse time losing cats to coyotes! :yikes

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I'm sure there are ways to provide some protection from predators, although netting isn't gonna stop a raccoon, at least not the ones in my neck of the boondocks! Ditto bobcat. Still, not everyone wants their fish outside, and I'm fairly sure that most people here have aquaria, not ponds. So while ponds are great, they are not the only way to keep fish, nor the most common way to keep fish. Fish in large, well-cared for tanks clearly do very well.

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Raccoons require different protection than birds, although If a raccoon hasn't successfully fished your pond before, getting it's feet caught in a net is a pretty strong deterrent. I know I find it very frustrating when it happens to me.

Goldfish ponds are typically small, and if they are regular in shape they can be protected from any predator with fairly simple covers. A 2x4 frame covered with metal hardware cloth and held in securely in place is 100% safe from raccoons, according to people who have built them after experiencing a raccoon attack. Actually, an uncovered stock tank pond more than a foot deep is pretty safe from terrestrial predators, since the animal would have to fish while clinging/balancing on that narrow rim.

Koi ponds are typically at least 4 feet deep with vertical walls. This alone makes them safe from most predators. A large, shallow, irregularly shaped (so it's hard to cover) "natural" pond is a feeding station for piscivores.

There's nothing wrong with not wanting a pond, or keeping fish in an aquarium. But people who keep their fish in ponds are not putting them out there because they don't care if they get eaten.

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What I like best about ponds is that it is so much easier to interact with fish in a pond than in an aquarium. I can sit beside the pond and the fish all come over to me, mouths out of the water so I can put food in it. I reach into the pond to pull out some debris and they are all nibbling on my arm. A fish that wouldn't come near my hand when in an aquarium, is taking food from my hand when I call it's name a week after I move it to the pond.

I love how social even my aquarium buddies are :) I can't reach down to reposition a rock without them both nomming my arms and fingers looking for a snack :P

I would love to have a pond someday, though I admit I like the level of control I feel when it comes to my aquarium inside.

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There is absolutely no excuse for losing a pond fish to a bird. People who have that happen are those who refuse to cover their ponds because they don't like the look of a net or other cover. I have herons, egrets, cranes, etc. walk or fly past my house regularly. The ponds are covered so they hunt elsewhere.

I don't know where the idea came from that pond fish aren't pets. What I like best about ponds is that it is so much easier to interact with fish in a pond than in an aquarium. I can sit beside the pond and the fish all come over to me, mouths out of the water so I can put food in it. I reach into the pond to pull out some debris and they are all nibbling on my arm. A fish that wouldn't come near my hand when in an aquarium, is taking food from my hand when I call it's name a week after I move it to the pond.

You make a pond sound pretty attractive and I've got new perspective. I personally like having the fish indoors but I can see how a pond could be pretty awesome, especially if your yard/landscaping complemented it. With time/resources in abundance one could have it both ways, inside in the winter and in the pond in the summer.

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There's nothing wrong with not wanting a pond, or keeping fish in an aquarium. But people who keep their fish in ponds are not putting them out there because they don't care if they get eaten.

Of course not! I have often thought of having a pond for summer and moving them back inside for the wintertime. But it's not practical for me and the risk, however slight, is not one I'm willing to take. But it's clear that those who have ponds love their fish just as much as those w/ tanks! No question there. :)

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