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nausky

Ropefish and Fancy Goldfish

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Hi everyone,

I have a loooong rant/story ahead, if you care for the backstory here. I would really appreciate genuine responses because this is a really big decision for me and I’d like to make an informed one.

Dividing this between story and the actual question. (Story=Quote)

I swear I had an account here before, under this username no less… not sure what happened there. Anyway, I’ve been on a huge journey in the last two years, broadening my horizons with fish keeping. Orandas captured my heart at a young age and honestly I’ve been really unsuccessful with keeping them. Originally I had chalked it off to being young and neglectful, but even when I sharpened my act (at least I felt like I had) it still wasn’t enough to keep them alive for much more than a year.

So I toyed with tropical fish for a while. I started easy with livebearers, then a literal gumbo of random tropicals, moved onto Angelfish (had a breeding pair until the male turned on the female and killed her randomly…), and now I have Ropefish/Discus.

Please don’t stop reading now. I’m not trying to keep Discus and Goldfish together. Good lord no. I just want to share my experience with the ‘Kings of the Aquarium’ and why I’m back here. Overall, I have had a lot more luck with tropical fish, but they just don’t capture my heart.

Setups: 56G w/ 1 Angelfish, 2 Ropefish
55G w/ 5 Discus
29G w/ 2 Sick discus in quarantine

+Assorted Bristlenose plecos and a very lonely Bamboo Shrimp within these.

I just purchased a 105 Gallon and I’m moving in two weeks. I desperately need to cut down on the number of tanks I have. So I’ll be attempting to set it up, consolidate the fish, then and turn over all incompatible fish to my LFS.

Ok, so Discus. They’re pretty. But the majority of them are timid and they’re so frustratingly fragile.

Allow me to share an experience…

One fateful day, I was late to do my (required) daily water change. It was 11PM, the timers had turned off my aquarium lights and the house was dark. I had the audacity to walk up to my fish tank and turn the lights on! The fish went into pure panic mode and all darted in random directions, colliding with the sides of the tank. They all fell to the ground and just laid there. Two of them must have had seizures, and I swear one of them died for a short while. She has never been the same since. She came back, but her color has faded and she sits in the corner of the tank. Has done so for however many months it’s been since that day. She used to lay eggs and now she’s just a shell of her former self. Btw, this was NOT a bright light. Quite the contrary really.

Being cichlids, they need to be in a large group or the aggression starts to get too bad. They aren’t as bad as generic Africans or Angelfish, but they’ll still stress the other fish to death without hesitation. Two of my large fish contracted some sort of gill issue in the last few weeks, and they’re in quarantine but it’s just not looking good for them. The symptoms are taking too long to show themselves, so it’s got to be something internal and I don’t have a vet nearby willing to help me out with it. In the meantime, my Discus tank being reduced to 5 fish has become a war zone.

All while I’m dealing with these issues, I miss the ever loving hell out of my happy, bubbly, and fearless orandas that loved me (for my food) and ate whatever I offered them. They didn’t kill their friends, and in my opinion, they were much more unique looking than my colorful and ‘coveted’ Frisbees. Not to mention, Orandas never jacked up my electricity bill so much by needing 84~86F water in a house where my fiancé prefers 70F. He works from home so I can't even compromise on the temperature. :flex:

So I’m at the point where I need to buy more Frisbees to reduce the aggression. But these guys don’t come cheap. My daily 50% water change regimen isn’t enough to grow young ones out (I’ve tried, and I cannot spare more time to my fish each day. I am a full time auditor and a part-time student. I already feel as though I spend an unhealthy amount of time and money on fish) so that means I’m stuck buying adult Discus. To fill the gap my two sick ones made, I’m looking at around $300 at least. (~$110-125 for a nice adult specimen, and ~$90 for shipping)

I’m just sitting here pining for Orandas again. I’ve heavily, heavily considered turning my Discus in. But in the end, I’m pretty sure I’ll just end up getting more Discus, because here’s the source of my problem…

The Ropefish. I adore my ropefish so very much. They’re considered an oddball fish – not terribly common, more of a weird-people only fish. I’m sure I’ll need to explain what these are like.

Here’s a profile:

http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/erpetoichthys-calabaricus/

I have already witnessed several accounts of Ropefish and Discus co-habiting, but what about fancies? Now look, I completely and totally understand why goldfish are generally kept in a species tank. They're filthy. But just as I am aware of that, I am aware that there are fish that break the mold, much like Dojo Loaches (which I know people have successfully kept with Orandas). Now before you look at Ropefish and scream and shout at me for even considering this, imagine a ropefish as a large but much more calm Dojo Loach. A predator yes, but playful and nothin’ but gentleman. They aren’t aggressive and only consider small fish to be food.

They are hardy, and they eat from my hand so I don’t really need to worry about the goldfish out competing them for food. In my opinion, the only thing that’s up in the air is the recommended temperature for the ropefish. Some sources say 73-86, some say 79-86. I would get more opinions about the specific needs of the ropefish before going forward with anything, but basically I wanted to get opinions from the goldfish experts first. My ropes are currently with my lone Angelfish and kept at 79F. Not comfortable with keeping fancy goldfish at higher than 75F.

I feel confident that my set up and water change habits from raising discus will enable me to keep a happy and healthy goldfish tank. The tank is a 105 gallon w/ two Marineland C-360s and I have a nearly automatic water change setup with aged municipal water. So keeping up with water quality really isn’t a chore for me.

So… thoughts? Anyone ever try this combination?

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I'd never heard of this fish before, but it looks a lot like a dojo loach, which I adore and are great tankmates for goldfish. I think it's really cute, so I must be a weirdo like you.

That said, I don't know enough about the rope fish to know if there are any special considerations that would qualify/disqualify it as an appropriate tankmate for fancies. Hopefully someone else will know.

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I don't think anyone here has a ropefish. I would be concerned for a couple of reasons:

Temperature - 75 is THE MAX for orandas. Anything after that and health issues will start to become evident. It seems like a ropefish needs AT LEAST that, which would concern me. Would you want to be keeping two fish at the opposite, extreme ends of their temperature ranges?

Compatibility- I'm not quite sure of the special requirements (If there are any) of the ropefish. Make sure that any of these don't conflict with the proper care of the goldfish. Being filthy isn't the only reason most people keep species only tanks. There aren't many other popular aquarium fish that live in the cold water that goldfish do. Like I said, I would be concerned keeping a goldfish as warm as possible and your ropefish as cold as possible. Also, the ropefish may become aggressive when the goldfish is introduced, right? My ropefish knowledge is, well, non-existent, so I apologize for any false assumptions :)

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I don't know anything about them so I can't help much but I must say.... THEY ARE SO ADORABLE

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Given that these fish are carnivorous and can get quite big (requiring 140 gallons/adult based on the link you gave us), I don't know that I would house them together.

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"Not to be trusted with tankmates it can fit in its mouth but is relatively peaceful otherwise. It can even be maintained in small groups as it is not particularly territorial. Good tankmates include Synodontis species, larger characins and cichlids such as Severum, Angelfish, some Tilapia species etc. It shouldn’t be kept with very vigorous species, however, as it may be outcompeted at feeding time."


This is what it said in the article. So most likely no.

Edited by Moucho+Moncho

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nausky, could you give the short version of that huge post you wrote? I just can't read through it all to find your question. lol

Edited by Acro

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A good rule of thumb would be to only keep goldfish with other goldfish. I have heard of too many incidents of goldfish and koi turning into snacks by opportunistic other fish because they generally won't fight back. Though many of these attacks were from small aggressive schoolers like tetras or barbs and bottom-feeders and algae eaters like dojo loaches and plecos, I still wouldn't risk keeping other fish with them.

Alex brings up a good point that the sheer size of these carnivorous fish is important to take into account. They get very large and should have a space to themselves.

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Temperature - 75 is THE MAX for orandas. Anything after that and health issues will start to become evident.

Would you be able to further explain this to me please?

This in my opinion is false. In the summer, my tank (and I'm sure others tanks and ponds might even get warmer) ranges from 76-80 degrees and nothing goes wrong in my tank at all. Also, what about when we treat for ick at .3% salt and heat at 80-82 degrees F?

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Temperature - 75 is THE MAX for orandas. Anything after that and health issues will start to become evident.

Would you be able to further explain this to me please?

This in my opinion is false. In the summer, my tank (and I'm sure others tanks and ponds might even get warmer) ranges from 76-80 degrees and nothing goes wrong in my tank at all. Also, what about when we treat for ick at .3% salt and heat at 80-82 degrees F?

I think he means permanently higher than 75 degrees

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Temperature - 75 is THE MAX for orandas. Anything after that and health issues will start to become evident.

Would you be able to further explain this to me please?

This in my opinion is false. In the summer, my tank (and I'm sure others tanks and ponds might even get warmer) ranges from 76-80 degrees and nothing goes wrong in my tank at all. Also, what about when we treat for ick at .3% salt and heat at 80-82 degrees F?

I think he means permanently higher than 75 degrees
mines permanently higher in the summer.

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Temperature - 75 is THE MAX for orandas. Anything after that and health issues will start to become evident.

Would you be able to further explain this to me please?

This in my opinion is false. In the summer, my tank (and I'm sure others tanks and ponds might even get warmer) ranges from 76-80 degrees and nothing goes wrong in my tank at all. Also, what about when we treat for ick at .3% salt and heat at 80-82 degrees F?

I think he means permanently higher than 75 degrees
mines permanently higher in the summer.
***in the summer. This is not permanent and there are daily fluctuations.

I can't think that the goldfish would do well without the natural temperature changes between day and night at this high of a temperature in a tank or pond, or this high of a temperature constantly over their whole lifetime. No, it generally is not detrimental during regular seasons, but over the lifetime it could shorten lifespan considerably if constantly kept that way. Not to mention it would be the time to begin adding more oxygen.

Goldfish can survive in a huge temperature range, but thrive in a relatively smallish one. While we can't say that 75 is the absolute max constant temperature, we can say that it is not the ideal temperature for goldfish and therefore recommend not keeping them there.

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I agree with Chelsea about the temps. Goldfish can do just fine in a range of temps from 50 (and lower) to as high as 90+. The key is proper acclimation and stability, as well as no sudden changes.

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I had a rope fish YEARS ago. I loved it, thought it looked dragon-like "flying" thru the tank. He'd eat from my fingers & was curious about everything!

B U T: They are ESCAPE ARTISTS!! They will find even the tiniest space in the top & get out of it. Houdini would be proud! I had EVERY nook & crannie covered. Even had foil crammed into several places.............HE STILL WOULD GET OUT. (Luckily they breathe air!) I found him several times wiggling around on the floor! I'd snatch him up & stick him back in...carpet fuss and all!!! Then one time I came home & he had escaped again & I didn't get back in time to save him. :cry1 He was one of the most interesting critters I have ever had (And I have had quite a managerie over the years!!

If you have a nice big tank & complete coverage (really not possible with filters & etc...BUT....give it a try!!

I haven't even SEEN one in YEARS!!!

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Temperature - 75 is THE MAX for orandas. Anything after that and health issues will start to become evident.

Would you be able to further explain this to me please?

This in my opinion is false. In the summer, my tank (and I'm sure others tanks and ponds might even get warmer) ranges from 76-80 degrees and nothing goes wrong in my tank at all. Also, what about when we treat for ick at .3% salt and heat at 80-82 degrees F?

I think he means permanently higher than 75 degrees
mines permanently higher in the summer.
***in the summer. This is not permanent and there are daily fluctuations.

I can't think that the goldfish would do well without the natural temperature changes between day and night at this high of a temperature in a tank or pond, or this high of a temperature constantly over their whole lifetime. No, it generally is not detrimental during regular seasons, but over the lifetime it could shorten lifespan considerably if constantly kept that way. Not to mention it would be the time to begin adding more oxygen.

Goldfish can survive in a huge temperature range, but thrive in a relatively smallish one. While we can't say that 75 is the absolute max constant temperature, we can say that it is not the ideal temperature for goldfish and therefore recommend not keeping them there.

Actually, I would say that's as close as you can get to an ideal temperature for goldfish. At temperatures below 65F and above 85F they tend to get sluggish. 75F is right in the middle. I agree that daily fluctuations are preferable, but indoor goldfish generally experience little daily temperature variation.

There are plenty of orandas flourishing in FL ponds that don't cool down to 75F at any time between May and September.

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Wow. Obviously there is a lot of controversy over the ideal temperature for goldfish. I think the reason is because, like Chelsea mentioned, they survive in such a huge temperature range, and it may be hard to tell when they are thriving. Also, Alex pointed out that acclimation and stability with no sudden changes is et lost important thing. The fish mentioned that live in warm Florida ponds are probably thriving in those conditions because of the fact that they have lived in that temperature since their birth. I believe a fish may also thrive in a pond where the temp is 70° or perhaps lower. We can also see this in humans; just this past month I traveled to Iceland (It was beautiful and if you ever get a chance to go there, do it!) and obviously I was appalled of the summer temp there (~55°F) and was constantly cold/needing a jacket. They, on the other hand, were quite comfortable because that's as warm as it gets throughout the entire year. I think that the same type of thing may happen in goldfish.

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Temperature - 75 is THE MAX for orandas. Anything after that and health issues will start to become evident.
Would you be able to further explain this to me please?

This in my opinion is false. In the summer, my tank (and I'm sure others tanks and ponds might even get warmer) ranges from 76-80 degrees and nothing goes wrong in my tank at all. Also, what about when we treat for ick at .3% salt and heat at 80-82 degrees F?

I think he means permanently higher than 75 degrees
mines permanently higher in the summer.
***in the summer. This is not permanent and there are daily fluctuations.

I can't think that the goldfish would do well without the natural temperature changes between day and night at this high of a temperature in a tank or pond, or this high of a temperature constantly over their whole lifetime. No, it generally is not detrimental during regular seasons, but over the lifetime it could shorten lifespan considerably if constantly kept that way. Not to mention it would be the time to begin adding more oxygen.

Goldfish can survive in a huge temperature range, but thrive in a relatively smallish one. While we can't say that 75 is the absolute max constant temperature, we can say that it is not the ideal temperature for goldfish and therefore recommend not keeping them there.

Actually, I would say that's as close as you can get to an ideal temperature for goldfish. At temperatures below 65F and above 85F they tend to get sluggish. 75F is right in the middle. I agree that daily fluctuations are preferable, but indoor goldfish generally experience little daily temperature variation.

There are plenty of orandas flourishing in FL ponds that don't cool down to 75F at any time between May and September.

I was always told 68-74. :) You learn new things every day.

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I think Johnson & Hess lists 74 as being the ideal temp. :)

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Temperature - 75 is THE MAX for orandas. Anything after that and health issues will start to become evident.

Would you be able to further explain this to me please?

This in my opinion is false. In the summer, my tank (and I'm sure others tanks and ponds might even get warmer) ranges from 76-80 degrees and nothing goes wrong in my tank at all. Also, what about when we treat for ick at .3% salt and heat at 80-82 degrees F?

I think he means permanently higher than 75 degrees
mines permanently higher in the summer.
***in the summer. This is not permanent and there are daily fluctuations.

I can't think that the goldfish would do well without the natural temperature changes between day and night at this high of a temperature in a tank or pond, or this high of a temperature constantly over their whole lifetime. No, it generally is not detrimental during regular seasons, but over the lifetime it could shorten lifespan considerably if constantly kept that way. Not to mention it would be the time to begin adding more oxygen.

Goldfish can survive in a huge temperature range, but thrive in a relatively smallish one. While we can't say that 75 is the absolute max constant temperature, we can say that it is not the ideal temperature for goldfish and therefore recommend not keeping them there.

Actually, I would say that's as close as you can get to an ideal temperature for goldfish. At temperatures below 65F and above 85F they tend to get sluggish. 75F is right in the middle. I agree that daily fluctuations are preferable, but indoor goldfish generally experience little daily temperature variation.

There are plenty of orandas flourishing in FL ponds that don't cool down to 75F at any time between May and September.

Excellently said, Sharon! :D

Edited by Mikey

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Justin, you are absolutely right about adaptation, although it certainly does not take a lifetime. The studies on the temperature range of goldfish use fish preadapted (for at least 20 days) to cool water to get the minimum temperature and fish preadapted to warm water to get the maximum temperature.

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I think Johnson & Hess lists 74 as being the ideal temp. :)

How did they determine that? :) I always wonder about this when people give ideal temperatures, pHs, etc.

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I think Johnson & Hess lists 74 as being the ideal temp. :)

How did they determine that? :) I always wonder about this when people give ideal temperatures, pHs, etc.

I will take the liberty to copy a passage from their book (pages 17-18), and to use the opportunity to make a correction of what I wrote earlier. :)

...While it's true that Goldfish of most varieties are extremely adaptable to a wide range of temperatures, there is considerable evidence that Goldfish do best in water in the mid to high seventies. This temperature range has several clear advantages:

First, it ensures that the water still carries sufficient oxygen. Water warmer than this carries far less oxygen.

Temperatures in the seventies also ensure adequate function of the nitrifying bacteria in the biological filter. Colder temperatures jeopardize the efficiency and capability of the nitrogen cycle.

Since Goldfish are "cold-blooded" animals (poikilotherms), this temperature range ensures the proper functioning of fish metabolism and normal levels of activity without unduly increasing their oxygen demand.

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Justin, you are absolutely right about adaptation, although it certainly does not take a lifetime. The studies on the temperature range of goldfish use fish preadapted (for at least 20 days) to cool water to get the minimum temperature and fish preadapted to warm water to get the maximum temperature.

Funnily enough, this happened to me over my 10 day stay in Reykjavik. Near the end of my trip, I wasn't so bothered by the cold anymore. That article was one of the more interesting I've read, and suits this thread perfectly. It's important to realize that these fish don't have an exact "ideal temperature," and that it can change based on region or the particular temperature an aquarium is kept at; I "thrive" in the seasonal weather of Easter Missouri, yet my relatives in Iceland think their weather is the end-all be-all of perfect weather conditions. We had quite a discussion when I visited.

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I think Johnson & Hess lists 74 as being the ideal temp. :)

How did they determine that? :) I always wonder about this when people give ideal temperatures, pHs, etc.

I will take the liberty to copy a passage from their book (pages 17-18), and to use the opportunity to make a correction of what I wrote earlier. :)

...While it's true that Goldfish of most varieties are extremely adaptable to a wide range of temperatures, there is considerable evidence that Goldfish do best in water in the mid to high seventies. This temperature range has several clear advantages:

First, it ensures that the water still carries sufficient oxygen. Water warmer than this carries far less oxygen.

Temperatures in the seventies also ensure adequate function of the nitrifying bacteria in the biological filter. Colder temperatures jeopardize the efficiency and capability of the nitrogen cycle.

Since Goldfish are "cold-blooded" animals (poikilotherms), this temperature range ensures the proper functioning of fish metabolism and normal levels of activity without unduly increasing their oxygen demand.

I have this book too and it is a great resource!

I keep my fish around 75F in the summer and lower (around 68F) in the winter. I live in California, where we don't have seasons like many other areas do; the temp stays relatively constant and comfortable over the course of the year. So I try to somewhat replicate the seasons in my tank. I saw a marked improvement in the health and activity of my fish when I added an air pump.

Cold water (which I assume means around 68F or lower ... not really sure) is fine, but it's not the only option, as long as you have sufficient air once you start getting into the higher temps. Unbelievably, I once had a pet store employee refuse to sell me apple snails because they are "tropical" and goldfish are "coldwater"!

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Very interesting thread. My pond fish prefer 72F, they start their breeding behavior when the water temp hits that mark after dipping below it. (67 to 72 in a 48 hour period would do it.) 74 seems ideal, but we have dramatic nightly cool downs.

Edited by mysterygirl

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