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Do solitary goldfish feel lonely?


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  • Regular Member

I have a bit of a long post but I hope you'll bear with me.

After some trial and error, through reading Koko's Forums, I learned the importance of adequate tank size, filtration, water changes, monitoring water chemistry etc.

And since 2013, I managed to keep 3 fat, short-tail ryukins relatively happy (I think) in a 4ft aquarium. There was (and still remains) a supporting cast of 8 zebra danio in there with them.

This year, tragedy struck. First Hershey scratched her eye quite badly, and her condition worsened rapidly. She died within 2 days.

Last week, Revlon who's been living with floatiness* for months also started appearing quite weak.

*I feed the girls Alex's No Float Gel food. Before her deterioration she would swim normally except for several hours after feeding time. Her change in condition was probably my fault, as it happened after I missed one water change (I promise I'm usually very diligent otherwise).

Today Revlon looked like she would not make it, so I euthanized her.

Which leaves me with Tumblelina, who is still active and healthy.

Losing Revlon and Hershey so suddenly was really upsetting. And I am really not in the frame of mind of getting any new goldfish to replace them. I also reasoned that keeping my water parameters healthy would be easier, with fewer goldfish.

That being said, I need to know if being the only goldfish in the tank would be less ideal for Tumblelina in the long run. She still has the 8 danio around her though.

Any advice regarding the social needs of fancy goldfish will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Josh

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  • Regular Member

Tumbleina may exhibit signs of loneliness at first, since she grew up with these other fish. This is often a very normal occurrence, just as it is with humans who grieve loss. However, a goldfish can do perfectly well alone if given proper attention from their caregivers, whom they often associate with good things or possibly even see as a 'schoolmate.' (i.e. part of their school)

 

The danios will likely not be viewed as 'schoolmates' though, so they really won't do much other than be a source of entertainment (or food, possibly) for her. It's up to you if you want to continue to keep them all together. 

 

 

 

 

My condolences on your losses. It seems like a lot of fish lately are being lost. 

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I think a goldfish that has been around other goldfish most of its life will experience a goldfishes version of loneliness.  When I have had to separate my fish from their pack, they mostly sit on the bottom and pout.  

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It seems rather unusual  to have two of three fish die in an established tank that is not heavily stocked.  I am concerned that there might be a problem with the conditions in the tank.  If you would like, we could attempt to determine if there is a problem and what can be done about it.  It requires you to answer a lot of questions.

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Not sure how helpful this will be but when I have a goldfish nearing the end of it's life, I have noticed that they seem less stressed out there is another goldfish with them.  Obviously the companion goldfish will have to prove that they won't attack the dying fish but I believe goldfish are happier when they are in the company of other goldies.  This is purely observation of course :)

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I think they do experience a sense of loss. I'm down to a single goldie. Callie missed her tankmates especially Po who was bought with her from same talk . For awhile Callie just sort of hung around the bottom moping at times seeming afraid to venture out on her own. Now she is being a little princess. No competition for food ,swim space, or forced to move sleeping space. If you ignore her she will sometimes surface the tank and freak you out by splashing her tail to get your attention. Also, she has learned to wave (Call me nuts!) Yes, wave hello. My daughter who has Aspergers and can really tune in to animals started repeating what she calls the "fish wiggle" (when the feeding frenzy starts). Now when I walk by the tank I wiggle wave and Callie "waves" back! Just this simple gesture seems to give the fish some sort of connection with us  (even though we humans look like we're having some type of seizure!) :teehee

 

I think when you are ready for more fish you will know. I thought  after each loss-No MORE...but deep down I know that I will. They give you such joy and calm when you need it. The only reason I've waited is I'm moving in a couple of months. Once I settle into the new house Princess Callie just may be surprised to find she ISN'T QUEEN OF THE CASTLE anymore! :yikes  

 

Good Luck!

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I've had goldfish that were quite sociable and others solitary, it depends on the fish. I once had an oranda and itty bitty pearlscale that were inseparable. When Pearl the oranda died Beany appeared to spend months looking for his best friend. :(

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