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Mothercrow

Need to have a talk...

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And I'm not looking forward to it. I've been fish-sitting since May, and on Saturday the owner is coming back for them. The fish are not in ideal situations and I'd like to gently encourage the owner to do better by them.

 

The owner is a college student and lives in the dorms. When the fish arrived here, there was a female betta in an unheated, 1.2gallon tank with an undergravel filter. I added a heater that was actually rated for her tank, but I'm going to keep it, hoping that the dorms will be warm enough. (Plus I don't have the money to just give away equipment.) The undergravel filter seems to be cycled. This fish is doing well. Should I talk to her about getting a larger tank for the betta?

 

There was also a divided 10gallon tank, with a male betta on one side and two, year-old, common goldfish on the other side. There was a HOB filter, unknown gph, it appears to be an aqueon quietflow with the blue grid inside. She changed the filter media monthly, and I know that the BB is *supposed* to live on the blue grid, but the tank wasn't cycled, so I did a fish-in cycle and didn't change the filter media. Should I talk to her about not changing filter media, or trust the blue grid?

 

There wasn't a heater in the tank, but the male betta developed dropsy not long after arriving and I was unable to save him. I removed him to a quarantine tank, and after his death I monitored the goldfish, but they've been ridiculously healthy, knock wood. I removed the divider and added a corner filter I found at Goodwill ($3! Plus media I already had on hand!) Even though these goldfish came from the same batch that mine came from, the ones in the 10gallon became enormous! They are easily an inch larger than my largest goldfish. While I don't mind at all giving her a $3 filter I got lucky with, I don't really want to give up my air pump. Do you think I should talk to her about extra filtration? How would you phrase it?

 

Finally, she was doing water changes every two weeks, I have no idea how much. She doesn't own a testing kit, and I know that's a big expense for a college kid. Would you try to talk her into bigger, more frequent water changes, try to get her to buy a test kit (so she know when she **absolutely has to** do a water change), or both? Would you try to talk to her about a bigger tank? Would you try to talk her into rehoming the fish? I won't ask her to give them to the pet store.

 

If this is a TL;DR--all of my questions are at the ends of the paragraphs. I would sure love advice. This is my daughter's friend, but not one I know well, and my daughter doesn't want me to lecture her too much.

 

Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk

 

 

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Please have her read our guidelines for healthy goldfish.  It helps to have information from an "authoritative" source rather than just you.  Tell her how you make use of this information to keep your fish healthy.  Then do some brainstorming with her to see how she could  improve conditions for her fish.  

Changing filter medium destroys nitrifiers.  Those that live on the inner surface of the filter, on the blue stuff  or on the walls of the tank survive, so the cycle bump may last only a few days, but does hurt the fish.  Please point out to her that the only the manufacturer benefits by replacing filter cartridge before it disintegrates from old age.  Rather, she should simply empty the dirty water from the filter when she does a water change, and rinse the loose crud from the filter medium.  A cartridge kept clean in this way can last for a few years and will develop a healthy population of nitrifiers.

Many dorms have limits on tank size, and often say no more than 10 gallons.  She can provide the goldfish with a decent environment by getting a 10 gallon (or more if allowed) underbed tote for them.  Here is one example.  We recommend 20 gallons per fish because this works well for most common aquariums (although not tall ones).  However, we could also determine the fish load by surface area.  Surface area works better than volume for containers that have less than 12 inches or more than 16 inches of height.  For these we should provide 2 square feet of surface area per goldfish.  The 10 gallon tote above has ~ 3 square feet of surface area, not perfect, but way better than what she has now.  This tote has about 4.5 square feet of surface area, ideal for two goldfish.  A small filter and weekly water changes keep the fish healthy.  Goldfish grow big and need swimming area for good health.  Most college students have first-hand knowledge of the health effects of sitting on your butt in class and studying most of the day.

If she removes the betta, she can keep the goldfish in the 10 gallon tank if she changes at least 3 gallons of water daily, 5 gallons every other day, or 100% twice a week.  

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I actually purchased the Ikea tote, but I don't know if she has room for it. (I would have already set it up but couldn't find the space for it.) Also, her filter is a HOB and I didn't know how to make it work with the tote. She might be up for small daily water changes, I didn't think of that, thank you.

 

The male betta is no longer sharing the tank, he developed dropsy and I wasn't able to save him.

 

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Update: Not a huge success, but she went out and bought a 20g High for the goldfish. I did send the corner filter with her, but forgot to talk to her about not changing her filter media. Sooo....wah wah

Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk

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Your doing the best you can do.

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