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Keeping Cycle going without fish and other questions...


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I'm not exactly sure where this post should go, I've been putting off writing it, I lost Banjo on Monday. Not sure what caused it, Monday morning he didn't eat and was lethargic and his tilt had gotten a little worse, he was gone when I got home from work 12 hours later. No sign of septicemia or any outward signs of illness, no pine cone shape, no swellings. I can only think that he had internal injury from being banged around so much :(

I almost broke down the tank, feeling overwhelmed, and somewhat like a failure. But my fiance talked me out of it - said I'd put too much work into the plants and cycle etc to just give up, and that I should wait, look for a better source of fish, do more research and pick exactly what I want instead of what comes into the petstore that looks sorta healthy. Which is true too - I've just picked poor health fish that had little hope of success I guess. They only stores here are petco and petsmart, the only other non-chain pet store always has ich and dead fish in their tanks.

Anyway, I am going to try and find a small-scale local breeder or somewhat local dealer in small batches of fish and stay away from any chain stores / bulk sellers, maybe I'll have better luck.

Then, if I do decide to try again, do I get just one fish? After all this, I am really worried about potential bullying, even rough spawning behavior at this point is truthfully scares me. I don't have room in my house for two tanks to separate genders if it were to come to that (or the time and money to dedicate to two fully functional tanks).

Can a goldfish of any breed live happily on its own, (I'm not talking about personification of 'happiness'), but biologically are they a species that stresses out when they are alone, like some schooling fish, or can they live normal lives with plenty of stimulation and enrichment outside of social behaviors. If there isn't any harm in just spoiling a single fish rotten, then I am all for it (if I can find a good fish that is).


I just feel a bit lost at the moment. I don't really want to give up the hobby, I enjoy aquaculture, and really have a fondness for goldfish - other species don't appeal to me at all. 

In the meantime, how do I keep the tank cycled? Right now, the Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, and Nitrate is 20.

 

 

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Shion lived here happily alone for months. I firmly believe goldfish do fine alone in an interactive tank and with some human interaction. I found a sale on a larger tank and plan to give him two tankmates BUT I don't at all think they suffer when alone.

I also have 2 tiny petsmart fish that I've had in quarantine for about two weeks now. This is a day or two after I got them. Their tank is overrun with algae now (intentionally) but I will get another video of them this weekend.

They fight over every morsel of food daily. Headbutting and chasing and just being bad. I feed them quite a bit when they are this tiny and weak. I have kept their water clean and OBSERVED them closely. They have done quite well but they have another 2 weeks of observation before I move them from here.

PetSmart and Petco have generally bad quality fish with various health problems sometimes, but sometimes you get lucky. I like the potential of these two and if they are healthy - I am excited to try and raise them.

When there is actual BULLYING, it is almost always caused by one fish being weak/sick. The fish that was bullied was sick/weakened before he was bullied. There was already something going on with him. The other fish can sense this and turn on him. 

 

 

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As for the cycle, I would add a little fish food now and then. It'll spoil without any fish and keep the cycle going. You lost both the bullied fish AND the bullier?

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5 hours ago, mjfromga said:

As for the cycle, I would add a little fish food now and then. It'll spoil without any fish and keep the cycle going. You lost both the bullied fish AND the bullier?

No, I gave the bully to a friend that has an outdoor pond as far as I know hes' doing fine - I suggested she QT him just in case, but both he and Banjo had been through 4 weeks of QT already.

Banjo, the fish that was being bullied was the one I kept.  At this point it was too cold at night to have my hosp tub set up outside on the porch and I don't have room for it inside, so I just has the injured fish in the tank alone.

 

Also, tonight my ammonia is 0 and my nitrites are less "purple" than 0.25 but darker blue than the "0" mark (api test kit), nitrates are still in that 10-20 range same as the tap. I'm hoping the plants are using the nitrate and that's why the level isn't rising, and its not due to a cycle stall.

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The cycle will crash with nothing to feed it. Any hints of nitrite means a cycle bump. You'll need to feed it with tiny amounts of ammonia or fish food. 

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Thanks, I'll add some fish food every few days and still do water tests, of course I'll do a good cleaning before I get a fish

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I have a bottle of ammonia I just add a few drops everyday when the tank is empty.

As for sourcing fish, I would look online for a goldfish specialist or join your closest goldfish club and fish breeders. I won't even touch fish at my local shops. I can literally walk in and diagnose alsorts within seconds. Either that or a load of deformities. Not got if you want fish in a display tank.

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True. I'm still looking for what I might like. I have to stick with fancies, my floors can't handle a tank big enough for any of the longer bodied fish, but that's fine too.

There is a pond store a few hours from me that occasionally has gold fish (not just koi) that has good reviews on Facebook. I called this morning and right now they have oranda, celestial, and Thai ranchu. It might be worth at least going and seeing actual fish that represent the breeds.

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1 hour ago, SilverWen said:

True. I'm still looking for what I might like. I have to stick with fancies, my floors can't handle a tank big enough for any of the longer bodied fish, but that's fine too.

There is a pond store a few hours from me that occasionally has gold fish (not just koi) that has good reviews on Facebook. I called this morning and right now they have oranda, celestial, and Thai ranchu. It might be worth at least going and seeing actual fish that represent the breeds.

Are you opposed to ordering fish? I really struggle to find fish I like locally so I do order sometimes when I want a new fish.

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18 hours ago, mjfromga said:

Are you opposed to ordering fish? I really struggle to find fish I like locally so I do order sometimes when I want a new fish.

Not particularly opposed - I just prefer to see them myself, watch them swim and interact in the tank, etc. I also am willing to drive several hours to see fish in person. Mostly, I want to avoid spending a fortune on a fish. I know that sounds bad, but I'm looking for something no more than $60 - including shipping - I just don't want to risk spending $100+ to get a fish delivered and then have it die. I want to be able to pick out the exact fish I want and ask about the sellers water parameters, medications, food, history as far as imported stock vs raised stock so that I know what kind of breeder I'm dealing with. I'm leaning more and more towards ranchu the more videos I watch of them.

 

I did the same thing with my reptiles, once I found a reputable breeder I waited until they were going to be at a reptile show to meet them in person and discuss their husbandry and such.

Breeders that I talked to when I was looking for my ball python that wouldn't respond to questions about housing and feeding or were unwilling to have me pick up in person were taken off my list.

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I'm with you 100%. I got Ziggy, my newest fish... for less than $60 shipped but this can be tough. I don't want to toss any more than that at a fish either. In the past - it has NEVER been worth it. I have 2 of the $4 PetSmart weaklings too. My other indoor goldfish Shion, he came from a pet shop over an hour away and was like $20. The days of tossing hundreds at goldfish are long over for me too.

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I think this weekend I'm going to go and check out the thai ranchu in Arlington. I have a battery operated bubbler, bucket with a lid, and prime to take with me if that would help with the drive and keeping the water stable- its about 3.5-4 hours away. When I called today, they recently got in some baby black thai ranchu - supposedly they keep their black color?, and they have some other thai ranchu that are just coloring up.

If I like what I see, I guess the next decision would be whether to get one or multiple. I'm still leaning towards just one...

(Two or three? I don't think that a 40 breeder could handle more than 3. I've read that odd numbers reduce bullying / spawning stress but I don't know if this is true).

As a side note, the shops' water is much softer than mine with a pH of 7.2 (mine is 7.4 to 7.6) - if I bring a whole bucket of their water home instead of just whats in the typical bag, how long should I take to acclimate? I was planning on using a solo cup and taking 1 cup of their water out and adding 1 cup of what matches the tank water every hour for a few hours - I want to acclimate the new parameters as slowly as possible but keeping a fish (or two?) in such a small volume of water for hours worries me too.

IF I get fish that is :)

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I have bagged several fish with just air (not oxygen) and the package went through the mail overnight just fine and none of the fish suffered at all. They'll be fine for 4 hours in the bag so long as they're bagged properly. Removing them and putting them in a bucket etc isn't necessary. 

That pH difference also wouldn't be enough to make much of a difference so I wouldn't bother with that method either. As for the black - some of them hold it, some don't. It's always a gamble with black.

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