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10g Rule


erk39

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It seems like there has been an increased amount of discussion about the 10G rule over the last few weeks. And while a lot has been said, I think there are a few things that have been overlooked, or that maybe need to be looked at from a different perspective.

First let me say this: I agree with the 10 gallon rule. From personal experience, I think 15G per gf is even better. And more if you can get it.

That being said, I've seen some statements about the rule that I feel are either downright wrong, or at least counterproductive. Note: I have saved my most important point for last (#3). Here are my thoughts:

1) "It is impossible to cycle a 5G tank because it is too small."

I saw this statement once when I first joined the sight. Maybe someone just mis-spoke or wasn't thinking, but this statement is just plain false. I know because when I first got gf I had a 2.65G tank and, once I knew what I was doing, I managed to get it cycled in a few weeks, and this without any Biospira or other such products. I have since managed to re-cycle it twice to use it as a short-term QT tank for small goldfish.

2) "A large tank is actually easier to clean and maintain than a small tank."

I've seen this posted several times. While it's not exactly false, I think it is misleading. Yes, it is true that you can get away with less frequent water changes and maintenance procedures on a big tank. However, when you do them, they can be big projects. It takes me about a half hour to do a proper water change, and can be much longer if I am cleaning ornaments, scrubbing down algae and/or cleaning out the filter. On my smaller tank, a water change takes about 5 minutes and I only need bring one small water container to the tank. For me, I find it easier to do 5 minutes daily or every-other day as part of my normal routine than I am to do a big project once a week.

3) "You must get the right size tank, now, now, now!!!!!!!"

Ok, it's not usually stated that way, but how many times have you seen a newbie looking for help end up receiving post after post after post telling them that they need to get a bigger tank and sometimes even arguing with the newbie if they balk at the idea. Yes, it is important to educate people, but I think we need keep in mind that some people just can't or won't get the bigger tank, and slamming them for it is just going to turn them off and won't help their fish get better now.

Keep in mind that a some of these people are 12 or 13 years old with no money. When I was that age, I would have found it really difficult to tell my parents I needed a bigger tank when they just paid $100+ for a new one.

So I guess that's it. I don't know if people will agree with me or not, but I just wanted to put my two cents in and give people something to think about.

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I think I see what you mean Erk. I guess we forget sometimes that not everyone who obtains a goldfish as a pet are in a position to give the minimum requirements that goldfish have and we should learn to cooperate with them and see what is possible.

Sometimes, both time-wise and financially, people cannot provide adequately for a goldfish. However, we should remember to be polite and provide all our knowledge and experience we have.

Sometimes it's amazing to me that once in a while I'll see someone join and their first post will be to challenge the whole Bowl vs. Tank thing, and we have to acknowledge that there are exceptions to the rule -- but which are few and far between. And it does get me mad when I get weird looks when I talk about my goldfish setup ("That's too much space for a goldfish!"), but it also gives me an opportunity to educate and I think it really gets through.

I'm not really sure where I was going with this Erk, but I think it's good that you contribute your opinions about goldfish care. Sometimes we have to remember that nobody joins Koko's because they don't like fish.

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I've used 5 gallons as quarantine tanks and they do work just fine for small goldfish when maintained properly. I think the biggest reason that people are so adamant about newbies getting bigger tanks SOON is because if you don't know the correct size of tank, chances are you didn't perform a fishless cycle which means you're cycling with your fish and the levels can rise much more quickly in a small tank.

Personally I am a huge advocate of the cheapo plastic tub. If someone can't afford a new tank I tell them to get a big rubbermaid tub and a nice filter as soon as possible. Then just watch for cheap used tanks. You can transfer your fish and your cycled filter in when you find one and use that tub to help with water changes or storage or whatever!

I do agree that it is very overwhelming for new people when they get bombarded with information about cycles and tank sizes etc. etc. when usually these fish and tanks are just impulse buys, but the urgency is out of concern for the fish sitting in little tanks while the ammonia rises so I can understand both sides.

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hmm i would say that with the quotes you have, your responses are fair. however, the majority of moderators, helpers and long time members in here always recommend rather than tell the newbies how better to take care of their fish.

the 10 gal rule is the minimum and i'm pretty sure most of us usually say that the goldies need at least 10 gal. the examples you gave might be specific posts where certain members gave their two cents, but with the moderators and helpers, i've found that for your first example, they would recommend that person get a bigger tank as soon as they can, and i'm sure they realize the budget cruch some of us have, so usually they'll also recommend if a tank is not possible, to get a rubbermaid tub.

it's nice that you want to bring to attention the different situations, however i think that the usual characters you see doing most of the help do take these thigns into consideration, and it might be newer members that are giving their opinions.

props to koko, the mods, the helpers, and all the loyal koko's members ... y'all are doing a GREAT job in my opinion!!! :D:heart

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I totatlly agree that the mods and helpers are doing a great job, and that most people on this sight are well-intentioned at heart. :hug

I'm sorry I don't have more concrete data (I haven't been tracking posts), but I do think that if you keep an eye out for related posts, where someone is reluctant to get 10G per gf (usually b/c it's just not practical for them right now) you'll see a LOT of responses telling them they need to, and often implying that they can't solve their other problems without it. The individual responses usually aren't mean-spirited, but taken as a whole it can seem like the person is getting attacked.

I just think people need to be careful and make sure that a) they are giving accurate info and b) they aren't beating people (especially newbies coming to Koko's for help), too hard over the head with a stick :wa I'd hate for a fish to die, or a person to have a bad fish experience because they were scared off of Koko's before they got a chance to get help and become comfortable here.

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I agree that the new person shouldn't be reduntantly shouted at to do the same thing (however the right thing) over and over, but they do need to be told. They came here to get info obviously, so thats what they are getting. But, one thing about this site and any other informational/discussion forum is that one mod (usually) will answer the new person (or anyone) with an informative answer. Then 10 or 20 other people, regulars of the forum usually or other mods, say basically the EXACT same thing. If they have something different to add, thats fine. But the redundancy can sound to a new person more like force and inconsiderate shouting than helping (though I know its not ment to be.)

I think if its been said and its been said correctly, then there it is, and thats good enough. No reason to make your post of agreement, especailly if 10 other people allready have.

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:exactly That's exactly what I've been trying to say! Thank you for putting it so succinctly. Sorry if I'm being redundant on a post where we are talking about the importance of not being redundant
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hmm well i don't read ALL the threads in here, but the ones i do, if i agree or on the posts i know nothing about, i usually wont' say anything (unless someone's fish is about to die or something i'll say something to offer emotional support). but usually i post only if i have an idea to add on to the mods or helper... perhaps something i think will help or another option. i think this may add to the whole the newbie being overloaded with info. it happens to all the new members though, but we also are sure to add a warm welcome. :)

as a newbie i started off with 3 goldies in a 2.5 gal eclipse explorer... and i didn't have much money either. haha college kids are poor. but yeah i got the whole 10 gal minimum... water quality is more important than adding all the meds you want to a tank with poor water quality, and it does get redundant, but it's a learning process, and it always helps if there's someone there to remind you of the things you may have forgotten.

i also think that if they really, REALLY love their goldfish and want to help them as much as they can, they'll want to know what's best for them... and even if they know at the time it's not affordable, they'll appreciate the help. :D

i think the only time i've ever seen someone even slightly chased away was because the new member not only didn't have enough space for their current fish, the money they had to spend was being spent in places that weren't going to help the fish for instance the decorations, and on top of that was wanting to breed their fish. so i think the mods started repeating all the advice and getting a bit frustrated as well as the members trying to help them.

other than someone who's asking for help but not actually really "listening" to the advice given, the mods and helpers are very patient and understanding. :)

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10 gallon is the minimum we try to encourage people to attain to if they havent already got there.

Keeping a fish in anything smaller is a lot of work to keep stable, especially as goldfish are very messy. We do know that not every one can afford bigger tanks and find it a shock being told about the 10 gallons. Its not a rule, its a recommendation.

If someone cant afford the 10 gallons then we will work with what they have got and suggest alternatives, such as rubbermaids and the like. We also know that students cant keep large tanks and we do understand this, and children dont have the funds or sympathetic parents with money to burn.

If anyone feels they are being harassed then they should speak out on the forum if they dont have the post count to pm a mod. Most people that take the rule too far are indeed newbies but also we have some over zealous regulars who may not appreciate the OP's circumstances.

We are all here to help and educate and sometimes though the OP has to take a lot on board and this can make some of them feel threatened, but usually they do come round to our way of thinking.

Its not what you say that matters, its how you say it.

I also find annoying people coming up behind and repeating whats already been said as if they havent read the posts beforehand, but its human nature to back each other up and should offer reassurance to the OP that whats been said is agreed upon by other members.

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Hee hee, I'm going to come up behind you Sandy and back your post. :D

erk39 has made some valid and well presented points. I agree that sometimes advice can be offered in a demanding tone but sometimes a newbie can be argumentative and defensive as well.

It's annoying when someone just won't listen and is convinced that they are right and you are wrong, especially when they don't have the experience to back it up. I wonder why some people even come here.

All that said, this thread is an important reminder to be aware of each newbies situation and not to become too zealous when trying to educate sometone.

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Very interesting, most of the people that would like to complain about this are the most people that don't want to try to help there tank size, or filtration rate for there fish.

10 gals is a min, personally i think it should be more but telling someone that a fish that is 2" long will wind up being 12" just wont get across, and to say that redundancy, well the problem there is that the ? is asked over and over again, and if people just read the main site that ? wouldn't be asked in the first place.....

for example when I got into saltwater tanks, I researched for 3 months before getting into it, then got books and read about them, its amazing that people will get an animal then wonder why there's something wrong with them, when its actually the owner there something wrong with, if they had taken the time to read up on them, they would have known more about them before they ran into trouble.

No don't get me wrong I love to help but when the same ? pops up all the time well it does start to look like people are throwing things down there throat.......

just my thoughts :D

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Just a quick addition, and my own two cents: when someone cant afford a new tank, but NEEDS one, often the answer is as simple here in the States as Craigslist.com or Freecycle.com, where FREE tanks and supplies are often available. I know freecycle saved my hide when I needed a hospital tank and couldnt afford one! :)

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for example when I got into saltwater tanks, I researched for 3 months before getting into it, then got books and read about them, its amazing that people will get an animal then wonder why there's something wrong with them, when its actually the owner there something wrong with, if they had taken the time to read up on them, they would have known more about them before they ran into trouble.

I think it is worth bearing in mind that a lot of people are told by staff at their lfs that the fish will be fine in a smaller tank. So the new owners think they are doing fine and think that they researched enough. There is also plenty of poor information in books in the library (which would be my first port of call for researching) so even someone that has taken the time to read up about their fish could end up with some very inaccurate advice.

So if you think about a new fishkeeper, that has read up in books from the library, asked the lfs for advice, and maybe talked to friends that have/had goldfish in bowls, and then they are told on a forum that they are doing it all wrong, they might not trust the forum's advice immeadiately.

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No don't get me wrong I love to help but when the same ? pops up all the time well it does start to look like people are throwing things down there throat.......

just my thoughts :D

That is seriously a big problem. It seems like a lot of people would rather get right to the point of their particular question by asking somebody than to research until they find it, learning other things along the way. I see SO many of the same questions over and over, its almost like a series of the same ish questions cycle throughout the forum every few weeks. I wish people would read more of whats allready there.

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When my goldfish got sick I started searching the web for info. I found this site, along with many others, and kept coming back here because I could find all the info I needed. In fact I didn't register until 6 weeks later because I didn't need to ask new questions, the info is all available if you look.

Anyway, everyone is different I suppose and there are always emergencies when people don't have time to research.

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One thing that you guys all have to remember is this is not our paid jobs.We,the Mods,are every day people just like you ,who happen to have some experience with fish. We always try to be fair and do the best job that we can,in the time frame that we have when we are on the site. :)

I totally understand everyones feelings on reading the same answers over and over again,by one Mod,multiple Mods,who-ever,but half the time it's done because people aren't convinced by one person's comment,or that the person asking wants immediate results for a problem,or that particular person is totally ignoring the answers that they are hearing to begin with,so basically that is exactly why the "New person may be reduntantly told the same things over and over" And it's funny,but it's usually those people that are the ones that think we are shouting. This is the friendliest most helpful Board that I've been on,and if people are taking our comments like force,or inconsiderate shouting,then shame on them.

As mentioned :rolleyes: alot of these questions are on the main pages.Unfortunately,most people wait until they have problems,and then don't want to take the time to read anything over,they just want answers now.I have seen people ask a question,and because they weren't immediately responded to within 5 minutes,had the need to be rude about it all. Most times we are placed into "No win" situations,but we continue to plug along and try our best.

You have to realize that when people come on here for help,usually it's because a fish is at it's worst,and people are looking for help.There is no quick ,instant answer most of the time,except to say a big water change.If that person isn't crammed with all the other information that needs to go with being told how to save their fish,then what is the point of being here to help? I can tell you to change your water,but if I don't tell you why,or mention that your filter's too small,or that your fish are sitting in toxic waste,or that 7 fish crammed into a 10 gal. tank is not good,then that simple answer of water changes won't be enough to save anybody's fish. :( Will I feel as if I helped you? NO,if I didn't take the time to tell you all we tend to say,then I as a Mod would step down-for I would feel that I left you and your fish in the dark.

The biggest thing that you can do for yourselves,is a) avoid impulse buying,and b) RESEARCH!!!

I've been to many Libraries and looked at alot of outdated old material,but people,most of us now have access to the Internet,or you wouldn't have found us. :D Let me tell you that Mr. Google is our friend.Finding out ahead of time is always going to be a better solution than"I bought 6 goldfish and I have a bowl"

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I think its got more 'pushy' here more recently.. I dont know if thats the right word. When I first came here, I had 2 single-tailed fish in a 5 gallon tank and I dont really remember anyone suggesting I needed a bigger tank, maybe I knew I did already, I dont remember. But back then, if I had had 30 people rush to tell me I needed a 40 gallon tank for those fish I would have run a mile!

I think if a fish is actually ill at that moment then its the best idea to tell someone that they need a bigger tank.. but if the fish are ok and the tank isnt too badly overstocked.. maybe bring on the advice a little slower.

I'm all for being specific and giving reasons for doing things, there are soo many forums that just say "do a water change, fish will be fine." or.. "add salt. sorted.".. that isnt teaching anyone anything.

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