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First Time Goldfish Person?


Guest jsf59

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Hi......

I have a new 10 gallon tank with 2, ~3 inch fantail's.....one calico and one gold and white. The tank was set up for about two weeks and the water pronunced fine by the pet store before adding the fish. We have had the fish for 2.5 weeks. We use test strips frequently...this morning the pH was 7.6 and the only thing even a little off was the nitrates at 40. I have not done any water changes but have added 3 quarts due to evaporation. They get fed tetra fin flakes once a day.....about as much as they can eat in 3 minutes. We have added cycle once a week. The filter is a whisper 5-15....... The light in on from 4-6AM and from 3:30-9PM and the tank is about 2-3 feet from an east facing window. We keep the house at about 68-70 during the day and 72-75 in the evening. About 4 days ago the gold/white one started sitting in a corner of the tank at the bottom......this morning the calico one was in the corner with him......while at the bottom the fins appear clamped.....however they will swim around......and when feed come to the top of the tank like a couple of pirrahna's <G>....... So should I be worried or are they being "normal".

Thank, Jane

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First off, I want to get this out of the way, since you are going to hear it. A 10 gallon tank will soon be too small for two goldfish. Unfortunately, pet stores often don't sell customers the proper equipment. You will have to upgrade in future to provide at least 10 gallons per fish. Goldfish become very large and those little 3" fish will soon look more like baseballs with fins :D

But, that is for another day, and today we want to solve your problem.

Your tank is most likely in the cycling phase. During the first month, bacteria will establish itself in the gravel, filter and ornaments. They are beneficial bacteria and they will convert ammonia and nitrite to nitrate. At 2.5 weeks, you are probably showing a NITRITE reading. Could you please post all of the readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc. back here to be sure. Nitrites are deadly to fish, so the first thing to do is a large water change of about 80%. Add conditioner and match the temperature of the water as closely as possible.

After the water change, you can add 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon. Dissolve in tank water before adding. Use aquarium, pickling, kosher, coarse or sea salt (a salt without additives). Salt will help your fish cope with nitrites and also acts as a bit of a tonic for fish.

If it is a nitrite reading we are seeing, you will have to watch your NITRITE levels closely for the next few weeks. Every time you see a rise in nitrites, do a water change. You are going to try and keep the nitrites down to as close to 0 as possible. In a few weeks you will start to see NITRATES. These are not harmful to fish except at very high levels and regular water changes will take care of them.

Once your tank is cycled, you will then do weekly water changes of about 30% - 40%. In a 10 gallon tank, with two fish, I would be inclined to do bi-weekly water changes of about 25%. Once a week, you should rinse out your filter material. I don't bother with the carbon in the Whisper bag. After a month, you can knock that out and just use the filter floss type bag.

Also, I would probably add another small filter on your tank. I would suggest something like a Aqua-Clear Mini. With two fish in a 10 gallon, it will help a lot. Then when you upgrade in future, you can move both filters over to the new tank :D

Also, I would probably use a good water conditioner such as Prime.

I hope this all helps and please feel free to ask questions.

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Hi there, and welcome to Koko's!

Im sorry that you are having some concerns with your fish, but you have come to the right place for help. There are alot of people here that will be able to help you with your issues. I've been keeping goldfish for only a year now, so i'm fairly new myself, but i will help you out with some of the basics until a more experienced member can help you!

I'd have to say that the root of you problems is water quality due to lack of adequate space requirements for your fish. Goldfish need 10 gallons of space per fish, so unfortunately, you are overstocked with your two fantails. Goldfish are notoriously high waste producers, and can build up quite a high ammonia level in a tank, which is lethal to fish. Some of the early warning signs of water quality issues can be that the fish exhibit behviours such as bottom sitting, which sounds like what your fish are going through right now.

Here are my reccommendations:

1. Test the water in your tank for ammonia and nitrites. They should both be at 0. If they are at anything more than 0 you must do a waterchange of 50-80% immediately.

2. Your nitrates should be around 20. Keep testing regularly for nitrate level, and if they are much higher than 20 you must do a waterchange for that as well.

3. Look into getting a larger tank for both fish (20 gallons) or a second tank (10 gallons) and separate them. Maybe the fish store would take the one you have back and let you upgrade?

4. Goldfish need 10 times the filtration per hour of the total amount of gallons in the tank. If you have a 20 gallon tank, you need a filter that filters 200 gallons per hour.

5. Waterchages during the first few months of a tanks life will have to happen on a daily basis, until a balance of good bacteria is established. This is what is known as "cycling" the tank. The waterchanges are to keep the fish safe from harmful toxins until the good bacteria are strong enough to neutralize the toxins themselves. After that, waterchanges can slow down to once a week or so.

Keeping goldfish is a very rewarding hobby, and i have grown to love all the ins and outs of tank maintenance. I hope you too get bitten by the bug, and become as devoted to your pets as i have!

And remember, Koko's is here for support and help when you need it!

Dana.

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Hi there, and welcome to Koko's!

Im sorry that you are having some concerns with your fish, but you have come to the right place for help. There are alot of people here that will be able to help you with your issues. I've been keeping goldfish for only a year now, so i'm fairly new myself, but i will help you out with some of the basics until a more experienced member can help you!

I'd have to say that the root of you problems is water quality due to lack of adequate space requirements for your fish. Goldfish need 10 gallons of space per fish, so unfortunately, you are overstocked with your two fantails. Goldfish are notoriously high waste producers, and can build up quite a high ammonia level in a tank, which is lethal to fish. Some of the early warning signs of water quality issues can be that the fish exhibit behviours such as bottom sitting, which sounds like what your fish are going through right now.

Here are my reccommendations:

1. Test the water in your tank for ammonia and nitrites. They should both be at 0. If they are at anything more than 0 you must do a waterchange of 50-80% immediately.

2. Your nitrates should be around 20. Keep testing regularly for nitrate level, and if they are much higher than 20 you must do a waterchange for that as well.

3. Look into getting a larger tank for both fish (20 gallons) or a second tank (10 gallons) and separate them. Maybe the fish store would take the one you have back and let you upgrade?

4. Goldfish need 10 times the filtration per hour of the total amount of gallons in the tank. If you have a 20 gallon tank, you need a filter that filters 200 gallons per hour.

5. Waterchages during the first few months of a tanks life will have to happen on a daily basis, until a balance of good bacteria is established. This is what is known as "cycling" the tank. The waterchanges are to keep the fish safe from harmful toxins until the good bacteria are strong enough to neutralize the toxins themselves. After that, waterchanges can slow down to once a week or so.

Keeping goldfish is a very rewarding hobby, and i have grown to love all the ins and outs of tank maintenance. I hope you too get bitten by the bug, and become as devoted to your pets as i have!

And remember, Koko's is here for support and help when you need it!

Dana.

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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all of your help.......please bare with me I am also new to message boards.......we are using mardel test strips.....the nitrate is between 40-80...closer to 80, the nitrite is between 0-0.5, the total hardness is 120, the alkalinity/buffering capacity is between 120-180 and the pH 7.6-8.0.......so how much water should I be changing?

Thanks, Jane

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Wow, your nitrates are really high, you want them under 40, and you want your nitrites to be 0. I would do a 50 % water change and recheck in an hour. Whats your ammonia, you want that at 0 as well. I would also add some aquarium salt for stress and the nitrates being so high!

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With readings like that, and the fish being sluggish, I would personally do 80%. Goldfish react well to large water changes and you want to get your nitrates down, also the nitrites.

If you think of it, even with a 50% water change, you are still going to have nitrates between 20 and 40, and you said it is closer to 80, so closer to 40. Still high.

You want to try and get your nitrates under 20 and your nitrites as close to 0 as possible.

The salt will help the fish cope with the effects of nitrite poisoning.

Post back here tomorrow with your readings and we will suggest what amount to change then.

Also, let us know how your fish are behaving after a water change.

Please don't apologize for being new to message boards ... we all started sometime :D

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First, thanks again for all of your help. My husband just got back from the fish store....they tested the water and said it is fine......we did add the cycle to the tank before we took the water out......the nitrites were a 0, the nitrates were between 20-30, the amonia was a 0 and the pH was between 7.2 and 7.6......he bought the tank vaccum so as soon as the tap water (we have a well, and we have a water softener that uses potassium chloride) get to room temp we will do the water change. I forgot to tell him to get the salt......will it be alright to wait to add it until tomorrow?

Thanks again, Jane

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Yes, wait till tomorrow,

I would do the water change and do another one in a couple of days. Readd the salt that you remove. So, if you take out 50% of the water, add another 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon.

I generally do water changes once per week and remove between 30-40% of the water at a time. At the same time, I gently rise out my filter media in tank water or dechlorinated water.

Please let me know if your fish perk up after the water change.

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Hi Everyone,

We did a ~50-60 % water change last night ....... I just tested the water and the ammonia is at 0, the Nitrite level is at 0, the nitrate level is between 20-40, total hardness is at 50, total alkalinity/buffering capacity is between 120-180 and the pH is between 7.6-8. I added the salt after I tested the water....... This morning when the light came on they were at the bottom of the tank, but were soon up and swimming. This evening they were both swimming around and ate like they had not seen food in weeks......I still think that their fins look like they are clamped, but it is more than likely that I don't really know what I am looking at..........any ideas are appreciated.

Thanks, Jane

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I would do another water change tomorrow, and re-add the salt that you remove. So, if you do a 50% water change, re-add 5 tsp. of salt.

Unfortunately, we can test for some things in water, but we can't test for high detrimental bacterial loads. In an aquarium, these can rise and can cause internal infections and general stress on a fish's immune system.

The fact that they are up and swimming and eating well is a good sign. I think after a few good water changes and the 0.1% salt, you should see an improvement.

There is nothing like regular water changes to keep goldfish healthy. Unlike tropical fish, they really do need them.

Please keep us posted on how your fish are doing.

The readings look great so far.

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Hi Jane! I just wanted to say that it sounds like you are dong a great job and working hard to keep those fishies healthy! I'm so glad that you are in such capable hands as Touch of Sky's - with her help, i know you'll be able to give your friends the bast care possible! Best wishes, Dana.

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Hi All,

Last night after adding the salt they seemed no different but after a little while they seemed to be swimming a little erratically, a little later they were back on the bottom........sometimes they would swim to the bottom and just hang there vertical to the bottom, other times they just sit on the bottom......right now they are swimming around, but the swiming seem sort of frantic.....fins are clamped...the calico's dorsal fin was actually laying over like free willey last night......my husband saw one of them do a back flip.........they are not gasping for air..........so the tank has about 7-8 gallons of water.......I have at about 3 inches of rocks on the bottom........so I took about a cup of the tank water and mixed in 7 teaspoons of salt.....once it was desolved I slowly poor it into the tank near the fliter, while my husband entertained them at the other end of the tank..........we have a sample of the water, but at this point I have to think that is something else, to take to work with us we will stop at the fish store on our way home, I am not convinced that they will even be alive when we get home :(

Jane

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Please report to me what you find when you get home.

Salt at that level should not cause any problems for goldfish. They can tolerate very high levels of salt. Salt at 0.1% (1 teaspoon per gallon) usually acts as a type of tonic for goldfish.

As an illustration, to treat parasites, the dosage is 0.3% (3 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon per gallon). I have not seen any dramatic behaviour with the addition of even this higher dosage of salt in all of the years that I have been treating goldfish.

Please let me know how your fish are this afternoon and we will take it fromt here. I am hoping all is OK.

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Sorry, I didn't think it was the salt......when my husband got home about 4, they were up swimming around. By the time I got home (about 30 minutes ago) they were both parked on the bottom.......he is doing another 50% water change now, we filled the bucket this morning and added the salt so it would be the right temp and the salt would desolve.......the guy at the fish store said we can bring them back (they have a empty tank for sick fish) and they will watch them and see if they can figure out what is up with them????? We do have the water filter system.........our water has high levels of manganese which the filter system is supposed to take care of the problem.......they are up and moving again with the water change.......all levels are normal.

Jane

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If you think it could be our water.......could we buy drinking water from the store? Thanks, Jane

PS. please excuse the sentence structure on my first post........I am tired and not checking my posts closely enough.

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I would give Prime a try. It is a very good water conditioner and it binds heavy metals. It also helps detoxify ammonia and nitrite.

I have well water with a high mineral content and my fish have been much healthier since I started using it. A bottle goes a long, long way, since you use so little at a time.

Also, you may find that your fish will perk up little by little with the regular water changes.

How are they today?

BTW, sorry for the delay in answering. I was called away without notice. My daughter got very ill last night so I went and stayed with her and helped with my 2 year old granddaughter.

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No problem, I really appreciate the help.......they looked so bad Tuesday night that we had a plan for last night......we were going to package them up and take them to the fish store for them to watch and we were going to take down the tank and start over but when we got home last night they were swimming around.....Jonah looked pretty good and Flash was at least moving......a few hours after we got home Flash was "hiding" in the plant.......not moving just hanging there and Jonah was just floating near the bottom.....but they would swim around and then stop again.......this morning they were both at the bottom again.....Joanh will move around with out prompting. Flash looks much worse than Jonah.....fins clamped......we have prime.....I will get my husband to put in the tank as soon as he gets home....... he is picking up 10 gallons of water at the store on his way home......we are going to add the salt, check the pH and adjust if needed and let it get to temp and do a 50% water change tonight and another tomorrow......if you think that the store wather is a bad idea please let me know.....I really don't want to kill them. I hope that your daughter is feeling better.......

Thanks, Jane

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Buy spring water (or whatever it is called :) ). Test that water, too, before adding it, so you know its ph.

Can you see inside their gills, and see if they are red and meaty looking?

I would also suggest that you purchase Parasite Clear by Jungle. This is readily available and is a very gentle medication. It might be worth a try to do a round of that.

My daughter is feeling a bit better. Thanks for asking :)

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Hi.....

As best as we can tell the inside of their gills look OK........the water my husband picked up from the store had a very high pH.......we had some old pH down stuff that he used......I have no idea where it came from as I have not had an aquaium since I was VERY young and lived at home......then he checked the fish and found their pH was high so he gave them some too :( Whatever it is it works VERY well, too well........he drove the pH down below 6.8......in both the new water and the tank.......so we took the fish and some water out, changed out the about 60% of the water and then got the pH back up to where it belongs........and put them back. They were both at the bottom of the tank when my husband got up, but when I got up an hour later they were swimming around.......Flash-the calico is still clamped and seems to like swimming at the top in the current of the filter. Jonah is still in better shape, but he too is not right........I really don't know what to do with them..... I do have to get more strips to test the water........we used the last of them getting the pH back up last night.

Jane

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What was the ph in the water that you bought?

It gets really tricky when you start to modify ph. A stable ph is much better for fish than one that is fluctuating all over the place.

I keep my goldfish in water with a ph of 8 and I know that many others keep goldfish in water with a high ph than that. They do well in water with a higher ph, although ammonia becomes more toxic at a higher ph.

Please let me know what the ph was to begin with.

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The strip only goes to 8......so I really don't know.......so now they alternate between swimming, floating and sitting.......they aren't worse....but I am not sure if they are better either.

Jane

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They have been swimmg for several hours now!!!!! Not perfect, but at least not camped out on the bottom all the time. We went back to the fish store and got more test strips, high and low pH test kits and Proper pH 7.5, that is supposed automatically set the ph at 7.5, detoxify heavy metals , add electrolytes and has aloe vera.......so we now can test.......we already had stuff to test for ammonia, prime, cycle, pH up, some pH down stuff, stress zyme, and NovAqua+ water conditioner. I have 5 gallons of Spring water that I have put a teaspoon of salt into each container......so in the morning my plan (and I welcome better ideas <G>) is to test the water in the tank and take the fish out........and do another 50% water change........once I get the new water in the tank I will test and hope to not have to make any pH adjustments.........what is too low? too high? What should I add for conditioners?

Thanks, Jane

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Hi Jane! I've been checking in periodically to see how things are going, and finally it sounds like things are turning around for you and your little guys! Glad to hear that they are swimming!

It sounds like the proper ph stuff is working for you, so you could keep usig that, and just prime. All the other stuff might be overkill. My ph is pretty high as well - usually around 8.6, but my gf doesdn't seem to mind. The only water additive i've ever needed is prime. Salt usually works well as a general tonic for what might be ailing the gf, but not as a pemanent additive.

What i usually do for a water change is pour the water i'll need, add prime, dissolve the salt needed in some hot water, add it to the rest of the water thats been primed, and leave it out until the temp matches that of the tank water. If you have a stick on thermometer on your bucket, this is more accurate than your finger, but a finger test works pretty well too. Then i use the gravel vac to clean out the tank, and remove water at the same time, down to whatever percentage i want to remove. I keep some tankwater out and i use it to swish out the filter media, and scrub any algae off of ornaments and plastic plants with a toothbrush that has never seen toothpaste. I also use the toothbrush to scrub off any algea that has grown on the inside of the glass of the tank itself. Then i put everything back, and pour the water in. I leave my fish in the tank during this process. He seems to get less stressed out by leaving him, than taking him out. I do this whole process every saturday. It takes me about half an hour. If the fish is feeling under the weather, i do just the gravel vac and waterchange, but not the filter media and ornaments and glass cleaning, on tuesday and thursday as well. That takes about 10 minutes.

I hope this gives you some ideas about waterchanges!

Dana.

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