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Need Help Reading Test Results!

Guest Alby

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Hello All. This is my first post here! :D





After my Fantail goldfish, named Alby, got real sick 5 days ago I went to a specialist for help to try and save him! He was not moving just laying at the bottom of his tank, not eating after 26+ days of 'normal' behavior. My first mistake was buying him at nnnnnn I guess because on second inspection of the photos I took when I purchased him he already had signs of a bacteria infection! So I followed all the instruction giving to me - and they were alot - Alby is doing great! This was the first time I did any water testing and decided to take pictures so others could helpme with the results. When I purchased Alby (and the recently deceased Hawn) I started a blog at www.goldfishblog.com. Anyway, I posted the test results and pictures there and would GREATLY appreciate if anyone could help me read them and interpret the numbers!

Thanks in advance.

Here is the link:

http://www.goldfishblog.com/test-results-time.html :ill

Alby is about 1 1/2 inched long, a Fantail Goldfish. He is in a 3 gallon tank - an Eclipse System 3 that has a charcoal filter and bio wheel. I recently did a 75% water change and added stress ease, sea salt, enzymes, and waste control to the water - all about 3-5 days ago. He was staying at the botton, not eating and had red blotched and red lines running htrough his tail. They have almost disappeared!

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Hi Alby and :welcome

I'll answer your test questions, and more, because you got A LOT to do to make Alby a happy goldfish.


pH: Your pH is around 6.8. That's not bad. Goldfish can tolerate pH as low as 6.6 and as high as 8.4 IF it's stable. No sudden pH changes.

A tip for using the pH & high range pH test kits: you don't need to test both. The high range pH one is only used if if you pH is above 7.6 becouse the pH test doesn't go higher than 7.6. Common sense, mate :)

Ammonia: Looks like 0. That's good. That means you're halfway there to completing your cycle.

Nitrite: A bit more than 2. Not good. Nitrite must be kept 0 at all times. Some people even fear nitrite more than ammonia. Do a 75-100% waterchange immediately! Do not be afraid to change water often and a lot. Frequent water change is the best prevention method of all.

Nitrate: Looks like 0. That means the nitrifying bacteria which process nitrite to nitrate hasn't been established yet, which mean another week or two weeks till the end of your cycle.


Ok, I'll be honest with you. The pet store knows NOTHING about caring for goldfish (as most pet stores does), and as a result has led you to incorrect information and therefore incorrect purchase of your starting tank. The 3 gallon starter tank they said to be ideal for goldfish beginners = deathtrap. 3 gallons is a ridiculously small amount of water to keep even ONE goldfish, let alone two as you did. You'll have nightmares keeping the water parameter in acceptable levels even with one goldfish as small as Alby. The only fish that can live happily in that tiny tank is a siamese fighting fish (betta splendens). The minimum requirement for ONE fancy (double-tailed) goldfish is 10 gallons, with filtration capable of turning over 10x the tank volume per hour.

Upon reading your blog and seeing pics of Hawn, I've concluded that he was in a baaad condition even when inside the bag. Skinny, torn fins and red blotches on the body. So it's no surprise that she died shorly afterwards. Again, the pet store to blame for not pointing this out to you.


- Upgrade your tank as soon as possible. No less than 10 gallons, more if you're planning to add more fish. Remember, 10 gallons/fish. Filtration of 10x the tank volume per hour.

- Change your water much more often. Most guys here change once a week sometimes more, ranging from 25% to 100% depending on the biological load. In your 3 gallon tank I recommend no less than 75% twice a week. Don't forget to use the water conditioner.

- Salt is not essential. Some people love salt in their tanks all the time but I prefer to use them only if there's a definite case that needed salt. Moreover, salt can be deadly if you don't know how to use it correctly. There's also no need to add waste control or any additives in the water besides plain conditioner (and some bacteria when cycling).

Now if all of this sounds too much for one goldfish, then you must realize one thing: Goldfish is one of the messiest ornamental fish species. They are poop machines. They poop even when you're not feeding them. And they grow BIG (and fast too), up to 8-10 inches long for fancy varieties. They need big volumes of water and VERY efficient filtration to thrive.

Why were you not told all these when you purchased Hawn & Alby, you may ask? Well, it's the sad & misleading reputation of goldfish as "easy-to-care-fish-that can-live-a-bowl-and-grow-as-big-as-the-bowl-only". Most people, even the so-called "experts" in pet stores, don't have an inkling of knowledge on how to properly care for goldfish. They're hired to sell, and sell they did, to unsuspecting customers as you.

That's why we got a dedicated forum such as koko's here to help new owners like you on the right path. You're not the only one, we literally get hundreds of cases such as yours every year.

Keep this in mind: Never trust pet stores. Ever.

Keep us updated, eh? Ask us anything you like, don't hold back at all ;) We're here to help and help you we will.


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