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Im Not Sure What I Got Myself Into...


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so it seems i am a HUGE sucker. i just aquired four goldfish from a coworker. poor guys were kept in bowls...a telescope goldfish in a bowl the size of a soup bowl..and one common and two comets in a half gallon jar. and HOLY COW, their bowls were NASTY. according to her, they seemed to last longer in a dirty bowl! i just took the poor guys and got out of there before i told her what i thought of her treatment of her fish. anyways - back to the story - ... i am new to the whole fish thing...i just recently got my first betta (and then had to euthanise him..long story) and then got another betta to replace him. i called a friend who is an avid goldfish collector? and asked what to do. she gave me a list of things to get (tank, filter, bubbler, gravel, heater etc) and i ran to wally world and picked up what i could. so i now have four goldfish in a 10g tank. i know this is too many goldfish in one tank but it was either the 10 gallon or keep them in their bowls...

so the whole point of me telling this story...my telescope guy looks like his tail was chewed on and he seems to struggle to swim to the surface for flakes...he's only about an inch right now but because he struggles to swim i think im going to seperate him first. how large should his tank be if he's going to be by himself? also, will his tail ever grow back? do i need to treat him with something to help it grow? im committed to keeping these guys alive...they deserve a nice place after the stinky, dirty bowls so ANY info would be helpful...i'm a full-time student and work full time too so i'm trying to get to all the posts you guys have already posted but its taking time...

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Hi liz, what a story!! It was kind of you to go on a shopping spree for your adopted fishies. :)

First of all I would definately separate the telescope with 'chewed on' tail asap. It could be a serious bacterial infection and you wouldn't want it to spread to the others. For the long term if you want to keep it separated you would need a 10g but for now in the short term around 5g would do. Later when you get a larger tank for your common and commets, you could put the telescope in the 10g you have now.

Go back to W@lly World or aquarium and purchase a good antibacterial water treatment, ask for something that treats both negative and positive gram bacteria. I've seen fish with tails like yours, it is a serious infection and can take a long time to recover. You might opt for a 5g tub or bucket without filter and change the water every day or so.

While you are back at the aquarium, purchase water test kits for ammonia, pH and nitrIte. These are the 3 main ones to use when cycling a new tank. I know it's been an expensive venture so far but please try to get these test kits as soon as you can.

Normally, common and comet goldfish can grow quite large and it is recommended they have 20g each, so for the 3 of yours it would be a 60g tank. Because your fish have been kept in such horrible conditions by their previous owner they be stunted and never grow very large, in which case 10g each would be sufficient. After a few months you should get an idea if they are going to grow much larger.

Good luck and please keep us posted, I will transfer this thread to the disease and diagnosis section.

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ok so i ordered a 35 gallon hexagon (its no 60 gallon but it will have to do for a while)...that should be here this weekend (sunday hopefully). i discovered why Telly (as in Telly Monster on Sesame street and telly as in telescope...silly i know, but hey its my first goldfishs) has such a tail problem. big bird aka bird (the common) eats it! i didnt know they did this sort of thing but i did a 50% water change today and have them in a bowl for the time being and i saw him nibble it! so theyre going to be seperated this evening. i'm going to put Telly in his own tank once i get a chance to get to the store to get a tank. so since his poor tail is literally being chewed on, do i need to treat him with something?

the other thing, when i did a 50% water change, i tested the water for ammonia etc and even after the 50% change, its STILL crazy high...what am i doing wrong? i did another 50% change and got bottled spring water that hasnt been treated w/ anything in hopes that that will help... is there something i'm missing in this terribly complicated cycle? i added two heaping tablespoons of water after the 50% change and water conditioner. is there something else i need to do?

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i just was reading more in a couple other posts and figured i should clarify a few things...

this is all US measurements

i have a non-adjustable heater for 5-15 gallons tanks, a bubbler, an aqua tech 5-15 gallon filter and florescent (not sure if thats spelled right) lightbulb in the hood. i use aquarium salt from w-mart so its in bigger chunks than regular salt. i use Start Right w/ Allantoin by Jungle as my water conditioner.

hope that gives you a little more insight...

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Hey Liz, congratulations on joining the crazy world of goldfish keeping. I know you're a busy person and it's going to take you time to get round to reading the board, so I'll direct you to a page on the Nitrogen cycle, this is the most important thing you need to know about fish keeping, as this keeps the water habitable for your fish...

Link to cycle...

you need to keep the ammonia level as close to zero as it is really toxic for your fish, -this is going to be ~extremely~ hard while you've got four in a 10gal tank, as the ammonia levels rise a lot faster in a smaller body of water (it will get easier to manage when your bigger tank comes in). -this might involve you doing 80% water changes every day while your tank is uncycled, but let your test kit help you decide how much water you need to change (doing a 50% water change will half the amount of ammonia, but that mightn't be enough) I know it is said that you shouldn't change more than 25% at one go because it is stressful for your fish, but it's the lesser of two evils, any ammonia that is registerable on your kit is more stressful than having a 100% waterchange.

A little about your filter, although it's good at clearing visible waste from the water, that is not the most important function of your filter, -it is a surface area for your beneficial bacteria to grow on (that's the stuff that converts ammonia to nitrite and then to nitrate, completing the 'cycle') so when you're cleaning your filter media (the sponge inside your filter) just rinse it through with some of your old tank water, -don't wash it under tap water, the bacteria that grows on your sponge is very susceptible to the chlorine in your tap water and you will 'kill' your cycle and your tank will always be uncycled, with a constant battle with ammonia.

Also, you will need a larger filter, the capacity for that one is too small for your tank especially as it is so overcrowded, it is just not large enough even when your tank is cycled to handle the amount of ammonia produced by four goldfish. -What I suggest is when you can, purchase another larger filter, on this board we suggest a turnover rate of 10X the volume of your tank (if you have a 35 gal tank then your filter will need to turn over 350 gallons an hour) but this is for a regular stocked tank, if your tank is overcrowded then the higher the better. -Not that your little filter will have gone to waste, -you can run two filters on one tank, and then if you need to quarantine one of your fish you will have a fully 'cycled' filter you can transfer the the quarantine tank for an instant cycle!

-Is there any reason why you need to use bottled water to change your tank in your area? -I wont overload you with info in one post, but unless you have particularly bad water in your area, tap water can actually be better for your fish, spring water is 'too pure', -goldfish need additives/salts to water to make it habitable and safe.

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the whole bottled water thing was mostly just a panic response....i'm already attached to the little guys and i dont want them to suffer more than they already have. i figured that the more pure the water, the better to lower the ammonia level. i did two 50% water changes today and just did another 25% change since the test came back too much ammonia again. i never dreamed four little goldfish could be so much work! lol. i should have known though, really.

im planning a trip to the store tonight again, so i'll check out the filter selection at w-mart. i think for the time being, i'll just get a larger filter. 10 gallon tanks dont have a whole lot of room to hang two filters with the hood on...

as for these tests that i need to do morning and night, what would be a good set of tests to get? i would prefer something with drops and a test tube instead of strips...any suggestions?

my original plan with the 35 gallon tank im getting this weekend was to do a fishless cycle, but after all the work this little 10 gallon is turning into, it probably would be better to get them seperated out asap. from everything ive been reading so far, telly should be in the 10 gallon by himself and the other three can be in the 35 gallon for now. right?

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oh crap. im still reading all of the other posts trying to get up to speed on everything as quickly as possible...my common and one of the comets has really unhealthy looking poop now. its white and stringy with little brown spots in it. what do i do for that?

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Hi, well it sounds like you've been busy. I agree it would be best to get your fish into the larger tank as soon as it arrives, the ammonia and nitrIte levels will stay lower when cycling in a larger tank. API make good test kits with the drops and test tubes.

Yep, the poops do not sound good, normally I would say that's a sign of infection but it could be just their bodies detoxing after their previous bad conditions. Are they eating ok? If they are eating and acting ok, then don't medicate with anything yet, just keep up those water changes and try to keep the ammonia and nitrIte as low as possible.

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Hi liz, and welcome to Koko's!

You've gotten great advice here from the best!! :exactly You will probably either have to go to a lfs or order antibac treatments online. Wallyworld doesn't carry anything but the absolute basics, although they do carry the Jungle tabs.

A big hug to you- :hug for going to all the trouble to save these fish.

Just keep posting with your info and questions and everyone here will be very happy to walk you through any concerns or problems.

:goodluck

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as far as i can tell, theyre normal except for telly's bubble eating thing (which is in another thread? i believe) so i think i'm going to hold off on the antibacterial treatment. i gave them some peas yesterday so hopefully they'll clean out their systems. i was a little skeptical of the whole pea eating thing...but holy cow did they go to town on that stuff! i sweat i could see them licking their lips afterwards! my tank should be here tonight (cross my fingers!) and i'll be able to set it up tomorrow. :)

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It's great to see that you're so dedicated to caring for these fish: it can be a lot of work!

The tail-chewing may simply be a sign of over-stocking. You saw it when they were in the bowl together during a water change... I've read about fish becoming aggressive in stressful/crowded conditions, and this is fixed when the fish are put into a larger tank. Does the tail-chewing happen when they are in the 10g? If it does, I would expect it to stop when they're all relaxing in the 35g tank.

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as far as i can tell, when everyone is in the 10g tank, there isnt any tail chewing. i'm really struggling to keep up with the ammonia tho...i cant seem to get it to .25 or below...EVER. arg. is it ok to do a 75-100% water change every day until i get my 35g tank set up?

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"is it ok to do a 75-100% water change every day until i get my 35g tank set up?"

Absolutely - if you had, say, ammonia of 0.50, a 50% w/c would still be leaving you with 0.25. So a 75 - 100% is really what's needed to get it back down. If you have either Prime or AmQuel or Ammo-lock - they will help de-toxify amounts up to around 1ppm until you can change the water out again. These products unlike ammo-chips etc will still leave the ammonia available to your growing cycle.

Unless your fish are showing symptoms other than just funny poop, I would not rush to medicate. Fish adjusting to cycling, or new food, or any type of stress will often produce funny poop; it isn't necessarily a sign of bacterial infection.

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Unless your fish are showing symptoms other than just funny poop, I would not rush to medicate. Fish adjusting to cycling, or new food, or any type of stress will often produce funny poop; it isn't necessarily a sign of bacterial infection.

thats what i kind of thought. i figured i would get the ammonia thing under control and then start on anything else. one thing at a time.

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i got my 35g tank last night....its HUGE. anywho....i have water sitting in it overnight but the filter that came with it is really crappy....any suggestions on what i should get for a 35g hexagon tank?

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What type of filter came with it? Two types of external filters come to mind; firstly the hob (hang over back), these are great little filters, easy to clean and come in assorted sizes. My fav brand is aquaclear. The only down side is they are not practical if your tank has a fitted lid.

Another external filter that can sit in the stand or beside/behind the tank would be a cannister filter. There are various brands about, main drawback is the cost.

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so it seems i am a HUGE sucker. i just aquired four goldfish

I can relate. That is how I got my 8 goldfish :D . Usually good waterquality and enough space (10 g a fish) will solve almost all the problems. Cannister filters are rather expensive, but they can have very much bacteria substrate in them, wich I think is a very big pluss and they are easy to clean when you know how to open them :D .

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it came with a whisper (that i took apart to clean and now cant figure out how to put back together..oops) 20-40g hob. it also had an undergravel filter that i took out. it came with a bunch of stuff for a saltwater aquarium and from the crusties all over the stuff, i would imagine it was used as one too. i soaked it and cleaned it a couple times yesterday. the lid doesnt seem to allow for much room for a filter in the back...but to be honest, im thinking of ordering a new lid...this one is pretty crustyfied from mineral buildup...

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i did clean them with vinegar and get them set up...the whisper 20-40 that came with the tank seems to be small for the size of the tank...

about the ammonia thing... i cannot, for the life of me, find prime or the other things listed to remove ammonia...i did find those chip things. if i just put a few of those chips in a little nylon or something and hang it in the tank for a bit to draw out some of the ammonia...will that work?

i've never really been attached to fish before, i feel a little terrified that i'm going to do something wrong and kill them. ok more than a little terrified.

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if you have a pet Co or a Pet~smart... they should carry Prime.

if not ask your local fish store if they have it or are able to order it.

if not... they have it on bigals at a cheaper price actually, but if you're not buying anything else it may not be worth the shipping price.

let us know if none of the above are an option. :)

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both pet/co/smart are 90 miles away....not a trip i can make often...i'll be there next week on wednesday...until then do i use the ammo-chips as i mentioned or just wait it out (obviously still doing as many water changes as i can)?

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oh wow. hmm... well what kind of dechlorinator are you using now? what are your ammonia levels?

and when you do go to the petstore... get the biggest bottle you can find.

one bottle lasts a decent amount of time. :)

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my ammonia levels run between .50 and 1.0 (if im any judge of color i'd say about .75) ALWAYS. i cannot seem to get this down EVER. i change at least 75% daily. believe me, when i get to a store that carries something to help me out with this, i'm buying it by the gallon if they sell it that big!

i'm using jungle start right with allantoin.

Edited by liz_okerson
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