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Remember When Buying New Fish - Fish Do Get Sick!


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  • Regular Member

This has been on my mind a lot lately, and I thought I would share my personal experience.

When I first got into the goldfish hobby I was OBSESSED. I was on koko's 24/7 and began wanting more and more fish and tanks. I think that is natural! It's fun! It's exciting. They are soooo cute and there are so many beautiful fish out there to choose from that you naturally want to get more and more. Or one of each! Or a "ranchu only" tank.

I planned out a system for how I planned on doing my water changes. I would have a certain # of tanks, and would do the water changes on certain days so it wasn't too much work. Everything looked like it would work out GREAT.

There is one flaw. FISH GET SICK! You may plan on having 3 tanks with 4 fish each so you do 3 water changes a week. No biggie right? But let's say a fish in one tank dropsies. He needs hospital. Another fish may end up being a bully and needs to be seperated from others permanently.. That's another tank. A third fish may have floaty problems down the line and needs it's own space because it can't get the same diet as the other fish. Now you have 6 tanks to clean.

It can get OVERWHELMING. I never thought it would, because when you are starting out in the hobby, it's SO MUCH FUN that you don't think it will EVER get old. But it can. 2 years later when you are still changing 12 tanks a week, it can get TIRING.

I don't want this to sound like a complaint. I LOVE all my fish and am going to give them the best care I possibly can. But I did plan on having 5 tanks total. That meant one tank a day for 5 days and then no tanks on weekends. But because of sickness, and issues, I ended up with 12. Not as easy to deal with, know what I mean? And then when you have that many, it starts to become more of a chore than a hobby.

I'm only writing this because I want people to think when buying and learn from my mistakes. In the back of your mind, you need to know how much space you have available to you. If all the fish get sick, do you have room for a bunch of 10 gallon tanks around the house? Do you have time for it? Can you commit to that for a long period without it becoming too much?

Also, the more fish, the more potential problems. Every SINGLE time you add a new fish into your system, you risk getting the old fish sick. You can take two seemingly healthy fish that you have watched for months and put them together and end up with problems. You just never know. So when you buy a fish and think "well it's okay because in the end I'll just put THIS fish with THOSE fish" you have to have a backup plan. Because it may not work.

LIke I said, I am not trying to scare anyone. Just encourage people to take it slow. Don't cram your tanks to the brim with fish. Just because you have a 55 gallon doesn't mean you NEED 5 fish. Take it easy. Get 3 or 4. Give yourself that extra bit of breathing room in case a problem came up. (Power outage for example! Or vacation).

And try to limit yourself at first. If down the line you STILL want that extra tank, go for it. But give yourself some time to see how you feel after the new-ness of the hobby wears off.

If I could go back, I think I would have two 55 gallon tanks with 3 fish in each. If for some reason ALL fish ended up sick and needed their own tank, at most I would have 6 tanks to change. Which I could manage. Right now I have 21 fish.. Down to 10 tanks at the moment. But a fish could dropsy at any second and need it's own. I've got tanks all over the house and can't even go away on vacation anywhere for more than a day or so because I need to get back for water changes.

Hope everyone gets what I am saying and doesn't view this as a downer. I just see a lot of people lately doing exactly what I did and I think "Uh Oh. This may not end well in a few months"

And finally. Never underestimate the benefit of having a closed system. (A wise koko's mod once told me that little bit of info! hehe) Get the fish you want and tell yourself THAT's IT! But look at that cute little oranda that needs a home and.. NO. You're done. You're complete. Getting that cute little oranda can throw everything out of wack. Set your limits and try to stick to em if you can..

Now, when's the next Goldfish Connection auction?! JUST KIDDING! :rofl

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  • Regular Member

OMG this is SOOOOOO true!!!!!!

I am now at 1main fish tank, 1hopspital/QT, one turle and 3betta.... (total 6 = if betta tanks really count)

I wanted to get for xmas a 500liter tank with 8fish. (I have 4now) - could it be too big? If I think - what if they all get sick and I need like 8 hospital tanks? that would NOT be good! (and my bf might possibly :wa me )

maybe I get the 500 and stick to my 4fish in the beginning. and SLOWLY get more. like every few months etc?!

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Sue you are so totally right. :exactly I started with one bowl and I know have 7 tanks and 3 betta bowls (I managed to downsize from 8 to 3 :D)

If you're not careful you end up constantly shuffling your fish around trying to find a set up with no problems. :krazy:

Like you said in the beginning it soo much fun even the maintenance is fun and it can turn into a nightmare when things go wrong (and they usually do don't they? ;))

Of course I'm a little strange, once I adopt a pet, even a fish, I get attached and I end up having to keep it until it dies (hopefully of old age :D). So if a fish turns out to be bully, like the case of my rosy danio, Big Bertha, she gets her own tank. Which means more work all around and to be a little honest a tank with a single danio can get a little boring. :yawn

I love the idea of that closed system, wish I had learned that in the beginning. But as you said we love our fish and will do the best we can for them. :heart

I just hope what you said may help the new members not to get in way over the heads so that they continue to find this hobby as relaxing as possible. :)

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  • Supporter

oh no! :stop that means i have to buy mooooore tanks :yikes !! i have 2 qt tanks and filters for them.. let's hope that more than 2 don't fall sick at the one time :scared !.. you make a very, very good point sue.. if only every LFS would print this out and plaster it at their entrance to their shops :thumb: .

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  • Regular Member

Bettas do count in this story because when my three Bettas were about 2 1/2 years old I was painfully bored with the water changes. (I was doing a little extra work getting the PH neutral)

They lived for three years.

I have not ran into any hesitation doing water changes on my big goldie tank but I've only had them for 9 mos.

Oh my you have TWENTY THREE GOLDFISH!! WOW!

Edited by Texana
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  • Regular Member

Amen, Sister~

I have three and a betta tank and sometimes feel like all I do is get out the python....I love my fish though! But-no upgrades in my near future! :exactly:aint:

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  • Regular Member

Amen, Sister~

I have three and a betta tank and sometimes feel like all I do is get out the python....I love my fish though! But-no upgrades in my near future! :exactly:aint:

No upgrades neither. I don't even have a python (to mutch water)

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  • Regular Member

I'm SO glad you posted this!!! It's so easy to fall in love with this hobby and get in over your head (is that a pun? sorry :P)

And I also want to mention, this applies to more than just fish! I've always had a lot of pets and suffer from "empty cage/tank" syndrome...where if you have one empty, you can't stand to leave it that way. But I have slowly learned my limits. There comes a point when you have so many tanks/cages that keeping on top of what needs to be cleaned, fed, etc. becomes -as you said Sue - more of a chore than a joy. Not to mention the space they take up! Jim and I are moving into our new house next week and I'm trying to figure out how to distribute all the animals!

Pets are fun, but they are also a big responsibility.

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  • Regular Member

Great post, Sue! A reminder that I think we all need from time to time. I have two tanks, a 29 and a 46, which is manageable for me -- I don't slack off on cleaning, ever. But I know in my heart that I would definitely let things go if I had one more tank, even a small betta tank, to take care of. (The betta at work doesn't count.) But I've been SO tempted. There are amazing deals on Craigslist that I can't keep myself from drooling over. :druel It's a slippery slope, you know?

I agree with Chrissy, that this applies to more than just fish. I've worked in animal welfare (currently a nonprofit shelter in a major metropolitan area) for years, and I have watched SO many coworkers get in over their heads. They just can't seem to help themselves. Those animals, especially the dogs, just tug at your heartstrings, and the next thing you know you have 6 dogs and a bunch of cats and a bunny that just plain needed you. It takes every ounce of willpower I have to keep my own pet population manageable -- 2 pugs, 1 cat, and the fish. I'm a rarity at my workplace. Everyone else has way too many pets (IMO). I get tempted by cute pups all the time, but I've stayed strong all these years, and don't plan to cave in anytime soon.

Except there's this incredible 75-gallon half-cylinder tank on Craigslist that would totally fit in my spare bedroom... wink.gif

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Well I hear you hun... For many years I had at least 4 tanks and a pond. I at that time could handle it, now I really cant and only have 1 goldfish tank and a guppy tank. I now keep my tanks understocked so no one will get sick, I keep my self away from LFS stores too.

Its true goldfish can get sick and with out a proper QT tank when buying new fish your risking the others :(

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I totally agree, Sue. You know how hard I have worked to try and close my system. There are times (especially now) when I wonder if I should just have one fish in my 40 gallon...but i know that won't make me happy. But I will be thrilled to get a couple of more healthy fish and just have that. Fingers crossed.

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  • Regular Member

I don't know how you guys have so many tanks and keep up with all the work. I have ONE fish and ONE tank, and I still feel like half my day is spent doing stuff for the fish!

Not that I don't absolutely enjoy it, but still. I'd lose my head if I had more tanks! :D

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I've gone from one 5 gallon tank to 6 tanks in a year...but 3 of those are my bf's and one of the 6 contains snails for the puffer...does that count?! They still need water changes so I guess it does... I must admit I've slacked off lately with fish maintenance, I've just been so busy I come home and can't face it. Fortunately everyone's been fine and I'm now just forcing myself to get on with it, I like seeing them all done! I think having so many plants in my tanks helps, nitrates are zip all the time. I'm kind of looking forward to next year even though I'll be living on my own as instead of 3 hamsters, 2 big tanks and 4 small-medium tanks I'll have 1 big tank, 2 small tanks and 2 hamsters. Easy right?!

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Yes it ALL counts! Bettas turtles snails! Anything that requires a water change counts in my book!! And YES chrissy is right it's ALLLLLL the pets! Actually, for me personally it's about EVERYTHING.

Completely honest, I think I hoarded animals! LOL Not to the degree some people do (I was watching animal cops the other day and some woman had taken in 150 cats!!! In a trailer!!!). But I have a very addictive personality and I tend to try to stock up on things, and "back up" things. I've always been this way (Can we all scream OCD on the count of 3? lol)

But in the past, my little obsessions were always just items that you could stick in a rubbermaid if you needed to. You know, CD's, books.. Stuff like that. Even fish SUPPLIES you can put in a bin or throw away. But this time I went a little pet happy and ended up with 3 cats, 1 dog, 2 rats (one passed, a bunny, hermit crabs, and at one point 24 goldfish AND two bettas.

I let it get the best of me and I really never really CONSIDERED that things could go wrong. I know that sounds stupid and naive but I just didn't THINK about it. I was only thinking of the enjoyment and the cuteness and then things started going wrong. The fish got sick, the rats got sick, the oldest cat has a tumor and the dog may need surgery.

It made me stop and think "wow you just can't HAVE this many animals unless you are rich" and I am pretty much the furthest thing from rich there is. LOL

At this point, luckily, I am not working, so I basically take care of my little mini zoo as my part time job. Take care of my daughter as my other job. And besides money have found a way to balance it MOST days (Is my sanity still there, not so much but I try! lol).. But wow, it's a lot of work. In the future I still always plan to keep pets. I'm an animal lover and they calm be and make me happy. But it's gotta be within reason.

You know. A dog, one 55 gallon (TWO at most) and maybe a cat depending on living arrangements. If it were JUST me I think I would do just the dog and fish. But if my mom and I still live together then she is a cat lover so cats would be in the picture as well. :-)

And I think it's really true for EVERYTHING in life. Which I am trying to figure out now for myself. It's okay to go on koko's or facebook. But I can't let it take over EVERY second of my day. It's okay to eat fast food or drink sometimes, but you can't do it EVERY NIGHT. It's okay to splurge on something you really don't have the money for to reward yourself once in a while, you just can't make it a habit. I feel like that is what I am working really hard at doing right now. Finding balance. Which is one reason why I haven't been helping on EVERY single thread here at kokos. I want to. Trust me, when I see people asking for help, there is that part of me that wants to sit here for 5 hours straight and help every single person!! But then other aspects of my life get neglected and then I end up overdoing it and taking breaks COMPLETELY because I need to catch up on the things I neglected for so long. So right now, I'm just trying to limit what I can. Enjoy everything in moderation. And take it all day by day.

Okay you can all clap now. My little speech is over :rofl Or boo me off the stage if you wish. I wont go away though. You can't get rid of me! hehe

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I guess it's a phase a lot of people go through. I started out with too many fish in a too small a tank and guess what... they got sick and some of them died. I now have just my one fish in a 44 gallon which looks kind of sparse, but I feel much less stressed. I couldn't sleep when my fish were sick and it really affected my life and relationships. Now I have some "wiggle room" for those times when my life gets crazy and I can't test my water or do my water changes exactly 7 days apart. My husband is always saying we should get another cat or a dog, but I'm always the one who ends up doing most of the work. So I now tell him that sure, we can get another pet, but he has to do ALL the work. That usually shuts him up for while. (Oops, don't mean to be rude or disrespectful here, that just what happens.) :)

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This is a great post, Sue! I'm really glad I didn't get a bigger tank for my single tails before we decided to move b/c I would have restocked the 40 gal with fancies, and I would have 3 big tanks to clean on top of going back to work full time and travelling between the 2 houses; that would have been too much. Two big tanks are manageable, I'm fortunate that the improved water quality has reduced cleaning time dramatically, but I plan to sell my 40 gal when I upgrade them to eliminate temptation. I'm also thinking about selling my 2 small tanks and keeping rubbermaids for qt's b/c lately a lot of people on here have got me thinking about dwarf puffers and other small tropicals :D Also, moving the fish was a very stressful, all day project; any more tanks and we would have needed more vehicles and more people to have it go as smoothly as it did, so 2 is plenty!

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I'm also thinking about selling my 2 small tanks and keeping rubbermaids for qt's b/c lately a lot of people on here have got me thinking about dwarf puffers and other small tropicals biggrin.gif

Eeeek! I'm sorry! I know I'm one of the guilty parties for going on and on about dwarf puffers. :ignore

You're very very smart to sell those small tanks to eliminate the temptation to over-extend yourself. Great idea!

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I too,in 1 years time,have gone from a 12g tank-that I came home from Pet$mart w/-to 1 36g(Idropped the other 1 :wall ,and naturally since I had to order another..........)1 46g,1 170g,1 130g pond on my patio,1 10g,AND recently,11 5-6g Betta tanks. I had 1 more betta,that a breeder threw in 'extra'-I get an email 'I hope you have room for 1 more'! :yikes But I gave him to a friend-and it was HARD!!!!!!!!!! I'm like Edith,I don't part w/ ANYTHING!!!!!!People no longer believe me when I say I don't have room for anymore tanks-b/c this has been my battle cry since upgrading from the 12g to the (FIRST!)36g.

A friend just drove me to have some minor surgery,and she had never been to my house before :teehee When we got home,she says "I'd like to come in and go to the bathroom-that is UNLESS you've got fish in the toilet too" :saywhat I told her "I'd never thought of it,but thanks for the idea!!!" :ehh

I live over a garage,and there was a leak,VERY SMALL,in there last week,but I was horrified :yikes b/c I knew what people would think-"Susan=fish=WATER" I stressed out about this for 3 days,even though I am VERY careful and deliberate about ALL the water in my 1 bdrm apt. Then the property manager came up to check(of course,it was all dry),but I got a glimpse of what this must look like to a non fish person! :oops: I thought,they are literally going to think that I have lost my mind! It was TERRIBLE,you guys :donthit: I had already started to think about where I might move when they asked me to move out,citing :rules: A few days later,the SECOND plummer arrived,and found my kitchen sink and pipes need to be replaced b/c they're leaking,AND even caused the wall under my sink to cave in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to tell you that I very nearly grabbed that plummer and :lovewhip

My life is spent caring for/tending to pets-and I am NEVER bored! I had no idea that I would end up where I am,when I bought my 1st GF! So yes,I know EXACTLY what you are talking about,AND, there's NO WAY anyone could have diverted my course,as I blazed in and through this hobby :wacko: It has been an insane journey :crazy: ,and lack of funds,nor space has stopped me! :krazy: I have finally realized that THIS IS ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now,having said that,Ken is holding 8-10(I'm not even sure of how many!)fish to send to me :mail: ! I called and said,"there's a leak downstairs,and there is WAY TOO MUCH focus and attention on my apt atm,PLEASE hold them for me :please So it's not even the $$$ or space issue that got my attention,it was the threat of being asked to get rid of some tanks,or leave,that did it. To appease them,I carry A LOTTTTTTTTTT of renter's insurance :doh11:

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  • Regular Member

I am lucky that I am forced to live in moderation because of my husband, but it is hard to learn. But my rule is to only take on what I can care for to the best of my ability. And I am like Sue and Kukana in that I will continue to care for what I've taken on by doing my very best...even if it is killing me. So forced moderation is a good thing.

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  • Regular Member

Okay you can all clap now. My little speech is over :rofl Or boo me off the stage if you wish. I wont go away though. You can't get rid of me! hehe

:clapping:

I am lucky that I am forced to live in moderation because of my husband, but it is hard to learn.

Jim has kind of kept me in check. He never stops me from getting more pets, but he does comment that he 'doesn't want to live in a zoo' and it makes me feel bad...just because I enjoy keeping all these animals doesn't mean my hobby should affect his life/home. He is an animal lover, but it can get to be too much for him.

Something else that people should also consider is the life span of their pets. Right now I have a 20 year old frog, 15 year old turtle, 6 year old newts, plus the fish and hamster. Of course when I was in elementary school and jr. high when I got some of those animals I didn't think about having to take them with me well into my adult life, but from now on it is a MAJOR consideration for me. Anything I buy that lives for a long time will need to move with me and go where I go.

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Oh Yes,if my hubby had not died,I would have 1 fish-NO ifs,ands,or buts about it! Maybe that's 1 reason I go so overboard now-I don't have to please ANYONE-but myself :painting:

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  • Regular Member

We have the 3 species rule. Is quite usefull, no more than 3 types of pets. So far we have a zebrafinch (6y), a golden retriever (13y) and 8goldfish (3-7y).

The only way we will get an other pet, if one dies of old age.

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  • Regular Member

It was actually my boyfriend's fault (see how I shifted everything to someone else?!) I've ended up with so many pets, I had my 24 gallon with 2 goldies and my 4 gallon with 4 minnows, and I only really had the minnows because I'd bought them with the goldfish when I got a goldfish for the 4 gallon and didn't want to get rid of them. When I upgraded to the 46 gallon, the 24 gallon sat empty on the side waiting for my friend to pick it up from Ireland and I was quite happy to get rid of it. I used it as QT for Mariko and Red but it was only ever a temporary thing. I wasn't even tempted to use it for more fish.

We got Diggers, our syrian hamster, when we moved into our current house which was always the plan as Stu'd wanted one for ages. 1 big tank, 1 small tank, 1 hamster. Easy, can do that.

Stu fell in love with Roborovski dwarf hamsters. We bought two relatively unplanned and kept them together in a big storage box. They fought. Separate cages. Hamster cages x3, fishtanks x2.

Then he decided in April-ish he wanted a pearlscale. Now. In his own tank for his study. We found one and he went in the 24 gallon, the minnows also went into the 24 gallon for extra space as Admiral TT was not going to be able to bother them. Still 2 tanks and 3 hamsters, 1 of the tanks was bigger but still manageable and at least cleaning out the hamsters didn't involve flooding the floor.

I got a betta for the small tank for my bedroom after a really bad day at work as I missed being able to watch fish while I was in bed (the minnows used to be on my bedside table but were now in the study). 3 tanks, 3 hamsters.

Stu falls in love with puffers. I got him one for my spare small tank I'd bought in an attempt to upgrade the minnows from 4 gallons to 6 but they didn't like the fact it was tall so it hid in a cupboard. 4 tanks, 3 hamsters.

Puffer needs food. Snail tank. 5 tanks, 3 hamsters.

We found a new 8 gallon tank on ebay round the corner for us for a great price with a built in light hood so swapped the puffer into that. Still 5 tanks, 3 hamsters.

I found an awesome purple betta for my study to watch while I work, 6 tanks, 3 hamsters. He died after a week. 5 tanks, 3 hamsters.

New blue betta, 6 tanks, 3 hamsters, stressed Sarah. It'll be a relief to go down to 3 tanks, 2 hamsters again...I can deal with that easily! The small tanks don't take too long at least, I did the puffer tank and one of the betta's before work this morning! Literally took 10 minutes each. But they really add up. It usually takes me about 1hr to do my goldie tank, up to 2 if I'm doing a really hardcore cleaning job!

Stu likes having pets around, it always makes me smile hearing him chatting to all the fish and the hamsters and cooing at them but he's not so good on the cleaning them out regularly, he doesn't do it without being reminded and the day-to-day care is mine. He never used to do much with Diggers after getting bitten in the first week, we've had him about 9 months now and he's really tame but he always prefers me over Stu and Stu doesn't really see why. In the first 3 months when Stu would only watch him, I would be handfeeding him every single morning. I am foodblob and Sarah-smell means security. If he ever gets out he comes straight to me no hesitation when I find him, I don't need to trap him no matter how terrified he is. But it takes time and patience and a lot of people don't see that every single pet needs this all the time.

I'm kind of glad all our mammal pets are relatively short living, I love my hamsters but when they go we will not be having so many at once. I imagine we'll get another syrian, but one hamster at a time only. I'm trying to keep the tanks flexible, the minnows could be downsized to a 10 gallon and I have space for Admiral TT in my big tank now that he's swimming much better, I'd still have many tanks but more smaller ones which is easier to clean and move around. The snails could go, we could just get them from a store as and when we need them. That would get us down to 5 tanks, 4 of which would be under 10 gallons, and bettas don't live that long compared to puffers and goldies either. Stu's got his eye on a guinea pig next...that won't be happening for a few years...

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