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Eating Gravel...


mjbubbles

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I have started feeding Fluffy less, because according to the info on here, he was being over-fed. He's hungry all the time, and has started really aggressively eating the gravel and spitting it out. Sometimes he's so busy eating gravel that he misses the food!

It seems like that's all he does all day. I'm afraid he'll choke or something.

I have already removed most of the gravel to give him more water volume. There is less than 1/2 an inch in the tank and some bare spots. Should I take the rest out? or feed him more?

I'm feeding him soaked tetra flakes (haven't found the sinking pellets yet), and a bit of spinach or a couple of peas.

Any ideas?

Thanks a lot!

:gcar:

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I would slowly remove the rest of the gravel. Fluffy is not really hungry, it is just in their nature to constantly eat because in nature they have to feed on micro organisms, small insects they find etc. Because of that they more or less constantly eat.

In a tank they get fed pellets or flakes and these are a lot more nutritious, so they need to eat less. Still their instinct is to constantly eat, which is why they look hungry 24/7.

What your fish does is picking through the gravel for anything edible. Normally that is not a problem but there are cases where goldfish chocked on the gravel, which is why I removed mine. You can either go bare bottom, or use river stones instead. They are much too big to be picked up. Either way, remove the remaining gravel slowly as there are some of the beneficial bacteria living in. If you remove too much at once it will cause a cycle bump, which happened to me. Remove only 25% of what is left once a week. If you want to go for river stones instead, you can already put those in the tank before you removed all the gravel.

If you use river stones, don't cover the entire bottom as it is more difficult to gravel vac because the river stones are so much heavier and bulky. Covering only a quarter of your tank with the stones will give it a nice "bottom" feel without being a pain when cleaning :)

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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Thanks for the suggestion, Oerba. I'll work on removing the rest of the gravel. I sure don't want him to choke on it.

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Hugo is my biggest fish and she started doing the same. She picked up big pieces of gravel and spit them back out and I got worried that she might choke on it, so I changed to river stones, but now ultimately to complete bare bottom. I'll probably use some colored glass gems instead to add a bit of decoration.

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If you are worried that your fish will choke on the gravel, it is a good idea to remove it slowly as the other posters said. But if you miss the look of gravel or need it for plants, etc, you can always try a very fine grain gravel that the fish can easily spit out. I have that size of gravel for my tank and my fish loves to "chew" on the gravel for the algae growing on them. Good for both plants and fish!

ETA: some people use large river stones for their tanks that are too big for the goldfish to pick up- I wouldn't suggest covering the bottom with them, though, because waste can sift through and it's difficult to vacuum with a siphon.

Edited by Calluna
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