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Old 01-30-2017, 10:39 PM   #1
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Rescued a goldfish...any advice? (pictures and questions)

Hello everyone!
My name's Carter, I'm new here.
Today I "accidentally" adopted a goldfish. A friend's younger sister is taking a zoology class. The class was sketching/studying goldfish today, and she ended up with her group's fish because nobody else would take it. Unfortunately, she does not have a fish tank, and neither do any of my friends, so I ended up taking Fish home. (Fish does not have a name yet, so I'm calling them Fish.)
According to my friend's sister, Fish was in the original bag water and (I assume) had been all day. Fish stayed in their mostly closed gallon Ziploc while I was working on the tank.
I managed to find, clean, and make a 2 gallon batch of water for my old ten gallon tank (and get Fish set up in it) within a couple hours. The filter and heater both appear to be working, and there's a fresh carbon filter packet in the filter.
It's been a while since I've kept a tank. I set this one up in a matter of hours.
After getting Fish into the tank and realizing that I was completely out of dechlorinator and fish food, I drove to Wal-Mart (I know it's not the best, but it's the closest) and bought some AquaSafe dechlorinator and their weekly tank maintenance stuff. While I was there I glanced at the fish tanks and found Fish's former tankmates. Fish is an 88 cent small common goldfish, who may one day reach six inches in length.
I drove home, made and poured a couple more batches of water, and finished the tank setup. I let it settle for a while before trying to feed Fish. (I bought Tetra flakes, having not found any consensus on flakes versus floating pellets. There were no sinking pellets to be bought.)
I tested the pH of my tank. It's between 7.5 and 8. The temperature is between 67 and 68 degrees F, it's hard water, and there is a very small amount of nitrates (0-20 ppm) in the water. No nitrites according to the test strip. The test strips I have don't test for ammonia. All of the gravel and plants are freshly cleaned (no soap of course).
Fish is happily exploring the tank and playing (?) in the current from the filter's output.
I did notice that Fish has a couple small dark spots on their fins.
I wish that I could have let the tank cycle for a few days before putting Fish in, but that wasn't really an option in this situation.

(Handsome lil fella, huh?)

So, my questions are:
-Where can I go to test for ammonia? Are there test strips I can buy, and is there a preferred brand?
-Will not letting the tank have a while to cycle have any negative effects? If so, how can I combat them?
-Does the thermometer need to be on? The thermostat in my house is set to 55 degrees after we all leave for the day, and it's kinda cold in Idaho these days.
-Should I get an aerator? (The filter isn't making many bubbles, it's quite close to the surface of the water)
-Will a glow in the dark plant bother Fish?
-Seriously, flakes or pellets? (floating pellets? sinking pellets? vegetables?)
-If you can tell from any of the photos, is Fish male or female?
-How do you ensure that a fish notices the food flakes on the surface of the water? Fish seems pretty oblivious.
-What are the dark spots on Fish's fins, and are they something I can fix with an additive? I saw a few in the store that claimed to clear up fungus related issues.
-Is a ten gallon tank enough to house a potentially six-inch-long goldfish?
-When should I turn the tank light off - when it gets dark outside, or when we go to sleep ~10 pm?
Any other advice is welcome as well!

(they/them pronouns please)
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Old 01-30-2017, 11:23 PM   #2
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It looks to be a comet gold fish. It could very well get to 10", not just 6, so no, a 10g won't be large enough for very long. Sorry.
You can get ammonia test strips, but strips are not overly accurate. I would instead recommend an API Master Test Kit, which tests for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and PH.
Putting fish in an uncycled tank is never a good idea, but in an emergency, you did what you had to. My advice would be to do 50% water changes every other day until you get ammonia and nitrites to 0 ppm, and nitrates to <40 ppm.
Cold water won't bother it. 55 is fine, as is warmer water when you turn your thermostat up. Abrupt temp changes would be harmful, but the water temp should change slowly enough that it will be ok.
For 1 small fish, the filter should be enough for now.
I can't say about the glow-in-the-dark plant as I don't have any. I can say that gold fish can see better in low light than cats and try to avoid bright lights.
I would guess that either gold fish flakes or pellets would both be fine. Feed sparingly. It will notice the food eventually.
I believe the black fin markings are just normal pigmentation; a lot of gold fish have markings in black, white, or silver.
I usually try to give my tanks equal times of light and dark, but your gold fish probably won't care. Turn lights off when you're done watching it for the evening; it will be fine.
Honestly, I don't have gold fish in any of my tanks; only in my ponds. But, I try to know as much about all my fish as I can, so I hope this has been helpful. If you post in the cold water fish forum, someone may have a better answer for you.
150g long S Amer cichlid; 90g C Amer cichlid; 90g Malawi cichlid; 40g Tanganyika cichlid; 29g "Shellie" cichlid; 29g Pea Puffer. 6,500g koi/native catfish pond; several smaller ponds
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:50 AM   #3
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Pellets are better. Honestly, these types of goldfish need ponds, I'd start asking around if anyone has one to rehome it to in the spring. Good on you for the rescue, now just keep it healthy till you find it a permanent situation.

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Old 02-10-2017, 10:25 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice! I've been doing 50% water changes every other day, and my ammonia levels today (water change last night) were around 0.5 ppm. I just bought pellets so I'll feed Fish those instead of the flakes. (Fish is less than an inch and a half long - how quickly do comets grow?)
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Old 02-11-2017, 01:10 AM   #5
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This mentions Fancy GF but really the issues apply to any GF, especially one which can get 6-13"

This section has loads of info for cool or cold water fish
Best place for questions specific to Goldies.

Freshwater & Brackish - Coldwater, Native Fish & Ponds - Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community

This apears to be a common GF, which thanks to another member recommendations, I found the ifo on how to know the difference.

Comets are a little thinner and have longer flowing tails, Common GF are more similar in body to Carp (shape of body, not their size).

Here is some useful info about that
Rain Garden Comet Goldfish


In my signature is an article link for Aquarium Advice with some good info on getting started with new fish. Has links to fish in cycling topic, you need to read.

Also you will need a very large tank, for a grown fish, and a large tank very soon. Perhps see if Petco is still having their dollr per gallon sale 40G Breeder will work for awhile, a 55G will be a mid term size and 75 would be better.

They can get bored and need swimming room, and ideally a couple tank mates, not have to be GF. That kind of fish will get to around a foot long with a proper amount of space and tons of clean water!

The amount of filtration you will need is large, ten times the amount of gallons size tank, 20 gallons long, need a turn over rate for the filter of over 200 Gallons per hour /GPH, or a little more s they filter media is tested with brand new filter media and that isn't how that works with healthy growing colony of BB in the filter pad.

If you really do want to keep the GF read up on the kind of reponsibility there is for such kind of "free" / "cheap" fish ( and I do not use those words ad being disrespectable to you who saved it but to how easy it is to get it and how expensive it is to maintain). They like their water to be a little cooler, probably not more than 74/75F.

If you have a heater is it a heater with a preset temp of 78F? Or adjustable type? If it is a preset, you will want to return it and get an adjustable one.
New to FW fish? First tank in a long time or EVER??? Need some info on keeping fish?

Start here - Aquarium Advice Article

FW Favorites right now Clown Loaches, any shrimp - SW Vase Red Mangroves
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Old 02-11-2017, 11:35 AM   #6
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Thanks for the links!
The heater is currently unplugged, since it was keeping the water too warm (around 72 degrees). Without it the water stays between 65 and 68 degrees. I don't know what the heater was preset to, but I've had it for years and no longer have the box. I do know that it was originally for tropical fish - mollies, tetras, etc.
I will look into getting a better filter, since mine is only rated for a 20 gallon tank at most.
I read the article on cycling. My test strips haven't detected any nitrates since the first day and never detected nitrites, but I'll be doing ammonia/nitrate/nitrite tests daily. It looks like I should be changing the water whenever the NH3/NH4+ is above .25 ppm, which is probably daily for me instead of every other day.
I'm trying to feed Fish pellets but they sink to the bottom of the tank right away, and Fish doesn't seem to notice them.
I don't think I'll be able to keep Fish past the summer, since I'm moving to another state for college, but I did find somebody who has a goldfish pond.
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