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Old 09-01-2014, 06:56 PM   #1
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Hello all,
Just wanted to introduce myself and my foray into fish. Hopefully I'll be getting great advice in no time that completely destroys everything I've been told so far
2 years ago my son brought home a bag of goldfish that he won at a carnival. I had a small fishbowl, and in they went. By day 2 all were dead.
Fast forward to this past February. Again the kids get a fish at a school carnival, along with a baggie containing some sort of food pellets (they were told they were for guinea pigs). Back into the same bowl, along with some glass stones for decoration. A week later and still alive! As the bowl started getting dirty looking i would scoop out the little guy with a Dixie cup, dump the existing water, refill from the tap and put him back in. At about 3 weeks in I started to get worried that I wouldn't have what to feed him as 1. Passover was coming up and we could not use food that contains wheat products, and 2. I was going away for a few days. So I went to a local store and learned for the first time that goldfish can live for years, and that the first group died because of overcrowding and waste, and that there was some plant I could stick in the bowl to feed the fish over Passover. I also bought a small bag of gravel for the bowl at the advice of the guy in the store.
Around that time my parents moved, and found in their garage an old fishtank that my father used when he was young. By calculation it holds roughly 13 gallons. So a couple of weeks later I fill it with tap water and dump in the fishbowl, then head back to the store to see what else I might need. Apparently this means more gravel, dechlorinator, a siphon, and a power filter, as well as flake food. Going great, although as the days get sunnier the algae growth increases. Anyway, about 5 months from the day we got him the fish starts swimming very slowly, and within a couple of days is dead.
The kids want to try again, my wife wants me to dump the tank, and I side with the kids.
First thing I do is clean out the tank as best as I can (I'm talking Clorox wipes clean), because chemicals from dead fish can't be good for new fish, right? Then I rinse out the tank a bunch more times to clear the chlorine, and put back in the old gravel, add some more dechlorinator, and take the kids back to the store to pick out the new fish. At the store I make sure to give the back story so there will be no surprises. I tell them I just filled the tank today. Guy recommends getting Ryukin. Says the tank can hold 2 or 3 no problem, but wouldn't add more until balanced with these fish. Says I should leave them in the bag for an hour in the tank before putting them in. Each kid picks out one, and off we go. On day 3 I bring in a water sample to the store and the ammonia is very high. I do a water change at their advice. Two days later my four year old calls me at work to tell me that hers died. We scoop him out, I change 50% or maybe more of the water, and bring the dead fish and a water sample back to the store. The levels were better, but still on the high side. I ask for a refund on the fish and am told it's my fault for killing the fish. The thing is the state of the tank was known and I was poorly advised that I could safely put 3 Ryukin into this tank I also fed them less than advised (once daily 1 flake per fish vs. twice daily), knowing that they could last without food for a bit and are heavy waste producers. I try to discuss with the manager in an effort to learn and also prevent future such occurrences, but he just waves me off and gives me the refund (the $6 and change was NOT the main point here). A little further advice has me buying some bacteria starter bottle to add in). After that things looked good, and the 2 remaining fish are seemingly thriving.
Yesterday I happened by a different fish store on my way to get my water tested, so I brought it in there. 0 ammonia and 0 nitrate level. I ask advice about getting rid of algae, and the owner (who's closing in a month due to retirement) tells me an algae sucker is the way to go. He also tells me what and how to feed him when the algae is not enough. As the worker scoops me out one he tells me the best way is just to manually wipe the glass clean, and the sucker will probably die in a couple of weeks, anyway. Of course, after the fact, I start reading that these are not the best things to have around.
So not sure where to go from here, although I would like to get a larger tank and have tropical fish, but I think first I might just need a bigger tank for the goldfish. Anyway all advice is welcome, and thanks in advance.

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Old 09-01-2014, 07:38 PM   #2
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Before doing anything else, research the nitrogen cycle and cycling a fish tank. That should get you to a great start.

Next, goldfish are such hard fish to care for. I think you would be better off getting other fish that you will enjoy just as much (I promise). For that 13g tank, get a heater and there is many, many fish you could try! You could get a few guppies (make sure they're the same gender), some tetras (at least 5, they need a school), and maybe a dwarf gourami. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:45 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice. I don't want to get rid of the goldfish. Would it make more sense to put them in a larger tank and use the smaller one as you suggested?
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. I don't want to get rid of the goldfish. Would it make more sense to put them in a larger tank and use the smaller one as you suggested?
If that's what you want to do. You only have the 2 goldfish right now? A 40g tank should probably do for them. Just make sure you have lot's of filtration and do large water changes.
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:52 PM   #5
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Oops, I missed something you said. I was suggesting not cleaning the tank with clorox wipes but I suppose if you rinsed it enough it should be fine.
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:01 AM   #6
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Yeah, the clorox wipes i realized were a mistake as soon as I started, but after a thorough rinsing seems OK.
I'm going to head to a different fish store I just read about (Fish Hut in NJ) when I get off work in the morning and get some advice there, but I think my plan for now is to get a larger tank (40 or 55 gallon) for the goldfish, maybe add one more, and convert the small one into a heated tank for some little guys (gourami, tetras, liveberarers).
What about that algae sucker they sold me? Is that really safe to keep with the Ryukin?
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Old 09-02-2014, 02:46 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by binyamingavriel View Post
Yeah, the clorox wipes i realized were a mistake as soon as I started, but after a thorough rinsing seems OK.
I'm going to head to a different fish store I just read about (Fish Hut in NJ) when I get off work in the morning and get some advice there, but I think my plan for now is to get a larger tank (40 or 55 gallon) for the goldfish, maybe add one more, and convert the small one into a heated tank for some little guys (gourami, tetras, liveberarers).
What about that algae sucker they sold me? Is that really safe to keep with the Ryukin?
What kind of algae sucker do you have? There are many, Otocinclus, plecostomus: there are LOTS of kinds of those, Chinese Algae Eaters (very bad), Siamese Algae Eaters (usually good), Flying Fox the main ones I can think of.

Small gravel, (especially rounded pebbles which are especially easy to suck up), is not good for Gold fish as they can accidently eat it when eating food off the bottom. You might want to consider a kind of sand. I have kept them before but mostly in a pond and found out that the riverrock/smaller smooth pebbles can be deadly.

A 55/60G would work for 3 fancy Goldfish. They are cool water fish.
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:03 PM   #8
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What kind of algae sucker do you have? There are many, Otocinclus, plecostomus: there are LOTS of kinds of those, Chinese Algae Eaters (very bad), Siamese Algae Eaters (usually good), Flying Fox the main ones I can think of.
Not quite sure, as the fish store owner just said generic algae eater. I'm going to try and find out later today. However, after a quick look online I'm getting the feeling it's a CAE. Picture attached. If I'm correct should I try to return it? As of now all fish are swimming happily, not disturbing each other.

Quote:
Small gravel, (especially rounded pebbles which are especially easy to suck up), is not good for Gold fish as they can accidently eat it when eating food off the bottom. You might want to consider a kind of sand. I have kept them before but mostly in a pond and found out that the riverrock/smaller smooth pebbles can be deadly.
The gravel seems large enough that they wouldn't eat it, and they always eat before the flakes have a chance to sink, so I'm not that worried about the gravel.

Quote:
A 55/60G would work for 3 fancy Goldfish. They are cool water fish.
Would a 40 be too small? Either way, ant recommendations of what else to put in such a tank? It seems that it would feel very empty with just three goldfish.
Thank you for your help
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:11 PM   #9
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40G would be the minimum for 3 - 20G for the 1st and 10G for each additional, is the basic "rule".

There are some additional fish you could have, like White Cloud Mountain Minnow, there are varieties like long finned and golden. Very pretty fish.

Others like Platy have a similar lower temp of 64F minimum. The more fish you have though the more space and filtration. Filtration is a big factor as well.

Here is the section which will give you lots to see and learn about (if you haven't noticed it yet).
Freshwater & Brackish - Coldwater, Native Fish & Ponds - Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:16 PM   #10
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Any ideas on my mystery algae eater?
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:28 PM   #11
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Any ideas on my mystery algae eater?
Oh, yes, I think it is a Chinese Algae Eater. They can suck the slime off of your fish, making them sick or die, they can eat out their eyes, no kidding. Best for a tank of other aggressive, semi aggressive fish.

They seem so cute too, and when young will eat algae.
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:33 PM   #12
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So should I try to return it to the store? Or is it OK for now add it's still small and see if I can give him a new home later?
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:46 PM   #13
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I would get rid of it asap, as you never know when they get bored or eating algae and start doing bad things.

FYI, the Golden Algae eater is the same creature just golden colored.

As it would be a cool water tank, I am not too sure which algae eater would work best

Japonica Amano Shrimp (Caridina japonica) says low temp 60F. But eventually they could become food for the Goldfish.

Changing your food could reduce phosphates if you are using a basic flake they can cause water problems. Changing your lights on to have a break (siesta) period can help too. Feed a little less can help.

Also some kinds of snails like a Mystery Snail or Nerite snail.
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:40 PM   #14
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I went back to the store and the guy who sold it to me basically said that since I wanted an algae cleaner he sold it to me, despite the fact that it would harm the goldfish. But he was quite willing to take it back for credit, so I'll bring it in tomorrow.
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:49 PM   #15
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I went back to the store and the guy who sold it to me basically said that since I wanted an algae cleaner he sold it to me, despite the fact that it would harm the goldfish. But he was quite willing to take it back for credit, so I'll bring it in tomorrow.
Well, that's good he's taking it back. They can really be awful fish in the wrong set up and that is usually what happens, it ends up in the wrong kind of tank or with the wrong kind of fish.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:30 AM   #16
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Your fish stores are awful.

First, get your water rechecked asap. If theres 0 for both nitrates and ammonia there is a problem with the test kit because unless its 100% fresh out of the tap you wont see these readings.

You are going to need to buy your own test kit here if you want to keep your fish healthy. If ammonia or nitrite rise above 0.25ppm then you need to follow that with a 50% water change. If nitrates are above 40ppm then do the same. With fish as dirty as gold fish youre going to need to check the water daily until its cycled or you risk them dying.

For passover if you cant feed your fish wheat based products then try frozen food. Its super healthy and is better than letting your fish go without food. Due to gold fish's basic digestive tract they really need to be fed at least twice daily.
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:23 PM   #17
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Yeah, I got the feeling that the local stores weren't too great. I heard of a couple of good ones in New Jersey that I'll check out next week.
Regarding the food over Passover, I was given some type of plant at the first store which seemed to have done the job, but I don't know what the name is. I'll look into the frozen food next time.
Thanks
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Old 09-06-2014, 01:50 PM   #18
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Hello, I keep fancy goldfish. Hopefully I can help you with any specific questions. The minimum recommended tank size is 20 gallons for the first one and 10 for each additional. The recommended filtration is 10 x the tank size, in gallons per hour. So, for example 400 gallons per hour on a 40 gallon tank.

My 40 gallon is 48" long, but that is harder to find, in my experience. We have 3 in it, a black moor, a lionhead, and a ryukin/fantail mutt (it seems).

Pool filter sand is wonderful for these fish and very cost effective, if you ever want to change up your look.

We also keep live plants with ours.

As far as algae eaters, you may end up preferring to wipe the glass clean inside. There are stories of plecos sucking on the goldfish, too. We have had success with bristlenose plecos, and I've only heard good things about them with goldfish. So, I recommend one of those. They come in different colors - usually very dark or albino. Some have elongated fins. However, if you add one, I'd recommend the 55 gallon tank for sure. It's better either way because 3 fancies in a 40 maxes it out. We're very on top of our tank maintenance and have years of practice, so that helps!

Tank decor must be chosen with care for many fancies, so if you add one that has telescope eyes (like a moor), grows a wen (a poofy cap), etcetera, that will limit your decorating.

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Old 09-07-2014, 01:33 PM   #19
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Is there any benefit per se to sand over gravel or is it strictly aesthetic choice?
Still trying to find a good spot for as larger tank do for now it's just the two ryukin and frequent water changes.
Regarding plants, I was told at one of these stores that they're fine, while the other told me no good because the goldfish will eat them. My guess is the truth les somewhere in between, namely that there are some pants that are appropriate and others that are not. What pants are appropriate? Any other decorating that is recommended our should be avoided?
Thanks
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:44 PM   #20
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Actually, there are plants recommended for goldfish!
Water sprite is my favorite because it grows fast enough to keep up even though they love eating it! I also grow amazon swords very successfully with them. The swords are heavy duty, low maintenance bushy tall plants that get huge. It really helps fill in space with beauty, and the fish actually sleep in their shelter. Water sprite is a fern, and can grow tall to make a living background, or be trimmed short to make front or mid plants. It also grows nicely floating, which creates some shadier spots.

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