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Should I get another Goldfish?

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by Kyria, May 7, 2014.


  1. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    Hi there,

    Unfortunately my goldfish of 7 years died this evening. I found him floating in the tank. We have 2 goldfish and now only one is left.

    I was incredibly upset about him as silly as that may sound. We have buried him in the garden.

    Im wondering if the goldfish that is left will be lonely and do you suggest I get another one for him for company or do goldfish not mind being on their own.

    Thankyou for any advice..

    Kyria.
     
  2. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    Sorry to hear that :-( and it's not silly, we can become as attached to a fish as to any other pet.

    What size is your tank? Is your other goldfish a common or a fancy? Any other tank mates?
     
  3. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    Hi there :)

    My tank size is 16" long by 11" high. I only had two goldfish the one that is left is rather big, he has quite long fan tail and long fan fins (hope thats correct) as far as I know they were both just common goldfish.

    He is a big boy around 4" long..

    He seems to be ok and is feeding fine and swimming around nicely.
    I hate to think he might be lonely in there though.

    I dont know why my other fish died. I have filters in there etc., I feed them once a day in the morning they always pop out behind their rock to greet me but the last couple of days I had been giving them a wee bit more because this big one literally jumps out of the tank when I go to feed him so I thought maybe he was hungry so I gave them a wee bit extra food. Hate to think it was my fault :(..The one that died was very tiny compared to the big one.

    Thankyou for getting back to me.
     
  4. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, especially in light of you losing one of your fishy friends, but unfortunately your tank is way too small for a single golfish, let alone more than one.

    For a single goldfish of the fancy varieties you should have a tank in the region of 120-150L (the larger the better for some varieties), and add 50L thereafter for each additional goldfish. The filter should be rated to double that of the tank, because goldfish are incredibly messy fish - ie they produce a lot of waste in their water. This news may come as an awful shock to you, but I can assure you that for a fish that can grow to over 15 inches and live for over 20 years if kept in the conditions I have just described, it is clearly inhumane and life-shortening to keep a goldfish in anything less. I'm impressed your remaining fish has lived so long and grown as big as it has - but trust me, that is its pushing limits in both respects.

    It almost seems an enigma when people report having kept goldfish in small quarters for so many years without trouble, and many people have stated they kept goldfish in a bowl (with no filters) for 10 years and that they were fine. Alas, this is simply a testimony to how hardy goldfish are - or rather, used to be. The majority of goldfish do not survive for that long, most in fact will die within a year at best, depending on the adequacy of the filtration. No doubt your use of a filter aided in the longevity of your late and current fish, but again I assure you the fish was surviving, not really living - not when you consider what it could potentially have done.

    Today's goldfish are nowhere near as tolerant of such unsuitable conditions as those of years ago. They are heavily inbred, and often riddled with inherited problems that do not become apparent until the fish gets a little bigger.

    The most common killers are bad water chemistry and stunting. Water chemistry because goldfish are messy - they produce a lot of ammonia for their size, and thus excellent filtration is not optional, but essential. Ammonia, and the nitrites which it is broken down into, are highly toxic for fish, and even tolerant fish such as goldfish can suffer long term damage to their health as a result of even minor exposure (people used to use goldfish as 'sacrificial' fish to cycle their tanks before adding more expensive and sensitive fish. This is extremely cruel, and heavily frowned upon now by most fishkeepers).

    Stunting is when a fish's body is limited in its size due to the limitations of the size of its surroundings. This is often referred to as the fish 'growing to the size of its tank' - but it is a mistake to think that this is ok for the fish, because it is not. The fish's body cannot grow, but often the internal organs keep on growning, which in goldfish can be extremely problematic because of their shape - they have been bred into an unnatural shape and are essentially 'malformed' - and particularly common are deformities in the intestines, which cause blockages, problems with the swim bladder, and usually results in an early death for the fish, if not a drawn out period of suffering as the fish struggles to maintain balance in the water or pass food through the guts. The tell tale signs of stunting is the fish sinking to the bottom after feeding, or wonky swimming. The truth is goldfish are so badly inbred now that even the healthiest and well cared for of fish suffer from these intestinal problems - its a real problem.*

    Anyway, the solution for you is to consider investing in a larger living space for your fish before you consider finding your fish a friend. Goldfish are social to an extent, but are not actually schooling fish, so he may be ok on his own, or he may not. Regardless of whether or not you choose to get another fish, you will still need to upgrade your tank if you want the very best for your fish. Sadly, though, the damage is likely to already be done.

    So i'm sorry again to bring you more bad news, but unfortunately the legacy of historically terrible practices of keeping goldfish live on today, and we can only strive to educate new and old fishkeepers alike in the hope that fish will be cared for more humanely.

    If you need any advice on setting up a new home for your fishy, we are only too happy to help. You will want to perform a full fishless cycle on that new tank should you get one, and we can guide you through this.

    *I should add, the fish that died probably could not compete for food with the larger fish, who sounds like he eats the lions share. It was probably also stunted in size due to the lack of space, and possibly not in the best water conditions due the volume of waste the large fish will have been producing.
     
    #4 Phoenix24, May 8, 2014
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  5. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    Hi there.

    Thankyou so much for all that information.

    I had absolutely no idea :(

    I bought them this new tank around a couple of years ago from P@H..Its glass and much bigger and heavier than their little plastic tank that I had them in from the beginning..

    This goldfish that I have now does seem to be growing too big for this tank I have often said to my husband he seems to grow all the time and would ideally suit a pond.

    I really dont know what to do as at the moment I just dont have the money to start investing in a new tank.

    I deffinately wont get him a friend if the tank is too small. Ill have to wait and see if next month I can buy a bigger tank for him and than maybe go ahead and get a companion.

    I hate to think of them suffering I dont like to think of any animals suffering and I feel very sad.

    If only places like P@H knew more about fish like you do, than the poor wee things wouldnt suffer so much :(

    Thankyou again for all that info you gave me. I really appreciate it.

    Kyria.
     
  6. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    Pets at home (as a company) are the worst offenders for giving out terrible advice about housing and care of goldfish, and as a rule do little to advise on appropriate tank sizes in order to get a quick sale. The best they do is say wait 3 days (does nothing for cycling) and say you can keep 3 goldfish in one of their starter tanks (which are around 20L) and mention nothing about the long term needs of the fish.

    Is your goldfish a fancy/double tailed or a single-tailed (comet like) variety? The fancys are not really hardy enough to live year round in a pond and generally have to be brought in in the winter. A single tail is not suitable at all for a fish tank and only a pond will do (they are fine all year outside).

    If you are desperate, you can buy one of those large plastic storage boxes from the likes of staples (the BPA free ones) and turn it into a temporary aquarium (get as sturdy a box as you can, and as big as you can afford), and then you only need to get another filter which you can run in alongside the existing one. You should still perform a fishless cycle though before moving over the contents of the old tank into the new one (without washing in any tap water!). This is a cheap way of setting up a larger home if you cannot afford to buy a giant aquarium (though look on ebay, you can get some reaally good deals on second hand tanks - I got a 100L plus stand for £50 plus all the decor).

    If the fish is a single tail try to find someone with a pond you can re-home him in. He will need to be acclimatised gently and do it on a warm day.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    Hi and Thankyou again for all your help :)

    He is a double tailed goldfish, extremely pretty :) Ive been keeping my eye on him and he seems fine, doesnt seem to be missing his wee friend atall and seems happy enough. I have taken out a small bridge I had in his tank to make more room for him to swim around in. He still has another ornament that he likes to hide behind in the corner of the tank.

    Im now looking into buying him a bigger tank hopefully next month and than I will probably introduce him to a friend :)

    Thanks again for all your help.

    Kyria.
     
  8. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    Well good luck - keep an eye on him in the mean time (have you got a water testing kit such as API master test kit? And do you have seachem Prime water conditioner? Both of those will be invaluable should anything be or go wrong with your water chemistry - and you will need them both when you get your new tank...).

    When you get the new tank please let us know as we will help to guide you through the fishless cycle you will need to do to set it up before moving your fishy into it.
     
  9. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    I havent got the testing kit..but I see Amazon sell them :)
     
  10. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    They're a good price on Amazon, and pretty much an essential buy, as Phoenix said :)
     
  11. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    I will get a testing kit..Been keeping an eye on my fish and the more I watch him the more I see this tank is too small for him, why on earth did I not notice it before :(..he swims back and forth back and forth and sometimes he has banged his nose on the glass :(
     
  12. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    Awww. It's a mistake many goldfish keepers make - a mistake that is fuelled by ignorance (by fish keepers) and greed (by fish sellers). But at least your goldfish haven't lived their whole life in a tiny, unfiltered fish bowl - you did your best based on what you knew, and now that you know better you will do your best to rectify the mistakes. :)
     
  13. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    Hi guys,

    Im worried about my goldfish..I went to feed him this morning and have noticed he does have quite alot of scars on his body Im wondering what they could be also the big long tail is frayed maybe it supposed to look like that :confused:.

    I was talking to my daughter and she said he also has white spots on his body and tail ive googled this and could it be ick. (been googling all this morning):(

    Ill try to put some pics up later.

    Ive just been up to see him (he lives in my sons bedroom)..He has stuff stuck on his tail too ive no idea what this is and havent seen it before he was swimming really madly around the tank banging himself and than he hid behind the ornament.

    Ive put a few drops of fishsafe in there its for goldfish that have become unwell so maybe this will help.

    Ive ordered testing kit and some water conditioner for when you clean the tank.

    Ive always put certain things in the tank when Ive cleaned it, Tanksafe and Fishsafe. Something that makes the tap water ok and a filter but at the end of the day I havent treated these fish properly because ive never read about goldfish I was brought up just thinking you plonk them in a tank of water and thats it. I bought these two fishes for my children when they were little.

    Its all down to me at the end of the day that one of them has died and now this one doesnt seem well. I should have read about them and now it seems like its too late. Its upsetting me so much looking at him.
     
    #13 Kyria, May 15, 2014
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
  14. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    When I clean his tank I usually just put him in the spare plastic tank whilst I clean this heavy glass one..I wash it and fill it with cold water from the tap.I realise now I shouldnt have been doing that as the tap water is so bad for them and I didnt know. I have been putting stuff in the tap water as I said before in previous post before putting them back in, but it obviously wasnt the right stuff.

    I want to put some fresh water in his tank and clean his tank but Ive no idea how to go about it as im scared he will die as the one that died last week was just after I cleaned their tank so now im thinking maybe it was all the rubbish in the tap water that finally killed him :(

    Is there anything I should buy from Amazon something for the chlorine in the water before I start to clean it and could someone please explain to me how I should clean this tank as all these years ive been doing it wrong. I cant believe they have lived so long :( but Ive got a feeling all these years off putting them in this awful water has finally got to them.

    Sorry for ranting on about it, but I feel so guilty :( I can hardly bare to look at him today as I feel so helpless and dont know how to make things better for this poor fish :(
     
  15. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    Unfortunately you have been cleaning out your fish incorrectly. Despite using tap safe etc, just the very rinsing of the tank in tap water kills off all the good bacteria that grow on the surfaces inside the tank. Adding tapsafe after the fact is too late. Tap water contains chlorine and chloramine that are added to kill bacteria, and the kind of bacteria in the aquarium are particularly sensitive to it.

    Every time you have cleaned your tank you have essentially reset the tank to zero, and started off another mini cycle (assuming the filter itself has not been washed in tap water too, otherwise it would be a full cycle). During a cycle massive amounts of ammonia and nitrites build up in the water whilst the bacteria that break them down are growing, and both ammonia and nitrite are toxic to fish. Even if a fish survives exposure to them during a cycle, there is long term damage to the fish - they are more susceptible to illness and have shortened lifespans. Their skin becomes damaged (ie burned) by ammonia, so skin infections such as ich are common.

    You need that water test kit asap, and you need to get Seachem Prime water conditioner as this is the only one you can use that will help during a cycle - it not only deals with the chlorine and chloramine in tap water but breaks down ammonia and reduces the toxicity of nitrites as well. Tap safe etc do not do this, in fact when they break down chloramine they produce ammonia as a result.

    When you clean out your tank this is what you should be doing.

    Using a gravel siphon, hoover up poo from the substrate into a bucket. Using the dirty water in the bucket, squeeze out the debris from the filter pads in the filter. Pour away dirty water, fill bucket with fresh water, treat the water with Prime, and refil tank.

    You need to remove about 30% of the tank water each week (this will be less when you get a much bigger tank) - so it might take a few bucket fulls worth of siphoning, and the filter pads only need to be squeezed weekly if they are getting very mucky. I do my small filter every 2 weeks (my tank is planted and heavily stocked, and this is the max length of time I can leave it before it becomes too dirty), and I do my external once a month. You just have to judge how quickly the filter becomes dirty.

    There is no need to empty the tank out and wash all the stuff inside it. This will do much more harm than good. A gravel siphon will suck up the excess poo and remove water at the same time - no heavy lifting of the tank!

    And at no point should anything in the tank or filter EVER touch raw tap water.

    So you need to buy a gravel cleaner and some prime as well as the water test kit now. You can get these form any good fish store. In the mean time, you will have to do partial water changes using a jug ojn a daily basis to keep the ammonia levels down, as I suspect there is a mini cycle causing problems with your fish's skin.

    You can buy white spot treatments that are very effective. Getting the water chemistry in order will also help greatly.
     
  16. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    Oh my gosh I have been cleaning EVERYTHING including the filter, the sponge all in tap water!!
    My poor fish.

    I have just been looking at the pets at home site I think that stuff on his tail may be slime..They sell something in pets at home for slime do you think it would be worth my while buying this or anything else from there I can go today and get it as its just down the road from me??? I see they sell white spot treatment too..

    When you say partial water changes than I will just have to carry on using untreated tap water as I have nothing here for the water. I will buy that stuff you mentioned now from Amazon..

    Thankyou again for all your help.
     
  17. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    Ive ordered the prime. I ordered the water testing kit earlier. Im going to pop down to pets at home and buy a gravel siphon (they sell one) and white spot treatment.

    Ive decided I wont clean tank until the prime comes but I will put some of the white spot treatment in the water for him today I dont know whether I should buy that stuff for the slime too if that is what is on his tail:confused:...Ill go and have a look at pets at home this afternoon.

    Thankyou so much again for all you help.
     
  18. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    You will still have to do partial water changes and treat the new water with the conditioner you have - the ammonia in the water will be aggravating the problems with the fish's skin and may even kill him. Partial water changes at least will help reduce the ammonia concentration, but you have to do it every day. The only problem is you will also be diluting the meds - its a real tricky situation. The meds will hinder bacterial regrowth anyway, so I would be inclined to say deal with the water problem first, and when that is under control use meds.

    The slime on the skin is because the skin is irritated by the problems with the water. The aloe vera in the water conditioner will help (most water conditioners have aloe vera in them).

    I forgot to mention, the use of aquarium salt will help the skin and reduce nitrite toxicity. You can buy this from a fish store too - do not use any other kind of salt, it must be aquarium salt (API and Interpet both do their own brands - follow instructions on packet for dosing).
     
  19. Kyria

    Kyria PetForums VIP

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    Hi again,

    I went to pets at home and I got the white spot med. He told me to do a partial change of water using Tap safe he said it would be fine (thats what ive been using) and put the medicine in. and than put more medicine in in 4 days...

    I bought a small water test from there too it has 6 little testers.. Ive tried it in his water and everything looks sky high to me...

    I bought the siphon but think im going to have to go out again now and get sea salt funny you should mention that as I did pick some up but put it back.

    just popped in the room to see him, he came over to me as he thought I was going to feed him bless.
     
    #19 Kyria, May 15, 2014
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
  20. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    Aquarium salt is not sea salt - certainly not the stuff we put on our dinners! I'm not sure if there is a different kind of salt they use for mixing up the water for marine fish, but the following links show the kind of stuff you should be getting (obviously you don't have to get them from Amazon!):

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Interpet-0521-Aqualibrium-Salt/dp/B003M05BM2
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Interpet-Aqua-Tonic-Salt/dp/B002X6BM24

    Not this:

    Marine and Reef Aquarium Salt | Charterhouse Aquatics

    I think the marine salt has something else in it to aid the growth of reefs and such like - but I can't be sure so best stick with the tonic type salts.

    I forgot to mention, when cleaning out the tank, you don't need to take the fish out. Handling a fish, even with a net, not only can cause stress but can damage the scales and the fish's natural slime coat, and make it more susceptible to skin infections.

    I'm glad you have some sort of tap water conditioner until the Prime gets to you, as raw tap water would make the fish sicker and the cycle problem worse.

    Any ammonia or nitrite reading above 0 is toxic.

    It wouldn't harm to buy some bottled bacteria as well once you get the Prime and the testing kit - seachem stability seems to be half decent. Or, if you have a friend with a mature filter you might be able to borrow some of the media to help seed yours, otherwise it could take months to cycle the tank (months with the fish stuck in bad water), whereas having some seeding bacteria will speed up the whole thing greatly (down to a couple of weeks if lucky).

    Your poor fish is in for a rocky ride. Perhaps you could find him a foster home whilst you sort your tank out?

    PS: Don't trust those fools at Pets at home - they are the worst WORST for giving out terrible advice for keeping goldfish, and are probably the reason why you are in such a mess now.
     
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