At Ask Me Help Desk you can ask questions in any topic and have them
answered for free by our experts. To ask questions or participate in
answering them you must register for a free account. By registering you
will be able to:
- Get free answers from experts in any of our 300+
- Accept money for answers that you provide.
- Communicate privately with other members (PM).
- See fewer ads.
Mar 23, 2011, 10:25 PM
Most of you know that I have a small zoo in my home. Along with the 3 dogs, 4 rabbits and bird, I also have two fish. Yes, 2.
One is a goldfish. Nothing special, just a 27 cent feeder fish that I was told wouldn't live more then 2 weeks. Well, 5 years (almost 6) later he is huge and trust me, if there was a nuclear war he'd survive. I also have a bottom feeder guy. I don't know what he's called. He looks like a little cat fish, and he's about the size of a quarter. He's around 2 years old.
We have a 20 gallon tank, and because I have a 20 gallon and only 2 fish, it looks very sad. I've tried adding more fish, even bought another feeder fish thinking I'd have luck with that, but no go. Every other fish I put in the tank dies. Most of them get sucked onto the air thingy (ya, I really know my fish. Not!) We tried buying bigger fish but they die too.
What am I doing wrong? I've added all the drops they recommend, I clean the tank, I feed them, I do everything I think I'm supposed to do. Why is it that these two fish (Goldie and Fang) could outlast a nuclear explosion but I can't keep any other fish alive?
I've thought about giving away the tank with Goldie and Fang included, but the kids are against it. So, if I'm going to have a 20 gallon tank, I'd like to have more then just the 2 fish.
Any suggestions on what I may be doing wrong?
Oh, I should add that Goldie is around 6 inches long, so he's not a small fish. I wouldn't be able to get anything too large as there wouldn't be room in the tank.
Mar 23, 2011, 11:19 PM
You need to get some Rooster Fish. They are the best, I think. Although, most people say they are nothing but a common sucker.
Mar 24, 2011, 05:05 AM
I haven't had a fish tank since I was a kid, but a six inch goldfish, holy cow, that sounds like a killer whale to me if you put any 2" fish in with him. I suppose get more scavengers?
Mar 24, 2011, 08:12 AM
How about some fancy ornaments instead?
Those little divers or a treasure chest with bubbles... Things that move and add interest but can't die ;)
You could make a themed tank too, I plan on making an asian tank eventually for a betta, bamboo, little temple ornaments etc.
Or... If you want more fish, Danios are nearly impossible to kill... I kid you not, I had a goldfish bowl with no filter, no heater, nothing, I topped up the water when it started to evaporate... They lived for years in there before I finally felt bad and relocated them.
Zebra Danios are being used in scientific experiments because their hearts actually repair themselves.
Mar 24, 2011, 01:56 PM
Take a sample of water into a pet store and have them test it (for free) they will tell you if the levels are too high or too low.
Fish like Platty's and Molly's are pretty hardy as are guarmi's plus they are so pretty :)]
The thing with the drops, is you really can't skimp on the product. I like Aquafun, all you really need is the blue one which is your water conditioner and then red one for adding new fish, it's called Cycle. I like Pimafix and melafix for routine care as well. Plus it makes your tank smell purdy!
I would do a 20% water change, treat the water, wait a week and get your new fish, wait another week and then do a 10% water change on a weekly(ish) basis.
Barbs and tetra's are pretty hardy too. But it actually sounds like you may need a new air filtration system. Do you know what you have in there now? Do you have carbon in there? And is there a heater in there? You could probably get a tetra too, as long as it's bigger then Goldie's mouth.
Mar 24, 2011, 03:08 PM
I like the idea of fish I can't kill. I'll definitely look into the Danios. :)
I do have a heater, but we never use it, gold fish prefer cold water and so does the other fish we have, Fang. I would like to find fish that can stand the colder water because I don't want to make my existing fish uncomfortable. Or is that just silly?
I think it's a carbon filter, but I'm really not sure. My dad was the fish guy, he knew everything there was about fish, but didn't share the knowledge with me, so I'm lost. Of course he'd be having a cow because I don't have real plants and I don't feed live food like he did. His aquarium was to die for. He'd be so disappointed in mine.
I'll take the water sample in, see what they pet store says. We actually have a pretty great pet store in our neighborhood. It's family owned, so not a big chain, and the people that work there actually know what they're talking about, at least when it comes to fish. Bunnies, not so much, but then not many people know enough about bunnies to make them valuable with questions. :)
Mar 24, 2011, 03:22 PM
Goldfish don't actually like colder water, they can just withstand it better then other fish. All 'tropical" fish need warmer water, so your best bet would be to get another feeder. :)
Mar 24, 2011, 03:35 PM
Really? I was told that goldfish love cold water, that's why many people get goldfish, because you don't really even need an aquarium, just a goldfish bowl and food.
Hmmmm. Veddy interesting. ;)
So, if I turn on the heater will the bottom feeder be okay?
Also, how warm? My heater adjusts so I can make it any temp I want. How warm is too warm?
How do people do this? It's maddening!
Mar 24, 2011, 04:02 PM
26c is usally the norm for tanks, yea the feeder would be fine with that. Gold fish will go to the top for air, but they really should have an air filtration system. Guarmi's also will breath from the top, that's why they are good hardy fish to have for a beginner (hehe). Don't worry, I'm a beginner too. But I have successfully not killed any fish for a good 5-6 months now!
Mar 24, 2011, 04:26 PM
That's the funny thing. I am a beginner, but somehow I've managed to keep a 27 cent gold fish alive for almost 6 years. Really, they told me he'd only last 2 weeks tops. So I guess I'm doing something right. I just don't know what. ;)
But when it comes to other fish, I can't do anything right. The only other fish, other then Goldie and Fang, that lasted more then a month was our siamese fighting fish. He lived for 3 years.
Now to top it off the kids are at war. Jared wants to get rid of the fish but keep the tank and get a gecko. Syd wants to get more fish.
I wonder if they'd notice if the aquarium just wasn't there one day.
Bella, when you visit, I'm totally sending the whole kit and kaboodle home with you. ;)
Mar 24, 2011, 04:34 PM
Haha, I already have two tanks! Well you remember my feeder right? Gordon? Yea, he's like 10 years old, and my parents have had to buy him 6 or 7 different tanks! He is in a huge one my dads friend made us. It's in the basement. Before my parents took him, I had him in a giant bucket. Lol
Mar 24, 2011, 05:15 PM
Goldie is going to outlive me, isn't he? :(
Mar 24, 2011, 09:55 PM
Ummm the optimum temperature for Goldfish is much lower than most Tropical fish, I would keep them 2 separate. Goldfish would be happiest at around 20C, whereas Tropical is 26-28C.
Coldwater fish can survive in warmer water but it speeds up their metabolism and makes their lifespan shorter.
Mar 24, 2011, 10:02 PM
Coldwater fish can survive in warmer water but it speeds up their metabolism and makes their lifespan shorter.
Shorter lifespan you say? Muwahahahahahahahaha. :)
::Alty turns up the heat::
Mar 25, 2011, 12:30 PM
Good to know Shazzy, I was always told they preferred warmer temps, usually 26c. Well that's what the fine folks at Pet smart told me anyways. But we all know about pet store employee's :p :p :D
Mar 25, 2011, 09:51 PM
Goldfish can only be with goldfish. There are some people out there who have successfully raised tropical community fish with goldfish, but for beginner fish people, I always keep goldfish together.
Your fish are dying because the water is high in ammonia. Try not to get feeder fish. They have a very high chance of dying due to the change of environment. They are baby fish and baby fish don't do well with change. They are also very inbred and have many health defect along with disease. Which is why its never a good idea to feed them to carnivorous fish. Some do live, such as yours, but that's just the circle of life in action! Only the strongest survive.
Goldfish live to be 100 years old. Just a regular old goldfish.. Many people believe Koi are the only carp-like fish to live that long, but its the golfish in general.
What seems to work with finicky fish, such as Angels and Discus, is to float the bag, and over a span of 25-30 minutes, scoop out a small amount of the water in the bag and replace it with the water in your tank. The fish have to adjust to the high levels of ammonia and probably nitrites/nitrates that is in your water. If you just dump them in, they go into shock and you end up with dead fish.
Tank maintanence is 10-15% water change every week or bi weekly with a 50% water change once a month or, once every 5-6 weeks. Golfish are very dirty fish and having difficult water is part of the territory. I have two oscars in a 55 Gal tank and I have problems with ammonia and fungal growths. I just stock up on fish medicine and medicate when things pop up. I try to keep up with my water changes..but they have both adapted to their environment. I successfully introduced the second oscar to my tank after my older one ruled the roost for 4 years by herself. So it can be done!
Try not to over clean your tank. A somewhat dirty tank is a good thing. Fish need good bacteria in their water to maintain healthy skin and water. Make sure the tank is VERY well oxygenated. You should be able to visibly see the air bubbles in the water. Make sure your pump is pushing water through very fast. Sometimes, the recommended filter for a specific type of tank isn't enough. You might need to get a size bigger to help clean the water better. Let your catfish/algea eater do his job. If you take away all his food, he will eat the fish food and leave the tank dirtier and will be harder to maintain.
If you're not using it, maybe you should.. PRIME is a very good dechlorinator. It adds good bacteria to the tank every time you use it, it fights ammonia/nitrites/nitrates and helps destress the fish.
One last thing... Don't get little fish. Your fish is a vegitarian, but if another fish can fit in its mouth, then they will be eaten. Get a moderatetly sized goldfish. When selecting, make sure they're "happy" and swimming around. Bright eyes, nice gill action and shiney scales. And just a thought.. Your goldie might be killing your fish to. Goldies aren't known to be territorial, but if he's been alone for 6 years, he might be killing all the fish you put in the tank. Maybe get a separater in the tank so that he can get use to another goldie being in the tank and so that the other fish can acclimate to the new tank and can get energy to fight off your other goldie. Fish will attack at night, so you probably will never see him go after the new fish. You can also rearrange your tank when you add the new fish.. Maybe get a new ornament and get rid of the territory your fish created. That typically works on the more aggressive fish.
Hope my report helps :)
Mar 25, 2011, 11:15 PM
Well darn, I had to spread the rep Lucky, great info!
And Alty... You are evil!
Mar 26, 2011, 11:41 AM
Let me add my 2 cents. 1. Gold fish are COLD water fish, period. Do not use a heater.
2. The bottom feeder, is he short and stout? My guess its a CORY. Very tough fish. We had one years ago from a friend who's son threw bleach in their tank. The fish turned white, we took it thinking it would last a week. Wrong it took about 5 years before he passed away.
So, you have 2 tough fish, however a 6" goldfish needs more room than a 20 gal. Is the tank long or tall? If long he can stretch a bit if not, get a bigger tank.
You cannot keep live plants with goldfish, they eat them. You could try potting them, but it might be futile.
P.S. My koi are outside in 37 deg. Water, that's cold. Koi and goldfish are one and the same.
Mar 26, 2011, 02:14 PM
GZDZ, I have a question. How would the goldfish do in an outdoor pond? My neighbor would love to take him, she has 3 outdoor ponds. The only thing I'd be worried about is that she doesn't bring them in during the winter. She's had lots of luck with them, even though we can get temps as cold as -40C in the winter time. I'm not entirely sure what she does to the ponds in the winter she may have a heater.
He'd have tons of space to swim, he'd be with other goldfish, but I'm worried about the cold in the winter. Should I bite the bullet and gift my fishy to her?
I really would like to avoid buying a new tank for one fish. I'd actually prefer to be fish free. I'm obviously not cut out for it. If you think the outdoor pond would be a good home for him, I'll go ahead and give Goldie to my neighbor, and try to find a new home for Fang. :)
Mar 27, 2011, 07:29 AM
I have 2 ponds, 12 older goldfish in about 300 gals., and 8 koi in 2000 gals. I never bring them in for the winter. Let her take him, he will be very happy outdoors.
Like I said goldfish and koi are cold water fish. Not below freezing temps, but cold water in the low 30's won't kill them. As long as the whole surface doesn't freeze over, they will all survive. The pond should be at least 3' or deeper, so they can sink where the temps are warmer to withstand the colder weather.
Mar 27, 2011, 01:15 PM
Thanks GZDZ. Do you think the bottom feeder would be happy there too, or is that pushing it?
The neighbor has three ponds, all fairly large. She only has a few goldfish in each. He'd have lots of room. All her ponds are under huge trees, in the shade. She has a virtual paradise in her backyard. Also, she loves all her animals very much and always makes sure they get the best of the best, fish included.
She's had her eyes on Goldie for a while now. He's a pretty fish, I have to say. He's all gold, not a speck of another color on him. He's beautiful, but not happy in his tank, and I feel bad for him. I was even thinking of releasing him into the lake by my house, but I didn't think he'd survive, and I would never do anything to kill him, intentionally anyway. :)
I'll talk to my neighbor. As soon as spring thaw comes I'll trek him on over.
Thanks everyone. :)
Mar 27, 2011, 03:30 PM
You'll add quite a few happy years to his life putting him in his natural environment, outdoors.
The bottom feeder, however, is most likely a tropical fish, he'd never make it through the winter. You could try it, he'll have a great summer, for sure. I tried a large pleco once, around 14", he did not survive the cold water. They come from the Amazon, a bit more warmer.
Your doing the right thing! He'll grow to about 10 to 12" in a short time, with the extra room and the right water quality he'll receive.
Mar 27, 2011, 03:35 PM
Thanks. I've felt guilt for a long time because I can't provide the right home for him. It's simply not in the budget to buy a larger tank for one fish. My hubby is already unhappy that I got the 20 gallon tank because of Goldie.
So much for the sales pitch "they never outgrow their tank". He's outgrown 4 in the 5 plus years we've had him.
Now to find a home for my little bottom feeder Fang. Either than or suck it up and actually get fish that would be happy in a 20 gallon tank. Boy do I miss my dad, he'd have been all over this. Actually, he would have taken my tank and my fish and built a small sea for them to live in in his house. ;)
Mar 28, 2011, 02:20 PM
Hi to all,
If you want fish for a 20G tank, I'd go for some easy livebearers - mollies, guppies, platies, swordtails...just make sure before that you have a place where to home the fry (talking from exp here) as even just a trio (m & 2F) will give you loads of fry.
Also re the fish dying when there was the goldy - probably too much ammonia as the goldfish is literally a waste machine, and I suspect the filter is not as "strong" as needed.
Should you want more help, I can point you to fish forums, and also sheets on different fish.
Copyright ©2005-, Ask Me Help Desk