Why do our goldfish keep dying? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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: We bought 2 goldfish a few weeks ago and they both died. I thought it was because i accidentally dumped too much food in. Last night we bought another one and this morning he is dead.
I had him in a goldfish starter tank, with a filter. I put in water conditioner and let it sit for 24 hours just like the pet store said.
Any idea what's going on?
Thanks!

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#2 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 11:37 AM
 
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Take a water sample in to your local pet store and have it tested. To be quite honest with you, goldfish are nasty little fish. Their ammonia levels are huge compared to any other fish, not to mention the fact that they get big. Regular comet goldfish can get up to 2 feet long and the fancy ones 12 inches plus. They need a huge tank with mega filtration. Everyone thinks they are easy to care for in a small tank, but they are not.

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#3 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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Take a water sample in to your local pet store and have it tested. To be quite honest with you, goldfish are nasty little fish. Their ammonia levels are huge compared to any other fish, not to mention the fact that they get big. Regular comet goldfish can get up to 2 feet long and the fancy ones 12 inches plus. They need a huge tank with mega filtration. Everyone thinks they are easy to care for in a small tank, but they are not.
:

How big is your tank? Each goldfish really needs a minimum of 10 gallons to thrive.

How often and how are you changing the water? Like the previous poster said, goldfish are dirty little suckers and need to have 35-40% of their water changed out weekly (after the new water has been dechlorinated and left to sit out overnight)

Honestly I used to have several 30 to 50 gallon tanks with fancy goldfish and they are time consuming little creatures. They are messy and get huge so they really aren't the best starter fish unless you have a lot of time and a really big tank.

Depending on the size of your tank white cloud minnows or a betta might be a better fish for you and your daughter.
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#4 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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10 gallons is even probably realistically too small. What kind of filtration do you have and what size is the starter tank?

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#5 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah. I didn't know that. I assumed they were relatively easy. I think it's like a 5 gallon tank, so yeah, that's way too small.
So a betta would be fine in a tank like that?
Thanks for the replies!

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#6 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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A betta would be fine (as long is the water is heated or in a warm enough place). Really, a betta would prefer more water and thrives in a bigger tank, but they are ok in smaller tanks.

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#7 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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Better yet, get some White Cloud Mountain Minnows. I have 4 in a 5 gallon planted tank. They're neat fish, they can look dull in pet stores, but they're really quite pretty. They are extremely hardy cold water fish.

I find bettas kinda boring, but that's just me.

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#8 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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goldfish gey pretty dirty and really need lots of water. If you aren't planning to be able to buy a HUGE tank for them when tey get older don't bother with them. I wish media would stop showing them as these clean, little, pets that can be stuck in a bowl with no filter or temp comtrol. Soooo not the case.

If you want fish that are both low maintence and beautiful I'd get a beta. Although it would be nice for them to have temp control (they are much more active in water that is warmer than what room temp keep it) and a filter so you don't have to hand dump and scrub their bowl, they really can be put in a regular ol' bowl.

Beta require no special treatment (aside from keeping their tank clean and feeding them of course). They don't dirty up their tank very quickly either. Just don't put them with any other beta or aggressive fish. You can mix beta with a little water frog. The frogs are low maintence as well. The pair are usually happy together.

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#9 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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platies and tetras are good too

NAK

Me,DH,DS1'95, '98,DSD'03,DD1'07,DD2'09,DS2'12 Living with Fructose Malabsorption Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3-Hypermobility.)o( and sometimes I get toif I am lucky.
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#10 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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24 hours isn't really long enough for the tank to fully cycle. You can read more about the nitrogen cycle here.

They are likely dying because of excess ammonia in the tank.

With a 5 gallon tank, I wouldn't recommend more than one or two fish.
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#11 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 03:18 PM
 
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i have a goldfish that is 10 years old that a room mate of mine won at a fair. she lived the first 5 years without any filter and was probably only in a 3 gallon bowl max. i used to change the water maybe once a month

she's much bigger now and in a 15 gallon tank with a filter. i do cycle in new water much more often but i still don't change the whole tank that often. it's not dirty at all.

we did buy her a companion from the pet store twice, once the fish had ick and was dead within a few days and the other one was a fantail and he just couldn't swim very well and ended up dying after about 6 months.

i would definitely check your water and maybe get your fish from a different store. if i was starting a tank from scratch i would probably get some neon tetras. though ophelia has really been an amazingly hardy fish. she's about 6-1/2 inches long at this point.

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#12 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 06:38 PM
 
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if i was starting a tank from scratch i would probably get some neon tetras. though ophelia has really been an amazingly hardy fish. she's about 6-1/2 inches long at this point.
Neons are very sensitive fish and only belong in tanks that are well established, heated, and well filtrated.

Like a pp mentioned, white clouds are good for cold water and only get about 1.5 inches long. I personally like beta's and have one in my daughters' 29 gallon community tank with about 8 other fish at the moment.

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#13 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by angie7 View Post
Neons are very sensitive fish and only belong in tanks that are well established, heated, and well filtrated.

Like a pp mentioned, white clouds are good for cold water and only get about 1.5 inches long. I personally like beta's and have one in my daughters' 29 gallon community tank with about 8 other fish at the moment.
:

neons are hard fish to keep alive, espcially in a small tank.

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#14 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 08:03 PM
 
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i've never had them before, i just think they are the prettiest ones in the fish store

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#15 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 08:13 PM
 
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I suggest you try Mollys and/or Cory Catfish types, they are much easier to keep. I've had some albino cory (corey?) cats for upwards of 7 years. Mollys don't live that long though.

A larger aquarium is definately easier to keep. Yucky poopy stuff is more diluted in 10gal than in those little 3gal setups. I never went higher than 10gal myself, but I wouldn't go any smaller either! I used to have 3 10gal aquariums, because I kept small fish

Ammonia is also more dangerous at higher pH levels, did you check yours?
You can add stuff that puts probiotics in the water, otherwise it takes time to establish a good balance, much longer than 24 hours. I have read set up and run the filter at least a week before adding fish.
I used to have a good book that was invaluable, I suggest you do some research maybe buy a guidebook and definately buy a better tank setup before you launch into fish ownership.
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#16 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 10:46 PM
 
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Cycle your tank, as linked above, before buying another fish.

I've personally raised healthy, happy goldfish in a 5 gallon tank and they simply stayed small in size for the 4 or 5 years they lived. 10 gallons is probably superior to 5, but I've made things work with 5.

I always use live plants as well, and make sure there are some of those tiny snails in the tank. If you have an ecosystem going with plants and snails, you'll need fewer water changes.
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#17 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 11:02 PM
 
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They stayed small because they were stunted. Which also severely shortened their lifespan. Goldfish, cared for correctly, often live beyond 25 years.

5 gallons is cruel. 10 gallons is too small. 30 gallons for 2, and an extra 10 for each extra fish. No Less.

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#18 of 21 Old 02-16-2009, 11:48 PM
 
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yeah, i have to say that even in the 15 gallon tank ophelia could use a lot more room. she's at least 6-1/2 inches long and it just seems too small for her. if i was just starting off, i'd definitely get a 20 gallon or larger tank with smaller fish.

i'm really not too proud of how long she lived in a bowl. though she didn't seem upset at all, she just circled her plant a lot.

and she's ten now but shows absolutely no signs of getting ready to die. she just keeps getting bigger. i read somewhere that goldfish were one of the most abused fish because they can handle back conditions better than other fish.

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#19 of 21 Old 02-17-2009, 01:50 AM
 
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Just wanted to say that you can run a filter for weeks or months, but that doesnt cycle a tank. A tank cycles by having ammonia. The ammonia gets converted to nitrites and then to nitrates (ok its late and I m not looking it up...it may be nitrates to nitrites). Anyways, it wont cycle until you have ammonia. You can do this two ways...one, add one fish and keep a close eye on ammonia levels, changing water when needed. This works better in a larger tank where one fish cant really achieve too high of levels to hurt itself. A better, more humane way is to do fishless cycle. You add ammonia to the tank everyday untill the levels peak and start to drop off, then the nitrates (or ites) peak and drop off. Then you do a massive water change and add fish.

There is a product that works pretty well. I cant remember the name of it, but its refrigerated....not the stuff you can by from the shelf. You can also get a filter sponge from a current occupied aquarium and put it in yours to skip the cycle.

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#20 of 21 Old 02-17-2009, 12:14 PM
 
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http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm I posted this earlier. It describes the ammonia/nitrate/nitrate cycle and how to prepare the tank. It takes a while, but even more important in a small tank.
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#21 of 21 Old 02-17-2009, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow,thanks for all the info!

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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