Are there natural methods to manage a goldfish tank?
Topic: Are there natural methods to manage a goldfish tank?
September 18, 2019 / By Perce Question:
Before I go into my story and dilemma, I'd like to apologise in advance!
At the start of September this year we bought our daughter a goldfish tank for her 5th birthday. For 2 years in a row she's asked for one! So we decided that perhaps at 5 (with a little help from us) she could start learning responsibility for caring for an animal. As novices, it was a rocky start. We lost some fish, in quick succession. Had white spot - don't know if it was from a new fish or from stress caused by incorrect filter cleaning or water change. And we made 'all' the classic mistakes! - Even though we read up on it and followed so called 'professional' advice from 3 different pet shops!
On the bright side, we managed to stabilise the tank. At one point we had very high levels of ammonia (tested by an aquarium shop) - the pH levels were consistently on target. We were advised by them to keep as much of the natural bacteria in the tank as possible! (e.g. DON'T wash the filter in tap water and only change about 10% of the water!)
We've now had about 2 months of wonderful goldfish bliss. Well, until now. We have 3 goldfish (2 regular orange ones and a fan tail) and late in the afternoon 2 days ago we noticed the fan tail one seemed to have quite an arch in his body and seemed to just lay around at the bottom of the tank. At that time he still seemed interested in food and would swim up to the top of the water for it (I remember he had breakfast!). But during the next day (yesterday) he started looking for places to hide and his tummy looked bigger and he seemed to like laying on his side. But his body didn't seem to be as arched. At this point I separated him from the rest of the fish into his own little tub with some of the tank's water. That morning (yesterday, and before separating the fan tail) I checked the pH level - was OK. I also changed about 10% of the tank water, vacuumed the base of the tank (and the gravel) and I rinsed the filter out in some of the removed tank water. I then put everything back together and periodically observed the fish (the fain tail too) throughout the day. By evening he seemed to be a little more 'active' and because I figured the tank had settled again by this time, I re-introduced him to the 2 other fish - back into the tank.
This morning he seemed distressed again. So I called the local pet shop. After describing all this and the symptoms, they said that he may have picked up an infection or he might have 'banana bendy' (or 'banana' something)! Anyway, they recommended I buy a 'broad spectrum' medication for fish aquariums and once again separate the fan tail and apply this according to the instructions on the bottle. Now I've done this (about 4 hours ago) and he's still breathing, but is still on his side and looking lethargic.
The tank's environment is like this... it is about 30 liters capacity, has 3 fish in it (small to medium size - each fish about 1" or 1½" long", there is one live plant (sorry I don't know its name), there is also a fake/plastic plant, it has about an 1" of gravel, a small stone to weigh down the live plant, there is also a small bell and a filter which also aerates the water (we run it on a timer for periods of 12 hours a day). The stone, bell and fake plants were all washed, boiled and cooled before introducing them to the tank. The stone came from our garden outside. Normally we feed them each day, but only enough so after about 2mins there is no food on top of the water - about a medium size pinch. Having said this, I've cut back the feeding to the same amount every 2nd day.
I feel I've done all that I can. And as I have searched the net, I am now also feeling a little confused! I read somewhere that gold fish like to eat the inners of peas (not the skin/shell). And apparently other veggies! Is this true? And I am also mindful of the chemicals going into the tank. Does anyone know of an effective/good natural method to manage a goldfish tank's environment? Another article also mentioned salts or Epsom salts to manage ammonia and nitrates? Can someone explain this 'clearly'? In simple terms?
Thanks to everyone and anyone who is willing to a) take the time to read this, and b) share their knowledge!
Best Answers: Are there natural methods to manage a goldfish tank?
Lovell | 4 days ago
It's difficult to manage a tank "naturally" as it is in fact a very unnatural place for a fish to be!
The problems you're having with your fish are quite simply down to tank size. Goldfish are large and very messy fish, yours are just babies, and for that reason need very large very well filtered tanks, think more like 60 litres, EACH, and no, I have yet to find a fish store readily advertising that!!!! Goldfish are just a quick moneyspinner for them.
I would recommend you do a 50% water change on that tank, with dechlorinated tap water, I would imagine that one fish's problems stem from the water quality issues - ammonia burns gill tissue and the rest of the fish inside and out, the damage is often irreparable.
Also skip the salt idea, it's water changes that are the best way to manage ammonia etc. A sensibly stocked tank which has completed the nitrogen cycle, gets weekly partial water changes and is well established will NOT have ammonia or nitrite readings at all anyway! And the nitrates will remain at a healthy 20-25ppm or lower. You are getting water chemistry problems because the fish are in a tank too small for them.
Small volumes of water are far harder to manage than larger ones!
As for veges, yes Goldfish like veges, cooked deshelled pea acts as a laxative and keeps them regular, as does broccoli. Spinach and zucchini are also good. Goldfish are primarily vegetarians.
Your best way of managing this environment is probably not the one your daughter will particularly like.
I would return the healthy fish to the store. Do regular water changes with the sick one but I don't really see it recovering at this stage.
Then, if you want to stick with the 30L, you need to wack a heater in a it and you can keep a single male Betta. Or if you still want Goldfish, you'll need a much larger tank. Start here:
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It seem Catax has answered for me! all I can Really Say is LISTEN to her advice see knows what she is Talking about!
Common Goldfish Can Grow from 12-18 inches! and Need 200 liters (55 Gallons) per Goldfish!
Fancy Goldfish Can Grow from 8-16 inches! and need 125 liters (33 Gallons) Per Fish!
You should NEVER keep Fantails with Common and or Comet Goldfishes as the single tails are much faster than the fantails and will out compete them for food and space in the aquarium.
You and your little girl might not want to her this but the only thing you can keep in a 30 liter aquarium is a Betta Fish, but you will need a small heater for one of them.
Goldfish are NOT suitable for children because of the massive size and waste production.
I would take the Healthy Goldfishes back and buy a heater and a Betta (siamese fighting fish)
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