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Author Topic: New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)  (Read 651 times)
Sephymuffins
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New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)
« on: November 13, 2011, 08:20:01 AM »

Hello all, my name is Amber. I'm really, really new here as you guys can probably tell. I had been looking for a forum-type website for fish and I'm so glad I've found this one, as all I have right now are goldfish. Currently I work at a Petsmart and have been there for many years, both in Petcare and as Lead Cashier. As you may gather, I'm around animals just about 24/7 but I've always had a love and fascination for fish, specifically goldfish.


As the subject to my thread says, I'm attempting to defy odds. About a month ago, I half bought half inherited a 15 gallon Topfin fish tank. This tank came with a Topfin power filter 20. Long story short, I decided I wanted to give the tank a try so I bought about three goldfish, brought them home and started to set up the tank.

I know half of you are like "Noooo!" because I do realize it's best to have a bigger tank, gallon wise, for THREE goldfish and I hadn't set up the tank before and let it run for a few days. However, being the nerdy geek I am and always learning new things everyday, I realized I could get around it. In fact, ironically, I tell most customers exactly what I did not do - to fill the tank, condition it and let it run for a day or two (if they are impatient) or even a few weeks +.

What I've learned, and in simple terms, a new tank goes through ups and downs in multiple areas for a good few months; the few main areas being alkalinity, PH, ammonia (especially for goldfish) and hardness of the water. Just like the 'blue screen of death' you can get from computers, 'New Tank Syndrome' is something most don't know about in detail but it's just as feared. There are ways to flip the scale though and combat new tank syndrome as best as a (new) fish owner can, and that is what my goal is.

Aquarium salt, one morimo moss ball and many doses of Stability and beneficial bacteria supplements later, so far (and knock on wood), I have three happy and thriving goldfish. They have been seemingly healthy for the past five days with no problems. I have only an inch and a half of gravel, one ornament and two live plants in the tank with them. I'm green in all areas of the tank's stability with the water except ammonia. The ammonia doesn't seem to be skyrocketing but it is a bit over the 'safe' zone, so I'd like to get some advice on it.

Has anyone actually had moderately large sized goldfish in a tank, technically, too small for them? And if you guys have, is it common to actually get a second filter to add to the tank? I'm thinking about adding an Aqua Clear power filter to my tank along with my Topfin power filter, just because you have the option of customizing the filter by adding or taking away inserts. In fact, the inside design reminds me of canister filters (the mac daddys of filtering huge amounts of water at a time).

Bottom line, how do other goldfish keepers battle against rising ammonia levels in your tank/s?  
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Skwishee
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Re: New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2011, 12:35:47 PM »

Well firstly welcome to the forum!

What kind of goldfish do you have at the moment? How big are they? How many gallons an hour does your current filter do?
You're aware that your tank size is wrong, so depending on the goldfishes current size, you will need to get a bigger tank in the future as all goldfish can grow quite a bit!

I've heard of people having two filters on really large tanks, but on a 15 gallon to me at least seems a little un-necessary as you can easily get one filter that will do the job Smiley

As for ammonia, this is caused by two culprits, un eaten food and fish poo. For getting rid of ammonia I've found adding bacteria to the tank, such as API Stress Zyme is rather helpful, not to mention vacuuming the gravel regularly as this is where alot of debris accumulate and produce ammonia.

Have you had the tank set up long? Has it fully cycled? By the sounds of it, I'm guessing possibly not?
Are you aware of the stages a tank goes through while it cycles, i.e. the nitrogen cycle? I only ask because Nitrites and Nitrates are involved with tank cycling as well and you haven't mentioned those.

We don't always have to battle ammonia as such, once a tank has fully cycle ammonia levels will stay at 0ppm, unless there is a problem causing it to appear, such as over feeding fish or over stocking a tank.
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Nossie
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Re: New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2011, 01:44:20 PM »

You're missing two very, very important parameters in your post. Hardness for one doesn't matter the slightest, but nitrite and nitrate do. These are the next two stages in cycling the tank, and you will most likely get your fish killed if you don't know how dangerous these can be if left unmonitored.

If you're intending to keep these goldfish in the 15 gallon, you'll want to change the water pretty often according to your water tests, it may turn out to be as much as two water changes a week, until they start dying from being stunted of course.

Your goldfish are probably not even thriving if there's still ammonia in the system, and the aquarium salt won't protect them at all from the ammonia, it will instead slow down the cycling process of the tank.
Only way to battle ammonia really is to change 50% of the water every time it reaches too high values and by adding beneficial bacteria on a bottle into the tank with every water change.
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cheri_alexander
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Re: New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2011, 03:44:01 PM »

Kind of sad...Even supposing they stay alive wouldn't they like more room to swim and grow. Surely you get a pretty sweet employee discount right? Why not just upgrade?
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Nossie
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Re: New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2011, 02:33:07 PM »

Karma to that cheri_alexander!
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Goldiegirl
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Re: New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2011, 05:18:37 PM »

Keeping goldfish in that small of a tank should only be temporary. As in, you should be planning to upgrade immediately to a 40 gallon tank for your 3 goldfish. You may be able to "get around" for a little bit like Nossie said, probably for only a year or so, but the longer you keep them in there the higher chance they have of being stunted and dying. I really don't mean to sound harsh, but there is no need for you to experiment with goldfish as this has already been done; the meathods are tested and proven true. Fancy goldfish grow 6-8 inches long each. Comets/commons/shubunkins grow 12 inches +, so obviously they cannnot all 3 live together in a 15 gallon tank! Right now you look at them and say, "aww they are so cute and tiny, they will be fine," but goldfish grow FAST and need space. Please, if you love your fish and want them to live a long and happy life, begin cycling a larger tank and make your life (and theirs) so much easier.
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Sephymuffins
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Re: New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2011, 08:36:56 AM »

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Well firstly welcome to the forum!

What kind of goldfish do you have at the moment? How big are they? How many gallons an hour does your current filter do?
You're aware that your tank size is wrong, so depending on the goldfishes current size, you will need to get a bigger tank in the future as all goldfish can grow quite a bit!

I've heard of people having two filters on really large tanks, but on a 15 gallon to me at least seems a little un-necessary as you can easily get one filter that will do the job Smiley

As for ammonia, this is caused by two culprits, un eaten food and fish poo. For getting rid of ammonia I've found adding bacteria to the tank, such as API Stress Zyme is rather helpful, not to mention vacuuming the gravel regularly as this is where alot of debris accumulate and produce ammonia.

Have you had the tank set up long? Has it fully cycled? By the sounds of it, I'm guessing possibly not?
Are you aware of the stages a tank goes through while it cycles, i.e. the nitrogen cycle? I only ask because Nitrites and Nitrates are involved with tank cycling as well and you haven't mentioned those.

We don't always have to battle ammonia as such, once a tank has fully cycle ammonia levels will stay at 0ppm, unless there is a problem causing it to appear, such as over feeding fish or over stocking a tank.

Hello and thank you!

Unlike other members of this forum, thank you for asking so many questions and not assuming things. Smiley
I currently have three goldfish. Only one is medium. The other two a definitely quite small, just barely being an inch. Those two are a pearlscale and calico telescope. The medium is a normal Ryukin, only his fins make him look bigger. His actual body size by inch is barely 1 and 1/2.

As far as my filter goes, it's not some super-duper filter, honestly. That's kind of why I was asking about getting another (the one I have now CAME with the tank as a starter kit) because one particular power filter we sell at Petsmart has the layer-able inserts and for the most part you can customize it (it came to my mind just because, well, there is an ammonia insert that helps counteract it). I cannot find out that information you asked though, about how much my filter actually filters per hour or whatever. I'd have to be at work and look at the box of one, as all my paperwork for my filter is in the trash once I set the whole tank up.

I know the basics when it comes to nitrogen cycle. I've put most of my time and money into making this tank as comfortable for the fish as I possibly can. I've had goldfish in the past that I've continuously killed because I was st*pid and thought I'd have my own fish tank when I had no idea what I was doing. Because of this, I'm trying to be a good goldfish owner.

I set up the tank in a rush in about an hour. I had bought the fish the same day, which is why my title of this thread is what it is. I never lost a fish over night and so far the only problem I'm seeing is ammonia showing up just a teeny bit, but, my pearlscale seems to have fin rot for some reason. I believe it already had it when I got it, because I started noticing some spotting on it's fins which now has turned into his fins looking really.. bad.

Anyway, I came here for advice. My method of doing this may seems strange and st*pid, but honestly, these fish have stayed alive for weeks now. They swim around freely and (seemingly) happy and they eat plenty. I only feed them once a day and in between feedings I have live plants in the water they can nibble on (and they do). I forget the name of the plant. I haven't had my coffee this morning, so excuse my lack of English. Once I'm comfortable with the water being good and okay and I'm not flipping out scared they're going to die, I'll probably start seeing about veggies and stuff I can feed them. Until then I might just stick with pellets, flakes and some frozen food. Also, once I feel the tank is stable and the fish are okay, once I move I'm probably going to transfer them into my 35+ gallon tank. Unfortunately for me though, that tank is two hours away in my mother's house where I left it - empty.
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Nossie
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Re: New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2011, 08:52:00 AM »

2 hours away? Why not go get it? Most people her are struggling to get larger tanks for their fish by saving money etc, and you already have a tank, why risk your fishes' health instead of just getting it? :/
I understand that transporting a tank isn't the easiest thing to do unless you have a really big car, but borrow a trailer or something from a neighbor?

When exactly are you intending to get the bigger tank then? You'll be struggling with nitrites and nitrates still while keeping them in there.
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laurencasualty
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Re: New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2011, 10:38:50 AM »

A teeny bit of ammonia killed my goldie, with 10 gal all to herself..
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Skwishee
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Re: New and defying all odds! (Hopefully)
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2011, 11:54:24 AM »

Good to hear from you Sephy, like Nossie said, get that tank as soon as you can!

Really it will be worth the travelling, next month my parents are lending me a 125 litre tank, because I need one badly for my goldfish who's situation is a terribly small tank. I am going home to help clean it and then we are driving 3 and 1/2 hours just to get the tank here. So I am sure if you have a weekend off or your mother has time, that you could arrange for the tank to get dropped off at your house?
It will just make your goldfish's lives so much better and you said yourself you want to be a good fish keeper Smiley

This would also give you the chance to get a nice big filter! Filtration on a goldfish tank, needs to be 10x the tank size, for example your 35 gallon will need a filter that can do 350 gallons per hour.

The larger tank will also make it a whole lot easier for you to cycle, without worrying a heap about the fish.
As it may have been mentioned ammonia is deadly, like Lauren, I too have lost a goldfish to ammonia and I would hate to see the same thing happen to you. What are your water parameters at the moment? Is the ammonia still staying at a persistent level? If it is how much in terms of ppm is in the tank?

Now you've mentioned one of your fish has fin rot and your not sure why?
While it's true, this fish could have had this disease when you first got it, it could also have been caused by the stress from the fish being in a tank that is too small and over stocked.
Now I know while the fish are tiny it's hard to think that a tank is over stocked, I look at my current 5 gallon tank and had I not researched about goldfish, I would still believe she is okay. The reason stocking levels for goldfish are what they are (40 litres per fancy goldfish) is simply because of the amount of waste produced and the size they grow to, in about 6 months your pearl scale and calico will be at least 2 inches and the ryukin will be even bigger.

Now to help out your sick goldfish, there is a fabulous thread on here about using Hydrogen Peroxide to treat fin rot, I'd suggest giving that a go for your poorly fish, I really hope she gets better, you can find it here - (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
As soon as you can get the larger tank and I would suggest using the 15 gallon tank as a quarantine tank if your fish is still suffering from fin rot.

I know you've said you want to wait for the water to stabilise and en-sure the fish are happy, but in a small tank, the water parameters may never stabilise, it will be easier to cycle for you with the bigger tank okay? I sure hope you can get it soon  Smiley
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