View Full Version : General Goldfish Inquiry

05-23-2010, 04:50 PM
Hi there! I'm totally new to the world of fish keeping. I have only been keeping fish for about 2 and a half weeks now. I can be a bit impulsive so when I went to the pet store to get cat food I ended up coming home with a 20 gallon tank and two small koi. Needless to say, due to not cycling the tank and not knowing that the fish needed colder water, they died by the next day. I still didn't know anything about cycling at this point except that the LFS told me to put a bacteria supplement and some water conditioner in the tank, so I did that and went to get two goldfish, a comet and a shubunkin. The comet died of swim bladder but the shubunkin is still going strong.

I have since upgraded, after extensive research, to a 65 gallon tank with the original shubunkin, three gold dojo loaches, a black moor, and a red cap oranda along with a few ghost shrimp that seem to end up more as fish food than pets (which I don't mind).

My inquiry is as to whether my set up is sufficient. Like said, I have a 65 gallon tank. It is fairly well planted, although not heavily, with sand and fine gravel substrate and a large piece of driftwood. I can't afford a really good filter right now so I kept the 20 gallon HOB filter from the old tank and just added a 50 gallon biowheel filter. They seem to be getting the job done as far as I can tell. The water is kept at room temp which fluctuates between 69-72 and I add frozen bottles of ice to slowly drop the temp if it starts to go above 72 (only on days when the tank gets a lot of direct sun light)

My fish are fed TetraColor sinking goldfish granules, peas, live black worms, frozen daphnia, ghost shrimp, and ramshorn snails. (not all at once of course) The oranda also enjoys tearing through the cabomba plants.

I do not, at this point, intend to add any more fish and am contemplating getting a second tank to rehome the dojos when they get larger if they start to impede on the goldfish space.

Basically, I just want to give my fish the best home possible and am wondering if there's anything I can be doing better for them.

If I start to notice algae, would it be a bad choice to add a rubber lip pleco? The dojos seem to eat the shrimp so I don't want to invest in any algae eating shrimp. What are my alternatives for algae control in a cold water tank?

Note that all of my fish are currently in perfect health and are quite playful with each other. My shubunkin even seems to recognize me and will dart to the front of the tank if I get really close to it to look at them.

As for water conditions, my ammonia was at about .25 yesterday so I did a small water change today. There are currently no nitrites and only about a reading of 10-15 for nitrates. Oh and I keep two air stones in each back corner of the tank so the water surface is always moving.

I hope that I'm finally doing everything right now that I've done more research.

Thanks in advance for any comments/suggestions.

05-23-2010, 05:06 PM
0. Hello and welcome to the AC!

1. Since your tank has only been set up for a couple weeks, it's still cycling. Keep adding that bacteria booster as directed on the bottle and keep an eye on the ammonia - the only safe ammonia level is 0. When you saw some, you did a water change. Good job. It could be a month or two before your filters have enough bacteria.

2. You're heavily stocked. Or, perhaps more accurately, you will be once your goldfish get full-grown. How big are each of them now? I know you're short on cash, but a filter is not something you want to skimp on. You're adequately filtered now, but you always want to overfilter when possible, especially with goldfish.

3. It is not generally recommended to keep common (your shubunkin, and formerly your comet) with fancy (your moor and your oranda) goldfish. This is because the common goldfish are significantly faster and more agile than the fancy goldfish, and will out-compete them for food. Also, common goldfish can get 12" or even longer - really too big even for your 65 gallon tank. It'd really be best if you can find a new home for your shubunkin - either an even larger tank for everyone, or a seperate one for him.

4. A small pleco may help with algae. Otocinclus or a siamese algae eater (careful not to confuse it with a chinese algae eater!) could also work. However, as I've said, you're heavily stocked already so adding fish may not be the best bet. Ultimately algae SHOULD always be controllable yourself - if it's ever blooming like crazy, there are conditions that need to be fixed. In particular, you noted that your tank gets direct sunlight - that can definitely contribute to an algae explosion. Find a way to avoid that, if you can.

05-23-2010, 05:46 PM
Your fish line up sounds lovely, and workable, but you are pushing the upper limit for your tank size and might want to consider a few things before you start adding more. Your loaches are tropical but like a cooler tank than most tropicals, going down to 65 degrees at the low end, and your goldfish are coldwater but ok up to the lower range of the loach so you've managed to hit a workable range for both. Was this intentional or is this luck? You will want to consider the temp requirements before adding new fish.

Also, goldfish are very messy fish - they produce a lot more waste for their size, including more ammonia from their gills, than other fish of similar size so you will do well to make filtration a high priority. You may also find it difficult to keep your fine substrate clean because of their waste production. A rubber lip pleco will want a warmer tank and get up around 10-11 inches, which will be large for your tank, IMHO I wouldn't go that route. If you put a fish outside its optimal parameters it is more prone to disease!

If you invest in a good, robust cannister filter rated for a tank 20-30% larger than your tank and religiously do weekly water changes you will save yourself a lot of grief. Keeping the tank very clean will also help avoid algae problems - having direct sun on your tank for even a few hours a day can really invite algae growth. It can be done, I have had tanks that were sun lit (absolutely love the look of it), but you have to work harder because of it. And as you already know, it raises the temp.

Most plants actually prefer a cooler tank like yours and you can probably get good plant growth established with your cool water, which will help with algae because the plants will compete for nutrients. Fine sand isn't the best substrate for plants, but if you mix in 40% flourite you should do ok. It will cloud the water for a few days (rinse flourite before adding it to the tank) but will be worth the trouble if you want thriving plants.

Unconventional tank set ups aren't necessarily bad so don't let anyone tell you it isn't possible, just be sure to work within the parameters for your fish, and be prepared to put in a little extra effort. Sunlight means extra algae work, warm and cold water fish together means you will need to be vigilant about maintaining a tighter temp range, lots of lovely gold fish in a tank that isn't big means more attention to water quality. The fish you have assembled live a long time, goldfish can live over 20 years, so keep this in mind as you invest in your tank. Good filtration is worth the money.:exclaim:

05-24-2010, 04:11 AM
I'd like to thank you for your input! I did a lot of research on dojo loaches and found that they like temps much colder than even goldfish do. I also read that they don't mind the messier tank (as comes with keeping goldfish) so I figured they'd be perfect to keep with my goldfish.

didn't do any research prior to getting my shubunkin and the little thing has really grown on me. It is usually first to the food but I always watch the other fish during feeding time and they never have to "compete" for food. I always make sure that they all get their fair share. And if for some reason they aren't, there are tons of plants for them to munch on.

I know where I stand as far as how many fish I can keep in my tank. That's why I mentioned in my original post that I'm considering getting a separate tank for the dojos when the fish start to get bigger. All of them are around 3 inches, including fins. So in proportion to the tank they are currently quite small.

How long until my shubunkin outgrows a 65 gallon tank? I can't put a much larger tank in an apartment as far as I know. Would a 125 gallon be okay for a shubunkin and his friends? I think I'd be able to manage that in an apartment since my bedroom is a corner unit.

Also, I really love the way the sun shines on my tank. It only gets direct sunlight for about an hour or two per day because of the angle of my building. So far I am not noticing any algae and I am great about keeping the tank clean. I have been doing water changes about every 3 days and I clean the glass every time I change the water.

As far as the plants, I have them planted in the gravel. The sand is at the front of the tank. The plants have plant food, too. Thanks for the suggestion about flourite. I've seen it mentioned a lot but don't know what it is. I'll research it.

I have been told that goldfish are best kept alone since they are so messy. I think the dojos work out well, though. Besides dojos, I would not add any other type of fish to my tank and will not be adding any more goldfish whatsoever to this size of tank. Thanks for all of your suggestions and comments about my fish stock.

I intend to get a single really good filter to replace the two that I have currently running. I think that will come in a few months. So far, though, the two filters are doing their job well enough. I'm just being very vigilant about water changes.

Again, thanks for your thoughts. I always appreciate other perspectives and am very receptive to suggestions.

05-24-2010, 04:24 AM
a 125 gallon would do quite well for your goldfish and loaches. You'd have room for some additional fish in a tank that size, so long as you selected them thoughtfully.

Running two filters at once is actually preferred. That way if something happens to one of them, you don't lose all filtration. If I were you, I'd keep the 50-gallon biowheel you have now, and buy a similar or higher-capacity filter to accompany it.

05-24-2010, 07:51 PM
That's a good idea! I hadn't thought of it that way. My bio-wheel has a habit of coughing out on me and I have to reset it so it's a good idea to have two filters. I think the bio-wheel only goes out because it is so closely positioned to the other filter and maybe they are competing for suction? Not sure, really. It's only kicked the bucket twice so far and starts back up immediately if I just take the impeller out and shove it back in.

It's a Marineland filter... if that means anything. I don't know much about filters except that my top fin kinda sorta sucks.

05-25-2010, 11:44 AM
Welcome to the AC, glad to have you aboard.

You've gotten some really good advice already and it sounds like you are doing a really good job at researching and trying to do what's best for your fish even if it ends up costing a little more than you originally planned. So on that note, Kudos to you.

I just wanted to echo what Brhino said about using 2 filters. There's other benefits to having 2 besides if one craps out on you. You can alternate filter cleanings for one thing. Another thing that's good about it is if/when you decide to get another tank (maybe the 125 you mentioned) you could take the filter media from one of the filters of your fully cycled tank and use it to seed the new tank, which helps immensely.

05-26-2010, 03:33 AM
Keeping two filters is good advice, I'm partial to cannisters and forget there is anything else! Another advantage to running 2 at a time is that you can hot start a new tank , no waiting for 6 weeks to cycle! When I had larger tanks I used to keep a couple extra cans running for that purpose. Never had a can fail on me but BRhino is right - being prepared is the difference between inconvenience and disaster.