In need of some advice
I hope this is the right place to post this in, I've been doing reading for a few hours and I'd like to make sure I'm able to take of my goldfish properly.
There's a bit of a back story so please bear with me.
I've recently moved and discovered that the previous owners left me a goldfish. I've never had one so I had to go on the web to try to learn how to take care of it (no clue if it's male or female).
It was left to me in a small tank (about 5 L),the water filter was clogged and noisy, the water was brown (could barely see it in there) and smelly and no food in sight. I changed the water a few times, cleaned the small filter and bought food.
They came over to pick up some things they forgot and I asked them to tell me what else I should do for the fish and the answer was 'Oh, you can do what you want to it, it'll live'. I've also found they had THREE goldfish in that tiny tank and that two died.
I was not satisfied with that answer, so after reading I've decided it needs a bigger tank, and an air pump and a gravel cleaner for water changes (despite my best efforts, there's still filth in the tank).
My big problem is that moving ate through the paycheck and it's matter of survival for another week and a half so I can't afford these things yet. I'm just trying to make it as comfortable as possible until I can improve its living conditions drastically.
My biggest concern right now is the water quality. Tap water in my area is good quality so I fill a small bucket from the tap and leave it overnight then do a 30-40% water change every couple of days. Though I've cleaned the filter it doesn't seem to be doing a lot of good, the water is still a bit yellowish. The fish still goes to the surface a lot (when I found it, he was at the surface ALL the time, so I imagine this is an improvement?) and some times he looks inactive (today it didn't even come to the feeding corner like it usually does when it sees me coming close).
I've even started to feed him peas (without the skin).
I'm grateful for any advice you can give me about what else I can do to make it more comfortable and help it be a healthy and happy fish.
Thank you very much.
how did you clean the filter?! hopefully not with tapwater, if so : "noooooooooooo!" The best thing you can do is make sure that filter is disturbing the surface of the water lots, this will help with oxygenation, a lack thereof may be why he's heading to the top on the regular.. I'm not sure about the whole waiting a night for the chlorine to evaporate, maybe someone else can weigh in there. If its possible, buy some de-chlorinator, a small bottle shouldnt cost much more than a coffee, then do a water change! New water and lots of oxygen will make it happy - also if he's not eating, be sure not to leave food in the water, that would further foul the water
150g Malawi + Cuckoo cats
45g Community - Pearl Gouramis, Tetras and Crayfish
Thank you so much for replying.
Well, I cleaned it in a bowl of tank water, there was a LOT of filth in there, just wriggled it about so it came off the filter's bits.
After I posted on here I went to a small pet shop in the area and asked if they have anything to clean the water with (the yellow colour was making me very nervous) and they gave me a small bottle of solution (and you're right, they're very cheap). So I've moved him to a bowl for a few minutes while I fiddled with another water change (and this time used that solution according to instructions and also used a clean sponge to wipe the glass). He (and I'm calling it 'he' until I can figure out his gender) seems to be happier now, munching on skinless peas around the gravel.
The filter doesn't do much to disturb the surface to be honest, I might look for a better one. Should I buy him an air pump too?
And I'm sorry if this all sounds really dumb, but I'm really nervous, the poor thing has been through enough with brown smelly water and no food and I just want to make sure he's comfortable and happy. I didn't plan on getting a fish but since I 'inherited' one, might as well take good care of it.
Thank you again!
P.S. I've also looked at some pictures trying to figure out what type of goldfish he is, seems the Fantail is the closest from what I could tell. Although he's more silvery than goldish orange.
First of all, welcome to the forum. It is awesome you are trying to learn how to properly take care of your fish. Something that unfortunately many people cannot be bothered to, as you must have noticed.
Goldfish will unfortunately grow pretty big. Depending on the breed they will potentially attain 15-35+ cm and will need a 125 l tank to a small pond to fully mature. They also are pretty messy animals, so strong filtration is a just to keep the water clean. That a goldfish has survived for who knows how long in such abysmal conditions reflects the extreme hardiness of the species, which is why there are so many misconceptions about keeping fish. Surviving is different from thriving. Just because it's alive does not mean its happy or healthy. Whatever you do, this fish will unfortunately probably never reach maximum size and will likely carry various health issues throughout its lifespan, which can be 20 years or more for goldfish(not a few weeks as commonly believed).
To keep it alive for now, change lots of water each day. Maybe 50-75% of the tank's volume. Be sure the new water has a temperature close (+- 1 degree Celsius) to the old water and dechlorinated it too. Leaving the water overnight is better than nothing, but it will not remove all chlorine and therefore, a store bought dechlorinator or water conditioner should be used. For feeding, be sparing about it. The first instinct may be to feed a lot to ensure the poor fish is eating, but more food = more waste in a tank that cannot handle the load. Fish are cold blooded so they will not be affected by reduced food to the extent mammals are. The cleaner water is more important. Since the fish seems to be in a low oxygen environment, try elevating the filter a bit more to get it to create more splashing in the surface.
Once you've reached a state of stability with the tank where the fish is out of immediate danger of expiration, you can start looking further. As mentioned, even the smallest goldfish should get a much larger tank than 5 liters. First you've got to find out what breed it is. If it is indeed a fantail, then you could keep it in a 150l tank or larger. With the tank goes a filter rated for at least 2 times the tank size. Goldfish are eurythermal and don't need a heater. There should be some decorations such as fake plants(real plants are an option but taking care of plants is a whole world into itself) in order to give the fish a sense of security.
Last edited by madagascariensis; 07-25-2013 at 02:27 PM.
Thank you ever so much for your advice!
I'm happy to say he's doing so much better, more and more active by the day and now he even tried to snatch peas from my hand! And he's turned into a beggar, going to his feeding corner every time he sees me around (but no worries, not feeding him too much!)
I'm going to look for a bigger tank for him and a better pump. Thank you again for all your help!
This is him, right after a water change :) (sorry about the poor quality, my phone's camera is not very good)
Good luck with the goldfish. He(she? ) is a very lucky fish.
Poor fish got rescued just in time, and I'm sure, given time and paychecks (lol) you will do right by him. He will need a MUCH bigger tank, so that he can grow and thrive. He does look like a fancy variety goldfish, and once you know the exact kind he is, there's a great goldfish growth expectancy chart on this site (I think by Lady Hobbs) that will give you more of a clue what you are dealing with. From there you can estimate the size he'll need.
He is silver at the moment, don't expect him to stay that way. Goldfish can turn white, silver, and even black from extreme stress. Its true! Just check out the overcrowded "Comet" tank of feeders at a chain pet store. Most are silver, white, or those colors with black on them. I've rescued some of these for my pond and within a week, they will surprise you by turning bright orange!
Goldfish have specific needs, size and space is one of them. If at all possible, gain a tank large enough to house TWO, they usually do much better with company. However if your budget won't allow the size tank for two, then stay with the one, do not overcrowd.
Make sure the "solution" you have is a dechlorinator that breaks down chlorine and chloramines. Get a good food, Omega One goldfish food comes to mind. Peas for too long will be really rough on the digestive system after a while, and they will do nothing to infuse him with the vitamins and nutrients he needs.
Double or triple the filtration on whatever home you get for him, and add aeration with a good air stone and air pump. That will go a long way to making him deliriously happy.
Until you can get him a proper set up, using dechlorinator change at least half the water every other day, and treat the small tank like a fish bowl. Waste will build up incredibly quickly.
To help establish a new tank, once set up, along with new filters, run the old filter as well in the new tank for a couple of weeks.
2 10 gallon tanks, 1 20 gallon tank, 1 Fluval Edge, 1 29 gallon tank, and one backyard pond.
G00d j0b 0n being a g00d sp0rt t0 this fish, the p00r little s0ul! Y0u have been given a l0t 0f g00d advice here, y0u have sh0wn that y0u are willing t0 listen by asking and y0u have a caring way ab0ut y0u- y0u are 0n a great path already. That's a lucky little fish t0 have have y0u m0ve in, I am sure he will reward y0u by making y0u smile every time y0u l00k at him.
Ideally y0u w0uld be able t0 buy all that stuff at 0nce but every improvement y0u can aff0rd t0 make is still an improvement. the larger tank is certainly the priority, al0ng with clean dechlorinated water. D0ing regular water changes in the larger tank will be 0k sh0rt term until y0u can buy a m0re suitable filter. G00d j0b again, and welc0me t0 the AC- it's l00king like y0u will be a great addition already.
When in d0ubt read it until it makes sense, then read it again!
Hello all, sorry it took me a while to respond, been quite busy.
Well, the food I give him is King British Goldfish Flake. It's the only one I found in the pet shop nearby but I will look for the Omega One too. I supplement his diet with peas every few days (I read about it and saw some videos on youtube. I peel their skins off and he gets a few - about 4-5 halves.
The solution is called Tap Safe and it's from Interpet. I've also been recommended Fish Safe (which I'm told is some sort of tonic which would do good for the goldfish's health).
I've given the tank a thought and I will buy him a bigger one as soon as finances allow. For now I'll be happy if I get him a better filter and an air pump because at this moment I think clean water and better oxygenation are the priorities. Bigger tank and hopefully a friend for him will be a couple months down the line.
I forgot to mention that I've noticed he has some sort of fin damage but it doesn't look like fin rot (I've looked at pictures comparing with his injury) and I believe it's from his old decoration which was a plastic plant, quite pointy and horrible (which I've taken out already - planning to get him a silk one) or from the fish net they've left behind, when I did the full clean I took him out with one of those XXXL mugs so I wouldn't touch and harm him; perhaps his old owners took him out with the net, which is quite small, I have no idea). And he doesn't seem to be sick, in fact he's quite active, has turned into a food beggar whenever he sees me close and also comes munching on my fingers whenever I do his water change and when I feed him peas.
At the moment I'm changing his water every other day (about 70% of the tank water) and I've cleaned the filter again in old tank water - it's really small and clogs easily.
Paycheck is this week though so there will be even more improvements.
Thank you so much for your kind advice everyone!
P.S. The orange patches on his tail are getting wider and brighter by the day. And indeed he makes me smile all the time :)
How wonderful to read (nearly brought a tear to my eyes) that you're doing right for the goldfish and he's beginning to show his colors. If he has some damage to a fin possibly like you said from too small a net or decoration the best thing you can do right now is keep up with those water changes. Very good that you're looking into a larger filter also :)