Saturday 29 September 2012

Aquarium guide for goldfish

Shirley 2 and her buddies outside, plus the hybrid alewives.
They are partly dark - partly bright orange!

The late Oliver on my 20 gallon tank -
Shirley 1 and her late friend
Here is a bit of a guide. I've been keeping tropical fish since I was 15. 
We have the most expensive 'free' goldfish ever as we had to upgrade our tank to accommodate our new fish! Found in a ditch, with hundreds of their friends, a friend thought they should be rescued in her water bottle. She took home 4 but she was finding it hard to manage them. Our Shirley 2 needed buddies, I thought 'Why not?' Who knew they would mate with the Alewives?

They grow to the size of their container, and being in the goldfish pond, ~600gallons, they grew over the summer. We bought a 60 gallon tank, on sale as they no longer make them. This one is very tall and I'll need a step ladder to reach the bottom!
Shirley 2

Generally, common goldfish are pretty easy, if big poopers! Tropical fish require a much more specific environment. I know of some goldfish that have survived in sump pumps in basements, covered over, until they began renos, etc. 
Generally, store staff will tel you that you need a gallon per ince of fish. What happens is there is a build up of ammonia from their urine. 
You give them a pinch an inch each per day is the standard. Generally, you give them only enough food so that it is gone in 5 minutes. They're able to eat algae and other stuff in the pond, including whatever babies and bugs they can catch, so I haven't fed them outside except when I wanted to see them!
Obviously, you can probably find a complete system on or from someone who is selling theirs. I bought my 20 gallon stand, aquarium, filter, lights, the whole shebang, all for $150 used from parents who were holding it hostage for a son who moved out west. Ironic! 

30-49 Gallon Aquarium requirements

It looks pretty!

  • Aquarium with Hood & Lights - to keep out little hands, dust and prevent evaporation. I had a glass top made to keep out Oliver, if you recall! You give them a template, with the holes cut out for the filter. This is much cheaper than the ones you can buy! The light just sits on top. Measure the tank and figure out how many gallons, that's how they sell them usually. 
  • Aquarium Gravel - enough to cover the bottom of the tank 3 or 4 cm or so. It collects the unfiltered poop and keeps the balance in the aquarium. It's good to buy this new and wash it well in a strainer before you put it in.
  • External power Filter - you don't the charcoal in them. I think with these big guys an external filter is best. Mine is a 'hang-on' filter. You can buy filters separately, as they get dirty. I was washing mine, and reusing them, especially when I couldn't get to the store to buy new. The size of the tank determines the filter you need. Can't hurt, with these big guys, to go one size up. Sales staff should know.
  • Plants & Décor - they do like to hide. I use a clay pot tipped on its side. I have lots. The bigger they are the more likely they are to overturn plants, though. I wrap paper around the back and the one side of the tank to give them privacy! The plastic plants are best, if you think you have space, as the real plants you can buy tend to cause problems and/or bring bacteria or ... 
  • Heater & thermometer - this is not necessary for goldfish, who prefer cooler temperatures, but tropical fish have specific heat requirements.

  • Maintenance Equipment
  • Clean dedicated fish bucket to use for adding and removing water. You cannot risk contaminating the bucket with chemicals. Their urine has amonia in it, which is a bad thing! You need to remove about 10% of the water every two weeks, depending upon your water source. In Muskoka, I found it went green mid-winter. Don't know what was up there. 
  • Scrapers/sponges - to clean algae off the equipment. The theory is that the fish eat it, but they do prefer the high protein fish food in the tank!
  • Fish net  - just in case, and for transfers or to remove debris.
  • syphon to remove water into the bucket. The large end picks up poop but not heavier gravel - if you look at the photo. 
  • Water Dechlorinator - if you're unable to let the water sit for 24 hrs. and you are on city water. We're on well water and we don't need this. This is a little bottle of drops and you add a few per gallon. 

    Linda said...

    I love to watch the fish...we are getting ready to put in a pond here, as my son has several large koi that need a new home! Can't wait...

    lina@happy family said...

    Thanks for your useful guidance. Enjoying your fish shots too.

    Pat said...

    They're beautiful to look at.

    Snap said...

    Great "how-to" for goldfish. I miss having fish, but I'm afraid my kitties would have them for lunch!

    Pia said...

    I love the photo with your cat on top of the aquarium!
    I am not sure if goldfishs stop growing one day... :-)

    DeniseinVA said...

    Great post, I learned a lot about keeping fish. I have never had any but used to love watching the ones in the two tanks my old dentist used to have in his waiting room. Alas he retired and so did the fish.

    SandyCarlson said...

    Your posts are always wonderfully informative and beautifully photographed.

    Cloudia said...

    hours of fascination lost in a magic world of peace

    Aloha from Honolulu, Jenn

    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >

    Chubskulit Rose said...

    Shirley is beautiful!

    Our PETS
    Have a great weekend.

    Judy said...

    I can't imagine a ditch full of goldfish! That would have been something to see!
    I was thinking yesterday about getting a goldfish and naming it Ermeline...

    Farida said...

    You remind me of my brother who used to be so interested wit fishes too before he got married. Now he has turtles and has become quite big too. I've heard that fishes when put inside the house is good feng shui..

    They do make the environment livelier and it's nice to see a moving object in the room too :)