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calling any goldfish experts (Updated)

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#1 BenevolentDictator

Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:57 AM

DS has received a gift of 3 goldfish in a fishbowl from exH's side of the family.

The bowl is about 1 foot in diameter and has some pebbles in the bottom and a couple of plants.
There are 3 fish - 2 gold fan tails and one black one with googly eyes.

A little container of food accompanied them, but no instruction manual!  All I know about goldfish is that you should not overfeed them, and you need to clean their bowl.  The bowl seems kind of small for 3 little fish.

What do I need to do and how?  Can it wait a day or two until I can face going to an aquarium shop and getting advice? If I am taking them out to clean their bowl do we have to take all the pebbles out and scrub them?

It's a kind gift as DS loves all creatures great and small, and they are kind of amusing (he has named them Zap, Gill Grunt and Noodles).  But more work for me and another "teaching opportunity" wink.gif


Well not surprisingly we are now the proud owners of a tank with filter and various fishy accoutrements to treat the water etc.
Admittedly not as large as some of you have advised but I wasn't kidding when I said we have nowhere to put a huge tank - and I have already spent way more than I can really afford on it.
Rather than go to the pet supplies store (since I suspect such a store would have told the gift givers that "they'll be fine!"  rolleyes.gif ) I contacted a specialist aquarium store and explained my dilemma.  They were wonderful.  I clued them up in advance so that they didn't recommend anything too over the top in DS's presence, and as the young man said, almost anything is better than a tiny bowl!

Well, I have been searching for a hobby and a new topic of conversation for DS for some time.  I guess he has his new hobby now.  I'm not convinced it's forever but we will see how we go.
I feel like I've done as close to the right thing as I can manage for our little fishy friends - I could not have lived with myself thinking of them suffering.

Edited by dogged, 28 December 2012 - 04:11 PM.

#2 jovana

Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:17 PM

Please don't take anything out, scrub or clean with detergents or chemicals.
Google "nitrogen cycle" for fish tanks and you'll get some helpful hints on how to keep water clean and safe for your fishies.
Ease a feeding a little bit for a while, maybe once a day every other day should be enough for now. You don't want build up ammonia really fast.
Do partial water change, not the whole volume of the water, but if you do so, you'll need special chemical from the pet store, called dechlorinator, which removes chlorine from the tap water making it safe for fish.
Don't get me wrong but I have to tell you, that fish bowl is NOT a safe home for any fish, let alone goldfish which are quite messy. They eat a lot, and poo a lot and can grow quite quickly if they are kept healthy and fed well. They need a good filter with lots of filter media for beneficial bacteria to grow on. And a quite a large tank. It's recommended that one goldfish should be kept in 30-40l tank minimum, and for every other one, 20l should be added. So, for your fishies, around 60-70 litre one should be bare minimum.
I keep my 3 fancies in 400 litre tank. biggrin.gif
And even with such a huge tank, and that amount of water, I had troubles with rising ammonia, disease outbreaks and even deaths. sad.gif
Good luck!

#3 FizzlingFireboxes

Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:16 PM

We do partial water cleans. DH will take out half the water and wipe over the glass with a clean cloth, the refill. With the new water he uses the water cleaner stuff (sorry not sure of the name the pp mentioned it).

We only feed ours every second day, we found every day feeding was making our larger gold fish sick and it would float.

We have a filter in our tank which also needs to be cleaned when the water is cleaned.

Oh I would make sure you have a lid on your tank, we have a glass lid, but wouldn't keep it on all the time thinking its okay, only to have one of our gold fish jump out of the tank one day, lucky I was there and put it back in quickly. original.gif

#4 laridae

Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:26 PM

You'll probably need to change about 10% of their water every day in a bowl.  You'll need to get some water agar (the dechlorinator stuff), and probably get a vacuum syphon thing for cleaning the pebbles at the bottom.

A bowl is not a good place for a gold fish - let alone 3.  Bowls don't have a good surface area, so air can't get into the water very well - so your probably going to need to get a proper tank (and a large one as goldfish poop a lot!).

They will probably be ok for a few days - but I wouldn't leave yhem much longer than that.

#5 Romeo Void

Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:40 PM

Bowls are notoriously bad for goldfish, Italy actually banded the use of bowls for goldfish.  Because the bowl is shaped narrow at the top there is less surface area of water in contact with the air, so the fish may in effect suffocate.  Look for the fish gulping at the surface, it's a sign they're not getting enough oxygen.  A pump will help but I honestly don't think a bowl (if it's like the ones I'm thinking) is sufficient for a goldfish let alone THREE.  

The aquarium will help with feeding instructions but for one day a tiny pinch will do them, they probably could go without even but keep it to a minimum till you can get someone to help.

#6 BenevolentDictator

Posted 26 December 2012 - 08:47 PM

Thank you for the advice.

I'm really not willing to spend money on tanks and things though.   I know the gift was well meant but there's no way I have the time energy and money for upkeep of a large tank.  Yet I feel guilty not doing the right thing by them - and they're only fish!

Now I don't know what to do.  I feel like a fishy executioner if I don't look after them properly but we have nowhere to put a tank.

And yes the bowl has a narrow top and is all kinds of wrong from what you've described.

#7 jayskette

Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

It's actually better off (for you and the fishes) to start off with a big tank - the upkeep time and costs decrease as the tank size increases.

If you don't have a bigger tank you will at least require the following: thermometer (goldfish don't do well in heated water), aerator (to make bubbles/oxygen), a liquid neutraliser to be put in with new water, a liquid cycler of good bacteria (follow instructions for new tank setup, then you will only need it with each water change). You will also need a dedicated bucket/scourer/sponge to clean the tank (no detergents, just elbow grease). If you don't have filters which I am assuming you will not be getting one - you will need to change the water 20% say every 2 days.

#8 laridae

Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

This is why people should not give pets as presents!

If it helps any - large tanks are way easier to look after than small ones.  Small ones need cleaning and water changing far more often.

One of these would probably fit 1 fish ok.  http://www.bigw.com.au/home-garden/pet-acc...ainee-fish-tank#

Could you rehome the rest? (or send them back so they aren't your problem!)

#9 tenar

Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:46 PM

Goldfish are intelligent, gregarious and long lived animals.  They have interesting, complex social behaviour and can actually be taught tricks (not that I see why one would want to do this, personally).  They should grow to 4-6 inches in body length (not counting the tail) and live for 10+ years.  (that's for fancies - comets and other single-tailed varieties get bigger and live longer).

OP you have been put in a rotten situation by the gift-givers, who probably were misinformed by the pet shop.  Nonetheless you now have 3 choices.

1.  Do nothing in particular and watch your fish die of ammonia poisoning (burns their skin and gills and allows opportunistic infections to enter - pretty much like how burns kill humans) or suffocate due to the low oxygen present in an unfiltered fishbowl.    Some fish do survive for a surprisingly long time in such conditions - goldfish are tough, but don't kid yourself that because they are still swimming that they are healthy or happy.  It's like keeping a puppy in a glass box - in the end, no matter how tough an individual it is, the stress of the environment, lack of sufficient exercise, and toxins produced by the animals' own waste will kill it.  

2.  Rehome the fish.  Either take them back to the shop or find someone with a tank or pond that can take them (the google-eyed one wouldn't do well in a pond, likely, but the fantails should be OK.  

3.  Invest in a tank of at least 120 litres, preferably double that, and learn about fishkeeping fast.  You will end up with some fascinating, beautiful and low maintenance pets, but it won't be cheap to set up.

It's bad luck for you to have been placed in this situation.  Worse luck for the fish, of course.

#10 jovana

Posted 27 December 2012 - 12:57 PM

Please don't let them suffer and die in that fish bowl.
You can take them back to the shop where they were bought, or ask around local shop, they might be able to take them in.
It's understandable you are not ready to spend $$$ to set up everything for them. It's not like you wanted them, you were given those fish without much of a thought from those who bought them.
We have probably spent close to 4 figures just for a setup and keeping everything clean and going without any issues is another story. Food costs, water is used, filter media needs to be changed, medications are necessary sometimes, etc... it all adds up. But it's our hobby and we are OK with whatever is spent on them.
As the PP said, they might be just fish for some, but they are lovely little creatures.
My tank is in the middle of the house and I love to see their cute beady eyes just following us everywhere we move. When we move closer to the tank, they do "feed me" dance. And if we lift the tank lid, game is on, meaning food is coming, and they dance even more, splash, etc... We love our fishies to bits. biggrin.gif

#11 BenevolentDictator

Posted 28 December 2012 - 04:29 PM

I succumbed original.gif

See update to first post.

#12 Therese

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:14 PM

Good on you OP original.gif

#13 jovana

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:27 PM

You'll make fishies happy and they'll make great pets  tthumbs.gif

#14 seepi

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:41 PM

Good on you - but do be prepared, many people lose a few goldfish early on - even with the best possible set-ups some are more fragile than others, so you may find one dies anyway.

But great news on the tank set up - fish are lovely to watch.

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