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*lilmiss*

My goldfish are eating each other...

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*lilmiss*

DS was given a fish tank and two goldfish for Christmas as a gift. It’s a decent tank with filters etc , and it’s nice but meh… please ppl, don’t ever give someone a pet as a gift without asking them first!

 

Anyway… the said fish have been going well until yesterday I noticed that one was kind of hiding in one corner of the tank for a long time and wouldn’t come out. When he eventually did, I realised that half of his face/head has been nibbled off!

 

OMG! What do I do? Is this a normal goldfish behaviour to eat each other? Maybe a domination thing? Are they bored? Hungry? Help!

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Amica

I have had my two gold fish living together for about 10 months with no problems. Just after new year though, one started picking on the other for no reason. Over the space of 3 days, my black bug eyed one had very little tail left and I found it floating upside down. I immediately put it in a plastic container and within an hour s/he came good.

 

About a week later I put it back in with the other fish. Within 10 minutes it was floating upside down so I took him/her out. Another week again, same thing! It was so bizarre. We were all watching and within 3 minutes of the transfer over, the fish was floating on its back. The other fish hadn't even come anywhere near it!

 

3 second memory my butt.

 

So my bug eyed fish is permanently living in a plastic bowl at the moment til I can get another little tank.

 

The tail seems to be slowly growing back.

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*lilmiss*

Sorry, couldn't help but lol...so annoying these pets that are barely worth the effort, it's not like a goldfish can lick your hand or snuggle at your feet while you watch TV. and you still have to agonise over their well being.

 

 

Haha i agree. I'm not a fish person at all. But DS is mesmerised by them... once these ones are gone i'm pretty sure there wont be any more ;)

 

And ewww about the mice!

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Feral_Faylie

What size aquarium is it? What sort of fish are they? Just your stock standard cold water goldfish? If so, they need a big tank, they grow a lot and need room. If they have more room they will be more tolerant of each other, kind of like siblings. Schooling fish do have a pecking order and some fish breeds fight it out, especially if crowded. Also, please make sure the aquarium is cleaned regularly, about 1/3 of the water needs to be replaced and the gravel gone over with the suction hose each week and the filter will need washing (in the water you have taken out) too. Goldfish poo a lot and that makes a lot of ammonia in the water.

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Chelli

We found that goldfish were so high maintenance and really touchy. We've had many tears and funerals over the toilet bowl for those things. Silver dollars are better - we've had our current ones in the tank for years with no issue.

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tenar

These things happen when fish are poorly kept. Not your fault in the purchase, OP, but if you haven't researched the needs of these animals you are responsible for then their condition is your fault.

 

To recap the basic, rock-bottom standards for goldifsh:

 

Assuming they are fantails (not comets or other single tailed goldies), they need a minimum tank size of 100l in order to reach a healthy adulthood (they get most of their growth in their first year, so really this is not something that you can put off for months: they are already being harmed by being kept in what is no doubt a teeny tank.

 

The tank needs to be filtered heavily (goldfish are messy and produce a lot of waste), so you are looking at a filter that turns over about 10x the tank volume each hour.

 

They need about a 25% water change each week. Don't mess with the filter.

 

They need to be fed suitable amounts of goldfish food and to have access to water plants to browse on: elodea densa is a good one, as it will grow fast enough in many thanks that you will have a ready supply of it. Duckweed is another good one: they love it!

 

Now, my guess is that you have two baby goldfish in a tiny tank of less than 40 litres, with inadequate filtration (those small tanks almost always have crap filters). I further assume that you didn't know how to cycle the tank during the first couple of months of its operation, so all of this time those fish have been living in their own waste ammonia and nitrite. This is making them sick: the ammonia burns their skin and gills and the nitrite makes it harder for them to breathe as it interferes with oxygen uptake in their bloodstream. The stress of living in such conditions makes them vulnerable to secondary infections, which may be what has happened to your fish that looks like its head is being eaten away.

 

Medicine likely won't help your sick fish, because the root problem is environmental. The best thing you can do for them immediately is to change out half of the water and to do this daily until you have gotten them a larger tank. Meanwhile, research their needs properly and get it right the second time.

 

Goldfish are highly intelligent and very social animals. Also they are beautiful! They can live to 30 years and should grow to 6+ inches long. The problem with them is that people don't think that a $3 fish should need a $300 environment in which to live, so they are routinely poisoned to death in little tanks that are just death traps for them. It's horrible! I wish they were not available for sale in this country, we treat these animals so badly.

 

If you need any more specific advice, OP, I'll check this thread later.

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*lilmiss*

Thanks for the info. I think from memory it's a 50L tank. No idea what kind of goldfish they are, just a white one and an orange one ;)

 

Remember we only got these as a gift, totally not my choice!

 

I'm just feeding and cleaning these little buggers. We do the water clean thing weekly (1/3 of the water) and i don't know the capacity of the pump, it's just whatever came with the whole setup so i assumed it was ok. Maybe not. I don't have any water plants for them, i guess i'll go grab something like that.

 

 

Gahhh. Again, i say, please never buy someone a pet without asking them first!

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tenar

Yes, people should not gift pets and should not buy pets without properly researching their needs. I do understand you didn't choose the situation, OP.

 

If it's a 50l tank then the problem is not as dire as it might have been (I've seen 10l bowls sold as being "great for goldfish" and lots of tanks under 40l). Do check it. 50l is larger than many fishtanks sold.

 

If it really is 50l, your goldfish are still infants and should not have really outgrown that tank yet. So my best guess would be that the problem is that the tank isn't cycled and is still cycling. Changing out 1/3 of the water weekly won't be enough to keep the ammonia levels at bay. My suggestions would be:

 

1. If you can afford it, get a "API freshwater master test kit", around $40 on ebay. This has all the water test you will want for years and will enable you to monitor the ammonia and nitrite levels in the short term, and the pH, nitrate etc in the long term.

 

2. Change 1/3 of the water daily for a week, then every second day for a week, then weekly. The idea of this is to dilute out the toxins fast enough that the fish can start to recover, allowing the filter to finish cycling while you do.

 

3. Read up on "aquarium cycle" or "aquarium nitrogen cycle". There are many articles on this, and they will help you to understand better what is going on with your fish tank.

 

4. Aim to upgrade to a larger tank by the middle of the year, sooner is better.

 

5. Google for images of common diseases of goldfish: see if your fish looks like any of those things. With fish, as with many pets, it is way easier to prevent illness than it is to cure it once the animal is obviously unwell, but some problems do have specific medications that may help. It's always risky: the medicines for fish are not well tested and may harm more than they help. In particular, avoid "melafix" and "pimafix" as they are next to useless, and anything sold as a "cure-all". We don't have access to very good fishtank medication in Australia, but for some problems a course of, for example, tetracycline, can and will help. If you do medicate, read up on whether that medication will harm your filter bacteria and read up on what to do if it might: the last thing you want is to wipe out the new colonies of good bacteria growing in the filter.

 

Good luck!

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*lilmiss*

Thank you...

 

 

 

Anyone want some free goldfish?

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babatjie

These things happen when fish are poorly kept. Not your fault in the purchase, OP, but if you haven't researched the needs of these animals you are responsible for then their condition is your fault.

 

To recap the basic, rock-bottom standards for goldifsh:

 

Assuming they are fantails (not comets or other single tailed goldies), they need a minimum tank size of 100l in order to reach a healthy adulthood (they get most of their growth in their first year, so really this is not something that you can put off for months: they are already being harmed by being kept in what is no doubt a teeny tank.

 

The tank needs to be filtered heavily (goldfish are messy and produce a lot of waste), so you are looking at a filter that turns over about 10x the tank volume each hour.

 

They need about a 25% water change each week. Don't mess with the filter.

 

They need to be fed suitable amounts of goldfish food and to have access to water plants to browse on: elodea densa is a good one, as it will grow fast enough in many thanks that you will have a ready supply of it. Duckweed is another good one: they love it!

 

Now, my guess is that you have two baby goldfish in a tiny tank of less than 40 litres, with inadequate filtration (those small tanks almost always have crap filters). I further assume that you didn't know how to cycle the tank during the first couple of months of its operation, so all of this time those fish have been living in their own waste ammonia and nitrite. This is making them sick: the ammonia burns their skin and gills and the nitrite makes it harder for them to breathe as it interferes with oxygen uptake in their bloodstream. The stress of living in such conditions makes them vulnerable to secondary infections, which may be what has happened to your fish that looks like its head is being eaten away.

 

Medicine likely won't help your sick fish, because the root problem is environmental. The best thing you can do for them immediately is to change out half of the water and to do this daily until you have gotten them a larger tank. Meanwhile, research their needs properly and get it right the second time.

 

Goldfish are highly intelligent and very social animals. Also they are beautiful! They can live to 30 years and should grow to 6+ inches long. The problem with them is that people don't think that a $3 fish should need a $300 environment in which to live, so they are routinely poisoned to death in little tanks that are just death traps for them. It's horrible! I wish they were not available for sale in this country, we treat these animals so badly.

 

If you need any more specific advice, OP, I'll check this thread later.

 

That makes me so sad to read. As a child we bought little goldfish in plastic bags with the tiniest fishbowls from markets. They never lived for very long. It is such an ignorant and cruel thing to do. They must have suffered terribly! :( I had no idea then.

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EssentialBludger

Interesting read. We recently built a fish pond outside and bought 5 goldfish. It's a 500L pond, with a decent pump/filter (we spent quite a few hundred on the whole setup), lots of water plants etc. is there anything else specific I should be doing? How often does the water need to be changed in ponds?

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tenar

PP five fish in 500l will be fine. You should not need to change the water at all, but it would be a good idea to get a water testing kit to monitor your water quality.

 

In planted ponds (and tanks, but planted ponds get much more light than planted tanks, so the plants grow faster which is good) the plants will consume most of the fish waste before it even gets to the filter. Adding plants from the start also adds colonies of good bacteria to the water right from the beginning: these will quickly colonize your filter media. So you may find that you have no problems at all, as long as you feed the fish lightly in the first month.

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Feral_Faylie

OP, I'll add, buy the biggest tank you can afford and have room for, they are easier to keep water ph levels right, and goldfish are schooling fish, the more there are the happier they will be, providing they have enough room. I can't remember surface area to fish cm ratio any more, maybe Tenar can tell you?

 

Also, the water you take out of the tank is great for the garden.

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Tikvah

Tenar, such great advice, most of which I knew (I keep rescued fantails) but it is really good to have it written down in one place! Can I just ask, though - what is a planted pond as opposed to a tank? We have some plants planted in the rockbed of our tank, but I think the fish would prefer something more substantial.

 

And for the PP who said that fish have no personality and give nothing back - my alpha fantail has more personality than most humans I've met. And he recognises people he knows and communicates very well with them. So many people are so silly about fish.

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Beeeeeez

These things happen when fish are poorly kept. Not your fault in the purchase, OP, but if you haven't researched the needs of these animals you are responsible for then their condition is your fault.

 

To recap the basic, rock-bottom standards for goldifsh:

 

Assuming they are fantails (not comets or other single tailed goldies), they need a minimum tank size of 100l in order to reach a healthy adulthood (they get most of their growth in their first year, so really this is not something that you can put off for months: they are already being harmed by being kept in what is no doubt a teeny tank.

 

The tank needs to be filtered heavily (goldfish are messy and produce a lot of waste), so you are looking at a filter that turns over about 10x the tank volume each hour.

 

They need about a 25% water change each week. Don't mess with the filter.

 

They need to be fed suitable amounts of goldfish food and to have access to water plants to browse on: elodea densa is a good one, as it will grow fast enough in many thanks that you will have a ready supply of it. Duckweed is another good one: they love it!

 

Now, my guess is that you have two baby goldfish in a tiny tank of less than 40 litres, with inadequate filtration (those small tanks almost always have crap filters). I further assume that you didn't know how to cycle the tank during the first couple of months of its operation, so all of this time those fish have been living in their own waste ammonia and nitrite. This is making them sick: the ammonia burns their skin and gills and the nitrite makes it harder for them to breathe as it interferes with oxygen uptake in their bloodstream. The stress of living in such conditions makes them vulnerable to secondary infections, which may be what has happened to your fish that looks like its head is being eaten away.

 

Medicine likely won't help your sick fish, because the root problem is environmental. The best thing you can do for them immediately is to change out half of the water and to do this daily until you have gotten them a larger tank. Meanwhile, research their needs properly and get it right the second time.

 

Goldfish are highly intelligent and very social animals. Also they are beautiful! They can live to 30 years and should grow to 6+ inches long. The problem with them is that people don't think that a $3 fish should need a $300 environment in which to live, so they are routinely poisoned to death in little tanks that are just death traps for them. It's horrible! I wish they were not available for sale in this country, we treat these animals so badly.

 

If you need any more specific advice, OP, I'll check this thread later.

 

Gosh! Those gold fish sound like a TPITA! Give me a cat any day! (and a lazy one on top of it!).

 

Sorry OP, I had fish once... they were gone very fast! And yes totally inappropriate to gift pets!

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Beeeeeez

Sorry, couldn't help but lol...so annoying these pets that are barely worth the effort, it's not like a goldfish can lick your hand or snuggle at your feet while you watch TV. and you still have to agonise over their well being.

 

When I was a girl, i had mice, two were pregnant, an older one, who was lovely, and a young flighty one (yes, I might have been guilty of a little anthropomorphism) the flighty one gave birth first and could not have been less interested, the older one rounded up the babies and looked after them....

 

and then gave birth and promptly ate her entire litter since she liked the one she already had!

 

Cage was like a horror show..

 

Rehomed the mice after that.

 

ewwww... ewww again...

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eilca

Fishtank mansion here and well maintained mansion. We still had a large goldfish bully some new arrivals to the point we had to put it in solitary confinement in a basket within the tank. We sought advice, researched it all and hoped that the SHU experience would bring it down the hierachy. No such luck. ALthough we allowed supervised access to the full tank and returned the bully to the SHU at night he was still a bully. After living a good life for 4 years he passed away in the SHU. But we could not let him continue to hurt the other fish. And I could not afford therapy for him as my kids' therapy costs are huge.

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tenar

Tikvah,

 

By a pond I mean an actual pond outside. The reasons that ponds tend to be less work to maintain than aquariums, assuming the ponds are filtered are that:

 

1. They get much more intense light and have a higher surface area: volume ratio, meaning that the plants have more light and more carbon dioxide, so can grow faster. As the plants grow they pull nitrogen and other relative "nasties" out of the water, especially surface plants like duckweed, which can grow extremely fast (think doubling their size every 3 days) becaise they have access to carbon from the air directly, not dissolved into the water. So the plants do more cleaning work in most ponds than in most aquariums.

 

2. Pond stocking ratios tend to be lower, meaning there is less livestock for the same volume of water.

 

Now, it is possible to keep a planted aquarium with goldfish in it (I've done so) but it depends on a few things. You need to manage to grow the plants faster than your goldies will trash/eat them. This means good lighting, possibly adding CO2 to the tank, choosing plants that grow fast and well in your water. If your goldfish are particularly destructive it may be impossible, but there are alternative, like growing some plants in a bucket (of old tank water, which will have plenty of nutrient for them) and replacing the tank ones from time to time.

 

Anyway, I have to race. Hope that's helpful.

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Feral_Faylie

If you are considering planting do not get silver dollars. Lawnmowers on steroids.

 

Tikva, I agree with the personality thing. The "fish have no personalities" people have never met an oscar. They are awesome fish. A fully planted and well cared for aquarium is so beautiful to see and very relaxing to watch. I really miss mine. Maybe I could do it again now the bigger two kids are a bit older and can entertain themselves a bit better. I just don't know where to put it where I would get to sit and observe rather than just walk past it when going from one room to another.

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aBabye

Interesting read. We recently built a fish pond outside and bought 5 goldfish. It's a 500L pond, with a decent pump/filter (we spent quite a few hundred on the whole setup), lots of water plants etc. is there anything else specific I should be doing? How often does the water need to be changed in ponds?

 

Mum has a large pond in her yard too. There is no filter but the fish seem to be thriving and are huge. I think there are plants and she does change the water but I don't know how often.

 

As PP has said water should be regularly changed but you have to leave a certain amount of the "old" water so that the fish don't get stressed. If you remove too much water at once the fish may get sick and die so best to be cautious on this and check for guidelines for your fish.

Edited by aBabye

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Tikvah

Tikvah,

 

By a pond I mean an actual pond outside. The reasons that ponds tend to be less work to maintain than aquariums, assuming the ponds are filtered are that:

 

1. They get much more intense light and have a higher surface area: volume ratio, meaning that the plants have more light and more carbon dioxide, so can grow faster. As the plants grow they pull nitrogen and other relative "nasties" out of the water, especially surface plants like duckweed, which can grow extremely fast (think doubling their size every 3 days) becaise they have access to carbon from the air directly, not dissolved into the water. So the plants do more cleaning work in most ponds than in most aquariums.

 

2. Pond stocking ratios tend to be lower, meaning there is less livestock for the same volume of water.

 

Now, it is possible to keep a planted aquarium with goldfish in it (I've done so) but it depends on a few things. You need to manage to grow the plants faster than your goldies will trash/eat them. This means good lighting, possibly adding CO2 to the tank, choosing plants that grow fast and well in your water. If your goldfish are particularly destructive it may be impossible, but there are alternative, like growing some plants in a bucket (of old tank water, which will have plenty of nutrient for them) and replacing the tank ones from time to time.

 

Anyway, I have to race. Hope that's helpful.

 

So helpful, thank you!

 

Is there anywhere you can point me on how to set up an outside pond?

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EssentialBludger

Tenar, I bought the water testing kit today, I don't think my water is all the good! Eek!

 

Ammonia - 0.25ppm

Nitrite - 0ppm

Nitrate - 0ppm

PH - 7.6

 

I know the ammonia is suppose to be 0 and nitrate about 40ppm? How do I fix this??

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tenar

EssentialBludger do I correctly understand that this is in a new fishpond (what volume is it, remind me?) with 5 goldfish? How long has it been running for with the fish in it?

 

Hopefully you have started reading advice on fishkeeping forums, since you posted this yesterday, but in case you haven't here is mine.

 

Your water tests suggest that your pond hasn't yet cycled. That is: there is not enough of the two main types of "good bacteria" in your pond to process the ammonia the fish produce into nitrite and then nitrate. Hopefully you have read up on the nitrogen cycle in aquariums (do google it), but here is the fast version:

 

Fish produce ammonia as waste, and anything rotting in the tank/pond (ie uneaten food, dead leaves, etc) also decays and produces ammonia. Ammonia is highly toxic to fish especially at relatively high pH like yours (your pH is fine, by the way, but it's certainly in the range where the ammonia is all in its toxic form and not in the less toxic form. I have forgotten the details of the chemstry behind this).

 

Anyway, one group of bacteria that will come and live in your pond on all its surfaces (not in the water itself, generally: these things attach to surfaces, which is why the filter media will have a high surface area, like a porous sponge or porous ceramic noodles). They consume ammonia and turn it into nitrite. Unfortunately nitrite is also very toxic to fish. However a second group of bacteria will arrive and consume the nitrite and turn it into nitrate, which is not very toxic.

 

So the cycle goes: ammoni -> nitrite -> nitrate.

 

Now, you have non-zero ammonia and zero nitrite and zero nitrate. This suggests that your pond is still in the first part of its cycle, where there are not enough good bacteria consuming the ammonia to get rid of it all, and there is also no bacteria turning nitrite into nitrate, as there is no big source of nitrite in the pond yet.

 

So what I expect to happen is that in due course, over the next couple of weeks maybe, your ammonia levels will drop to zero and the nitrite levels will rise, but then over the following weeks the nitrite levels will drop to zero and the nitrate will start to rise. At that point, when you have zero ammonia, zero nitrite and rising nitrate we say the pond/tank is "cycled".

 

So mostly for you and your fish this is a waiting game. Let me be clear: the ammonia is harming your fish each hour longer they are swimming in it. However 0.25ppm is a low level and goldfish are tough, so it won't be harming them very much. If it disappears soon you may have no problems resulting.

 

Things to watch out for are black patches appearing on the fish's skin or fins/tail (ammonia burns: the black is actually when they are healing, but is often the only evidence that the burn happened), and anything that could be a secondary infection: so anything looking like fungus or a red patch that could be a secondry bacterial infection, or little white spots that could be the "white spot" parasite. The problem here is that your fish are being stressed by living in a bad environment and this can lower their immune system, making them vulnerable to other things that normally wouldn't make them sick. Pretty much like it would be for us, really.

 

If it were my tank with that level of ammonia I would be doing the following:

- feed very lightly: no more than once/day and only as much as they will eat in 20 seconds or less.

- measure the ammonia and nitrite daily, track its progress.

- dose daily with Seachem Prime (or Seachem Safe, which is the dried version and might work out cheaper when treating large volumes) water dechlorinator, which will also detoxify the ammonia (the effect only lasts around 24 hours, but it will help to protect your fish).

- if the ammonia level goes higher consider doing water changes to reduce it, and feed even less.

 

Once you have nitrite showing in the tank, watch out for your fish "gasping" near the surface of the water. Nitrite interferes with the way oxygen is absorbed into the fish's bloodstream, so one of the symptoms of nitrite poisoning is the fish trying to get more oxygen by going to the surface where there is more dissolved oxygen in the water. You can help with this by:

 

- adding a little table salt or aquarium salt to the water, something like 1 tablespoon per 40 litres of water. This won't be enough to harm the plants and it will help reduce the toxicity of the nitrite (again I have forgotten the details of the chemistry behind this).

- keep limiting feeding,

- do water changes if you get more than 0.25ppm of nitrite.

 

Once the pond is cycled, you should consistently see 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. The nitrate levels should stay under 40ppm and ideally under 20ppm.

 

Hope this helps and makes sense.

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EssentialBludger

Thank you tenar! Much appreciated :)

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dirtyhoe

I'll stick with dogs and cats. I'm now even put off mice. :omg:

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