Hi Eddie, Just thought I'd put my two cents' worth in. After reading the preceding posts it's pretty obvious this is a case of the dreaded "New Tank Syndrome" - if only there was a law passed to ensure that no aquatic supplier could sell more than half a dozen fish to people for their first lot! This is a fairly universal rule which can be bent depending on circumstances, but 23 is definitely a no-no! Anyway, you know all this by now - what I'm interested in stressing is the importance of testing the water regularly, and testing for the right things! I've lost count of the number of people who've told me that their water test came out fine, only to find that they've only tested for pH and phosphate levels - those don't tell you anything about toxic waste levels in the tank, which is the critical thing to keep an eye on, especially in a new tank. Without rambling too much (hopefully!), the main things you need to test for are Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate, and the levels which are considered safe are: Ammonia - 0 parts per million (highly toxic!), Nitrite - 0 p.p.m (still highly toxic, but less than Ammonia), and Nitrate - less than 50 (or so) p.p.m. (not directly toxic to fish, but has been shown to increase stress levels). I could waffle on for ages about starting up a tropical aquarium, but the best thing to do is get a decent book so you can refer back to it when you need to - I would personally recommend the Baensch Aquarium Atlas vol.1 if your budget allows it.
Re: New goldfish owner - fin discolouration - help!!!
Thanks very much for your reply. I have been doing a bit of web surfing in the interim and I suspect that I haven't got the tank cycled properly and they're probably suffering from environment stress. I have decided that in a few months (once they've settled in properly and the tank should be cycled) I'm going to get a proper filter and do away with the under-gravel one. I'm going to try changing about 25% of the water tonight (I'm using Interpret water conditioner - the one that neutralises the chlorine and gets rid of metal compounds in water)to see if that helps in the interim. I will see what results I get from the test kits tomorrow, and will post the results.
I started off the tank cycle by running the tank (ie switching on the air tube!) and adding a tiny bit of fish food each day for a week, naively thinking that this would be ok. Looking back I should have tested the water before adding the fish, but sadly I'm learning through experience.
Feargus and William are eating ok and are still very active, so hopefully I'll be able to do something to help before they start to suffer. I asked pet shop guy how much I should be feeding them and he said only a few flakes (and I mean a few - he showed me!!) every couple of days. Maybe he had super fab expanding flakes or something. It's hard to tell if they're hungry, but I'll start feeding a bit twice a day. I've been soaking the fish flakes for about a minute before giving to the fish as I read somewhere that they can expand after eating otherwise which can cause problems. I've heard they can be left for up to 2 weeks without food before they start to suffer. Is this right? We're going away for a week in summer and I need to know if I should get someone in to chuck some flakes in! We left them alone last weekend and I was worried about them all the time we were away (though they seemed fine when we got back).
Kind regards Helen (complete novice in fish, but good with budgies!)
Re: New goldfish owner - fin discolouration - help!!!
Hello Helen and welcome to fishkeeping Sales people in Lfs do not always know what is what and will tell you anything to get a sale, not all of them mind there are a few good ones but they are few and far between, so by joining a fish forum you have done the best thing as you will get proper advice, first can I suggest if you have the time to read some of the latest posts on here as there is a lot of advice already written that you may find useful, plus goldfish should be fed twice daily not every other day. I have to go now but will answer your questions in more detail a bit later, for now please read the other posts on the cold water.
New goldfish owner - fin discolouration - help!!!
I have a 9 gallon tank with undergravel filtration (one of those that you buy from the petshop as a package, with air tube etc). The fish have now been in the tank coming up to 4 weeks. The tank has about 3 inches of natural gravel in the bottom, a couple of plastic plants and an airtube which they like swimming through. I have 2 goldfish (Feargus and William), who are very active and seem very happy. They are currently fed once a day, but I will soon be moving onto once every couple of days on the advice of the guy in the petshop.
I have just noticed that both fish have started to get a black edge to their tail fins. Their other fins do not appear to be affected, and their skin and eyes seem clear enough. I am embarrassed to admit that I haven't done a test to check the amonia and nitrogen levels, as the guy in the petshop thought I was worrying too much when I went in to get the tank with a long list of things that I thought I needed, and said if the fish started showing signs of distress I only need worry then. I'm wondering if they might have a form of fin-rot owing to poor water quality??
I have done a 1/3 water change over the past 2 weekends, but gave it a miss last weekend as I thought that I might be changing too much too often. The water is still clear and I can't see any obvious algae growth.
I now know that undergravel filters aren't the best thing, but again, I was going on the advice of the fish keeper in the petshop, who did seem very knowlegable and said it would probably be the best thing to start off with. Do you have any suggestions on what might be causing the fin discolouration? I will be calling in to a petshop tomorrow to buy some anti-bacterial medicine for fin-rot and an amonia and nitrogen test kit, but any help that can be offered will be most gratefully received. I am very fond of the little fellas and would hate to think that I'm doing (or not doing) something that may be harming them.
What can I do if the amonia or nitrogen or Ph levels are at the wrong levels?
When stocking a tank be it tropical or coldwater you should always do it gradually so the filter can build up the good bacteria to cope with the fish waste. Also you don't need to boil the water unless you are doing a water change and want to get the replacement water the same temperture as the tank water, then you can boil some to add to the replacement water always useing a water conditioner as chlorine and chlorimine can kill the fish.
hello icthytitch.yes the tank is 4ft long and has a300 watt heater.yes i thought putting that many in at once would be too much but was assured that it would be ok.never going back there again.when adding new water is it best to boil the water first and let it cool before adding to the tank.forgot to mention i have 3 very small plecss to and like the catfish are fine
is the tank heated, if not get a heater, 4 or 5 watts per gallon. for cycling the tank look at http://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/articles ... hless-cycling-article.htm. putting 23 fish in the tank at one go is to much to quick, its to bigger increase in the bio load for the tank bacteria to cope with, add the fish a couple at a time over a couple of days. hope this helps. oh good the link does work