I'm new to this forum and looking for some advice from experienced goldfish lovers:
I've recently adopted a fish from my partner's sister, who had him in a tiny tank. I upgraded to a 65 litre tank but I've realised that this is probably also too small (my partner disagrees but I've been spending a lot of time reading up and now know this to be true!). Ultimately, I want to build him a pond but this won't happen until next summer, so in the meantime I've sourced a second-hand 180 litre (50 gallon) tank. This seems massive and I'd love to get him a friend. Thing is, I think he's about 1-2 years old and has always been on his own. I've read that goldfish like to be with other fish but is that necessarily the case with a fish that has always been alone? Is it wise to introduce a new fish or will he freak out? Should I wait until he has a pond?
First well done on getting him a decent sized tank, that's the most important thing you could do to keep him in good health.
Do you know what kind of goldfish he is? Does he have a single tail (tail fin spilt once into two) or a double-tail (split twice into four)? If he's a double-tail then he's one of the fancy types (fan-tail etc.,) and won't need to go into a pond as fancies can have a hard time surviving winter outdoors.
I think he would like a companion either way, but make sure to get the same type as him as single-tails DO need to be in ponds, where two fancies could be housed in your 180 together in the long term.
Hi, thanks so much for the reply. He's a single tail, although his tail is long and floaty - almost as big as his body! I'm worried that he might have some kind of existential crisis when he realises that he's not the only fish in the world. Might he get territorial in the new tank? Yes, ultimately I'd like him to be outdoors but I don't think I can keep him in a 65 litre tank for the next year. Wish I'd just invested in the bigger one from the start!
From your description of the length of his tail, it sounds as though he's a comet goldfish. I kept a goldfish on his own for the duration of his life for precisely the reason you mention. However, generally, they are known to be sociable. What you could do is buy him a friend but explain your predicament to the shop (ie fear that they may not get on); it might be that they are happy to take the new one back if this turns out to be the case.
It's always advisable to quarantine new fish when you first get them, so you could keep the new fish in the 65-litre for a couple of weeks for that purpose (with a portion of mature filter media), and perhaps with this tank being in sight of your existing fish, so that he realises he is not the only fish in the world before his friend joins him.
The 65-litre tank could always be kept as a hospital tank for the duration of the year that the fish are in the 180-litre tank, in the event that one fish falls ill and needs treated. One of these tanks (ideally the 180-litre tank) ought to be kept for hospital tank purposes in the event that a pond-dwelling fish falls ill, but the 65-litre tank could be sold second-hand then eg via www.aquarist-classifieds.co.uk Alternatively, with the addition of a heater, you could turn the 65-litre tank into a tropical tank for small tropical fish.
That's absolutely brilliant advice - thank you! I'm going to the shop tomorrow so I'll find out if they'd take the friend back if I did get one. And thanks also for the link. By the time I get the new tank I will have a total of four tanks of varying sizes - far too many for one (or two) goldfish!