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suey2 suey2
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  • Posted on: 20/5/2011 22:05
A tale of four goldfish - how tank size and living conditions can affect fish #1
I posted this on PFK a while back in response to a thread about the impact of not keeping fish in the 'perfect' way. Question was over whether or not it was ok to 'make do' if things were 'going ok'. The OP was saying 'well, I don't do it by the book but my fish are ok', it went from there, I posted this as a 'visual' as to why fishkeepers say the things they do about provision of accomodation. Hope that makes sense! One of the mods took the post and made a sticky of it so I thought we should have a version of our own

So here you go ...

My other half had a common goldfish when we met as students. OH is not the sort to randomly buy pets, he always finds out about things first. Fishie was bought in 1991, the internet was nowhere near what it is now so books and info from shops were the source of reference. Fishie had a 40 litre tank - 40 litres for a goldfish - that's what was (and sadly sometimes still is) commonly recommended. We thought this was fine, eventually though we thought he could do with a bit more room so bought him a 70 litre tank, nice and big we thought. He started having health problems as he got older; we turned to the internet for help and soon found out what was wrong. Too small a tank, stunted fish, poor diet, lack of understanding of nitrogen cycle, Fishie was a common - these should be in ponds not tanks - something of a catalogue of errors. We sorted out the tank as best we could at the time and got him a four foot, 350 litre one (arguably nowhere near big enough) but it was too late to really sort out the health problems we?d caused him. He was blind as well as the problems mentioned above. Blind because he developed a bacterial infection from living in a half cycled, too small tank where pollutants built up to dangerous levels. His immune system was non-existent in his latter years, a result of poor diet, stunting and associated ill health from being kept in less than perfect conditions for most of his life.

Below are some pics ? the first one is Fishie ? it?s not pretty is it.

Fishie
Original Image

This is how he looked towards the end of his life, skinny (his digestive system was hopeless), blind, suffering yet another infection despite the UV sterilizer and trips to the vet. But he was 17 when he died, he would take food from my hands, he swam about, reacted to noises about the tank and as far as was possible interacted with me and OH. So does that mean he was happy and his life was a fishkeeping success? I guess he could have been less happy but I?ll be honest and say he could have been a heck of a lot happier. He lived a long time but you can?t judge the success or otherwise of keeping a pet by how long it lives, there are many variables to take into account. The second pic is Howie, another of my fish. Howie is there to illustrate what Fishie should have looked like. Bit of a difference.

Howie
Original Image

Plenty of people who came to our house commented on Fishie over the years ? isn?t he big (um, no, not really, he was stunted) what a lovely big tank (um, no, not really, it was only 70 litres), doesn?t he look healthy (um, no, not really, he was blind and stunted). People said nice things about him and his tank but this didn?t mean they knew what they were talking about, or that he was healthy and had the right tank.

Second example is Jerry, a comet. Jerry was kept in a bowl and then a 30 litre bowl shaped tank for four years.

Jerry
Original Image

When he came to live with us he was, at four years old, the size a healthy comet ought to have been at about four months. Malnourished, stunted, deformed, he died three months after he came to us. His body was too damaged for recovery and his systems just failed. But his previous owners could not be persuaded there was anything wrong with him ? he got excited at food time, he ate, he swam about, his water was changed, he had a filter, their friends commented on how nice the tank and fish looked. "After all, goldfish live in bowls don?t they so a nice bowl shaped, filtered tank has got to be luxury hasn?t it? And he?s four years old? Gosh, I had no idea they could live so long." People said nice things about him and his tank but this didn?t mean they knew what they were talking about, or that he was healthy and had the right tank. Compare his pic to the fourth one, a wakin/comet, another of my fish. Pixie is about the same age as Jerry was when he died, spot the difference.

Pixie
Original Image

You may have noticed that my healthy examples live in tanks, not the ponds they should ideally live in. These two are ones I?ve rehomed from far less suitable conditions. Would I have bought them? No. Would I improve their outlook by offering them a home more suitable than their original ones? Of course. In case anyone was wondering, the two tanks we have now are 6'7" and 550 litres. That's not me having a 'look at me and my big tanks' moment, it's just a point of info.

The point I?m trying to make is that we thought we were doing all right by Fishie, Jerry?s owners thought they were doing all right by him. This wasn?t the case and their ill health was the result. So the ?rules? and guidelines are there for a purpose, to help stop people like me inadvertently inflicting ill health upon their pets. If caresheets and general consensus say a fish needs X to thrive then there?s a reason for that. Like Fishie and Jerry it can live in less than X and not die but take a look at the pics, imagine how I felt when Jerry died at four years old and there wasn?t a thing I could do for him but watch him lying there and wonder if this time maybe he wouldn?t come back from the dead. Imagine how we felt looking at Fishie in that state and knowing we were responsible for that. That Oscar might be ok at the moment and I hope it continues that way, but Fishie was ?ok? for years. Look at how he ended up though. And we did everything we could to help him once we realised where we were going wrong, wasn?t enough to make his final years a healthy and successful experience for any of us.

It?s not really about keeping fish on a particular budget, or fitting the ones you want to keep into your own life but not having massive tanks perfect for a particular fish and persuading yourself it's ok. Or about posting on forums being controversial/looking for validation and absolution. If you provide only what they need in order to survive you?re in danger of ending up with a Fishie or a Jerry. We got it wrong for Fishie and I?m happy to hold my hands up to that, I would be a fool to do otherwise. I really hope that this helps stop other fish suffering the same fate as F & J.
It's Not Just A Fish
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  • Posted on: 23/3/2012 0:00
Re: A tale of four goldfish - how tank size and living conditions can affect fish #2
Thankyou so much for this post you have really helped me to understand the issues like never before I am also old school and used to keep fish in the early 90's which I released into a pond when I left mums home :)..... However having children myself now and inadvertently acquiring goldfish while seeking a tank for tropical which I have never kept before I came across 11 various breeds of goldfish being kept in a 60ltr tank where water changes were obviously none existent so took it upon myself to rescue however these the blackmoore died with 24hrs and the rest seem absolutely fine now In a well maintained tank now I have every intention of increasIng the tank but kinda planes on waiting until I could physically see that they have outgrown however I guess this wld be a mistake and sadly I guess I will need to rehome unfortuatly upsetting my daughter in the process but rather that then animal cruelty however upsetting it will be :(
Mandoo Mandoo
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  • Posted on: 7/4/2012 22:36
Re: A tale of four goldfish - how tank size and living conditions can affect fish #3
Interesting post, thanks. I think a lot of people really don't understand the impact small tanks and poor upkeep have on a fish, and it doesn't help that fish are still quite often seen as a 'disposable' pet.
I grew up in a time where goldfish were given as prizes at fairs and nobody really cared how the fish lived or felt. We need to eradicate this mentality to ensure that fish are looked after properly and given a fair chance at life.
fishkeeper2012 fishkeeper2012
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  • Posted on: 19/8/2012 14:01
Re: A tale of four goldfish - how tank size and living conditions can affect fish #4
I've been looking for Information about what size tank is ok for my fish, but this is all I can find. . . After reading it I'm thinking my tank may be too small?!
I have a 40 litre with a fan tail , Blackmoor and a weather loach, with 6 snails and some plants and a small ornament. .
I also have a Goldie on its own in 80 litres,

I know is back to front and the two should be in the larger tank but the Goldie is much bigger than the other two

Any ouor advice our even the correct place to look for am answer lol


Many thanks :)
suey2 suey2
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  • Posted on: 19/8/2012 22:12
Re: A tale of four goldfish - how tank size and living conditions can affect fish #5
Hi, welcome to FK I know you've got another thread on the go at the moment and have had some great advice there from FL and Dave G so just to add to that on here ... your tank is too small to be a good long term home for your fish I'm afraid Commons/singletails like your goldie are best off in ponds really, they can grow remarkably large given the right conditions and are also the athletes of the goldfish world, they need a good amount of space to get up a decent head of steam As you can see, I've got one in a tank but it is a 6'7" one so at least he's got plenty of room to swim about. I wouldn't buy one knowing what I know now, but he was in need of a home so ...

Fancies can also get big, I've got a fantail who's 11 inches total length and weighs 3/4lb I think someone linked the info for you on your other thread about FK's recommendations for tank sizes for goldies and fancy goldies, as with any fish you need to consider the potential adult size of the species as well as it's behaviours and house it accordingly

I did some research on factors limiting growth a while back for a web project I'm doing, you might find it interesting http://injaf.org/articles-guides/do-f ... o-the-size-of-their-tank/

HTH
It's Not Just A Fish
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Re: A tale of four goldfish - how tank size and living conditions can affect fish #6
Hey thanks for your answer suey!I am trying to find my other post lol!
The only problem is I do not have to funds to get a bigger tank or space for it as I now have a Toddler :( and no garden to even consider a pond :(
What size would I be looking at for the fish I already have?
And sorry if you've/done one Else had answered this on my other post, I Dobby know how to find it again lol x
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Re: A tale of four goldfish - how tank size and living conditions can affect fish #7
Your other post is here and several of the advisers have given advice on tank size etc.. Hope that helps.
HannahCinnamon HannahCinnamon
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Re: A tale of four goldfish - how tank size and living conditions can affect fish #8
Thank you, you have confirmed what I suspected....I won Terry a common gf at a fair a couple of months ago (was shocked you could still do this as I thought it had been stopped but spent ridiculous amount trying to win him as I felt sorry for him). The tank they tried to sell me at the fair was about 10 litres and although ignorant, I suspected this wasn't going to be big enough.
I went to the local pet shop who sold me a gf starter kit - a glass bowl, plant, gravel and fish food. A week later, Terry was quite static on the bottom and didn't look happy. After some research I decided he was lonely as gf are sociable fish, so I returned to pet shop who sold me a fancy now named Speckles.
I noticed that although Terry perked up immediately with a friend to play with, both fish spent a lot of time at the surface of the water. Back to the Internet where I concluded that they weren't getting enough oxygen, that the bowl was way too small, and that there was nothing in the water to stimulate them either.
So several e-bay bids later, I had won a 60 litre round biorb and drove 70 miles to pick it up. I got it home and set it up with the various liquids and 'potions' the seller had given me. Fish were transferred and all seemed well.
Terry then started chasing Speckles especially at feeding time and because poor Speckles has such a ridiculous tail and is shaped like a pear drop, stood no chance of out swimming Terry. My solution.... I bought a third gf called Zoom a shubunkin. It worked, Terry doesn't know which to chase and each get a bit of respite!
Now, I know a 60 litre tank is not suitable for 1 let alone 3 gf. I am doing a
50% water change each week and the water quickly goes brown. I have a friend who has a pond who will take them, but what size/age should they be? Can my fancy go in a pond too, as I know they aren't as hardy? Can I transport in a bucket?
When they are rehomed, I would quite like to use the biorb for zebra danios. Is 60 litres big enough for 6 zebras?
Any help or advice gratefully received.
Thanks

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cathie cathie
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  • Posted on: 30/5/2013 17:09
Re: A tale of four goldfish - how tank size and living conditions can affect fish #9
No I really wouldn't put danios even in the larger biorb. This is because although they are not particularly large they are zippy athletic swimmers and take great joy in racing up and down a tank, at least 2 foot, better 3 foot and similarly they need to be in a shoal of at least 6 but are better behaved if 12.
Better to continue this in a different thread though, getting away from the goldfish focus of this one
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HannahCinnamon HannahCinnamon
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Re: A tale of four goldfish - how tank size and living conditions can affect fish #10
Thanks for the reply. What are the best fish to keep in a 60 litre round biorb? I don't really want to go down the tropical route, and the larger the fish the better. Little ones are sweet, but I have found that I like the personal response of my goldies and I don't think I'd have the same bond with titchy ones.
Any suggestions please?