I am brand new to fish keeping and just got my tank last week and the fish a few days ago. I followed advise from the assistant at Pets at Home but having read some other posts I think my tank is way too small and I now have a very unhappy fish...
Size of tank: 28 litres Filter: Maxi internal filter (came with tank) How long has tank been set up: One week Inhabitants: One small Oranda (Ben) Last added: 1 plant and 1 fish added 3 days ago (the tank was set up and the filter running for 4 days before the fish was added)
I added a dechlorinator and a filter boost to the water on the day I set it up and also added aquarium salt following the instructions on the back of the products.
On the first day Ben swam around and ate the food I gave him - one small flake. On the 2nd day he was much more still and did not eat. For the past 2 days he has continued to not eat and has barely moved.
Any helpful advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
Right this is quite bad so please bear with us. You are already aware that the tank is far too small for a goldfish. I addition to this your filter is not cycled. Where are you? If there is somebody local you may be able to get some mature media, but you also need to get a big food safe container (Asda sell a 110L).
Good bacteria need to colonise the filter before it can deal with the fish's waste. Fish excrete, and breathe out, ammonia. This is toxic and burns the gills and generally makes them feel very unwell. This is processed by the first part of the good bacteria to nitrite. Nitrite is also toxic, it binds with the blood and prevents oxygen being carried around the body. The next stage of the bacteria convert this to nitrate which is not toxic unless there's a very large amount of it.
Ideally the good bacteria would be established already by the 'fishless cycle' process which is where you add ammonia to the tank every day to get the bacteria growing. Sadly they won't grow without a source of ammonia to feed on so the advice we often see of just leaving the tank for a few days does nothing more than give you an empty tank to look at for a while.
The salt will help protect Ben against nitrite as it prevents the nitrite from sticking to the molecules in the blood. Are you able to get hold of any Seachem Prime as a water conditioner? This can be overdosed in emergencies to detox the ammonia the fish is constantly putting out so can help protect them while the bacteria start to establish.
You'll also be needing a test kit, check ebay for the API master test kit for freshwater. This way you'll be able to check the water yourself for ammonia etc. so you'll have a better idea of what is going on in there And I think you're in line for a fair few daily water changes ...
Thank you very much for the helpful advice. I've read the article about fish less cycling and understand it much better - I'm just annoyed that this wasn't explained to me when I bought the fish and that I was given such inaccurate advice then. Thank you again, I'll do my best for him...!