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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I just got wind of something sort of distressing - I am basically killing my daughter's goldfish in the tank I have them in. That being said, I want to get them out of there ASAP and into something proper because frankly, I feel like a terrible fish mommy. But the problem is, I have never had anything more complicated than betta fish and nothing bigger than a five gallon tank, without a filter or anything. I have no idea how to go about this.

I don't know what kind of filters are good or how to set them up or what kinds of salt I should use for the fish (since apparently goldfish do well with marine salt), I don't really know anything about fish at all except how to feed them and change their water.

So what I need is someone to write me a "Fishkeeping for Dummies" guide I can use before I go out and buy a bunch of stuff that I don't need, or the wrong kind of things, etc.

My goal: a 20 or 30 gallon aquarium, my daughter has one fancy goldfish left (we started with three :( at least now I know what's going on) and I want to get maybe one more and a couple of other small, easy fish that can live in the same conditions as goldfish and survive.

Honestly people, talk to me like you're talking to a five year old, cut and dry instructions would be wonderful.

P.S. I have an EXTREMELY large tank that I can use if need be, but thinking about it, I don't have any room for it in my house really - it used to house a REALLY LARGE bearded dragon. The dimensions are something like three feet long, a foot and a half wide and two feet deep. I'll use it if I have to but would prefer to hear a smaller tank would work.

Money is not too much of an issue.
 

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Oh no worries, 20 gallon tanks are actually super easy to maintian. I set up a 20gal tank when I was 11 or 12 years old, and maintained it and everything LOL.


You can buy this wonderful stuff called Cycle, that will cycle your tank for you when you put it in it. As for filters, you want something that is way over-rated for your tank, since goldfish are so messy. If your tank is 20 gallons, I'd get a filter made for a 40 gallons. I have a Whisper 40 on my clawed frog's 15 gal tank that I'm liking quite well, and I believe that AquaClear is a good brand too. It's a good idea to get one that has an adjustable water flow (it comes in handy sometimes!) and one that is big enough so you can save money by making your own filter media.


The only down-side to goldfish is that they can really only give with other goldfish... Which means if you have for than one, you will be needing your old beardie's tank (Which sounds like a 40 gallon breeder, BTW!). I had zebra danios in with one of my gold fish for a while, but it didn't work out so well since danios are tropical and goldies are cold water.


For the salt, just use fresh water aquarium salt. Get a good syphon too (check out Gravel Pythons... I just got the Aqueon version of it for $30 on Amazon!) , cause you'll be using it a lot!


Sasami can probably help you more when she sees this thread, but I'll try to answer any other questions you have. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome. When you buy filters and the like, do they come with instructions on how to set them up? Like I said, this is totally new to me - I want to do it all right.

If I was to get a 20 gallon and get one more fancy goldfish (there would be 2) and that's all, would that be a large enough size tank? I don't know how old the fish my daughter has is but we have had it for about six months and it hasn't gotten any bigger (it's only about two inches long).

What about live plants? How do you take care of them? And would I need to have dirt in the bottom for their roots?

And what is "your own filter media"?
 

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Yup, it's easy... You basically just stick the tube part in it and plug it in, LOL!
It's recommended that you have 15-20 gallons per gold fish. It should be fine while they are tiny, but you would need to upgrade to the 40 gal fairly soon.
And it hasn't grown because they tank is too small. Once it is in a bigger tank, the goldfish will get much bigger too!
Filter media is the stuff that goes in your filter, to catch all the fish waste. You can buy cartons of carbon to make your own, but Sasami would be better at explaining this than I am. I usually put some exrta carbon in a nylon stocking in my filter to help with the ammonia, but other wise I'm not too creative with my filter media LOL.


I'm new to live plants, so I can't help you much there. Sorry. The java moss and java fern I just bought root them selves onto driftwood, rocks, ect. so no substrate is needed for them.
 

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Alright, I'm going to try to answer all of your questions but let me know if I miss one!

First off, here's some reading for you:

Cycling Info: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/f77/cycling-a-freshwater-aquarium-43789.html

Goldfish Info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshsystems.htm

If the big tank holds water and is indeed about 40 gallons, I'd consider using it. Before I even read that you had a large tank I was actually going to recommend getting a 40-gallon instead of a 30-gallon. The long shape (giving you good surface area) and extra volume makes a huge difference.

2-3 fancy (this is important, avoid "common" goldfish as they get even bigger!) goldfish would be happy in a 40-gallon provided it's properly set-up and maintained. I would stick with just the one fish for a while, though, until you're used to maintaining the tank and everything is stable. I wouldn't get any other fish, goldfish are best housed with their own kind. You can, however, get some nice live plants to make things more interesting. Goldfish do enjoy eating and digging up plants, though, so don't get expensive ones! Java ferns, hornwort, and duckweed often hold up and/or grow fast enough that the fish can't completely demolish them. Anacharis, water sprite, and java moss are others you can try. All of the plants I've mentioned tolerate cooler water temperatures (most actually prefer cool water!) and grow with little light and no supplementation.

You'll want the strongest filter you can afford. Goldfish are some of the messiest fish you can get, haha. I would start off with a HOB (hang-on-back) filter that's rated for a tank much larger than yours, or go with two that are only slightly over-rated (like two filters made for tanks over 55 gallons or something). Thinking about it, two filters might be good in case one stops working. Redundancy is always good in an aquarium. Once you get the hang of things, consider upgrading to a good canister filter. Canister filters are nice in that besides being powerful they also have a lot of room for filter media. They can also be stored under the cabinet, out of sight. I like Eheim models, personally. I would recommend one now but I think it'll be easier to get the set up going if things are kept simpler :).

Oh, and as for HOB brands, a Whisper or AquaClear should work. Maintenance would consist of cleaning out the sponge (or similar material) with water as necessary (probably once or twice a week for goldfish), cleaning out the filter itself (maybe a few times a month, depends on how clogged things get), and replacing any filter media used up as per the instructions (you probably won't need anything special but some people use specialized media to help control ammonia or activated carbon to polish the water).

I was really confused when I read that part about marine salt. I think you misread another post of mine where I mentioned using marine salt for a molly. Goldfish are freshwater and don't need any salt. Freshwater aquarium salt is good to have around (it can help with some infections and parasites) but it's not something you want to add for no reason.

The only other thing I can think of is to give you a "shopping list" of stuff you'd need. This might not be complete, I worked all day and my brain is fried at this point of the evening! :lol:

-Aquarium (20 gallons minimum for your current fish, 40+ gallons if you want more goldfish, which I'd recommend anyways since they're social)
-Two over-rated HOB filters OR a single extremely over-rated HOB filter OR a good canister filter
-Freshwater aquarium test kit (you'll at least want tests for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate but a good kit that also includes pH/alkalinity would probably be a better deal)
-Thermometer (a cheapo glass one is fine)
-Gravel vacuum (unless you have one already?), doesn't need to be fancy or electronic
-Substrate (avoid small gravel, goldfish are notorious for accidentally...well, sometimes purposely, ingesting substrate)
-Plants
-Light (this is really just for you to be able to see the fish and also to grow plants...a couple of fluorescent tubes would be fine)
-Rocks/other decorations (make sure any caves don't have small holes that a fish could get stuck in, goldfish like to do that, they're very curious)
-Air stone and air pump (whatever model you want, this is just going to provide some additional aeration to keep the water oxygenated and moving...I like the ones that have a battery back-up in case of a power outage)
-Dechlorinator (you probably already have something like this but I'm adding it just in case! Prime is my favorite but other brands like AquaSafe work just as well)
-Tetra SafeStart (this isn't necessary but I think it'll make things MUCH easier for you if you can kick-start the cycle and move your fish asap)

P.S. Please don't feel like you're a "terrible fish mommy"! The fact that you care enough to change things and save your fish proves otherwise!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's so perfect, thank you so much! Our car is in the shop until Monday so I am going to do a bunch of online shopping between now and then, check prices at local stores etc. So we will hopefully have this set-up by Monday or Tuesday!! Have to say, I'm pretty excited - this is going to be a fun experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for those, but I think I'd rather get the aquarium itself second hand - I have been finding a lot of really nice looking, inexpensive stuff on craigslist and Kijiji, I've sent about ten e-mails out on tanks anywhere between 25 and 55 gallons, so we'll see what responses I get. =D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I found this:

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/van/pet/2236080661.html

How many gallons does that equal out to, do you know? Would it be good? I like the stand it's on, it would fit perfectly in my daughter's bedroom. There are lots of other options but I like that one the most so far.
 

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To figure out the gallons for any aquarium dimensions, try this calculator: http://www.firsttankguide.net/calculator.php

Oh, and the links were more for the other stuff. I don't blame you for wanting a used aquarium, most of mine were used too :). Some of my tanks were from freecycle, in fact! Can't beat that :lol:.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
"You provided measurements in inches:
Width: 39" (99.06cm)
Height: 18" (45.72cm)
Depth: 12" (30.48cm)
Your tank's volume is approximately 8,424.0 cubic inches or 36.5 U.S. gallons, which is approximately 141.9 liters."

AWESOME! I hope that guy gets back to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
P.S. I'll check out the other stuff on those sites, lol, I went straight to aquariums in all of them and went "WHAT? She thinks THESE are CHEAP?!" hahaha.

Additional Link: If anyone else asks you basically what I did, direct them to this link: http://www.firsttankguide.net/healthy.php
It's part of the site you sent me, and the instructions are just phenomenal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I just went upstairs to feed the fishy and he was floating belly up. =( I really wish I could have got all of this sorted out in time. I know what not to do for next time though.
 

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Well, I just went upstairs to feed the fishy and he was floating belly up. =( I really wish I could have got all of this sorted out in time. I know what not to do for next time though.
I'm very sorry for your loss :(.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm very sorry for your loss :(.
Thank you for all of your help, it was valuable info even though I did not manage to do it all up in time.
 
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