Urgent! My Dd wants a goldfish and I don't know where to start!

(17 Posts)
civilfawlty Tue 18-Dec-12 09:23:49

She has been desperate for a fish forEVER. We have decided she is old enough to take responsibility for a pet. So - I have NO IDEA where to start. I know we want a bowl shaped tank. That's all. Please help!

FireOverBethlehem Tue 18-Dec-12 09:39:08

About the only thing I know about goldfish is don't put them in a bowl - it's not big enough for them. you're better off getting a tank.

Have a look in yellow pages for a local independent fish / aquarium place and go on your own to speak to them - so DD doesn't start picking out fish, tanks etc. Ask them for advice, cost up what you'd need and then bring in DD when you are clear that she can have x or y or z rather than just randomly selecting stuff.

Aw, bless her, I remember being the same when I was a nipper and now I'm a right fish geek grin

Bowl shaped tanks are no good at all for fish. They don't have enough surface area for proper gas exchange, they are a bugger to clean and they don't hold enough water. I've never seen one big enough for goldfish, which get very large and very messy. A bow-fronted or corner tank would be much better if you don't want to go with a traditional rectangular one. Steer clear of the death bowls though!

Goldfish are lovely fish but most people can't or don't want to provide them with the right environment. They get massive, they need a lot of cleaning and they live for years (plan for 20!) so they are not a cheap or low-maintenance pet. They are very rewarding though, especially if your DD is into science.

The best way to start with fishkeeping is to see how much space you have for a tank. I wouldn't keep any fish in less than 45 litres (depsite the numerous beginner and lifestyle tanks available that are much smaller than that) and 60 litres would be a good starting point. If you want to go for goldfish then you'd need at least 150 litres for a pair of fancy goldfish, more for common goldfish.

Once you've got the tank and all the equipment then it takes around 6 weeks to be ready for fish. I can go through it all step-by-step if you want, just let me know how big your tank is and I can help you choose suitable fish.

A word of warning about aquatic stores- many of them are not trained and will just sell you any old equipment and fish. A lot of stores sell fish that can reach 2 feet long and/or become aggressive so make sure you do loads of research and never just go along with what the shop tells you! Internet fish geeks are a more reliable source of info wink

Hope that helps a bit.

ProudAS Sat 29-Dec-12 14:20:14

Go to a special aquarist shop for advice - ordinary pet shops aren't so good.

Its something of a myth that goldfish grow according to space as they can keep growing on the inside but not the outside causing health problems and premature death. A hundred litre tank is recommended for goldfish

They are shoal fish so probably a good idea to have three or more.

It might be worth considering tropical fish. Although they need heating they tend to produce less waste than goldfish and believe that some species need less space.

baahhumbug Sat 29-Dec-12 14:26:40

Agree with all the above.

Might your daughter be happy with a small shoal of minnows? White cloud mountain minnows are cold water fish and don't grow very big so don't needa large tank - we have 4 (used to be 6 but 2 have died, they've lived about 4 years though) in a 60 litre tank. They look great swimming together and are hardy. I think you need a shoal of 6 though for them to be happy.

HeathRobinson Sat 29-Dec-12 14:50:45

What about the biOb site?

Biorbs look fab but are no good for goldfish or any other fish.

Some specialist aquatic places are great, some are absolutely shite- I would do your own research regardless of what the shop tells you, although it's good to get their opinion. If there's a Maidenhead Aquatics near you then they have a pretty good reputation and I've been in a few of their shops and not been horrified grin (I have high standards!)

Minnows are a great alternative to goldfish if you don't have the space and/or money for a goldfish set up. Like Baah said, you could set up a 60 litre for 6 of them with a little Fluval U2 filter, they won't need a heater so they're as cheap as you can get fish-wise.

Otherwise if you get a heater and go tropical there are lots of small fish to choose from. It's no more difficult keeping tropical fish- the hardest part is choosing the right fish.

HeathRobinson Sat 29-Dec-12 16:45:12

What's wrong with biOrbs, Eau?

<mystified>

They look so gooood! grin

The 30l and 'baby' 15l are too small for any fish. The bigger ones have crappy filters, rubbish surface area (important for gas exchange) and the instructions ignore the importance of the nitrogen cycle and make you add loads of unnecessary and unidentified potions. They're a bugger to clean because of their shape and the limited swimming space means that fish don't have the room to exercise. Plus you can get a rectangular tank (much more suitable for fish) the same volume for much less money.

I think that just about covers it grin

notMarlene Sat 29-Dec-12 16:56:21

If she wants A fish rather than some fish then a siamese fighting fish could be an idea. It'd still need a decent sized tank but cold water is fine.

Ooh, yes, bettas are lovely little fish- great fun and very colourful. I disagree on the cold water though, they're susceptible to finrot because of their long fins anyway and cold water can make it worse- they definitely need a heater AND a filter and a decent sized tank (45 litres+) despite some places keeping them in vases.

HeathRobinson Sat 29-Dec-12 17:26:16

Oh, thanks for that, Eau. I quite fancied one of those, too.

<disappointed>

I know, they do look lovely. If I had more money than sense (my dearest ambition) then I would totally get a 60 litre one and fill it with java fern and moss and put some cherry shrimp in there. It would be so much more interesting than just having a lamp. But a lot more expensive, and DH would kill me grin

notMarlene Sat 29-Dec-12 18:34:26

Oh heck, I stand corrected (and gladly) - just parroting advice I was given on here ages ago! Glad I didn't go with it hearing that!

Glad I didn't offend smile A lot of people do still keep them in unheated tanks (guppies too) but they actually prefer water a bit warmer than most tropical fish. They can survive pretty awful conditions but I like to pamper my pets grin Thriving is better than surviving!

Booyhoo Sat 29-Dec-12 20:40:05

how is this urgent? confused

MissFenella Sat 29-Dec-12 20:40:20

Can you not put a slice of carrot in a bowl? (Keep replacing it as and when obv)

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now