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New to the Goldfish business aaaaargh! Help. Please

(31 Posts)
sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 09:23:19

Dd woke up one day saying she wanted a goldfish, so after work dH went and bought the cheapest fish tank starter at Argos, and than, on Sat he bought 2 goldfish., food and a thing to put in the water.
We had to change the water already yesterday and I will have to do it again as the tank is smelling, the water isn't clear and the fish is constantly on the top struggling for oxygen.
so basically I need help in choosing the right tank from a UK store that sell online and delivers quickly. Meanwhile what do I need to do/buy to keep the fish alive. There is a Vet close by, I know they sell cat food, perhaps they sell fish sachets fir the water too, (sorry I'm not familiar) I can pop there and buy if needed, but won't have time to research online today and wont have time to go to a pet shop until the weekend.

I know DHabi shouldn't have bough the whole thing whiteout thinking property and probably should have bought 1 fish only, I had no part in this and just trying to save the situation as he works today until 10pm and I'm at home (I'm a CM), so for me will be easier to turn this around.

EauRouge Mon 04-Feb-13 15:19:23

I don't blame you! If you're looking for an alternative, we have stick insects for me the DDs- they are totally harmless and pretty much free once you've got the housing. They just eat brambles so we go out for a walk once a week and nab some. They are really easy to look after and you can pick them up, unlike fish!

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 15:16:03

OMG. Thanks for reminding me why I don't keep any pets. I go through every day trying to keep the toddlers alive and now have to deal with this fish business too. All dh's fault. And I can't even not care and let him deal with the situation because it will be cruel to the fish and dd. I'm NOT happy

Lancelottie Mon 04-Feb-13 14:44:59

And you need a very strong table or stand to put it on. 60 litres of water, plus a tank, plus some gravel, is very heavy.

EauRouge Mon 04-Feb-13 14:18:30

The 6 weeks is to cycle the tank so that it's safe for fish. Most shops won't tell you to do this. They will either say to chuck in some cheap fish like mollies or danios or they will tell you to just build up the stock slowly. Neither option is desirable because they can both result in fish injury or death- not nice! Especially when there is a cruelty-free option: fishless cycling. Sometimes they will try and sell products to speed up or instantly cycle a tank. I've never tried any that actually work though so I'd just save your money and be patient.

It's not complicated to do a fishless cycle but it takes a while. Don't be tempted to skip it though, if you put fish in before the tank is cycled then it can trigger off all kinds of illnesses that will cost you time, money and stress to put right. Wait for the cycle to finish and there shouldn't be any problems.

Equipment-wise, aside from the tank/heater/filter you will need a bottle of dechlorinater; a water test kit (these are essential, do not rely on the local shop to test water for you. Something like this would do the job); a syphon tube, bucket and gravel vac for doing water changes; an algae scraper for keeping the glass clean; a thermometer; some decor for the tank- sand/gravel, some rocks or wood, some plants (real or silk); some food for the fish and some plant food if you have real plants. That's about it!

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 13:56:36

thanks. and why do I need 6 weeks to prepare the tank?
and I could use the tank linked above for col water fish and tropical fish if I put the heater on, is that right?
what else do I need to buy?

EauRouge Mon 04-Feb-13 13:36:42

Something like this would be a great tank to start with. It's all there and easy to set up. It has a heater so if you wanted you could have tropical fish- there are loads to choose from. The hardest part would be knowing which fish could live in there, but we can help with that. smile

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 13:23:39

eau and lancelottie, thanks for helping.
would you please be able to link a suitable tank for zebra danios.?

Lancelottie Mon 04-Feb-13 12:38:17

We have six titchy fish in a 60 litre tank.

Ours are zebra fish (danios) and need a small heater but are otherwise pretty easy (if you don't mind guddling about doing partial water changes every weekend). Mountain minnows are similar size cold-water ones.

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 11:33:40

I will return the fish tomorrow and do s research with dh. Thanks

EauRouge Mon 04-Feb-13 11:29:39

No. As I said earlier, a tank needs 6 weeks preparation before it is ready for fish. I would return the fish and then have a think about whether it will fit into your lifestyle. Fish live a long time, they are expensive and complicated to look after. Then there's practical stuff like who will look after them if you go away. Every pet needs a lot of consideration before you decide to get one.

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 11:27:43

I'm wondering, since I'm going there tomorrow, should I return the goldfish and come back home with a complete tank and with other kind of fish ?

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 11:23:42

it's SW. no big supermarkets that I can go in today with lots of toddlers. will try the vet and the small ones. tomorrow morning will venture to the nearest pet shop and see if they can deliver a tank, actually I will find their number and call today to make sure. as it involves going on the tube or a long bus ride, I need to plan in advance and check with parents.

EauRouge Mon 04-Feb-13 11:16:11

You'd be best off trying somewhere local. Those big tanks weigh a ton and obv they are breakable. I know my local fish shop delivers in a 20 mile radius or something, I bet you'll be able to find one. Just avoid Pets at Home!

Which part of London?

Some bigger supermarkets sell dechlorinater if the vet doesn't sell it.

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 11:05:29

thank for the link but can't collect. I'm London. no the starter tank is shit but I can't get angry with dh, if you don't know about fish you would believe in what they say. isn't there any shop in UK that delivers? really? I'm off to try and buy the declorinather, hope they have it on the Vet

EauRouge Mon 04-Feb-13 10:42:42

Sorry, I keep x posting! Yes, dechlorinater will really help. You could do daily water changes until you can sort something out (this is a very short term solution). Does the starter kit have a filter?

EauRouge Mon 04-Feb-13 10:41:25

Complete tanks with built in filters are generally not enough for goldfish. They poo like crazy, you need a massive hefty filter.

Not many places will sell and deliver a tank big enough for goldfish. Ebay would probably be your best bet. Dunno whereabouts you are but this is a pretty good deal.

Am with you on the goldfish bowls! Some places still sell them, it's crazy. Fortunately now things are changing and fish are now protected by law. The problem is that a lot of experts who work for the aquatic companies can't seem to agree on what exactly goldfish need so prosecuting people for cruelty would be tough. It's hard enough for mammals and not many people give a shit about fish. They are the ultimate replaceable cheap pet sad

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 10:33:24

I'm going to buy declorinator today if this ks the thing that comes into sachets for the waters? please link me a tank for me to buy online today, I'm worried sick

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 10:11:00

also why do we usually see goldfish in small round bowls in tv and pictures, it's so misleading

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 10:10:05

I can make space, just please link me the smallest but suitable tank, if not for goldfish , in case these two I have here don't make it , any other kind of fish for begginers. please

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 10:07:00

I have read your link do you mind linking me a complete tank that I can buy now? sorry due to work I don't have time to research properly and want to avoid more mistakes

EauRouge Mon 04-Feb-13 10:06:23

Ah, getting angry with the shop is the start of being a proper fishkeeper grin If you don't have space for goldfish (and let's face it, most people don't) then there are loads of smaller fish that are cheap and easy to keep. If you let us know how much space you have for a tank then I can recommend something. I'd go with a minimum of 45 litres, any smaller than that is not recommended for fish by the RSPCA.

EauRouge Mon 04-Feb-13 10:04:04

I did post a link with tank size recommendations. For 2 regular fish-shaped goldfish you'd need at least 240 litres.

For 2 fancy goldfish (the fat round ones with long fins) you'd need at least 190 litres.

That may sound like a lot but the ones you have are babies. They get big. Seriously big.

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 10:01:26

thanks for the link, I will check now and just to clarify it isn't my fault, I had no part in this and now just trying to do my best to solve the situation while looking after toddlers. also I'm angry with shops selling unsuitable products as the instructions have a goldfish picture and says it is suitable, also the pet shop stuff obviously didn't ask any questions or give any instructions but I understand this isn't their responsibility

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 09:55:40

so how big is the smallest tank needed and can you please link?

EauRouge Mon 04-Feb-13 09:54:50

Agree with Lancelottie, sorry sad

Goldfish grow very, very large (they do not grow to the size of their tank!) and so they need a huge tank with a whacking great filter to keep them healthy. If people knew how much stuff goldfish needed then they would suddenly become the least popular pet in the UK.

If you really do want to keep the goldfish then you'll need to get a bigger tank. Some people upgrade as their fish grows but I wouldn't recommend that as it's hard to tell when a fish starts becoming stunted (this is when they become deformed from being kept in a too-small tank- bit like a bonsai tree). So you'll need to start with a tank big enough for 2 goldfish. Tank recommendations are here. Make sure you are sitting down! There's no chance at all that you can keep goldfish healthy in a tank that will sit on the TV stand, sorry.

Unless you've got some dechlorinator then there's nothing you can do for now apart from hope the goldfish doesn't snuff it, and then take the fish back to the shop ASAP. They will not survive in one of those goldfish starter tanks. Unfortunately there are no laws about what can be sold as a fish tank so a lot of the things on the market are not suitable. Maybe some customer feedback to Argos would help.

A goldfish can live 20 years so it's not a short-term commitment. Your DH needs to think it through before getting any pet! Fish tanks need 6 weeks of preparation before they are safe for fish to live in. They also need lots of water testing with chemicals etc. some of which can be harmful. They are fine as a family pet but not really suitable if a child is going to be their main carer.

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