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Goldfish Advice

(30 Posts)
Danigirl24 Sun 14-Jun-15 10:16:00

Oh dear, shame on me. I posted this in the wrong thread. Copy and pasting from the thread I started this on. blush

Hello all, I've just joined mumsnet looking for some advice.
My ds won a goldfish at the fair yesterday (he's lovingly named it Nemo) and I've spent the entire time since then looking up the best way to look after the newest member of our family.
I know that ideally Nemo would need a tank of around 91 litres but unfortunately my budget won't afford that at this moment in time sad so my question is this.
I'm looking at getting a 25 litre tank to tide him over till Christmas, then upgrade to a 54 litre tank then in another 6 months to a year buy the 105 litre tank. I know it's not the ideal way of doing things but at this moment it's the only way I can do it. Ideally I would like to get an even bigger tank after that, 200 litres and buy Nemo a friend (ds has already decided new fish will be called Dory ;))
Has anyone else had experience with taking care of their goldfish in this way and will Nemo be able to still have a long fulfilling life if I go about things this way?
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me smile

IvyWall Sun 14-Jun-15 10:19:22

This link is useful

Valsoldknickers Sun 14-Jun-15 10:24:24

Welcome! Don't have experience of keeping goldfish but you're being considerate and kind not bunging him into a little bowl.

My advice would be to buy a water treatment (it's just a small bottle of stuff costing less than a tenner) which eliminates the harmful metals from tap water which is far better for your fish's health.

You'll get some great advice from the fishy folk on here smile

EauRouge Mon 15-Jun-15 08:18:07

Unfortunately a 25 litre tank won't keep him alive and healthy very long. It is very hard to keep small tanks clean, even with small fish in them. Because the water body is so small, even a tiny change in quality can change things for the worse very quickly. 54 litres would be OK until Christmas, and after that a 200 litre will be OK for 2 goldfish.

If you are on a budget then try second-hand ads or Freecycle, people are always giving away fish tanks. You'd need to buy a filter as well, but a heater isn't needed for goldfish. Playsand is fine for the bottom of the tank and a few silk plants and a couple of rocks (make sure they are fish-safe) will give the fish some places to hide. Apart from that, you just need some water treatment (to remove chlorine/chloramine) and a water testing kit.

They are lovely fish if they are given the right environment, very tame and friendly. You can teach them to eat from your hand if you want to.

You'll need to know the basics about water quality and since the fish is going into an uncycled tank, you will need to do extra testing and water changes for the first few weeks. This is a good article about the nitrogen cycle.

Hope that helps a bit. I'm a total fish geek so if you need to know anything else, just ask smile

EauRouge Mon 15-Jun-15 08:22:48

Oh, you;ll also need cleaning equipment. A sponge is fine for cleaning the inside of the glass, and a regular bucket for taking water out- just make sure these are only used for the fish tank to prevent any chemicals getting in. And you'll need a couple of metres of tubing to syphon water out. There is no need to remove fish during the clean, just remove some water (usually between 25-50% each week) and replace with clean, treated water.

Danigirl24 Mon 15-Jun-15 17:34:59

Thank you so much for all your advice everyone.
EauRouge, you've given me a lot to think about. I'll definitely look on ebay and browse the adds sections to see if there are any second hand tanks I can take over. I must admit I am a big softie when it comes to any animal so I do tend to end up spoiling them, almost as much as my ds wink.
Thank you again smile

ppeatfruit Thu 18-Jun-15 15:07:38

eau rouge I'm in the same boat as danigirl but our GD won 2 goldfish at a funfair. So as she was flying home after Easter and lives in a flat I said I'd look after them for her; I've bought a 'medium' sized tank and silent filter from a garden centre as a "pack' .

I'm giving them fresh food and specific plants, from the garden centre. But it's not staying clean for long after I'm changing the water every week, 50% of it. I'm using human filtered water because I was advised that is best for them. The special water cleaner doesn't seem to work either.What do you reckon? They're growing and are healthy though grin

EauRouge Thu 18-Jun-15 16:40:48

Hmm, depends on the garden centre. Some have good aquatic departments but most are shite. I would think that your 'medium' tank is actually 'titchy' in terms of goldfish. If you tell me the measurements I can work out the volume for you.

What sort of filter do you have? What is the special water cleaner? What are the plants they are eating?

Do you mean water from a water filter? No need for this as a dechlorinator will remove chloramine and heavy metals from tap water. Goldfish like hard water anyway.

Goldfish are very messy eaters and good at pretending to be hungry so it's easy to overfeed and end up with a messy tank.

BTW, OP- if your son is under 16 and won the goldfish without an adult present then the fairground broke the law. I will try not to get on my soapbox about animals that can live 20 years being given away as prizes, but I am bloody glad that it's becoming less common!

Sybilvimes Thu 18-Jun-15 16:49:01

Quick question as also a new goldfish owner, how often should you feed them? We are doing two small pinches a day, is this too much?


EauRouge Thu 18-Jun-15 16:58:00

I would feed once a day and give them what they can eat in 2-3 mins. Scoop whatever is left over out of the tank. It's also good to give them a variety of food, not just flakes. A bit of live food for a treat once a fortnight maybe, but lots of veg is good for goldfish. Keeps them regular grin Romaine lettuce is good- make sure it's organic and blanche a leaf, then chuck it in the tank or stick it to the glass with a clip.

ppeatfruit Thu 18-Jun-15 17:53:14

Thank you very much for responding so fully EauI can't find a tape measure atm. I'm in Fr, and the garden centre is fairly good with comprehensive equipment and sell water plants specifically for goldfish, they ask you what type of fish you're buying for etc.

It's a jug filter and the water cleanser is called 'Aqua safe' by Tetra. The filter is called 'Magic Filter 50' It's a bit badly translated, because it has a spray bar but not a picture of where it should be. Luckily a knowledgeable friend helped out so it 's fitted correctly now. It's 12cm high btw.

UnspecialSnowflake Thu 18-Jun-15 18:02:01

Peas are very good for goldfish too. Just blanch a few frozen peas, pop them out of their outer coating and chop up into fishy sized mouthfuls. If your fish is a fancy goldfish (roundish body and long swishy tail, see photo) then they're very prone to swim bladder problems and really need peas or other veg regularly to keep their systems moving or they end up swimming upside down/lopsided.

ppeatfruit Thu 18-Jun-15 18:05:34

unspecial Yes I noticed that the goldfish had poo hanging from their bums when given the dried food (specially for them). It doesn't happen with peas or bananas which they love and eat all of.

UnspecialSnowflake Thu 18-Jun-15 18:10:35

I haven't tried bananas, but I will now. Not today though as he's just had some peas, although I know if I walk past his tank he'll "beg" for food. I had no idea goldfish were quite clever until DD got one.

EauRouge Thu 18-Jun-15 18:21:58

Oh yes, I use Aquasafe too. It should make tap water safe for goldfish but not sure what tap water is like in France.

If your tank wasn't cycled before adding the fish then you need to keep a very close eye on the ammonia and nitrIte levels over the next few weeks. This explains the basics about the nitrogen cycle. Instead of just leaving the tank to cycle, you'll need to be doing extra water changes to keep the ammonia and nItrite down, otherwise your fish might get very sick (or even die). Make sure you never use tap water to rinse your filter sponges and I would use plain sponges in the filter rather than carbon or zeolite.

Danigirl24 Thu 18-Jun-15 20:55:10

I'm happy my thread has helped other goldfish newbies get a good start smile
Eau, to set your mind at ease (and please never worry about soapboxes with me, I have a fair few of my own don't worry), my son is under 16 but he did win Nemo with my permission. He has been asking for a while now for a pet of his own to care for and I thought it would be a good idea as it would teach him responsibility and how to care and respect animals (he's a very loving child and has taken this responsibility very seriously), so the idea of him starting with a goldfish didn't seem a bad one.
When we were at the fair, I can't even tell you how many people I saw walking around with a goldfish in this tiny little tank and honestly, it did break my heart a little, but my boy begged me to consider letting him come home with his own little friend, so after much discussion and reassurance from him that he would take it seriously and understood this was not a toy, but a living creature, I decided we could give it a try.
For me, I looked at it as though we were going down to the animal shelter to adopt a pet, if you see what I mean.
I am a huge animal lover so I took this seriously, that's why I asked for advice on how best to take care of Nemo.
I am lucky that the aquatic centre down at my local garden centre, is absolutely brilliant and they have also been able to advise me further on the best way to care for Nemo.
To update you, Nemo now lives in his own 60 litre tank that will be his home until Christmas when he will move into a 200 litre tank with Dory smile.
I have a friend who is an avid fish lover and keeper and she has a 200 litre tank with tropical fish which she was going to put on ebay and sell when she upgrades to an even larger tank with marine fish (I'm told they require the most care but she absolutely has the fishie smarts to do it) and has kindly donated her tank to me which I can pick up in December.
I also have the possibility, if Nemo (and in a few months, Dory) get too big to care for properly, I can take them too the aquatic centre where they have a very large pond which they re-home fish that have become too large to keep indoors anymore.
I hope this helps set your mind at ease that this is one little fish that will absolutely be taken the very best care of smile.
Thank you again for all your help and I definitely know who to come too should I decide to branch out further. I'm currently debating tropical fish at some not too distant future date.
Sorry for the ramble folks. Hope everyone has had a lovely day.

SunshineAndShadows Thu 18-Jun-15 20:58:45

Are you in the UK? It's illegal to use goldfish as oozes sine the animal welfare act of 2006 so I'd recommend reporting the fair to your local authority - most owners sadly won't be as responsible as you are

SunshineAndShadows Thu 18-Jun-15 20:59:38

*prizes since

Danigirl24 Thu 18-Jun-15 21:03:52

Hi Sunshine,
I am in the UK, but unfortunately it is actually still legal, so no point in reporting it. I appreciate the compliment, but I would prefer to think that there will be a fair few other owners who will take the responsibility as seriously as I do smile

EauRouge Thu 18-Jun-15 21:20:39

It was going to be added to the Animal Welfare act but the government chickened out at the last minute. People thought it would be too much because it's traditional to give goldfish as prizes sad

Dani, I wish all goldfish were as lucky as Nemo! So many people start out the same way, getting a goldfish and then upgrading the tank. It's pretty much a normal progression to end up with a 200 litre goldfish tank and a 60 litre tropical tank. grin

SunshineAndShadows Thu 18-Jun-15 21:58:06

Nope - assuming your son is under 16 it is illegal to offer an under 16 year old the chance to win an animal as a prize:

Transfer of animals by way of sale or prize to persons under 16
(3) Subject to subsections (4) to (6), a person commits an offence if—
(a) he enters into an arrangement with a person whom he has reasonable
cause to believe to be under the age of 16 years, and
(b) the arrangement is one under which that person has the chance to win
an animal as a prize.

Danigirl24 Thu 18-Jun-15 22:26:41

Only if the child is unaccompanied by an adult. Which he wasn't. I was with him and I can assure you that I am over 16 (not that much over!) wink.

Eau, thank you, I appreciate that. smile

ppeatfruit Fri 19-Jun-15 17:39:07

Thanks Eau But how can you tell if your aquarium has been 'cycled'? Do I need to ask the shop? I've a feeling it's too small actually sad blush

EauRouge Fri 19-Jun-15 18:43:10

If it has been cycled prior to fish then it would have been running without fish in for at least 4 weeks, and you would have been adding ammonia to it. This is to build up the colony of bacteria in the filter so that fish can be added later on safely without being exposed to ammonia and nitrIte. It's only really become popular since the internet has been more accessible and many shops will not bother to tell you about it.

ppeatfruit Sat 20-Jun-15 09:23:25

But if I'm using properly filtered water, you know the Brita jug filters, then is it necesary?

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