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Are goldfish normally this dull or are they about to die? ??

(13 Posts)
moominsmummy Thu 09-Oct-08 18:48:23

Got goldfish yesterday for my son's birthday (already had tank set up with filter, aerator etc etc etc - left water for 4 days to settle having used tap water treatment stuff blah blah blah)

at first the fishies swam about looking at everything - they then migrated to the far corner of the tank and now they just sit rather still on the bottom

pleeeeeease tell me they are not about to swim off to the big aquarium in the sky. DS would be distraught. sadsad

platypussy Thu 09-Oct-08 19:07:45

Does your filter/aerator thingy cause a 'current' in the water. Its just that I got one of these for our goldfish and he went to the far end of the tank and wouldnt go near the filter thing. I had to take it out and now he uses the whole tank.

moominsmummy Thu 09-Oct-08 19:37:04

yes it does - i thought they liked it though cos they were swimming in the current yesterday - I will try taking it out and see what happens.

how do you maintain the water quality without a filter though?

platypussy Thu 09-Oct-08 21:29:10

Yes I thought that fish liked swimming in a current too. I think that the filter I got (fluval) was probably too large for the tank. At the moment I have to keep it clean by doing regular partial water changes and full cleans. I might get a smaller filter and see if its any better.

sullysmum Thu 09-Oct-08 21:31:34

My 3 fish play in the bubbles of our aerator.

platypussy Thu 09-Oct-08 21:43:19

Is an aerator and a filter different? Mine dosent create bubbles. I think I might need an aerator.

padboz Thu 09-Oct-08 21:52:14

fish behaving odd = fish nearly dead in my experience sorry

MrJinx Fri 10-Oct-08 11:45:02

I'm guessing that you didn't cycle your tank first?

Here's some info:

Just leaving the water to settle for a few days doesn't actually do anything, the tank needs to be cycled or its really bad for the fish.

moominsmummy Fri 10-Oct-08 13:48:11

got the water tested this morning and all the nitrates/nitrites/pH etc is all fine

we think they may have been overfed (can't believe it's possible with a keen 4 yr old around!!! grin)

we will be not feeding for a couple of days

have also replaced plastic plants with nice natural oxygenating ones

these blinking fish better live now as they've cost me a small fortune...... wink

RubberDuck Sun 12-Oct-08 21:57:53

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but still fish on the bottom (ime) means almost dead fish

Your nitrates/nitrites/pH will be all fine, as you haven't cycled yet. It's the Ammonia that's the problem (and you can't test ammonia with a little dipstick test, so they won't have tested for that - you need drops and a test-tube).

The way the nitrogen cycle works is that fish poo is mostly ammonia. This is highly toxic to the poor little blighters. Once you have some nice friendly bacteria in there (takes a while - more than just a couple of days) they'll convert the ammonia to nitrite, which is also toxic to fish, but not quite as bad. After a looooong time after that, the bacteria will start to convert any nitrite into nitRATE - which is bad for fish but easily kept down with regular water changes. At that point, your tank is fully "cycled". (And you wondered why a fish needed a bicycle..)

So, really if you want to save these fish there are three things you need to do:-

1) get yourself a decent water testing kit. You need to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate mainly and you'll be doing it daily for a while.

2) do a 33% water change right away, and be prepared to do daily partial water changes until your testing shows 0ppm (parts per million) of ammonia, 0ppm of nitrite and less than around 40 of nitrate.

3) check the size of your fish tank. Goldfish need SHEDLOADS of space to stay healthy - around 10 gallons per fish (thats around 40-45L in proper money) which is WAY more than most people realise. They really do grow very big (think cooking apple with fins) and if they don't have proper room they become stunted and die young.

Hope this helps, let us know how you get on.

RubberDuck Sun 12-Oct-08 21:59:41

a great article on how to cycle with fish - be prepared for weeks of work :/

Alambil Mon 13-Oct-08 01:25:02

Pets at Home do the API test tube tests for all areas; pH, nitrite/ate and ammonia... just for reference

Not sure what they charge; the kit is £25 and lasts ages if you want one for yourself

RubberDuck I've been cycling for weeeeeeeeeeeesk without much happening <grr> - DS is going to want his fish next week (his birthday) and I haven't seen the spikes I'm expecting yet... any advice?

There are nitrate readings though...maybe it just crept up on me?

RubberDuck Mon 13-Oct-08 08:09:28

It does take aaaaaaaages. You may have missed the spikes though if you're getting nitrate readings. I remember seeing an ammonia spike, but I don't think I ever really saw a true nitrite spike. Things were complicated with mine in that we have high levels of nitrates in our water straight out the tap - it's worth doing a test on your tap water, btw, just to see what starting point you're coming from.

Basically I was always told if you've got 0 0 <40 you're good to go - do a big water change (but not too big so you don't kill of the bacteria you've worked hard to get! 50% should be about right, iirc) and go get a small amount of fish - but not too many as the amount of bacteria has to have time to adjust to the new bio load.

Oh another tip, if you do find you can't get nitrates under 40 because of the quality of your tap water, Seachem Prime neutralises (but doesn't remove) nitrates so might be worth switching to that as your dechlorinator of choice once you've finished your fishless cycle. You still should keep up weekly water changes though, obviously.

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