New To Aquariums - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-20-2009, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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New To Aquariums

Okay, first things first! I'm dumb. A week ago, after being impressed by all the fish in the pet store, I purchased a 10 gal starter kit, 5 "feeder" goldfish and a male betta.

My thought process was that I would learn the intricacies of maintaining a fish tank with some hardier species, and eventually switch out the goldfish for some others. The only advice given to me was "rinse everything in water before setting up your tank". So I got home, rinsed everything my tub (didn't use soap, don't panic), put the gravel in the tank, filled it with water, added a conditioner, put in the decorative rock, planted the the plants, set up the filter and heater, attached the thermometer, noted the water was 78 degrees, and dropped the fish in. The betta and goldfish got along without any undue aggression towards one another, and everything seemed peachy-dory.

Now, I have done a vast amount of web-based research and realized the magnitude and prevalence of the mistakes I've made.

First, I have 5 goldfish. I like them, they are active, colorful, and generally interesting. I wouldn't mind keeping them, except for the fact that they have the potential to grow past 12 inches! With that in mind, there's no way I can keep them long term! I asked the store if they would take them back (I don't even want a refund, although that would only be about $0.80 anyways), and they said they don't take back fish. They may have been "contaminated". I have no idea what to do with these fish! I feel awful that they're going to outgrow my tank, I can't return them to the store, and I don't like the idea of introducing them to a nearby lake/pond/whatever. I could use any suggestions on this one.

Second, the filter that came with the tank generates a considerable current that grossly disturbs my betta. For the short term, I bought a "1 gallon under gravel filtered corner tank", transported him and a plant into that, and he seems much happier. My concern with this new tank is that I can no longer moderate the temperature in any stable fashion. I've considered suspending it in the 10 gallon tank as a divider, but I don't want this to be a long term solution.

Ideally, I'd like to remove the goldfish from the 10 gal. tank in some ethical way, return the betta to it, and find some other small fish to add.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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post #2 of 9 Old 05-20-2009, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Additional information that may be of interest:

I've been doing a 10% water change every morning, I feed the fish a small pinch of flakes every other day, I just purchased pellets for the betta, and I have 3 small plants in the 10 gal, and one in the 1 gal. I (again on a dumb whim) also put a lily pad bulb in the 10 gal that is starting to sprout.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-20-2009, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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The plants are wisteria, and I forgot to mention that I got a little adventurous and went to a nearby vernal pool and picked up a pair of caddisfly nymphs to use as a kind of water-quality indicator. They're both a live and kicking, though the betta seems interested in them.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-21-2009, 12:04 PM
On the goldfish: You could probably keep them for a little while (provided you do a lot of water changes) until they are a bit bigger. If you're not interested in that, you might want to try the 'free' section and the 'pets' section on craigslist and explain your dilemma. Even if there isn't anybody who is 'looking' for some tiny goldfish at the moment, somebody might be willing to help you out and put them in their pond.
I had a problem with some unwanted (too large) goldfish recently and tried my community's 'freecycle'. Just type in the name of your town and 'freecycle', join that, then offer up the goldfish for free and explain your situation. Somebody should be able to take them off your hands.

On the betta: The betta prefers warmer water than the goldfish anyway. You could purchase a small heater for the corner tank or even leave him with out. It really probably won't hurt him if it's only few a few weeks while you rehome the goldfish. It's not great but some people keep their bettas in small bowls with out heaters for their whole lives and they can go on to live at 2 or 3 years that way.
You could also put it back in the ten gallon and just add some rock formations or something where he could hide from the current. There are lots of methods of slowing a filter's flow for Bettas, too, but I wouldn't reccomend that route while you have goldfish in there.

And you already said you're not interested in this but I would like to restate that you should NOT release them into ponds or lakes or anything. While they would PROBABLY be eated before they reached breeding maturity, it is quite possible that they wouldn't. And 5 goldfish is just about enough to totally destory an ecosystem if they reached breeding maturity. I've seen a lot of garden pond pictures on the internet that are solid gold with how many fish they have in them and there's usually a caption like "We bought 8 feeder fish in '94 and this is what we have now."

I've also read about 'feral goldfish' being a huge problem in some areas and it can be hard to control - they often times revert back to grey in the wild after about 3 or 4 generations.

Okay. Sorry about that rant. I know you said you're not doing that. :)

And on housing some other fish with the betta: The forum at (linked to this one) has a ton of suggestions on that one. 10 gallons should be enough that you have room for a few other fish.

Good luck with everything!
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-21-2009, 12:08 PM
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Oh, where to begin.

I'd leave the betta in the 1 gallon; at room temperature or above he will be better than in with the goldfish. And keep it out of the 10g, the nitrogen cycle in the 10g will stress the betta further if not kill it.

Your tank has not cycled (you may by now have read what this involves, I won't go into it) so the goldfish should be removed immediately if you can find a fish store in your area that will take them under th circumstances; if not they will probably die due to ammonia or nitrite poisioning. Some fish stores will take fish, try others in your area.

If you must leave the goldfish, get a bottle of "Cycle' or similar biological extract and dose the tank. Actually add this to the betta's tank as well. This "quickstarts" the biological nitrogen cycle, and will reduce the stress on the fish--but with 5 fish in a 10g after a week it may be too late anyway. If they do survive this, you are correct, they will get too big and more health problems will occur. Either a much larger tank (goldfish belong in a pond as another poster said in another thread yesterday) or give them to someone with a pond.

Don't get any more fish until the tank is cycled. This takes up to 8 weeks. I or others can explain this further as we go, but first things first.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-21-2009, 10:01 PM
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I like how he said.. "(didn't use soap, don't panic)" lol that was funny
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-21-2009, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone, a person I work with actually has a koi pond. So, I'm giving her the fish. She'll drop them in there after they're a little bigger.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-21-2009, 10:47 PM
I'm glad to hear that a home was found for the goldfish.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-27-2009, 03:25 AM
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Goldfish aren't the quickest growers on the planet. That, and koi aren't predatory, so you can probably give her the fish now and they'll do just fine in her pond.

What make and model is the filter? Many filters have an adjustable flow rate that allows you to cut back the flow so it doesn't bother your betta so much. If not, you can try making a flow diverter or use a piece of filter sponge over the filter intake to decrease the flow.

Meanwhile, in the 1g, you'll want to do daily 25% water changes because the ammonia is going to start to climb in that tank, as well. You need to get yourself a good liquid test kit like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. This is cheaper at online retailers than in brick and mortar stores, often by about 50%. There are good threads here (in the stickies and elsewhere) that explain the aquarium cycle in detail. Knowing how this cycle works will save you a lot of stress and dead fish in the long run, and having that liquid test kit will give you the tools you need to monitor the cycle and keep your fish happy and healthy. Once you have the kit, you can actually do water changes when you need to, rather than shooting in the dark by doing 25% changes once a day or something similar.

But, it sounds like you're learning fast, so I'll cut to the long term: a 10g tank makes a great home for a betta and a school of 6 or so corydoras catfish. There are many different species of corydoras available, all of which have pretty similar care requirements. They're cute, they're friendly, they have funny behavior and they're armored so if it turns out your betta is a jerk, they won't get beat up. If you do get cories, a smooth gravel or ideally sand substrate is best. Play sand can be bought from Home Depot for something like $4 for a 50lb bag. Just rinse it really well first.

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