New 2 gal. tank for my 5 yr. old........ - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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New 2 gal. tank for my 5 yr. old........

Hello all,
My wife just picked up a very small 2 gallon plastic tank for our 5 yr. old. She bought a 1-1/2" long fantail goldfish to go with the setup. The pet store person told my wife that really just the one fish is all we should put in there for now. Just wondered if anyone else here believes that I could add anything else at all as the fantail looks lonely to me. Maybe three tiny neon tetra's or a little African frog? Of course this is more Dad getting into the new tank than anything else. If I had my way, I would have bought a 25 gal. tank to start but my wife bought it so it is what it is.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions to liven up the tank.
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 09:35 AM
LisaC144's Avatar
No goldfish can live in a 2 gallon tank. The pet store employee was wrong. In a 2 gallon, you can keep a betta but that's about it. Your 5 year old might really enjoy a betta. They come in beautiful colors and are very active fish.
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 10:29 AM
eileen's Avatar
Most pets stores have a return policy. I would take the goldfish back. Goldfish are real big poop producers and require a bigger tank with a good filter system + water changes could not hurt. I have a 2 gal. tank as a hospital tank for new fish. The tank needs to be cycled first before adding any fish. This might take awhile to cycle. I think their is a post on cycling a tank or bowl. Hornwort plants are great for new tanks. It is a plant that sucks out fish wastes faster than fish can excrete them Carbon dioxide,ammonia,nitrites,nitrates and phosphates all go into the fast growing foliage. I have it floating in all my tanks. Baby fish love it to hide in. These are the fish I recommend for that small 2 gal. tank.

endlers- Like guppies but smaller in size you can get away with maybe 3
get only males as a pair will breed and you will be over loaded
with baby fish.

dwarf frogs- maybe 2

Ghost shrimps- these are cheap, they are used for food for other fish about 39 cents each- get 3
These are good starter shrimps. They do need good water qty to survive water
changes, water changes of 25%, When you get better in keeping these you can go out
and get the red cherry shrimp or the more colorful ones but these are more

Betta- colorful fish easy to keep and a good starter fish for a child get 1

Dwarf sunset platy- maybe 2, I bought these ones at Petsmart. They are the only petstore that carries
them. really cute, They stay small and look sort of like small goldfishes, you can
look on u-tube to see what they look like, You would need that small heater

Tetras- Some tetras are sensitive to new tanks, So if you get some remember to have the tank cycled
first. Good tetras for starters are zebra danios, and white clouds. I bought some white clouds
a a local fish store and they listed them as feeder fish so they were only 10 cents each. You
can get 3-4 of these. Tetras should be kept in a small schools. Some people use Zebra danios &
white clouds to cycle a tank because they are cheap. Another nice tetra that I find very
hardy is the Harlenquen Rasboras. If you get tetras they like a planted tank so I would get
real or fake plants to put inside, and remember that that Hornwort plant is a good plant also
Anacharius is a good plant because it does the same as the Hornwort plant and is a nice rooted
plant that is cheap.

You need to get a small heater for that 2 gal. They only make heaters for a 2 gal. size. Walmart carries preset heaters for 2-5 gal. for about $7. Or if you want you can use the 2 gal. as a hospital tank for new fish and invest in a good starter aquarium. I priced them at Walmart 5 gal. starter set is $29.97, 10 gal. starter set is $36.97 they have everythiing except the heater which you can buy at Walmart for cheap for a preset one. Stands are cheap their also.

Just so you know I went to Petco and the employee told me that any baby fish you see are free. I think that Petsmart is the same. The employee told me that they can't sale the baby fish and they get eaten by the other fish in the tank. You might want to raise a few tiny baby liivebearer fish in that tiny tank til you get a bigger one. What a joy it is to watch a tiny baby fish grow to be a big fish in a childs eyes. Check craigslist as some people are overwhelmed by to many baby livebearer fish and need to find homes for them. Just keep in mind that a male/female livebearer fish will produce a bunch of baby fish every month also females are pregnate when you get them at a petshop most of the time because they are in mixed sexed tanks and can produce several batches of babies without a male. I hope this helped you out.

Last edited by eileen; 02-23-2010 at 10:31 AM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 10:48 AM
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Yeeoouch. Here is some info on minimum tank size for goldies I was giving to another member:

The general stocking rule is 20g for the first (FANCY) goldie, 10 for each additional one

However due to variation in breed size, some breeds of goldfish (ie Telescopes (including the black moor), Pearlscales, and Bubble-Eyes) require closer to 10g per fish wheras some of the larger breeds (Ryukins and Fantails) may need closer to 15 or even 20g per fish.

While the 20g high (which is what I'm keeping my girl in til the 50g comes!) may be suitable for one fish, goldies are social (and smart!) and do best in groups of at least 3.

If you are willing to shell out for a tank of at least 30g though I strongly recommend it! They're hilarious fish and will even eat from your hand. Fancies will live from anywhere between 8 and 20 years and make a good 'pet' wheras most of my fish are just a 'hobby'. Mine are gonna be with me all through college and longer <3.
Fantails are among the larger fancy varieties (12" adult length) and need more in the neighborhood of 20g per fish. 1000 years of breeding for compressed bodies has left fancy goldfish with no proper stomach, just a gastrointestinal tract so most of the food you feed simply comes right out the other end. Which equals lots of poop and therefore lots of pollution. They are considered among the messiest domestic fish inch for inch. Due to their need for highly oxygenated water (and messiness) they need double the filtration (in GPH or Gallons per Hour) of what most tropical fish need.

It's true that fish can be stunted by small tanks but this doesn't mean the fish will grow to the size of its tank... a fantail kept in a 2g tank may max out at 6 inches which is still way too big.

Goldies are a nice 'classic' pet for small children and are extremely hardy if kept in a proper-sized tank... Fancy Varieties often live for 10, 15, or 20 years and will grow up with your child, coming to recognise them and developing surprisingly distinct personalities.

Also bear in mind that the smaller the tank, the less stable the water parameters and the more difficult it is to keep the tank 'going'. Unfortunately it is easier to market a slough of mini-tanks to unexperienced customers than it is to try to sell everyone a proper-sized tank for their fish. In essence stores prey on the ignorance of customers to cut their profits. If you are beginning or don't have a lot of time, buy the BIGGEST TANK YOU CAN AFFORD... many experienced aquarists (including myself) actually set up small tanks (known as nano-tanks) for the pure challenge of mantaining a balanced ecosystem within them.
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for your comments! I only wish now after reading your posts that my wife had gotten a fish other than what the pet store told her to buy. It will be hard to tell our 5 yr, old daughter that goldy must go.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 12:17 PM
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Still, its a step in the right direction and a good example to set. Nothing agitates me more than parents who buy a fish to teach their child 'responsibility', wing it, fishy wind up dead in a week and they flush him down the toilet. Now what have they taught their children? Pets are disposable!

My brother and my first fish were a pair of fantails in a 2g tank. At that time (I was about 8 and my bro was 6. In 1990 )even books written specifically on Goldfish (and published recently) gave instructions on how to filter your goldfish bowl and all this utter B.S. that I know not to be true now. Heck, I was flipping through a book published in 2004 in the pet store the other day stating that it was the owner's choice as to keeping their goldfish in a bowl as opposed to a tank (they didn't state a minimum tank size either). After the failure of the 2g goldie tank and my 'betta bowl' (which I am ashamed to say held about half a litre of water), we tapped into the far more advanced info on tropical fishkeeping and set up a 10g with guppies, tetras and a betta under the inch per gallon rule. Even today I wonder at how my parents managed to get such a good setup going with all the misinformation out there!

With the availability of water test kits on the commercial market, aquarists are beginning to get an idea of how to properly stock tanks based on the levels of dissolved waste (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) in the water. For instance, we thought goldies belonged in bowls and had a lifespan of 2 years until test kits came on the market in the 80s and 90s and people could actually see how quickly fish polluted small amounts of water. Even then, in the 70s nitrate levels of up to 400ppm were considered fine. Now, levels above 40ppm have been shown to cause severe neurological damage resulting in premature death!

Thankfully, forums are an excellent source of interactive and up-to-date info... on the internet we can contest things and hold each other accountable for bad advice. Since the hobby of fishkeeping is evolving so quickly I find the internet (for once) the most integrid source of information.

Last edited by kelly528; 02-23-2010 at 12:35 PM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 12:26 PM
LisaC144's Avatar
Instead of taking Goldie back, how about a bigger tank?
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 12:37 PM
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Depends on space. He's looking at a 40g minimum for a fantail & 2 companions. You can usually get a deal on used tank off craigslist though. You have to check it for about a week but every once in a while a nice 40 or 50g pops up for 200-500 dollars vs. about 500-1000 new.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 12:40 PM
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I got my 55g from Craigslist for $150!!! Good deal.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 04:20 PM
agreed with everything. it's important, no imperative, that parents role model for children how to make a mistake and be accountable for it. fish aren't disposable pets but employees at pet stores often sell things that are clearly unsuited for not only a small tank but also a new tank that isn't properly cycled.

please upgrade the tank size or get a new fish. you child will also learn to let go of something in the best interest of the pet. another good lesson for children.

lesson learned: never believe what fish store employees say, always take the info home and do your research. i've learned that the hard way (more than once i'm embaressed to say)

Stephanie's updated tank profiles:
29 gallon 10 gallon
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