Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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eaturbyfill 05-31-2012 07:00 PM

Need Advisement on Tank Cleaning Regimen
I have one goldfish (about 3in) in a 20 gallon tank that has a filter. Could you tell me how often and how to properly clean this tank? I have only ever had smaller tanks, and I am inexperienced. We've had it for only a few days, and conditioned the water and let the filter run for a couple of days before adding the fish. Thanks in advance for the help!

Maxillius 05-31-2012 09:59 PM

Hi and welcome to TFK !
I should start to advise that a gold fish will require alot bigger then a 20 gallon tank So if you can return it do so as it will quickly become to big for that tank.
I ould also advise to read the following article
I would also adive on reading this other article
I would also advise on not cleaning the entire tank ever, only do parts of it as when you clean it entirely you remove alot of the good bacteria that are necesary for cycle(as you should have read above) The aquarium cycle is vital to have healthy fish! So when you clean up an quarium you do only like the glass one week then the other the filter then the other the gravel and always do a water change a week it is vital for fish! always use a good conditioner and never overfeed :) your fish may look hungry but arent!

jaysee 05-31-2012 10:05 PM

Welcome to the forum

20 gallons is still pretty small :)

I don't want to bombard you with stuff, so I'll just say a few things. First, it's very important that you understand the nitrogen cycle - it is the single most important thing you can know about keeping fish. Honestly, all other advice is inconsequential if you do not understand the nitrogen cycle.

As far as your question is concerned, every week you should be doing some form of maintenance. Most people vacuum the substrate while they are performing a water change. I am assuming you have gravel - everything less dense than water will sink though the gravel to the bottom of the tank. Vacuuming removes that, which needs to be done regularly. How regularly? That depends on how much you over feed. The more you feed, the more waste they produce (and the more decaying fish food in the tank), resulting in more frequent maintenance. The glass can be scraped whenever you want.

As far as cleaning the filter - it's very important that you do not toss out the beneficial bacteria. Really, the only thing that needs to be cleaned in the filter is the mechanical media. Again, understanding the nitrogen cycle and the roll the filter plays is immensely helpful in determining what needs to be cleaned and what doesn't.

eaturbyfill 06-01-2012 11:16 AM

Taking the tank back isn't an option, it was a used gift. I would love to have a bigger tank, but don't have access to one-- which is why I'm trying my hardest to take good care of this one. Tonight I'll purchase a water testing kit for the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.

For the partial water changes, how much should be changed at a time? I don't want to shock the fish.

thekoimaiden 06-01-2012 12:24 PM

Welcome to TFK and the wonderful world of goldfish. I noticed that your avatar is a betta. Goldfish are very different from betta. Trust me. I have both. My first question is do you have a fancy goldfish (double-tail) or a common goldfish (single-tail)? There are some differences in care depending on which one you have.

If you want a larger tank right now, you can buy those large plastic containers that places like WalMart and Target sell. They are great temp goldfish homes. Goldfish do best in groups, so once you have a larger tank (probably 40 gal or 55 gal tank), you should get your goldfish some goldfish friends.

As the others have said, understanding the nitrogen cycle in a goldfish aquarium is vital as goldfish produce a lot of ammonia. (The test kit is also vital.) The links that Max gave you are a good start. Feel free to ask about anything you don't understand.

In that size tank with just one goldfish, you are looking at every other day 50% partial water changes. Turn off the filter and siphon out the debris in the bottom using an aquarium gravel vac (you can find them in pet stores). Make sure the water you are using to refill the aquarium is close to the water temp of the aquarium. Add water conditioner (Prime is great to use with goldfish because you need soo little), and then add the new water to your tank.

eaturbyfill 06-01-2012 02:49 PM

I understand the cycle stuff now that I have read that link. :-) I'll be sure to keep a close eye on the water quality starting tonight.

The fish is a single-tail. I had read that 20 would be fine for one, guess I should have asked here first. :shock: We'll get a larger tank when we can afford one, which will hopefully not be too long from now. I don't want her to outgrow her tank. :-?

thekoimaiden 06-01-2012 03:11 PM

Oh dear. The single tails are the ones that get huge (12-14 inches long). For tank size, 75 gallons is a minimum. Single-tails really do best in outdoor ponds. A 20 gal long is the bare minimum for a double-tail, but because single-tails are much more active swimmers, they need significantly larger tanks.

eaturbyfill 06-01-2012 03:16 PM

Even the people at the pet store said twenty. I hate being misinformed. What do you suggest? Money is tight. :/

thekoimaiden 06-01-2012 10:22 PM

I'm sorry you got bad advice. A lot of pet stores just aren't informed. It's really sad.

I think your plans depend on what you can do in the future. With water changes every other day, he should be fine for a few weeks in the 20 gal. I'm not sure which will be the cheaper route: large tank or medium-sized outdoor pond. With the size aquarium you would need to house him, you're going to need a canister filter which is a large investment. Would a prefabricated fiberglass pond be an option? This is a thread from a goldfish-specific forum where a friend of mine details putting in a prefab pond for her goldfish: The GAB - prefab fiberglass pond

eaturbyfill 06-02-2012 12:37 AM

I would like to have a pond, but since we will only be living at this residence for a couple of years.. /: Now I really don't know what to do. I guess I'll check craigslist and see if I can find one.

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