Aquarium kit advice - eclipse vs. Aqueon
Please help me decide which kit to keep. Have purchased both Eclipse 6 and Aqueon 14 kits from Petco. Eclipse 6 is set up and has fish in it. I thought it wasn't working due to cloudy water after first few days and stressed fish. Fish have been in the tank for 2 weeks and seem more settled now.
Didn't know about cycling and that it was probable cause of cloudy water. So bought another kit - aqueon 14 - which is basic 10 gallon filiter and taller tank, plus thermometer and heater.
The aquarium is two house two goldfish won last spring at the school fair, which grew too big for the 1 gallon mini tank. My goal is to keep the fish alive and have a small attractive aquarium in my son's room - with least amount of work and least amount of cost. I am single working mom with 2 young kits and a cat. So no time, money or desire to really get into this hobby at this point. Frankly never thought the fish would live this long because as a kid I only had fish bowls and goldfish that died soon after bringing them home.
My preference is to keep the Eclipse since it's up and running, better size for location, and prefer acrylic to glass. So my question is whether the larger tank is a lot "better" for the fish and/or will be easier to keep clean? In other words, is there enough benefit in the long run to make it worthwhile to take on the new cycling, buy more gravel, and live with less desirable size aesthetically?
If advice is to switch to larger, please advise on how to proceed re set-up, switch and cycling?
Also please advise on what to buy for gravel cleaning and water changing. Is the "Ultra Gravel Vac" by Lee's sufficient. Remember, my goal is low coast and least time maintenance. I'll pay a little more for time saving, though.
Lastly, is it bad to just scoop out the dirty water with a cup and add clean water the same way.
Thanks in advance. I really hope somebody answers soon because I need to decide.
Re: Aquarium kit advice - eclipse vs. Aqueon
Lets start with your goldfish, and some info about them. I think once hearing this, you will have the information needed to make an informed choice as to how to proceed.
Common goldfish won at fairs and carnivals are called comets. Comets average about 14 inches long each at full grown, and this happens fast. Normal growth rate for a healthy comet: to go from 1 or 2 inches to 5 - 6 inches within the first year is to be expected.
Goldfish are a cold water fish, needing temps that range from 65 - 68 degrees, and steady. Goldfish are also large consumers of oxygen, which requires more water volume and the cooler temperatures (the warmer the water the less oxygen is in it), and quite often in an aquarium situation an air stone is also needed. Goldfish that have grown very little to not at all over the course of months to a year are typically suffering from toxicity levels in the water created by too much waste. Regular water testing and lots of water changes with goldfish are a must, as poor water quality is common and will slowly poison the fish.
Minimum tank size for 2 standard comet goldfish is about 125 gallons with good filtration and lots of water changes. Because of their fast growth rate and huge waste output, and messy eating habits, it is best to start even a small goldfish in at least 75 gallons or more.
The larger the tank/volume of water, the less work it will be to care for them.
Now, in reference to your situation:
This probably sounds quite overwhelming, and you are probably wondering why nobody warned you of this when you children won these fish. Put simply, because not enough people realize the problems. Goldfish are one of the more difficult fishes to keep because of their size and waste output. The average life span for a comet can range from 25 - 75 yrs, so these guys are a very long term committment.
My suggestion for you, as you didn't sound prepared to handle something of this nature... maybe convince the children to trade the goldfish in for different fish at your LFS, something more suitable to the conditions you are able to provide. There are a number of options for fish in the Aqueon 14, but goldfish is not one of them. If done right it doesn't have to be much work or very time consuming, but there are basics that need to be provided. Regular water changes, water testing during cycling and then every so often to monitor waste levels, good food, lots of decorations and attention are all things any aquarium will require.
If you need help finding fish more suited to what you can provide, let me know and I'll help list your options and guide you through the process.
Please note, if the goldfish stay in that small of a tank, they are doomed to a drawn out and painful death, which is not any fun to watch.
Welcome to the world of fish keeping where surprises are common and addiction is usually the end result.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. What do you suggest that I do with the goldfish, other than to watch them die slowly. I like these two fish alot. They are very playful together.
And without the need to care for existing pets, I'm not sure I want to forge ahead with this hobby. I can appreciate already that it is fun and addictive.
But if I do, what fish do you advise? Are you saying that Aqueon is preferable? It was cheaper, so that's a good thing. Is it OK to buy fish at Petco. It's the only convenient place near where we live.
Thanks again for all your help and so much information. Petco's basic gold fish have worse living conditions than ours, and no good home to be found. So I opted to keep the larger tank and do the best I can to care for the goldfish. Perhaps the fish will be more easily "placed" when they're bigger. I'm assuming they'll grow more rapidly now that they're in the larger tank.
Since the tank is already too small for the goldfish, I'm assuming that we can't add anything else so long as we have the goldfish. I'll look at your suggestions, though, so I know what to look for down the road.
It is likely that if you bought "feeder goldfish" the store houses them in a huge tank that is severely overcrowded, filthy dirty, and it contains a lot of sick/unhealthy fish. Unfortunately, this is the life of a "feeder fish" in most cases. Also please be aware that those fish are seldom there for more than a few days. The fish that don't die are sold to feed other fish that eat live foods. Think of it in terms of people who eat veal. Veal is a baby cow. Veal farms don't raise those calves the same way as a beef farm or dairy farm would... why? Because they are being raised and sold for food, so the standards become different in the eyes of "man". Veal calves are usually tied/chained to a small enclosure, seldom bigger than the calves themselves. They are fed primarily a liquid diet full of vitamins so that it is cheap, easy, and helps them to grow fast. Is this humane? no, of course not... but, those are the standards we allow. Feeder goldfish are just another example of this. Most stores will order up to 1000 or more feeder goldfish every week.
Unfortunately, what you are doing with the goldfish, really isn't all that much better. The feeder fish at the store must remain in that condition for a matter of a few days at which time they are bought as food, and put out of their misery that way. With 2 of these fish in a 10 gallon tank, they are then going to suffer for how long? Remember that the water pollution will poison them, this is a slow and painful death. In my opinion, I'd rather see them fed to something and put out of their misery rather than to drag it on.
Even if you were to change 100% of their water daily, run good filtration, give them good healthy foods, these fish can't survive in a 10 gallon tank. By the time each of those fish reaches over 3 inches long each, the oxygen content in the water is going to be depleted so quickly it will be near impossible to provide enough, the space they need to swim properly won't be there, and the waste will build to toxic levels in less than 24 hrs. This is a terrible way to die.
I'm sorry, but I can't agree with or condone such a thing. I feel sorry for those fish.
In the future, for anyone reading this post, I want to make it known that when you purchase a sick fish or any fish from unhealthy conditions, you are not really rescuing anything. What you are doing, in fact, is promoting the conditions in which you found it. You wonder how? A store spends money on fish to sell to the customers for a profit. They mark prices up 3 - 4 times the wholesale cost. The fish you pay $1 for likely cost them a quarter or less. The stores often provide bare minimum conditions to keep the fish until they are sold because everything they do for and give to the fish is something else they have to pay for, which brings their profit margin down. When they keep fish poorly, 1 of 2 things will happen. They will get stuck with a lot of fish that will die, costing them a lot of money, or people will come in and buy the fish as is, which gives them no reason to change their practices.
Anyone who really wants to rescue the fish, there are things you can do to make a huge difference, while saving your money and many more than the 1 fish you may or may not be able to provide for your yourself. Complain! I don't know how many times I have said this... but complaining... making some noise, is one of the best ways to approach it. Tell these stores that you, a paying customer, will not give them your business until they raise their standards to a humane level. Complain to employees, but more so complain to management. Ask to speak to an owner, either in person, via phone or email... doesn't matter. Let these peopel know that we demand healthy and well cared for animals for sale, or we will take our business elsewhere. Then, the next best thing to do is walk away. Don't spend your money, don't contribute to the problem. These stores have to make money or they don't exist. If they start losing money they have to either quit selling that thing or fix the problem with why it doesn't sell.
So the next time someone is tempted to rescue a sick fish, please remember this: you can save one and contribute to the death of how many others? or you can sacrafice one for the sake of how many in the future?
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