Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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beano129 08-24-2012 12:39 AM

Advice wanted toward setting up new Tank
Hi everyone,

sadly my poor little Oranda passed away yesterday before I had a chance to move her to her new home in my new 153 Liter Tank.

I had a small 34 Liter tank that she lived happily in for 4 months but sadly she died of something internal which presented as dropsy. she was loved and will be missed!

So, in her honor I'm going to set up a new tank and I'm seeking advice to do a better job.

This is what i'm planning on doing.

I've got a 153 Liter tank that will use a 3 stage bio-filter (1000 liters per hour) and combine with a hang-on filter (350 liters per hour)

I will position the tank completely out of any sunlight and I plan to have a fluorescent light [key first bit of advice needed - what bulb should i use] between the hours of 9am and 8pm

I will use small 1-3mm rounded pebbles as substrate and I plan to put some plants into the water as well as some ornaments [key second piece of advice - what plants make good company for fancy goldies]

I will ensure that the water fully cycles before I add any fish and I'm only planning on buying two goldies however I may change and install the heater and go for tropical fish [key third piece of advice - how many tropical fish could live in a 153 liter tank?]

Should I stay with Goldies - i used to add a small amount of aquarium salt per water change however i suspected that this was killing of my plants... is that true? Is the theory that i shouldn't need to add any salt if the water is excellent quality?

I will take extra care not to overfeed - only feeding as much as the size of one of their eyes and i will be feeding New Life Spectrum small fish formula (assuming I stay with fancy goldies) and TetraColour and every 2/3 days i will feed some veggies like spinach (blanched) or cucumber or pea. [key fourth piece of advice - neither of the foods sink.. should i be soaking them beforehand?]

I ended up needing to use some phospad prior to my Oranda dying as i frequently had algae build up on my ornamental head and on the inside of the tank. I attributed this to dead matter in the tank from any excess food and the my previous plants which all but died. [key fifth piece of advice - is it a good idea to routinely check for phosphate and use phospad?]

lastly, i will be aiming to perform a two weekly 1/3rd water change [key sixth piece of advice - will a two weekly water change be adequate?]

So that's about what i'm going to do - I think i've about covered most things but please interject if there should be somthing else I should be doing.

All i want to do is give some fish a great home for a good number of years and see them grow up to be happy!

Thanks everyone


sidluckman 08-24-2012 04:49 AM

I think a 153 liter tank will only get you about half-way with gold fish. Fancy type need a tank twice this size; single tail comets need a tank closer to four times this size.

I would suggest you go with tropical fish, but also suggest that you decide upon something more definite, otherwise we will be here a long toie advising you on every possibility. FInd something you really are attracted to and do some research. Then gather the reactions of other people who may have kept this fish and see if success is likely with your current tank and equipment.

beano129 08-24-2012 05:05 AM

Hey thank you for that but I must be honest I'm getting a bit tired of being constantly told that my tank is never big enough. 153 litres I was only ever planning two fish and for months I was told that a fancy goldie needs 20 gal... Now your telling me double!?? That so much water for one tiny little fish it's just starting to sound a bit stupid. I mean 300 litres for two fish that start out at like 3cm each? It's like buying a whole country for a child to roam around in?

Sorry about the attack but just when I think I've bought a tank big enough I'm now being told I haven't .. I mean how am I ever supposed to take advice seriously when it keeps changing?
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sidluckman 08-24-2012 06:14 AM

I think people try to soften their approach and give gentle but unrealistic advice when they advocate a 20 gallon tank. Comet goldfish reach a foot in length with a substantial depth of body. Basically something nearly the size of an American style Football with a tail attached. An Oranda or Ryukin will never get that long, but at 8 inches and nearly spherical in shape, how could you expect a 20 gallon tank (24" x 16" x12") to suit the needs of one fish, let alone two?

Also, what's your record keeping a goldfish? They ought to live a good twenty years. To work within the limits of your analogy, the "country" you are intending for this child is only the size of a linen closet. No worries, though, the child won't make it past its teens.

Just because so few people keep goldfish well and so many accept such unacceptable levels of success does not mean you have to be one of them. This is a pond fish, first and foremost; please remember that.

As for accepting changing advice. . .all I can say is I have more than once sought additional opinions when the first one I received wasn't what I wanted to hear. Because large tanks are costly, and marine fish are large, people are always trying to get you to agree with some dim plan about how to stock it. I'm sorry to do it, but I have to tell them no whenever they want a tang for a 55 gallon tank, or a large pomacanthid for a 75. Sometimes the best advice is "this isn't a good idea at all" but we tend to challenge and dimiss those in favor of less reliable voices who are working on their own problems in progress. Evaluate more than one response and do some research on stocking limits. When we speak of small fish, the inch per gallon rule is somewhat accurate. But once our fish are larger, the same rule cannot be applied. A ten inch Oscar (or goldfish)cannot be kept in a ten gallon tank. It is safer to take the length in inches of these larger specimen fish and square them: 10 x10 = 100. A single adult oscar needs a 100 gallon tank.

Indeed it does. . .

beano129 08-24-2012 08:44 AM

Hi Sid,

Thanks for the second reply. First off, thank you for taking my little attack and for giving some sound advice back.
I'm just a bit aggravated that I lost a beloved fish when I was so sure I was; besides a short term tank being to small, I was keeping suck a tight ship.

I spent so much time researching how to properly take care of fish I was just devastated when I lost my fish because I have been told so many times that routine was so good.

It's just such a huge dissapointment to know that youve spent all that money of a new upgraded tank and then.. Hey kid but that still isn't good enough!

So in reality, is a 40 gal tank going to be ok for one single Oranda? Or even two small orandas for a couple of years until perhaps I upgrade again to a 300 liter tank?
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sidluckman 08-24-2012 09:06 AM

"sidluckman" is actually the fish in my avatar. He will have been in my keep four years in January. This fish is one I have always wanted to own, all my life in fact, and I was nearly fifty years old when I finally purchased one. Much of the delay was due to the fact that you need a big tank for them. Many people in the hobby, even respected people like Scott Michaels, say that the minimum tank size for this fish is 100 gallons. So I had him in a 120 gallon tank. But after a couple years, it looked too small and now he is in a 210. But people in the hobby I respect even more, like Bob Fenner, think a 300 gallon is the minimum. . .

So it's not just you who falls victim to the conflicts in advice.

With big fish, fast fish, fish that make a lot of waste, bigger generally is better. If I had it to do over again I would have kept saving and bought a single aquarium closer to 400 gallons.

Maybe if goldfish cost closer to what this angelfish cost, people would consider their needs more completely. Anyway, I am sorry for your loss. There is no reason whay you can't succeed with the tank you have but with species not so demanding of space.

I think a 40 gallon tank will suit a single oranda well, or even two fish for many years. Big water changes and powerful filtration will be needed. Ultimately, some orandas get positively huge and for them, a 90 gallon tank would probably be necessary for a pair. Goldfish are creatures that have "indeterminate growth" which means the only limit to their size is their lifespan. The longer they live, the larger they get. Here in Chicago. in lake Michigan just off the Columbian Yacht Club property near Navy Pier, some truly huge goldfish hang out begging for scraps--long ago escapees of some disenchanted owner. They are all about 15 " long. Plain orange comets swimming around like trout! It is eye opening to see how huge the creatures can get!



Olympia 08-24-2012 09:35 AM

If you are interested in goldfish, I'd say go for it if you don't mind upgrading eventually for something such as an oranda. If you want to stick with this tank, I'd look at a different variety. Goldfish such as oranda and black moors can still hit a good 10" easily. However if you look at varieties like pearlscale, ranchu and celestial eye, these will stay in the 5-8" range more likely, which makes a pretty big difference. Seems to me that the more.. physically altered.. goldfish are the smaller ones. They do have some special considerations, for example avoiding anything sharp with celestial eyes. You also are best off not mixing any of these varieties with each other. If you look up pearlscale goldfish there are some terrifying ones, but a pet store one will likely not inflate as much as some of the show champions. Those "Grand Champion" pearlscales can't lift their poor tummies off the substrate, but again I highly doubt this would happen to a pet store fish.

I'd contact Izzy again, one thing you should consider is food if you are getting any more goldfish. Any food with any wheat products (even the best pellets money can buy have wheat binders!) can still cause bloating, so a home made diet is something you should be considering. It can save you a lot of hassle in the end. I know Izzy makes all her goldfish home made foods as a preventative, and she has some good recipes.

I think you have filtration pretty covered, hopefully these filters don't produce too much current in the tank.

Plants, people have luck with different things. Generally stuff like hornwort and egeria is unattractive, though some persistent goldfish will eat it anyways. You should be looking for a 6500 kelvin "daylight" fluorescent light to cover your tank. Trial and error for the plants. Don't load the tank with plants to wake up to a goldfish that ate everything in the tank. They are always hungry. :-)

thekoimaiden 08-24-2012 08:53 PM

Hey Rich! Glad to hear you want to stick with goldfish. Olympia gave you some great suggestions. Try to stay away from the larger fancies like oranda. If you still like the wens, ranchu look just like oranda, but without the massive size and dorsal fin. Most people think they look really cute.

If you do want to go with live plants you should look into a bulb with a kelvin rating of about 6500K. These are best for plant growth. Liquid ferts will also be good. Plants and goldfish is a tricky venture. I've had luck with hornwort. Mine don't seem to like the prickly leaves. Anubias and java fern are two good ones to try as they have rather thick and bad-tasting leaves. It's really trial and error. Some things will work and some things won't. But the salt should probably go. Most plants aren't salt-tolerant. It destroyed my hornwort when I added it to treat a stubborn case of fungus.

How many tropicals in that tank? A few good sized schools of tetra or danio. It really depends on just what kind of tropicals you want.

Hmm. I know NLS makes a sinking fish food forumla. If you can find that go with it, but soaking the other foods before feeding is a great idea. If you do go with a more delicate type of fancy goldfish, you might have to switch to gel foods. A lot of fancies can't handle wheat at all. Even in the high-quality pellet food, they need wheat binders.

With regular water changes, phosphate shouldn't be a problem in freshwater tanks. Two weekly water changes is a great idea with goldfish. While there may be some smaller goldfish that can live in a 40 gal tank, they still have a large wasteload. Two weekly water changes will certainly help keep their water clean.

Here is a crazy idea I've been playing around with. Setting up a plant filter for a goldfish tank. Basically you would use a pump to move the water from the 40 gal into another tank (or bucket) and grow live plants in that. They would be safe from the goldfish's hungry mouths, and you would still get the benefits of live plants. It would be a great thing for a tank like this.

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