Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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small fry 11-10-2010 09:20 PM

3 Goldfish for a 20 gallon tank
Hello. My family is just starting to convince me that a goldfish setup would make a nice centerpiece to our livingroom. I don't have a lot of space (or money) but I was thinking that maybe this would work. 3 goldfish; a common, a ryunkin, and a black moor, in a 20 gallon tank.

The temp will be in a range from 70* - 78*F. The water will be hard. pH approx. 7.6.

How does this sound?

(P.S. I have no expirence with goldfish)

amberjade 11-11-2010 12:12 AM

Goldfish are mega waste producers. If you get really good filtration (like at least twice what you would normally get for a 20) you could do perhaps 2 fancies - definitely no commons. That would be pushing it - you'd really have to keep on top of your maintenance.
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Lupin 11-11-2010 07:02 AM

Aquarium Size, Variants of Goldfish and General Guidelines
A. Impracticality of “Traditional” Fishbowls and Aquarium Size Guidelines for Fancy and Pond Goldfish

In China, for several centuries, it has been their tradition to place goldfish in their fishbowls. This trend continues until today and will continue so despite the attempted passing of the bill by several countries particularly in Europe to ban the use of fishbowls towards goldfish due to the number of incidence where goldfish die within a few days or even weeks as a result of ignorance shared by a lot of people who buy fish without doing their homework first. To understand better why the fishbowls became part of the Chinese tradition, in China, their ardor usually is not spacious thus large aquaria are not an option for them to keep their fish in. Round smooth bowls were designed with great effect including the fish in them that they become part of the ambiance. China is a temperate zone. Unlike the tropical areas, in temperate areas, goldfish do not eat a lot due to the low temperature wherein their metabolic rate decreases significantly and in turn, reducing the pollution.

Nowadays, a lot of hobbyists have access to larger house and lots and modern technology thus improving the life support systems further. They are able to accommodate large aquarium systems which benefit the goldfish greatly. Aquarium size is a very important factor that must be carefully planned as it greatly influences the potential of the fish to reach its adult size. Aside from that, this helps the fish utilize their excess carbohydrates that they accumulate from consuming foods containing excess carbohydrates. If you have heard the saying, “the solution to pollution is dilution”, the saying is indeed very true.

Goldfish are no stranger to severely deteriorating water conditions however like all other fish, they become prone to several health issues as a result of the poor water conditions. Unfortunately for the fish, they produce a heavy amount of urea and feces especially when their metabolic rate is increased due to the elevated temperature. As a result, the water quality deteriorates rather rapidly especially when the tank is rather less than ideal in size.

Considering goldfish themselves do not stay small (which is why fishbowls are impractical nowadays) at 8 to 24 inches range, a general guideline for fancy types should be at least fifteen gallons per fish whereas pond types need at least twenty gallons per fish. Previous debates have been offered that the fancy types need a minimum of at least ten gallons per fish. While this point of argument does prove itself feasible, giving more allowance for space would be a much better option for the goldfish.

The above paragraph does not mean you can freely utilize the spare fifteen and twenty gallon tanks for goldfish. Those tanks are still very limited and you cannot keep goldfish in isolation as these are sociable by nature and unlikely to thrive for a long time if deprived of their company. With the number of goldfish suggested at three as the possible minimum, a 55g would be a best starting point for fancy goldfish whereas 75g would be the minimum for at least two to three pond types.

B. Variants of Goldfish

As the goldfish has been bred for decades, many strains have been formed as a result of selective breeding. This in itself complicates matters further as the different body formation of the fish also requires a few perks in how you attempt to accommodate them to avoid any future issues that will prove detrimental to their health.

For instance, bubble eyes are famous for their large bulbous eye sacs that dangle below their eyes. The eye sacs are quite delicate and easily punctured hence you have to avoid sharp edged decorations if you want to keep their eye sacs intact. Although the eye sacs will normally heal themselves, the injured sac will usually look very different than the previous. A lot of round bodied types are prone to buoyancy problems due to the compressed organs brought about by their distended abdomen. There are many causes to buoyancy disorders which we can cover later on as we go further into this.

Fancy Types
Doubletail with dorsal fins
Black Moor/Demekin/Telescope/Globe Eye
Tikus Pearlscale
Crown Pearlscale

Doubletail without dorsal fins
Bubble Eyes

Pond Types
Singletail with streamlined body
Common Goldfish/Hibuna

Singletail with rounded body


C. Stunting Explained

Stunting is one of the most controversial subjects in the history of aquarium trade. Until now, it remains a debate with various theories given as to what causes the fish to stunt. This complication is brought by the fact that there are differnt variables that influence greatly the growth rate of the fish.

Stress is the number one factor that is quite overlooked when it comes to stunting issues being addressed. When a fish becomes stressed, it releases the hormones, norepinephrine and epinephrine in response to stress, both of which reduce the growth hormones greatly. Once the stressor has been removed, the fish may gain a growth spurt due to the rebound effect by releasing more growth hormones. For further scientific studies, the abstract can be found here. Another abstract describing further what stress is, can be found here.

Stress occurs because of various factors. One such factor to address is overcrowding. This is a very commonly done mistake in the aquarium hobby. Many people have the tendency to buy a lot of fish on impulse and forget that their fish are still on growing stage. In overcrowded tanks, fish cannot feel comfortable or secured because of constant activities which eventually stresses them and makes them more vulnerable to health issues. The lack of space prevents the fish from developing normally as they should have. Overcrowding also encourages the proliferation of parasites whether fatal or not thus the fish are extremely stressed by the constant infestations and secondary infections.

D. Attitude/Behavior

E. Aquarium Location

Location is another one of the factors to consider. Fish are extremely sensitive to sounds and movements. Sounds can travel by twice as much in water than in air and this can be quickly detected by the lateral line system found on the flanks of the fish which enables them to find their way around their surroundings.

Make sure your aquarium is located in a dark or moderately lit portion of area. Avoid placing the aquarium under direct sunlight. Why? Exposure to sunlight can cause the temperature to fluctuate a lot that the goldfish becomes agitated by the depleting oxygen, elevated temperature and rapidly deteriorating water conditions as a result of high metabolic rate. High temperature itself can lower oxygen levels and causes the fish to gasp to the surface as goldfish are heavy oxygen consumers.

Traffic area also affects the fish and can possibly stress them. Too many movements around the aquarium area can frighten and stress most fish as they become agitated by the constantly high traffic area although goldfish in general, can learn to interact with the presence of humans as these fish are highly intelligent animals.

Lupin 11-11-2010 07:04 AM

I haven't completed "D" yet. Doh!

small fry 11-11-2010 09:34 PM

Ok, well, I am starting to think goldfish isn't a good idea for my house.

Thanks for the help Lupin!

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