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Old 11-02-2012, 05:30 PM   #1 
Leopardfire
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How did my goldfish live so long and why did she die?

My goldfish died this past summer, but I was thinking about it and I'm not really sure why. When I got her 2 years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about fish. I didn't even know what ammonia was or that fish produced it. I know a lot more now and I do everything I can to make my fish happy so I don't want a lecture on how badly I treated my first fish.

So here's a little backstory. I wanted a goldfish so I went to Petsmart and bought a 1.5 gallon tank with a picture of a goldfish on it. I thought this meant that it was suitable for goldfish. I changed her water only every 5 months or so because it was always crystal clear so I thought it was clean. Despite these terrible conditions, my goldfish was always eager to eat with no visible health problems.

I felt bad for her so I finally decided to upgrade her tank. I got her a 10 gallon which I thought was plenty since I still knew nothing about fish. I also got a pleco and another goldfish. When I moved my first goldfish into the 10 gallon, she and the other fish there died within a few days.

I know now that they died from ammonia, but my question is how did my first goldfish live so long in the 1.5 gallon? I'm sure the ammonia in there at the end of 5 months with no water changes was much higher than it was after 1 week in the 10 gallon. Why she more resistant to the ammonia in the 1.5 gallon than in the 10?
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:27 AM   #2 
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It doesn't seem your goldfish died of ammonia but probably due to shock, was the temperature too different? Was the water chemistry different? Did you add conditioner? You need to aclimate your fish before putting them in a new place.

It could be that your fish was just really resistant. My friend had a goldfish and it survived so many things and lived for 4 -3 years.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:03 AM   #3 
Leopardfire
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Well I didn't adjust her well, so she could have died of shock. It's just weird that she didn't get sick from the ammonia but when my betta was in a tiny amount of ammonia he got fin rot. I guess some fish are just hardier.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:14 PM   #4 
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There is actually a reason why your goldfish survived that long in a 1.5 gal tank. Ammonia is converted to ammonium at a pH lower than 7. Goldfish poop a lot and this buildup of organics causes the pH to drop rather rapidly. This is especially common if your water doesn't have a lot of buffering capacity.

And you have to remember that goldfish are pretty tough little buggers. They haven't survived mistreatment (even when unintentional) for years and years because they were fragile. You don't hear people claiming that discus can live happily in bowls.
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:43 AM   #5 
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Wow! Koimaiden you just answered a question for me! Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:36 AM   #6 
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Yes, Koimaiden, that was a good explanation. I was always so confused about how goldfish were able to handle bowls like that.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:51 PM   #7 
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You're welcome, everyone. That also applies to bettas in those horrible little cups. PH drops rapidly in small containers like that, so even though some people who have tested the water show it to have off the charts ammonia, the pH is low enough that ammonia (now ammonium) is not killing the betta. (Not that the cramped space and cold water are good for them, tho.)

Last edited by thekoimaiden; 11-04-2012 at 01:55 PM.
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