Daughter loves her betta, Aang, and is taking good care of him. Now she has her heart set on a pair of fancy goldfish - currently, a pearlscale and a fantail. I said she could have them down the track, if she continues to care for her rats and betta properly.
She's already done a lot of research on goldfish - how big a tank to get (35 gallons, minimum) how they need double filtration (she's saving up for one eheim canister, I'll spring for the other one..) and so on.
Is there any other advice that might be useful to her? Areas to research? Hints and tips on care and feeding? Possible problems?
She particularly wanted to know what plants were best to get, both for fish nibblies and decoration.
It's great that your daughter is interested in goldfish. They really are lovely. It's even better that you guys have done research! It makes me soo happy to hear this instead of the "goldfish impulse buy."
Your tank size looks good, and eheims are great filters. The one suggestion I would make is try to go larger if you can. Fantails can get pretty darn big, and there is no way to tell just how big one will be until it stops growing.
The next thing you guys are going to want to look into is food. Fantails are usually good with any type of high quality sinking food, but pearlscales can have problems. Those chubby bodies that we love so much give them GI problems. It's the same way with ryukin (my favorite breed). I just skip the commercial pellet food and go straight to gel food. I am doing this with my newest ryukin and have seen no floaty problems. Unlike my poor other boy. I didn't know any better when I first got him, and now I fear there is permanent damage.
Plants are great for goldfish, but can be a pain in the butt. Some goldfish love the "salad" you provide them, and some could care less. Right now I have hornwort and amazon sword in my tanks. Both are doing well. I also have a marimo ball that my goldies like to push around and occasionally nibble on. Vals are other good plants to have with goldfish. Anubias and java fern are two other good plants to try with goldfish. They have tough leaves and can be tied to decor to prevent that uprooting problems. Some of the ludwigia species can do well, too.
The last thing I recommend you guys look into is water hardness. Despite what most people think, goldfish are hard water fish. In soft water they have shorter life spans, are prone to disease, and their slime coat will often slough off. Ideally they should have a dGH and dKH above 10. The pH should also be above 7.
I am really glad your daughter is doing her research on goldfish. Because she is, those fish could be with her for up to 20 years!
Thanks so much for the tips, Izzy - particularly regarding food. I didn't even know there was gel food for goldfish.. I can see there's a lot more research we need to do!
We've discussed having both decorative and 'yummy' plants, with the latter being replaced pretty regularly, so which plants they find tasty which may might also supplement their diet is also on the list of things to find out.
Daughter was utterly amazed to discover that goldfish live for 20+ years with the right care. I knew they were meant to be long-lived, but I admit that I was pretty astounded at just how old some of them can get (one got to over 40 years, I recall reading!).
Luckily (for goldfish), our water's about 7.6 out of the tap and a bit hard, so I think it would be okay without needing to fiddle with the pH. I really must get the tap water tested for G and K values, or better yet a test kit for that..
The other thing I was wondering about was water temperature. I've read a few different ideals for fancy goldfish, including much warmer temps than I would have guessed for 'cold water' fish.
We often visit the nicer of our two LFS's so she can look at the goldfish there, but our trips are often marred by the other shoppers clearly buying fish intended for small bowls that will no doubt die in a matter of weeks. I like that she's become so aware of what fish in general actually need to survive, and is learning about different species as we research our current fish and "wish-fish" (mine are betta macrostoma!).
This is not a rush-into-it situation, as pets with life spans like that are a huge commitment (and especially, where large tanks are concerned, for those of us who rent). We'll be buying all the equipment for the goldies piece by piece over time, and probably downsizing the amount of bettas we have - only four splendens and the wilds atm, but I think for us it's better to have a few tanks we can easily care for and have time to enjoy (and cope with in disasters and house moves!), rather than having so many as to be constant work and worry.
It's so nice to hear someone not rushing into goldfish. It warms my heart. ^-^ You guys will be greatly rewarded for it!
Most sites don't talk about gel food for goldfish. It's something I had to learn the hard way, so I'm glad your goldies will start off with it. There are some that are commercially produced and you just make up at home, or you can make your own with fresh veggies or baby food.
Your water sounds great for goldfish! I wouldn't buy a whole test kit just for one test. A good LFS should be able to tell you the GH and KH. Sometimes you can get it from a local water quality report.
The temp thing is well.. debatable. Some people do chose to keep them at tropical temps all year round. Of course this will shorten their life spans, and you have to feed them a little more to keep them in good condition which means more waste. But keeping them warm also helps with digestion. Some people don't like to let their tanks get warm. But at temps below 70F they do have problems with digestion and constipation due to their chubby bodies. I like to take the middle ground. I heat my tank to 73/72F in the winter, but let it get as high as it wants in the summer (about 78F). I do feed them more in the summer, too.
Yummy plants? Ohh duckweed is a great one. Grow it in another tank or outside in tubs, scoop a handful and put it in the tank. It's a floating salad! Water sprite is another good one, but it usually outgrows the nibbling. Anarcharis is sometimes nibbled, but tends to grow fast enough to outpace the grazing.
I somehow don't think I'll have any trouble with having enough duckweed for them, lol. Particularly as we're planning a big ceramic pot 'pond' just for growing plants (and handy mosquito larvae) in, at the end of the yard.
I think we'll follow your advice for temperature. I don't mind running a heater in winter - though it gets more than warm enough here in summer, that's the season to worry about cooling tanks down when it hits the 40+ Celsius mark in the house. ><
or you can make your own with fresh veggies or baby food.
When it did get really hot here in the summer, I would just leave the tops on the aquarium open. This would drop the temp down under 80F as my room has an overhead fan. The most important thing to remember about those warm times is good aeration. I have a bubbler in the tank that runs in the summer. Because it's rather noisy I usually turn it off in the winter.
Originally Posted by Aus
Ooh really? Have you got a recipe?
I most certainly do have recipes! I like the babyfood ones because all the food is pre-blended (blenders scare me). With those it's just dump, mix, and set! This particular one is what I use. I pulled it from the goldfish forum I like.
3 jars baby food, green veggies (only 1 sugary**)
1/2 cup boiled hot water
2 envelopes of gelatin
1/2 adult multivitamin (no iron)
1 1/2 oz salmon (drained if from can) (half a can) <-- I find it helps to chop this up a bit
1/2 teaspoon pure garlic powder *
Dissolve 2 envelopes of gelatin in 1/2 cup hot, boiled water. Mix veggies, salmon and crushed pill stuff in a small bowl. Pour gelatin/water mix into the bowl. Stir well (it helps to have one person stir while another pours). Pour into a flat container so it's about 1/4" thick. Put in fridge to gel. Once gelled, cut into pieces about 1/4"X1/4". I then put 14 pieces (1 week's supply) into small snack size baggies and lay them flat to freeze in the freezer. When they're all frozen, I place them all in a large size baggie (which keeps them all together) in the freezer.
*optional as it does make the food smell like garlic
**sugary veggies include peas, pumpkin, carrots, ect
That is for adult (over 3 years) goldfish. For younger ones, do one part protein (fish) to 3 parts veggies.