What do you say to a goldfish on a diet??
Goldfish Biographies ~~ and ~~ Hints and tips on raising and caring for goldfish
Copyright @ 1999 Azar Attura
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What DO you say to a goldfish on a diet?? The portly fish in question, plump-cheeked Shbunk, looked at me as he swam over to the side of the tank, gold and black scales shining, his eyes comically wiggling left and right. Meanwhile, Cheech and Chong, two baby Redcap Orandas (you didn't know some goldfish breeds had such fancy names???) caromed off the sides of the tank as they chased each other like two Ping-Pong balls run amok. Catfish Stu and Big Al, be-whiskered brown catfish forms dutifully moving over the bottom of the tank, looked like two little janitors in drab uniforms, pushing brooms. Childea, the plump baby goldfish who was the unwanted subject of Catfish Stu's affections, just tried to stay out of his way. Such was life in the tank.
A pet of any kind is entitled to good care. Goldfish are NO exception. Most people, when I tell them I raise goldfish, say "sure ha ha they're here one day and dead the next." Well, if that's their experience with goldfish, they have been raising them wrong. Most of my goldfish have lived 5 to 6 years.
This guide is exactly that a guide. Supplement this knowledge with a book or two. There are LOTS of great books on raising goldfish you can find them in the pet shop, or even in the big bookstores. They are reasonably priced, colorful, fun and easy to read.
I raised goldfish for many years -- in 10, 15 or 30 gallon tanks, with filtration, and aeration. I even kept some of them in bowls, with NO aeration and no filtration. I cleaned their tanks (and filters twice a week, their bowls a little more often, and they lived for a long time. I fed them more than just "goldfish" flake food", sometimes even treating them to Tetra Color Flake food, Tubifex Freeze Dried Worms or Brownie crumbs! The prima donnas (yes, some goldfish have attitude!) used to toss their heads at me like snobbish debutantes whenever they saw me (except when they tossed their heads, they'd toss their whole body). The homicidal maniacs, I kept separate in their own tanks, until they passed on from natural causes thus enabling their separated former tank mates to also do the same! But in the long run, most of the fish got along with each other, and when I'd stop by the tank to say hi, it was a wonderful sight to see them all lined up looking at me and wiggling, giving little silent "goldfish barks", demanding to be fed.
ALL my fish had personalities, most of them had "attitude" in one form or another. Contemplative, nerd, prima donna, macho-macho male goldfish, plump Brunhilda-shaped female, I loved them all, and they all contributed to my happiness as a pet owner.
Are they "dumb" animals?? No animal is "dumb/stupid" (hey, this kind of "dumb" only means "can't talk like a human"). You can communicate to goldfish by talking softly, making eye contact and reinforcing your relationship with them by feeding them (twice a day sparingly is more than enough! Overfeeding can kill them). You can even tap (GENTLY) or scratch on the glass pane of the tank with your fingertip, and they will hear it and look your way. Look them in the eye, and talk to them when you do, with voice (soft), eyes, and mind. Then, you will know what it means to "speak fluent goldfish". Do you know how great it feels when you and another species both know you are trying to communicate with each other ? (and at times, you both succeed! )
Goldfish really are QUITE capable of giving and receiving love. After you have had them and interacted with them for a while, they will eventually recognize your voice, and can be taught to respond to simple hand signals. Most of my fish lived from 3 to 5 years or more one lived to be 7 years old. They came in all sizes and all breeds non-fancy "feeder" fish (saved from the jaws of an Oscar or other toothy fish), standard dime-store fish like Goldie-Lox, or Fancy Orandas like Cheech, Chong, and Sarassy, and even the cute and comical round-bodied pearl-scale (priced from $5 and up). My last fish, a "common" calico lady fish named Orangeena, died after living with me for 4 ears. I rescued her from an abusive situation in 1995 found her floating belly up (but still alive!) in an algae-filled glass of water at a friend's house, and immediately took her home with me. Although she got better, she remained a somewhat crippled fishie who would turn belly-up every so often in her little bowl, but those last 4 years of hers were happy, clean and safe.
It is not as hard to keep goldfish as it is to keep tropical fish, BUT it is a good deal of work, initially. If you do it right, they will live for a long time, and you will know you are raising your goldfish in a clean and healthy environment.
TABLE OF CONTENTS (Links to Table of Contents, and fishie fotos will be in place by December)
THE TANK, and FILTRATION: Goldfish are hardy, yet delicate. How?? They create much more ammonia then most fish do, and therefore, a goldfish tank without pebbles (or with VERY FEW) is quite acceptable. Too many pebbles or sand/gravel, and their water will smell foul and turn milky white, and they will suffer or die. This is because the food and goldfish poop will fall under the pebbles and rot. So spare the pebbles and enjoy the view and (lack of) smell. Filters and aeration are also vitally important. However, filters that sit INSIDE the tank are not good food and poop collect under and behind them and will fly out all over the place, making the water really filthy, when you remove the filter to clean it. The best thing to have is an outside filtering unit (motor or air-pump driven) with filter, which hangs over the tank, an intake unit that sucks the dirty water (and NOT the fish!) into this outside filtering unit which has a replaceable zeolite and charcoal filter pad. (What is zeolite?? It looks like white charcoal, and, used with activated aquarium charcoal, it absorbs ammonia), and then a water return tube that goes back into the tank.
The filter unit and water return tube should not create so much turbulence that it knocks the fish over when it returns the cleaned water to the tank! The tank itself should be 10 to 20 gallons in capacity; a size capable of supporting several medium sized goldfish, or about a dozen of smaller ones don't place small fish with very big ones they will usually be eaten. A 30 gallon tank is great, but you must factor in Cleaning time, Water Replacement after cleaning the tank, Filter size and Air-pump size think of your budget too!
A goldfish will usually grow to accomodate the size of the tank, sometimes little tiny fish can sometimes grow to be big bruisers. Also, when they grow, their colors sometimes change (losing spots is quite common).
If you use filter cotton and zeolite and charcoal, only the zeolite and charcoal can be re-used after washing. If you use a filter pad, it along with the rest of the plastic filter unit, can be taken out, scrubbed (no soap or cleansers!!) and reverse-flushed under very hot and then cold water, and reused about three times for the filter, LOTS more times for the plastic unit and the intake and return tubes, which should also be scrubbed and cleaned inside with a "bottle" type brush (used only for the tank again, clean with hot water only -- NO soap of cleansers!!) and always wear rubber gloves. Water conditioners should also be used to remove heavy metals and chlorine from the new water that you will be putting into the tank.
1)NEVER remove more than ½ of the water in the tank if you remove more than ½ of the water, all that new water might easily kill the fish it almost happened to mine, when I was just starting out in all this. When you are initially putting fish into your new tank setup always add ALL of their old (the store's) tank water this way the old water will buffer the new water, there will be less of a chance that all that new water will send the fish into shock. 2)Never forcefully add water to the tank the force can (literally) cause the goldfish to suffocate, or it can injure the fish, so put your hand out to break the fall of the water, and ALWAYS wear rubber/latex gloves when cleaning the tank (to keep from catching any parasites through your skin). Make sure the goldfish do not get poisoned from the gloves brand name dishwashing gloves are usually fine don't use them for anything but cleaning the tan, and wash them (and all cleaning implements) in hot water (no soap residue is bad for fish he only substance you can use to disinfect tank-cleaning implements safely, that I know of, is kosher salt, or human-grade hydrogen peroxide. 3)When siphoning fish poop and other stuff from the floor of the tank (and the floor should be periodically "scrubbed" with a special tank sponge on a wand, too), put your fingers at the very end of the siphon tube and keep them there, so you don't siphon (ugh!) a fish eye or body part. If that tragedy should happen, put the fish immediately in a medicated tank or bowl of water (we'll talk about goldfish medication soon), so its buddies don't try to peck at it, and so that the fish heals, too. It will heal even blind fishies can get around. Bubble eye goldfish and Celestials (both with very delicate eyes) are best reserved for professional collectors, who keep them in one tank separate from the other fish (who seem to like going for their eyes.hmm.), and who clean their tanks with the greatest care. 4)The fish can remain in the tank while you are cleaning it exercise caution. DO NOT put the fish in plastic kiddie pools, or buckets or pails they will die. Trust me, they will die if you put them in these containers, as the plastic will kill them in short order. Even some metal containers are deadly to the fish or their water. Read up on this. (I always store my pre-conditioned water in gallon size water jugs as they are the safest to store the water in eventually the jugs will leak, so I don't store more than I will need, and as I drink bottled water, I always have a new supply of used jugs on hand). 5)Always pre-condition the new water before pouring it into the tank there are specific additives you can buy at the pet store; use them as directed. 6)[If you want to raise goldfish outside in a pond, get a book that tells you what containers and layouts are acceptable and safe (cat, dog and raccoon-proof, too) and leakproof. Bring the goldfish in for the winter and keep them safe in a tank unless you live in a warm temperate winter zone, they will usually freeze to death. Goldfish who live in ponds may get parasites. The ponds must be periodically cleaned and the fish checked for diseases. They can jump out of the ponds, so keep this in mind, and see what the experts have to say about this (A local Koi/Fancy Goldfish club would be a good place to look for pond information). Overhanging (safe) bordering plants MIGHT give the fish a point of reference as to where the "point of no return" is.
***Clean the tank at least once a week that way you do a small job once a week, and the tank stays clean. Remember to clean the inside of the glass and under the topmost crevices of the inner plastic frame around the tank gunk builds up there and can kill the fish after a while. If you are feeding your fish no more than a pinch of food, once or twice a day, the tank will stay cleaner and the fish will stay healthier. If you have a goldfish pond, then clean the pond according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Caves or big ceramic ornaments are good looking be sure you take the ornament out (make sure there are no fish hiding in them when you do!), clean em once in a while on the outside, with a safe sponge, (they, as well as the filters, hoses and air stones get a little slimy) and then clean inside the ornament's drain holes with a bottle brush (a bottle brush that is used to clean the filter is fine, just rinse it thoroughly, afterwards) .
-If you are worried that the heavy cave or ornament may tip over and break the glass, do this when you buy it:
1-Wash the cave or ornament in plain warm water (hot water if it is a used ornament), and let dry thoroughly do not place in tank yet!! 2-Cover the rough edges with a bead of transparent aquarium cement (buy a tube at the pet store it's non toxic when it dries) and let it dry for 2 3 days. Aquarium cement (Silicone Seal) smells like vinegar while it is curing that's natural the smell will go away after a while put it in a well-ventilated place when applying the seal, for your safety (follow the instructions that come with or are on the tube of silicone seal. 3-Then install the ornament (place it) inside the tank. DON'T glue it to the bottom of the tank it may cause a stress fracture if you do that, or it will definitely collect slime and poop on the bottom that you can't clean out yuk.
PREPARING A TANK
BEFORE you bring the fish home, set up the aquarium in the location it will remain in permanently. This includes tank, filter, tubing, air-pump and airstone. Use a good tank stand and make sure it is sturdy, stable, strong, will not move or wiggle and WILL NOT tip over when filled with water. You could also place the tank on the thick top of a sturdy piece of furniture (with maternal/paternal approval, and with plastic under the tank to catch any spills), as long as the furniture will not collapse or bend with the weight of the filled tank. NEVER put the tank in a bookcase unless the bookcase is built for that purpose, and DO NOT place the tank too close to a window -- fish may get too hot, or may get too cold, and too much sunlight will grow too much algae.
1: If you have a new tank, clean it by swabbing with some wet paper towels. Use good quality towels this time the poorer quality may have bleaches and dyes in it. I always get aquarium cement and run a bead of it over each inner joint and corner of the aquarium glass, to reinforce and strengthen the joints and corners, and then wait 3 or 4 days for it to dry completely (at which point it is then non-toxic).
2: If it's a used tank, clean it with water, paper towels and Kosher or aquarium salt (to disinfect it who knows what's crawling around in there!!. Do not use table salt OR winter driving salt it will kill them!) Wipe off the wet residue, rinse off with more paper towels and water, and let dry. Get rid of any salt residue, as the goldfish are NOT salt water fish (a little bit of salt residue won't kill them). Once the tank's inner surfaces are totally dry, it would be a good idea to run a bead of aquarium caulking cement on the joints and corners, to reinforce this old tank -- then wait 3 or 4 days for it to dry completely (at which point the dried cement is then non-toxic).
3: Then fill the tank carefully and slowly with water, and add the proper amount of water conditioner to the aquarium water. Set up the filter, the air-stones and air-pump (with all the tubing and valves necessary), plug in everything and adjust to a peaceful level of bubbles and noise you don't want too much pressure or agitation in the tank the fish will want to swim, not battle the current.. Add the cover and the light, and see how the filter and airstone/tubing fits through the cover. A shelf that hangs from the outside of the tank, OR even just secure a block of wood behind the tank area to set the air pump on, in order to place the air-pump higher than the tank would be a good idea. If the electricity goes off, the sudden vacuum created inside the air-stone's plastic tubing could siphon the water down and out of the tank, and into the air-pump. You DON'T want that to happen, so securing the airstone higher than the tank/the water level will prevent that. Just make sure the air-pump does not fall into the tank water!!! Of course you don't want to overload any circuits, so keep that in mind when you look for a place in your home to set up the tank and its electrical components.
5: If you have caves or tank ornaments, either cover their sharp edges with aquarium cement (and let dry for 3 or 4 days) or install in the tank and see how they fit in and if any adjustments need to be made.
6: Plants?? Install in the water and check/adjust. Turn on the light for a few hours a day (the light should NOT be on all day, as it will grow a lot of algae).
7: Let your tank setup run for a few days to condition the water, for you to get acquainted with the whole system and adjust it further, if necessary. CHECK for leaks, not only at the tank, but at the filter, too. Hopefully, all will be well. Keep all receipts and guarantees that came with your equipment. This is your new fishes' home environment for their next (we hope) 5 years or more. Leave enough space at the top of the tank to accommodate the water that the fish(es) will be transported in, when you bring them home from the pet store. They need their old water to help them survive initially, in their new tank.
8: If anything in the tank (plant, ornament, etc) is floating when you don't want it to float, you can buy special lead "twist-ties" at your aquarium. Just wrap them around the object to weight it down. You don't need much to do this. Try not to use real fishing sinkers -- 1) there's a lot of lead in them, and 2) you don't want to insult your fish.
9: Fish need a point of reference. If you put them in a glass tank or bowl with no background, they will easily panic, because they don't know which end is up! Get a plastic background and tape it to the rear glass of the tank it stays reasonably clean -- or even some pretty pictures on magazine pages taped to the back of the tank, will reassure the fish.
10: Fish have NO concept of where their environment ends. That is why an uncovered tank is DEADLY to any fish. They will jump out and die unless you restrain them by putting a porous and secure cover (porous, so their air can circulate and they will not suffocate) on the top of the tank or bowl. More info on tank or bowl covers can be found elsewhere in this guide.
11: Treat your fish like the individuals they are. They really think you are cool, too, even though you don't have gills!
1- NEVER lift up a tank that is filled with water it may look like it's holding together, but the sides are flexing, and since water weighs about 10 or more pounds per gallon and ALL that water pressure is pushing this way and that in the tank -- it will spring a leak, if not break outright.
2- NEVER clean a fish tank with those commercial household sponges that have a green scraper on one side it is TOXIC, and has proven lethal (deadly) in fish tanks. What you need to use will be found in any pet store, and even a well-stocked pet department in a 5 and dime store. It is a sponge on a long scraper-type wand, with grit on one side of it works fine. You can also use cleaning magnets, which I don't like, and they are "OK" but I think they place a lot of pressure on the glass and also they are not as versatile or as thorough as the sponge-on-a-wand. I think a natural sponge would be fine check with the pet store, and disinfect a natural sponge with aquarium salt or kosher salt (why? Because they have no additives like table salt does) before you use it for the first time, and then rinse thoroughly. NEVER use commercial disinfectant either it will kill the fish, even if there is just a tiny bit of residue. If you keep your fish tank, filter and accessories reasonably clean, and you do NOT overfeed, then your fish will be healthy. Overfeeding or filthy tanks cause worms, parasites and infection -- no one, human or fish wants that.
3- ALWAYS use the same gloves and cleaning implements for the tank and the tank alone do not use them for anything else! Wash them with hot water after use, and keep them stored in a clean, dry accessible place, away from any insecticides or chemicals.
4-NEVER spray insecticides or explode bug bombs near the fish tank it WILL kill them; bug bombs are also unfriendly to humans, and any other pets you have. 5-I've heard of people taking the old, used goldfish water and watering their gardens with them. I don't think it's a good idea to do this if you have used any aquarium antibiotics in the tank water.
NOW goldfish CAN live in a bowl for years as long as you know what to do: It's almost as much work as a tank. Here goes:
A-Every bowl needs a cover. You will have to form one from stainless steel screening (gutter screening is ok, too) try not to use aluminum it's not always goldfish friendly. Just cut a piece (square is usually ok) larger than the top of the bowl and form it into a form-fitting shape onto the top of the bowl. Don't put plastic on the top of the bowl, or anything solid the fish will suffocate from the lack of air and from the concentration of ammonia from their poop and uneaten food. B-An air-stone would be great!! Make sure the bubbles are gentle, but plentiful. C-Leave enough room at the top of the bowl for air space if you fill the bowl to the top with water, believe it or not, that will reduce the amount of oxygen available to the fish and it could suffocate. D-Keep a plastic jug on hand (that once held water or juice rinse it first), and fill it with tap water let it sit for a few days, or add aquarium conditioner to it. Then -- every day , wearing your rubber gloves OR at the very most every other day -- use a clean turkey baster (use it for the fishbowl only!) to siphon out poop. Remove about 1/3 of the water and then clean the insides of the bowl (careful, fishy!) with a paper towel or your aquarium sponge, to remove slime buildup the fish can remain in the bowl just clean around the fishie (you could securely hold and then carefully tilt the glass fish bowl over a sink with the drain closed so in case the fish flops out of the bowl while you are cleaning the bowl, the fish won't fall through the drain). Then carefully add the clean water. Feed fishy afterwards -- a small amount once a day is fine in a bowl with no filter, you have to be EXTRA careful about keeping it clean. Orangeena lived for 4 years in a bowl. E-Put the fish bowl back on its safe secure perch and watch your fish's happy antics as s/he eats in a clean environment. I have literally seen fish frisking and jumping (with joy?) after I have cleaned their tank or bowl.
Sounds like a lot of work?? Takes about as much effort as brushing your teeth and showering/shaving. Turn it into a daily routine and it 1) won't seem like an effort, 2) will keep the fish and its little home clean.
Wash the plants first, before putting in tank they may have worms or parasites or other fishes' diseases in them from the pet store's tanks a mild saline solution (use only Kosher or Aquarium salt!) will help disinfect them before you place them your tank. Live plants can be kept if you have a balanced-spectrum light and use it once a day but even then the plant may rot. Sanderiana, a live, green and white striped plant with orange roots, does well inside the tank, in water, AND outside the tank, in soil. Plastic plants are great, but they get dirty and must be taken out to be cleaned. Not only that, but sometimes their sharp edges will trap a goldfish and it could die in the plant's plastic clutches (I've seen it happen). Better idea -- arrange the plastic plant outside the tank I used to tape mine nicely on the outside of the glass it looked great, the fish still had a place to hide behind, and everything stayed a lot cleaner!
Please don't over feed! Let the goldfish "yell" and "goldfish bark" as much as they want better to see them lively and "hungry" than to see them sick and dying from overfeeding. Put a pinch of food in your fingers and feed them. See how much they eat and who doesn't get fed. Adjust your feeding routine so they all eat. Feeding once a day is fine twice is the maximum. Freeze dried food is very rich and can kill them in quantity use it only as a treat and consider it a meal at all times. Vary the food Tetra makes great flake foods other brands of fish's color flake food is good, too -- a variety of ingredients make the goldfish's colors vivid. Pellets pollute. Table scraps are forbidden, except for a very small amount of rolled up and concentrated (squeeze between the fingers so they don't crumble in the water) brownie crumbs who can resist that! If you go away for a few days, make sure you leave "vacation food" for the fish. They can also go a day without feeding, but keep their filter and airstone running always! Of course you don't want to overload any electrical circuits, so keep that in mind when you look for a place in your home to set up the tank and its electrical components.
Live food can introduce parasites and disease into your tank. Live food is expensive, too, and unnecessary.
WARNING! WARNING! Goldfish JUMP !!
I came home one day and found one of my very vivacious fishies, Lamont, all dried up inside of my art portfolio. I buried him in a beer can coffin and went out and bought a sturdy cover for the tank, with a light. You should buy one before tragedy strikes. A really good one is the wire mesh one (heavy duty) made for a hamster or reptile's tank -- you will need to modify it to adapt the filter, but with patience it can be done. Other covers with lights are also readily available just make sure that when you install them, there is little or no space for the fish to jump through, and that they don't close off the air at the top of the tank, which causes ammonia to build up inside the tank.
GOLDFISH HEALTH, AND PRECAUTIONS:
Goldfish need ALOT of oxygen. Use an airstone or two, with good bubbles coming from the bottom of the tank, but not enough to knock the fish this way and that. You will, of course, pair up the airstone with a pump try to buy one that puts out enough power and is fairly quiet. You must run the air-pump all the time, and you and the fish will be happy with less noise. Use brass valves to adjust the flow of air. Air-stones should be cleaned (gently the stones are fragile the wands, less so). If you turn off a filter or airstone, you run the risk of reversing the purification process and letting poisons build up in the tank this could easily kill the fish. So could warm temperatures goldfish are cold water fish and although it is not critical when it comes to Ph (7.0 to 7.2 or thereabouts) or temperature (60's and low 70's), they do need to be within what is a safe range for them. Books on goldfish care are plenty and cheap. Invest in one or two. A stick-on, outside-the-tank thermometer is a good investment to monitor the water temperature with, as is a Ph indicator (inexpensive). In the summer, float an ice cube or two in their filter if the room gets too hot, and monitor the fish. Don't let them die from the heat.
COMMON GOLDFISH AILMENTS and WHAT TO DO WHEN THEY ARE SICK:
First and foremost when taking a fish out of the tank for any reason use a net! DO NOT pick it out of the tank with your hands! Make sure the net is the right size for the fish! You don't want to see a sad eyed fishie all folded up in a net too small for it it may even flop out onto the floor it is stressed enough already, just being in the net, and it will lose a few scales from being netted (akin to us scraping our knuckles), so be gentle to it.
I have heard that since goldfish are cold-blooded, they cannot transmit their ailments to us warm-blooded folks. But even so, wear gloves when handling them you really don't know what else may be in the water. If it is a comfort to you, I never caught anything, even after twenty (20) years of raising and handling my goldfish.
You will find capsules and tablets galore in the pet shop, with instructions on what diseases they are used for and how they are used. Handle them carefully. If you are allergic to penicillin or erythromycin, or whatever, they ARE also marketed for goldfish diseases, so watch how you handle them. I always use capsules, as they are easy to open and dissolve and you can control the portions (such as: using ½ a capsule). Another reason why I don't use tablets is because the major marketer of tablets laughed at me when I called to ask them how I should treat my goldfish (who was eventually cured), so I swore never to use their products.
NEVER start with the recommended dosage start with ½ a capsule and see how the fish respond. I accidentally killed two beautiful and cute goldfish because I used the recommended dose -- it was way too much for them. I still greatly regret my mistake.
It is the best idea to separate the fish and put it in its own tank or bowl. Antibiotics not only kill the harmful bacteria, they also kill the beneficial bacteria that live in the filter. But if you can't separate the fish, well, you can't separate it. Press on regardless
Keep caring for the sick fish in the same way you would if it was healthy aeration, food (if it will eat), cleanliness. If you cannot separate the fish, then medicate and hope for the best keep an eye out for the healthy ones, to make sure the medication does not HURT them! You can keep the filter running some medication instructions say to disconnect it, but I always kept the filters running -- I found that filtration during illness adds a healthier aspect to the sick ward, and helps remove toxins. And you should keep cleaning the tank, as you always do.
Now as for what ails them:
1.Ich (Ichthyopthirius multifiliis) You will see some fuzzy white raised spots on the fish. If left untreated, you will soon see LOTS of fuzzy white raised spots on the fish even on the plants. If left untreated, it will kill the fish. HOWEVER, it is EASY to treat and cure. Add warm (NOT HOT!!) water until the temperature in the tank is 80 degrees. You can use the appropriate medication, OR you can use the special Malachite Green sold in pet stores (use one drop of the .075 solution concentrate per gallon of water, and keep it away from good clothing), OR you can mix a tablespoon (start with a little less) of sea salt or kosher salt per gallon of water. This treatment must be continued for at least 10 (ten) days. Malachite green is also good if the fish looks sick but you can't tell what is ailing it. Make sure the fish is cured before putting back into the regular tank, if you have separated it. 2.Skin or Gill FlukesAnything hanging on the fish??? (Other than poop, or fins and tail) ooops it's being eaten alive!! Adding a few copper pennies to the tank helps BUT this is an EXACT SCIENCE! you MUST monitor the Ph daily to make sure the fish are not getting copper poisoning! Don't want to do that? Then buy the correct aquarium antibiotic/pharmaceutical and use according to instructions again, add a little less than the recommended dosage to start with. Keep an eye on the fish make sure the water and filter are clean, and once they have healed, THROW OUT all the old filter material, and wash/scrub the filter thoroughly in hot water, and I presume you have been changing the tank water periodically don't stop just because they are sick. You will have to renew the medication each time you change the water, but heythey are your fish and you love them and are caring for them. Imagine me doing this with my seven tanks! 3.Pop-eyeThe fish's eye swells up and eventually pops open not as yukky as it seems. Caused by bacteria, or abscesses, or fluid buildup. Use the proper medication you may not be able to save the eye (Googles had it. Once she lost the eye, she would just cozy up to the side of the tank and look at me sweetly with her good eye). 4.DropsyThis is a bad one. Do not overfeed, keep the tank and filter clean, and your fish will probably not get this disease. With dropsy, the fish bloats up and the scales stand out from the body. Lots of times, the kidneys and liver are affected. Samantha Sunkist had this twice. The first time, I WAS able to save her and she lived for another 2 years. The second time, I tried again, but she eventually died from it. When a fish has dropsy it will still eat. When it stops eating, it may be a sign that it is going to die, and then you will probably have about 1 day to say your good-byes to your finny friend. 5.Fungus, Mouth-Rot, Tail-RotUsually respond to Tetracycline or other indicated antibiotic. All these diseases usually mean that the tank and/or filter is not being cleaned properly, and/or the fish are being fed too much. Tail and fins will usually grow back after the fish has been cured of the ailment. 6.WormsWhen you see worms attached to your fish, the fish can be lifted out of the water with a net, placed on a firm surface, or on a shallow pan of water, gently held there don't press on it!! (if you put wet cotton over the fish's face, it will help keep it calm just don't leave it out of water for long!!), and the worm(s) tweezered off and properly/safely discarded. Paint the wound with Mercurochrome; you can also use (I never tried this!) Turpentine, using a small brush, which should then be sterilized and ready for the next use. Try not to get anything in the fish's gills or eyes. Blow gently on the Mercurochrome/Turpentine (Turpentine is flammable and has fumes, store it carefully!) and then put the fish back into the tank. Needless to say, the Mercurochrome, or Turpentine and brush should be used only for the fish, and NOT be used for any humans in the household! Be sure you check the other fish in the tank for worms, etc., too. 7.Fused Mouth!! Yes sometimes a) a fungus, or b) eating too much hard food (which will scrape the skin on a goldfish's mouth) will cause the fish's mouth to fuse -- partially or FULLY shut !! It will easily cause death, because the fish cannot breathe! (they bring the water through their mouths and it filters oxygen through the gills that's how they breathe. If their mouths are fused shut, they die). This is what I have done to save them and it MUST be done, even if you are squeamish -- CAREFULLY and respectfully. Sterilize and then wash off an exacto or small sharp knife, get some salt (table, kosher or aquarium). Take the afflicted fish out of the water, put it gently and carefully with gloved hands or something just as gentle, onto a large moist piece of cotton or lyers of wet gauze -- and (I used the scissors from a miniature Swiss ARmy KNife-- a good one) cut open its mouth (to its original, natural size) along the natural mouth lines. You can determine the natural mouth lines by gently squeezing its jaws to open the mouth if it is capable of opening, even a little bit. Then when you have cut open the mouth to its natural size, rub some salt on it, to keep the cut from healing. If you are lucky, you will be able to do this on the first try. Once you finish this operation, observe the fish carefully for the next 24 to 48 hours -- sometimes the mouth closes up again, and you have to re-cut and re-salt it. Ugh! But better thsi than having your friend die of suffocation!! This is the only thing I find that works. I was hurting, the fish were hurting, but it had to be done (or they would die) Once they totally healed from this, their lives were saved and their little mouths were able to open fully again! Miss Moustache, and Mr Bee all had to go through this, sometimes more than once, when they were very small fish. So, if you keep the hard food away from your fish, they will run less risk of fused mouth. 8.Did I forget anything??? This is a good reason to get a book look through them some books deal more with the fancy aspects and others cover fish care in depth. Price does not mean anything look at the book before you buy it. 9.ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES
I have used Golden Seal solutions added to the water, about ½ cup per ten gallons Golden Seal in a non-alcohol tincture or Golden Seal Tea which has been cooled down (careful, it is powerful! Use only a small amount per size of fish and size of tank). This herb tea kills poisons. DO NOT use it at the same time you are using antibiotics they will cancel each other out. I alternated using antibiotics, and after a few days, using golden seal.
I have also used "FOOD GRADE" (Only "Food Grade" is safe!!) Hydrogen Peroxide this seems to help sick fish who need more oxygen. Again, use only a small amount per size of fish and size of tank.
BUYING A FISH AND BRINGING IT HOME -- WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR AND WHAT TO DO
When you bring a fish home from the pet store, first of all, make you have a fish that does not show any signs of illness if it is ill and you want to buy it anyway, you will need to put it in a separate tank with appropriate medication for its specific illness/condition until it gets well or dies peacefully. I have sometimes taken home sick fish deliberately I've taken pity on some of the sick goldfish who I know may not get the best treatment because people think they are "just goldfish" and are "expendable".
However, once you have determined which fish you want to buy, ask the person (who nets the fish out of the store's tank and puts it in a water-filled bag for you to take home) to please double that bag just in case the first bag leaks, the second bag will retain the water. It's also a good idea for you to bring with you and extra plastic baggie with no holes in it (like a food grade sandwich bag), just in case the salesperson won't "double bag" your fish. You DON'T want the fish's temporary home (the little plastic bag) to leak on the way to its new home, your fish tank!!
ALWAYS make sure that there is AIR SPACE (an AIR POCKET) above the water level when the bag has been sealed and the fish is in it the air pocket is needed to keep the fish alive. If the bag is filled to the very top with water, the fish may use up all the oxygen in the water and die.
ALWAYS make sure you transport the fish in its bag, in an UPRIGHT position, or else the fish might be forced into the air pocket with no water, and could die...
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR FISH IN ITS BAG WHILE YOU ARE TRANSPORTING IT, UNTIL IT IS SAFELY SWIMMING IN ITS TANK AT YOUR HOME.
Also, I HAVE used baggies (and other plastic bags that were made to carry food) to carry fish in, BUT I ALWAYS kept checking them BEFORE I LEFT THE STORE OR MY HOME, to make sure they were not suffering or reacting badly to the plastic -- some plastics give off fumes that can kill the fish. Be careful.
When you get home, you may want to quarantine the new fish in a separate tank to which you have already added a MILD solution of Kosher Salt, or antibiotics. (Check for worms, snails or parasites in the bag's water or on the new fish, too).
Or else, just put the fish in the existing tank. The salesperson will usually tell you to float the bag (with the fish still in it) in the tank water for a few minutes, before you open the bag and release the fish into the tank water. This is so the fish gets used to the water temperature well, I used to do this until I noticed that 1) the bag would sometimes roll over and leave the fish out of its water, and 2) all the fish would get VERY distressed because they could not understand why they couldn't swim over to meet their new tank-mate(s).
When you get home with your new fish, if you REALLY want to float the bag containing the fish, on top of the tank (and you should add a MILD dose of Kosher salt or antibiotics to the tank water in preparation for receiving the new fish) you should:
1-STAY THERE AND WATCH the fish in its bag to make sure water in the bag does not roll sideways, exposing the fish out of water 2-DON'T FORGET THAT THE FISH IS IN THE BAG! After 3 or 4 minutes, open the bag and let the fish out into the tank. 3-Since the other fish in the tank (and the fish in the bag) get stressed because they can't figure out this "invisible barrier" between them and the new fish (it's the bag) this is stressful. 4-SO, I just open the bag and let the fish and its bag water slide into the tank, to which I have already added mild medication and/or some kosher salt solution. 5-Keep an eye on the new fish and the fish already in the tank for a couple of weeks, to make sure no disease or parasites have been transmitted.
It is a very kind gesture to buy some "feeder goldfish" to take home with you so they can live in peace (poor things they are raised to be eaten alive by other fish) . Buy them and take them home let them live a happy, natural life in your fish tank be sure they are not small enough that your other goldfish could eat them!! You have rescued these feeder fish from a terrible fate, and your kindness will be rewarded one day. Feeder fish are the most poorly treated fish in the pet store. Sometimes they jump out of their tank and fall on the floor. No one seems to care!! They get stepped on and killed or die of asphyxiation. Look for these fish when you go into the store, and if you see any lying on the floor, be kind and pick them up. If they are in any way still alive (sometimes they are barely moving, but are still alive), put them back into their tank, as a humane, loving gesture.
HOW CAN YOU TELL A BOY GOLDFISH FROM A GIRL GOLDFISH???
In this non-gender-specific world we live in today, goldfish seem to blend right in. But, lo and behold the sexes CAN be identified sometimes by obvious, sometimes by subtle signs.
Male Goldfish -- USUALLY have "tubercules" raised dots, on their gill plates (hmm, is this "goldfish 'five-o'clock shadow?'") and also on the edges of their pectoral (front) fins. Sometimes they DON'T!! But they're still boy fish!! If they don't show any tubercules, observe them from the rear, and look for symmetrical hips, both sides (even if it is a round-bodied fish). Look for aggressive behavior -- usually the males are aggressive, but not always!! sweet feminine, female Sarassy was one of the "white sharks of the goldfish kingdom".
Female Goldfish -- the females usually have one hip bigger than the other (for stowing the eggs), and/or lumpy rear ends. Sorry fishgals Usually demonstrate sweet and feminine behavior honest, I'm not being sexist. Dainty at times so cute!!!!
GOLDFISH MATING HABITS!!! (SHOCKING!!) Not really. But it makes for a good show. When the water warms up, you will see one fish chasing another (or a whole production of fish doing this) madly through the tank. No, they are not fighting! The male smells the female's ripened eggs (still in her egg sac) and chases her. As she swims, she lays the eggs (hundreds, probably thousands of them). They are compressed, in her body. When they hit the water, they expand, but they are still small. The male will fertilize the eggs as they descend. It can be quite a frenzied sight, so MAKE SURE the tank cover is on securely (as it should ALWAYS be). The fish can also both get SUPER TIRED from mating, so it would be a good idea to separate the males from the females if you don't want this behavior (one tank for each the guy fish will get together and chew the fat "Hey, that lady fish yeah, I usta know her", or something like that, and the lady fish will probably discuss the latest in flowing fins. Just kidding.)
HOW OFTEN DO THEY MATE??? They could do it every week if they are physically capable of it. That means, lots of eggs to clean out, and it does smell (although they will eat some eggs, most of them don't get eaten). Well, maybe you could let them mate once, and then separate them. Goldfish CANNOT be spayed or neutered. But your cats and dogs and bunnies sure can be spayed and neutered -- and must !! ( 7 MILLION beautiful, healthy happy and loving Cats and Dogs and Bunnies put to death every year because there are NOT enough homes for all of them!! Spay and Neuter, please!)
RAISING THE BABY GOLDFISHYes, you can do it. The eggs are sticky, and will stick to the glass, ornaments, plants, filter you really can't "scrape" them off, but may be able to gently take them out using a turkey baster (dedicated only to tank use!) and you certainly can remove plants and ornaments from the tank, with the eggs sticking to them!). You will need to separate the eggs/new babies from the adults i.e., put them in a bowl or tank with extremely gentle aeration, and after they absorb their egg sac (3 or 4 days after they hatch), you can feed them dried "fry" food, or baby goldfish food (they are "fry" when they are babies). Do not overfeed, but as they are babies, feed them about 2 or 3 times a day. You can also get liquid fry food but as it is made from eggs, it smells BAD!!!
On the second day after the goldfish eggs are laid, you will see a developing fish in each egg, all curled up inside. It will start to move. Then it will hatch, with the rest of the egg sac as their belly its first food supply. It is extremely important that you keep their tank VERY CLEAN, looking out for fungus which is sometimes invisible, but quite slimy and deadly. Not always EZ to keep their tank clean (top, bottom and sides) when you are dealing with such tiny creatures, since you don't want to squoosh them, so easy does it -- it can be done with patience.
After 4 to 6 weeks, they will recognize you, even though they are still extremely small. With patience, and after 4 to 6 months, they will look like goldfish -- beautiful colors, cute fat little babies and they will look like Mom or Dad or both. Then you can probably increase aeration and add filtration, as long as they do not get sucked into the filter maybe aeration and proper tank cleaning would be best until they are big enough to stay in the tank instead of getting sucked into the filter (dangerous!). The young fish are fun to watch. Sometimes they play -- they are almost like the puppies of the fish world!
ONLY when they are big enough should you put them back with their parents. You don't want big mom or dad eating tiny junior.
Do Momfish and Dadfish recognize Junior??? I don't know all I know is GoldieLox DID swim around with his pretty daughter, Lox, and Googles and her dad Shbunk did seem to get along well, but if they knew their parents well that's a mystery to me.
NOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO MEET THE GOLDFISH GANG???
The first time I met goldfish was not in the best of circumstances. I was 4 years old, my Mom had bought two, kept them in a bowl, and never changed the water! I remember seeing an orange and a black goldfish both dead. Even at that young age, I felt so sad for them.
Ringo was my first goldfish. S/he was a gold and black "comet" a long skinny body, a common goldfish. I bought him in 1965, at Drug Fair, for 29 cents. I bought a manual on goldfish care, for 49 cents, and a HUGE brandy snifter. I was surprised when the salesman said I had to change the water once a day, because I had no filter. So I did. Ringo was my first fish, and the first to show me that interspecies communication WAS possible. I never figured out Ringo's sex, but it was, due to the body shape, probably a male. He would swim to greet me when I came to the side of the bowl, and would be very "vocal" about getting fed. We would also just stand and stare at each other he had a placid, but inquisitive face. After 2 years, we were good friends. One VERY hot day, in my apartment with no air conditioning, I suddenly found him floating belly up, but still alive. I rushed to change the water, but he died while I was doing so. Poor little guy. I learned a lot from you Ringo, but not as much as I should have.
I waited a few years, and then, while working in a dept store, I bought my next fish (and got my 20% discount!). After contemplating the store's tank for a few days, I got the liveliest of the lot, a large (about 3" long) copper-colored regal fish I named "GoldieLox". He looked like a miniature largemouth Bass reincarnated as a goldfish, and he carried himself with bravura and presence. Other fish soon joined him from the same store Lamont, Shbunk, and others.
GoldieLox was a macho-macho male, and a great buddy, who loved to greet me with a sometimes soft expression in his eyes and face. He initially had some mold on his body, so I placed him in little bowl, and put him under a red light at night, and then a little indirect (be careful!) sun during the day (This was Winter time). I could se his little bowl on the windowsill, and him placidly sitting in it, as I was downstairs waiting for the bus to go to work. He was cured this was my first time dealing with a goldfish illness, and I was proud of myself!
GoldieLox turned out to be quite bombastic, and would swam through the tank with gusto. He would demand to be fed, in a most blustery manner. If the food floated by him and all the other fish were eating, he would pretend to eat, just to save face.
He had a way of making statements. When I introduced Catfish Stu into the tank (and forgot to point him out to Goldie), Mr. Lox, nibbling on Stu's hard body, panicked and proceeded to pick up pebbles in his mouth and throw them on poor Stu ! When PLUMP Miss Chong (with a surprised expression on her face) tripped over her long long flowing fins, fell and landed on his head, ruining his act while he was demanding to be fed, GoldieLox followed her buxom form sinking to the bottom of the tank, where, once she fell with a thump, he nose butted her relentlessly as she helplessly lay there with fins flailing. He did not take any nonsense from anyone!
One day, GoldieLox swam up to me, looked at me pointedly (you cold almost see him knitting his "brow" in thought) and said something to me in a silent goldfish bark. Then he waited for my response. I knew he was trying to tell me something, but could only shrug my shoulders at him. "What do you want, fishie??" He tried again, and again. I thought maybe he wanted food, but when I fed him, he even let the food go by him, still waiting for my response.. Alas, I knew not what wanted perhaps he was saying "identify yourself, oh you with no gills!" He fathered some cute babies, notably Zero, a dainty gold version of her dad, who actually swam with him when she was old enough to hobnob with the big fish.
One night, I dreamed that GoldieLox (now 5 years old) was having seizure-like fits, and trying to jump through the top of the tank. When I woke up, I went to look at him, and was greeted by his questioning face looking at me from the top of the water -- he looked OK. Later that day, though, the fits started. They were so violent that he bruised himself from hitting top of the tank cover -- I had to move him to a separate tank with a lowered water level. I talked to him as I usually did, just to calm him. I had to go to work, and my mother came by to look in on him -- he was very weak, but he tried to swim to her when he heard her voice. After two days, the fits and his strength were subdued, and his stalwart soul left his tired body. Even in the stillness of death, he looked like he was trying to attack an enemy. I buried him in a wooden English Leather Cologne box -- a fitting tribute to a remarkable fish.
Shbunk, who came from the same dept store tank as GoldieLox, was a large, quiet, contemplative, well-mannered, portly gentleman gold with black spots, he had fat cheeks. My friends used to laugh at the funny way his eyes wiggled left and right as he swam. He never participated in the favorite goldfish game of "Swim through the Tickling Air Bubbles", except once. He mustered up his courage, lined up behind the other fish, swam through the bubbles quickly, and, composure intact (although he did wiggle when the bubbles tickled), he gathered his fins about him and swam away in a dignified manner. He and GoldieLox mated with Friend, and his babies, Googles, and Attila the Hungry, a telescope-eyed "transparent", exhibited his recessive telescope-eye genes.
Lamont was a gold comet. He swam happily with Lox and Shbunk, and was a sweet, mild mannered fishie who unfortunately jumped out of the tank when I was out. I came home, counted goldfish noses, and knew right away what happened. Uh oh. I found him, all dried up, inside my artist's portfolio. Poor Lamont!! I'm sorry I did not have a cover on the tank!! I wrapped him and put him in a beer can coffin.
Friend was a "nerd". A skinny silver "comet" goldfish, bought to replace Lamont, she looked like a sardine. So svelte I though she was a guy fish but she laid more eggs than there are stars in the skies. Every night when I came home, the fish would hear my key in the lock and would be wiggling, nose to glass in the closest corner of the fish tank as I came in the door! Except for Friend! Friend usually panicked, and with one swoop, would get stuck under the ornaments! I had to extricate her as she lay, pinned under the ornament! She actually lived a long time, but eventually what looked like arthritis set in, and she went, peacefully. Her babies were Googles, Attila the Hungry, Zero, Bagel, Sweetsie, and the others whose names I can't remember.
Beauty -- one day as I walked through my favorite pet store, I saw a tank full of Jack Dempseys (aggressive fish with teeth), in the SAME tank as a group of peaceful Pearlscale goldfish!!! What a mistake to put those two different breeds together!! Well, they had all just come in by plane (most fish are transported that way), and one of the Pearlscales had not had a pleasant trip he was weak, and the Dempseys were ripping into him, chasing him through the tank. They would have killed him. He had already lost an eye and his scales were a bit ragged. When the Dempseys saw me, they'd stare at me, but would stay away from Beauty. I knew I had to do something. I told one of the sales clerks about the situation and offered to buy Beauty "as is". He sold me Beauty for ½ price. I took Beauty home and put him in a medicated bowl by himself, but close to another tank, so he could see his new goldfish friends-to-be. He was probably in shock, but he ate a little and on the 2nd day would come toward me and just stare at me, too weak to do anything. On the 3rd day he died, but at least he died in peace, surrounded by love.
Plumpkin was a plump, orange colored fish. She always had a little trouble swimming, so one night, as I passed the tank, I saw her flailing, but was so tired, I figured she was just having her usual trouble, so I went to bed. The next day as I approached her tank, I noticed the fish were behaving as if they were spooked by something. And there was Plumpkin's little body, crumpled in a corner. From then on, I always said goodnight to my fish, realizing that some of them might not make it through the night.
Rosie and Tomato -- two cute and chubby baby Redcap Orandas they were no more than 3 months old little tiny things, when I got them. Tomato had upswept fins a "fault" that would have disqualified her from being a show fish, but so what she was endearing!! Unfortunately, she died very young, from a fungus that resisted my attempts to cure her. I still miss her -- Rosie lived on to become a big plump lady, and died from old age.
Spats, and Spots -- were the cutest little baby fish! About 6 months of age, plump, chubby and playful. Spats was a Calico Shbunkin gorgeous blue, white, black and orange with a big fantail; s/he had a ring around one eye that gave a perpetually surprised look. Spots was a Chinese Sarassa, Orange and white very pretty and demure. They were also the sad reason why I bought Sarassie and Spaetzle. I overmedicated Spats and Spots, and they died.I buried them together under an old oak tree. I learned from that NEVER to add the specified medication add about ½ the recommended dosage and monitor the fish so that they recover from their illness just fine. Sarassie was most probably Spots' sister looked very much like her and was the last Chinese Sarassa left in the shop's tank so I bought her. It took me a year to find another fish who looked a lot like Spats thus Spaetzle became his name.
Sarassie - was a Prima Donna , a dainty fat white fishie (Oranda Redcap) with orange lips, orange-rimmed eyes and long beautiful flowing gauzy fins -- her rotund shape reminded me of plump baby girls in crinoline petticoats running on chubby legs and playing with baby abandon. She loved to hunker down and stare at me she was really a character! Sarassie, however, would not tolerate ANY fish in her domain that dainty little girl would do a double take whenever I'd try to introduce another fish into her domain, and would attack the newcomer until I netted it and put it back in the big tank, with its friends and "schoolmates". She lived for about 4 years, and had her aerated bowl all to herself, which was just fine with her.
Moustache and Bumblebee - Miss Moustache (a dainty globe-shaped girlie, a calico/golden fantail) and her brother, Bumblebee (a goldfish with stripes on his rear that made him look like a fish-bee), were two TINY goldfish that I took home with me one day. Even after years of caring for my other goldfish, I took one look at Moustache and Bumblebee, swimming in a panic in their little plastic fish bag, and was in awe of their TINY size I felt a major responsibility of making sure they stayed alive. I put them in a small, well-appointed goldfish tank by themselves, and they spent the next two days terrified, with their noses pointed at the rear of the tank, trying to "burrow out" ! Finally, it dawned on them that I was their source of food, and I would break up laughing to see how this little tiny fish, Moustache, no bigger than the nail on my pinky, would swim up to me and impertinently "yap" at me in goldfish language, tossing her head and wiggling imperiously, demanding that I feed her!
Moustache was a Prima Donna my mother called her "the Debutante". She loved to daintily swim up to greet me and toss her head; she knew she was a gorgeous young miss, and acted it. One day, I brought home a cute baby Lionhead, and put her in the bowl with these two babies. Goldfish, being sociable, this one swam over to Moustache, but Moustache turned her fishie nose up and swam away, snubbing Miss Lionhead! After a day or two, the Lionhead was tolerated!
When Moustache matured, her developing ovaries/egg-sacs must have grown into her swim bladder, as she slowly became crippled, listing to the left or right as she tried to swim. I remember the last time she struggled to swim up to me and imperiously tossed her head at me she almost fell over. As she righted herself, she seemed to know that something was wrong she never tossed her head again.. In fact, she spent the last year and a half of her life on her side, on the bottom of the tank, dragging herself to greet me. My mom had, at the same time, lost much of the use of her legs from diabetes, so Mom would slowly walk herself over to the tank to say hi to Moustache, and Moustache , with a pleasant look on her face (they do have expressions!) would sweetly and daintily drag herself over to greet Mom. All other fish were moved from that tank, as they picked at Moustache and would try to hurt her. Every so often, Moustache would get the equivalent of a bedsore from lying on her side. I would medicate her water gently, and/or Golden Seal it (just a small amount it's powerful!) and the sore would heal. I also became very adept at dropping food down to her so it fell right in front of her she'd gobble it up. Red flakes of fish food or Brownie crumbs were a special treat, and she wiggled happily when presented with those!
One evening, as I made the rounds of my fish tanks, I came over to see her I talked to her as usual, and patted her nose through the glass. I then left and went about my business, but soon "heard" her in my head calling to me like a happy child . I ran over to the tank she WAS waiting for me. I stroked her nose through the glass - she stayed and looked at me sweetly. As I prepared to leave, I felt that she wanted more! So I said "you want more?? OK!" and I "stroked her nose" some more. Then I left. When I came back a few minutes later, her face was turned to the back of the tank, and she was dead. I felt REAL bad!!!! Then I realized that she had been saying goodbye to me!! Moustache was about 3 years old.
I left her there overnight, to make sure she really had passed away. When I lifted her still, stiff form out of the tank the next morning, she really smelled like perfume!! Most dead goldfish would smell like dead fish, but not this one! I wrapped her in lace, with her favorite red flake food (alas, I had no brownie crumbs to add!), then wrapped her little shroud again in layers of tin foil and taped everything shut. I took this precious package and buried Moustache among the spring violets in Goldfish Park. My shoes were wet and muddy, and I had to go home before I went to work. When I entered the apartment and saw her empty tank, I was struck with a sad sense of loss. I think that when the Pearly Gates swung open and Moustache swam through, God was most pleased to place this dear little impertinent girlie fish with flowing fins upon the flowing golden robes of His lap.
Bumble Bee lived to be 7 years old. He developed a tumor on his forehead -- I medicated and "Golden sealed" him alternately, and he kept living in clean surroundings. He died peacefully.
Cheech and Chong were, once again, two baby Redcap Orandas. They were lively, mischievous tiny fat babies who bounced off tank walls, off grumpy old Lionhead fishes who shook their fins with displeasure, and off each other!! When they were a year old, they grew to be BIG FAT FISHIES! Cheech got sick, and, before I realized that plastic pails could kill, I separated him from the other fish and medicated him, in a big plastic pail. Aaargh! The plastic pail proved poisonous to him, and he died before I realized what was happeningChong, on the other hand, eventually grew to be a HUGE FAT lady fishie! A Brunhilda-type fish, the size and shape of an oversize golfball, Chong had a winning personality and over-long fins that got her in trouble She had flowing fins that were so long, she would sometimes "trip" over them and plummet to the bottom of the 30 gallon tank, taking other innocent fish with her! She also had a mate who adored her Shtoonk a fantail shbunkin who was 1/3 her size! He learned to duck and wince whenever she swam over him! They mated and produced babies, one of whom was Childea an allwhite, otherwise spitting image of his mother, fat cheeks and all. Catfish Stu took an inordinate liking to Childea, and would try to cozy up to him whenever he got the chance Childea was greatly offended by this and would wiggle away in a huff, to no avail.
Chong was so pleasant!! She loved to greet me. My radio was near the fish tank, and one day a lady announcer started talking Chong, hearing the female voice, must have thought it was me she RUSHED gleefully to the top of the tank what else could I do but go over and give her a little treat??!!
Chong loved to "inhale" her food, and was so tame that I was once able to hold her in my hand, very gently, as she swam in the tank. She died when she was 5 years old. I buried her with spring flowers in her grave. Shtoonk died several months later I buried him with berries from the same flowering bush, in his grave.
Googles (Shbunk and Friend's calico baby), Zero (Lox and Friend's golden baby girl), Bagel (a miniature Lox, who died very young and is buried in Georgetown), and Sweetsie (a dear charcoal grey baby fish with white lips, who almost reminded me of a shy pussycat!) -- These were first young'uns that I raised from eggs. As babies, they were quite shy and would not come up to me, until one day when I looked over at the tank and saw them all staring at me with such intensity that some of them didn't realize they were tilted sideways. I waved to them, and they fled, but after that, they always came up to me. They all lived for about 2 ½ years. Googles had a very winning and endearing personality, quite the contrast to her father's (Shbunk) dignified reserve. When she died I was sad to see her go.
Attila the Hungry -- I don't remember whose baby he was Shbunk's?? Goldilox's???. All I know is when I was raising the fry, I would always come upon shriveled up tiny bodies; I thought there was some kind of disease, until I saw one huge fry stalking the others!!! I named him Attila the Hungry. He grew up to be very unusual -- he was a mini-telescope-eyed "Transparent" he had no coloring, was very pink, as you could see many of his internal organs. He was sociable, but quite aloof and mysterious. He never did grow large, and died relatively young -- when I saw that he was dying I cried -"No Not You!! Please don't die!" But this most unusual and mysterious fish left this world. How I hated to see him go!
The Brave Fishie - Bravie was one of a hundred or so orange comet goldfish in the pet store tank who looked EXACTLY alike except when I gently tapped on the glass. While the others just placidly swam about, Bravie went berserk he looked at me directly, and came over, mouth yapping a mile a minute, eyes wide, fins flapping. He came home with me. As he settled in his new home, I noticed a large scar creasing his abdomen I wondered if when he grew, the scar would mean intestinal problems. Unfortunately, I was right. When he grew, his intestines would periodically become blocked. He was in great pain, and when a fish brushed by him, he'd writhe in pain. I isolated him in a fishbowl.. I did not know what to do I even tried directly (and gently) feeding him Cod Liver Oil with an eyedropper! Eventually, things got better, only to go bad again. This time, however, he developed a second anal opening on his side!! Ain't Mother Nature grand??!! However, after a few months, all of this was too much for him, and he died. Bravie was brave and stoic to the end of his life. I admired his courage.
Tiny was just that. A pert, tiny orange fish with black spots on her head. As she got older, I noticed not only the spots getting farther apart, but Tiny was on her way to becoming a HUGE pond fish. I traded her in (I regret that!) for 2 little fishes, a Pearlscale and Leo the Lionhead, a very sweet gregarious baby fish. They both became sickly, and died. I was very upset -- what had I done/ Had I actually done someting that caused their deaths? I'll never know. I did hear, though, that Tiny was happily ensconced in a pond, with other big pond fish. I hope she lived a long and happy life.
Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde All baby fish whose mother, a big white fish, lived in a pond. Blinky was so tiny that if you blinked when he swam by, you'd miss him. He eventually grew to be HUGE! They were all sick when I got them, and Inky and Pinky died after a month. Clyde was a sweetheart. He shared the tank with Blinky, and was a small fish. One day, I came over to sit by the tank, deep in thought. Clyde came over to say hi, but I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I didn't see him. He waited. Then as he started to swim away, I looked up and said 'Oh, Clyde!" He realized that I had finally seen him, and with a double-take, swam back to greet me!! Clyde contracted Ich. It was so bad that it even settled onto the fronds of his fake plastic plant! I medicated him, and it appeared that his condition was improving. But one day, after I had visited him in his little quarantine bowl and "chatted" with him, he became frantic when I tried to leave, and tried to rush after me as I was walking away. Then I knew that Clyde knew that he was going to die. I did all I could, but could not save him. He died of Ich, and I was so sad to have lost this very unique friend. I dreamed of him a few days after he died. He was looking at me from the other side of my bedroom window, and I heard him say "I'm very happy."
Blinky was weird. He was usually quite aloof. When he became very sick, he ignored me and wouldn't eat. When he was getting better, he would look at me sweetly, and then I knew that he wanted to be fed. He recovered. When he was 5 years old, he started lying on his back for a few weeks before he died. I think it was because the filter had been malfunctioning and toxins had been building up. Even though I replaced it, I guess the toxins had done their dirty work. The night he died, I saw him, right side up, pressed far into the front corner of the tank as far as he could go, looking at me sweetly. I knew something was up. I "stroked his nose" and then started to walk away. He followed me and tried again to get as close as possible. I stroked his nose again. Then he swam away, went to the back of the tank and lay on his back again. I told him "goodbye and thank you for being my friend!". I went to bed, knowing I'd never see him alive again. When I visited him the next morning, he was dead. His tank buddy, Freckles, just as huge as Blinky, died later that year, on my birthday, no less!
Baby Face Nelson (AKA the Monster) good looks to die for, literally. A very large white pond-type fish with a Beautiful, INNOCENT face, I bought him to keep Blinky and Freckles company. Unfortunately, he kept trying to kill them, so he got his own tank. Mom called him "Baby Face Nelson" because his innocent looks belied his murderous nature. He lived for a couple of years. When I buried The Monster - aka Babyface Nelson, on a grim cloudy Winter day, I truly wondered if there was a Goldfish Hell. But just as I lowered him into his grave, a ray of intensely bright sun came streaming out of a small break in the clouds to illuminate his little grave it must have been a sign!!
Samantha Sunkist -- An big elegant lady "wearing" an apricot-colored gauzy gown with a long train, she danced more than swam. I met her on the same day I bought The Monster. She was in the same tank, hiding under the filter area I thought she was sick, but after discerning the Monster's personality, then I realized she was trying to hide from him! As I walked out of the pet store with the Monster in tow, I saw Miss Sunkist had come out from her hiding place and was looking longingly at me!! I was SMITTEN! I could not stop thinking of her, and since I was taking a 4 day class in that neighborhood, I decided to go back to the pet stoe the next day, duiring my lunch break. She mad NO fuss when she was placed in the litle plastic bag filled with water (I made sure they doubled the bag -- two bags inside of one!). I went back to class and told a fellow-student seated next to me "Look what I have!" when I pulled out the bag with ear Samantha swimming in it, the whole class went "oooh!". I had 4 more hours in class, so I changed took her home with me she was so docile -- even in her plastic bag on the way home! When I plopped her carefully into her new home, Blinky's tank, she peered through the other side of a cave, saw me and swam right through it to come up to me. We were the best of friends for 5 years!
I eventually moved Samantha and Freckles to a new tank. However, Freckles was too pushy, so I moved him back with Blinky, and introduced Louie the Lionhead to Samantha's tank. They got along just fine. One morning, I came over to the tank to find him dead, and Samantha, with a distressed look on her face, swimming over him, her fins brushing against his still, crumpled form. I spoke to her softly and removed his lifeless form. I'm sure she would have grieved over his body all day, if I had not taken him out and prepared him for Goldfish Park.
The whole tank was now hers I would come over every day, to feed and talk to her. She was very amiable and so beautiful. She had become quite plump and Mom used to call her "Miss Fishie" (as in -- "Miss Piggy").. When I took off the tank cover, in order to clean the tank, she would swim up to the top and look at me.. I would take that opportunity to pet her nose, feed her a little treat, and then caress her from nose to tail. She enjoyed that!! In fact, one day I was able to lower my face very carefully and touch noses with her! She didn't flinch!
One day, dropsy set in for good. I medicated her, fed her and kept her tank clean, but she usually lay on her belly on the tank floor, rather than swimming, so I knew the end was eventually coming. One morning, I gave her some food (which she did not eat) -- but when she saw me feeding the fish in the tank next to hers, she rushed over to me with an anguished look on her face. Woah!! Poor lady. I felt so bad for her! I put on my rubber gloves, and brought some food to her mouth. She ate some food, and spit out the rest. I knew then that she probably had only one more day to live.
Early the next morning, as she lay on her belly, I saw her gills rise and fall in laborious breathing. As I sat with her, I saw them rise and fall much slower, until they stopped moving. I cried for her. I stayed with her still, lifeless form for another 5 minutes, and then talked to her again. She moved!! With a gasp, she tried to get up and swim over to me! She made it halfway and then stopped. She was still for another few minutes. I talked to her again, and she gasped, and tried to come over to me, again! She lay lifeless again, and never again came to. She was dead. I let her lie there for a few hours, and then with a heavy heart, buried my dear friend. I buried the dear Grande Dame with Apricot Flowing Fins next to Louie the Lionhead they were always so gentle to each other!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Ah da Goldfish gang!! This brings back memories and a tear or two. It now takes me to another rite of passage Goldfish Burial.
GOLDFISH BURIAL:That's right NEVER flush a goldfish -- flushing is a sign of disrespect. I mean, how many of us want to be flushed when we die??!! To properly address the respect and consideration for an innocent little life, please bury the fish. There is a park near where I used to live that I renamed Goldfish Park, because of all the little fish that I interred there. The first thing to do is; make sure that you know the fish is REALLY dead. Leave it in place for a few hours (if the other fish are going after it, please move it to a temporary "holding tank" or bowl). If it lies on the bottom for longer than a few hours without the gill plates moving, and if it does not move when you (GENTLY) prod it with the net end of a fish net -- then it's dead. Sometimes too, the other fish act spooked when one of their compatriots plotzes. But even then, make sure it's really dead. So now you've determined that is REALLY dead? OK even before you net it out of the tank, (don't get squeamish -- remember how much you loved it when it was alive!) start to prepare the "Goldfish Burial Shroud". It could be as simple as a piece of aluminum foil with the required "Goldfish Food to Sustain It On It's Journey to the next world".. You could also add a little piece of cloth for it to lie on. Then place the fish on this little shroud and gently fold the foil around the fish to keep it inside don't bend the fishie. You could even tape the edges of the foil package, so it is hermetically sealed inside it might end up as a goldfish mummy. Well, the Egyptians mummified themselves and their kitties, so we can mummify our goldfish. (If the weather is very bad and I was unable to bury my fish right away, I would take it, in its tin foil "shroud", and place it into a couple of baggies. Then I would put it in the freezer, and LABEL IT, so I knew that was my little fish friend ! I was able to keep it in the freezer until the weather conditions improved enough to bury my little fish.) Bury your fish someplace where you know that it won't get dug up. Bring a parent or best best buddy with you, who won't tell anyone where you buried your fish -- you want it to rest in peace! WARNING: KIDS!! (adults, too) Don't go into any isolated places!!! Exercise caution for your own personal safety! Now -- is the fishie buried?? OK, tamp down the earth gently, say a prayer if you want to, thank the little fish for giving you such pleasant company and friendship, do something to make the little grave less conspicuous (I sometimes take my foot and gently push the dried leaves or the grass back onto it, so it blends in with the rest of the ground) and then leave. I have buried some of my fish under cherry trees in full bloom, in snowstorms (the ground is sometimes more malleable in the winter), and under a golden canopy of Autumn leaves. It is always a good idea to check on the grave once in a while (consider your personal safety, first!). A week after I buried Shbunk, I drove by his grave, and, to my horror, found that the area was being dug up to become a parking lot!! I quickly un-dug Shbunk (in his little goldfish shroud), held my nose, whisked him to Goldfish Park, and re-interred him!
Gosh, I think I've covered everything that I know about goldfish. Would I do it again?? Yes goldfish are really neat creatures!!
Proper care of goldfish will usually ensure that they live long and happy lives -- so you can truly get to know them as unique individuals occupying their special place in this wonderful cornucopia of life!!
OK --NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO -- LET'S GO SHOPPING!!
( A list of tanks, filters, air pumps, and other accessories, including medications)
Fish tanks are fairly inexpensive, and come in many different sizes. Accessories, which house the tank, filter the water, keep your tank clean and your fish healthy -- run the gamut of prices, from inexpensive to moderately expensive, and then very expensive. Given this range of prices it is possible to buy quality equipment. And you DO want quality, or your wallet (and the poor fishes) will suffer.
What should the beginner look for, even before going out to purchase your supplies and accessories?
First and foremost, look for a permanent place to keep the tank, in your apartment or house. Make sure it is not in a drafty or over-heated area, make sure there is good light (indirect sunlight is better/safer than direct sun). Always put the tank in a room that is cooled in the summer and warmed in the winter too many fish have died in apartments where the AC was off, so if you do NOT have Air Conditioning, do something to make sure the fish stay cool enough in the summer ( a few ice cubes in the filter, perhaps), without jeopardizing your apartment's safety. Make sure there are enough electrical outlets nearby that can be conveniently reached without the need for excessive use of extension cords (which could be a potential fire hazard), AND make sure that these electrical outlets can handle the electrical load you will place on them. If your TV or a refrigerator or other large appliance is drawing current from that circuit in the area you wish you place your fish tank in, you might blow a fuse if you add another power load (the tank and its accessories) on that circuit in that area. Since this is not a time to scrimp on the electrically powered accessories that your fish will need to survive, it would be wiser for you to look for another place to put the tank.
Once you have decided exactly where you will out your tank and ALL its accessories (including the food) -- look at that area one more time and visualize everything assembled there, to make sure that you really have chosen enough of an area to handle this setup. Looks OK?? OK!! Let's go shopping!!
Your local Kmart, Wal-Mart, Ames, pet store, PetsMart and PetCo -- and also the very good RC Steele and Foster-Smith catalogs (which also have web sites: http://www.rcsteele.com and http://www.drsfostersmith.com)-- will usually have everything you will need -- but don't try for one-stop shopping when you think you can get something better somewhere else. AND you don't need to get EVERYTHING on the same day. When you buy something, save your receipts (and warranty card that you find packed in the box with the item you purchased) -- not only in case you have to bring it back (save the original packaging for a while, too), but for warranty purposes.
PRICES -- Here's a run-down on prices I have found, for these items:
TANKS: $10 - $150 or more, depending on quality and size. A used tank must be cleaned (see previous chapter in my book about this procedure) and re-caulked. If you are buying a new or used tank, get a good one to start with -- if you are on major budget restrictions, those "all in one" packages that include tank, filter, air pump, hoses, food, etc are ok to start with. BUT, be sure you buy a tube of Silicone Seal to re-caulk the inside seams of the tank (and keep the tank dry and let this caulking dry for about 3 days before you buy the fish!
TANK STAND: $20 to $300. Wrought Iron (I don't like these - they can be very unstable), or wood with storage compartments. If you are handy with wood, you can build one easily. A fish tank can easily fit on a STURDY short Bureau TOP, as long as the weight of the tank does not impede the drawers from opening and closing -- you could also put a varnished piece of shelving wood on top of the bureau to further protect it and add more strength. But kids -- if it's mom's or dad's bureau -- DON'T do this unless they say it's OK.
TANK COVER: (vitally necessary) About $10 to $20 for a mesh screen (made for housing a hamster in a [dry, of course] fish tank). Make sure it has STURDY mesh, since you'll have to carefully pre-measure and then cut through it to make holes for the filter and air hoses to go through, while keeping the rest of the screening in place to keep the fish from jumping out).
TANK HOOD/LIGHT: About $20 - $100 for a plastic tank cover with hood and light) fluorescent OR incandescent. The Fluorescent light is cooler and a bit more beneficial (approaches daylight color spectrum), but the incandescent light, although it IS hotter, usually has a good color spectrum too, so your fish can enjoy a beneficial light spectrum). Make sure the light has a shield in front of the bulb, or else if you splash water on a hot bulb 1) the bulb may shatter into the water and 2) there may be a danger of electrocution from the water hitting the broken light in its socket. And ALWAYS disconnect the plug before you remove or install a light bulb! And then also give the old light bulb (the one you are going to replace) some time to cool off before you handle it.
FILTERS:From $10 to $60 and more -- some can be quite simple -- others can be quite complex -- it's fun to just look at them and find out what they do -- even if you don't need to buy them. Some of these filters are for Salt-Water aquariums, and others are all or dual purpose. Stay away from under-gravel filters, as they are difficult to keep clean and don't always work as well as they should. Find a clerk who will give you the time and assistance and advice you might need to get what you really need. If the clerk laughs at you for getting what s/he thinks is a complex setup for "just" goldfish, laugh back at him or her as you leave the store or ask for someone else to help you. FILTER PADS: Two to Four per pack -- $5 to $10 per pack -- can be reused a few times -- just don't wait until they are slimy and gooky before trying to clean them to be reused!! Filter pads should be cleaned once every week if you have a lot of fish, or once every ten days to two weeks if you just have a few fish. Rule of thumb -- "eyeball it" -- looking at it will tell you when it is getting dirty.
Try to get the type of filter pad that you can pull out, clean it under running hot water (OH make sure there are no fish attached when you do this!!!), and re-use it in the (cleaned) filter a few more times. The old days of adding charcoal and then filter floss are almost over -- there are so many different types of filter pads with charcoal (and Zeolite -- very important in filtering ammonia) already enclosed in these filter pads.
Please Note: **** -- you can even alter one of these pads to fit in an "old-fashioned" filter setup (that still uses the charcoal and floss), and use these pads in place of the charcoal and floss -- a real timesaver!
AIR PUMPS: From $9 to $100. You want to get one that can handle the volume of air needed to power some filters, AND (very important, too) blow enough air through an airstone or two. ALSO -- you want one that will run reasonably quietly -- as the air pumps get older they will start to make more noise. Remember to place the air pump ABOVE the water level, so the tank water won't accidentally siphon out into it via the air hose, if the electricity goes off.
Air pump rebuild kits can be purchased for a very reasonable price. They are pretty easy to rebuild -- watch how it comes apart as you take it apart, keep ALL the parts in a box where babies, dogs, cats, ferrets, moms and dads, can't accidentally knock it over, or swallow the small parts! It is very important to have a backup air pump to keep the air flowing through the tank while you are rebuilding the original pump -- otherwise, toxins will start to build up in the fish tank VERY quickly. And try to rebuild the air pump within a few hours, as it really doesn't take that long -- don't let the opened up air pump, with all its parts, sit around, or parts may very easily get lost or dirty.
MEDICATIONS : $2 and up, and get the CAPSULES, as they dissolve easily, can be given in smaller doses (1/2 a capsule, etc) and are more effective in my estimation. Most of these antibiotics (Penicillin, Tetracycline, and many others) are broad -spectrum remedies, although every package WILL tell you what fish ailment or disease it is used for. IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO ANY SPECIFIC ANTIBIOTICS -- DO NOT USE THOSE FOR YOUR FISH-- THE RESIDUE FROM THE CAPSULES, OR THE SOLUTION IN THE FISH TANK MAY HURT YOU!!! (See your doctor for more advice) As I mentioned before, there ARE other antibiotics that can be used for your fish, which are "broad spectrum" (can be used for many different ailments). There is also Golden Seal, which is a powerful healing herb, saline (kosher or non-iodized salt) solutions, and/or Food Grade (ONLY Food Grade will do!) Hydrogen Peroxide -- so if you fear, from a medical/personal standpoint, that using antibiotics in your fish tank will expose YOU to allergy problems, then try using these alternatives instead.
There is ALSO Medicated Food, but when a fish is sick, it usually won't eat!! I have used the medicated food in situation where 1) the fish WILL eat, and 2) as a preventive -- but only RARELY!!, as you don't want to make healthy fish resistant to the medicated benefits of the food when they actually become sick.
ACCESSORIES (are not for cars only!!):
AIR-LINE HOSES - (hoses of different -- but not very confusing diameters -- usually clear, for filters, airstones, etc) @ 49 cents a foot, or $2 to $3 per package of about 10-15 feet) -- in addition to making sure you have the correct diameter, you will find that you usually need AT LEAST 8 feet, probably more.
VALVES, and other connectors for the airline hoses Brass or stainless steel are good. While some plastic valves work just fine, some types of (cheapo) plastic valves usually break after a while or are not good from the start!
PLANT WEIGHTS - @ $1.99 per package. Wrap them carefully around the live plants, so you don't break their stems.
WATER CONDITIONER - (to remove chlorine and heavy metals) 99 cents and up (usually $2.99 is what you will pay for a medium size bottle of good quality liquid, which should last you a good while)
PH TEST KIT Very inexpensive. Helps you keep tabs on the Water's Ph balance some areas use well water, others use soft water, etc. Even though goldfish can take a somewhat wider latitude (range) of Ph conditions than other fish can, testing the Ph is important to make sure the Ph balance of the water you are using in the tank is actually compatible with, and within the acceptable range that the goldfish need.
TANK ORNAMENTS - $3.99 and up - stay away from the cheap, sleazy ones -- make sure you get good ones, where the paint won't come off in the tank or the ornament itself will NOT dissolve slowly releasing potential toxins or poisons into the tank. ALSO -- Plastic Driftwood (made specifically for fish tanks, made from non-toxic plastic OR resin) -- looks really nice!! Make sure you clean this (or ANY ornament) every so often, if you decide to put this type of ornament in your tank.
TANK BACKGROUNDS -- $6 to $25 price range. Sold as 1) pretty patterned mylar plastic imprinted with aquarium scenes (sold by the foot or yard) that you can tape to the outside back and sides of the tank, so they think they are swimming in an underground jungle paradise (I like this the best inexpensive, very attractive, gives depth to the tank, is easy to keep clean, lasts for a long time; 2)plastic 3-D background that is made to fit a particular size of tank (it's ok, but gets dirty fast, and may keep the filter tubes from lying flat against the back of the tank); or 3) actual rocks and fake plants on heavy board, for the inside of the tank (I DO NOT recommend this heavy, rocky background for goldfish it might tear up their scales or skin, and it easily traps all kinds of filth and poop VERY hard to keep clean)
SILICONE SEAL- comes in a tube -- $5 to $9 depending on size. Follow directions carefully and thoroughly, use ventilation when using it -- it's easy to use once you read the instructions. Used to seal old (dry and empty!) tanks, to strengthen new (dry and empty!) tanks, and to coat the perimeters of tank ornaments to keep the rough edges from smacking and breaking the glass of the tank, should it fall or move around.
REAL PLANTS - 99 cents and up -- they usually ALWAYS contain snails and/or parasites. Sometimes they may even contain other fishes! Keep them!! (But quarantine them in a separate tank first, and make sure they are not A FOOD SOURCE to your fish -- if they are, find another nice home for them!!) After doing this, then disinfect the plants first by washing under running water (wear gloves), then soaking in a saline solution before you put in the fish tank.
FAKE EVERLASTING PLANTS - (sounds like the name of a song!) - $2.99 and up per package, and they are made to look like real aquarium plants -- depending on what you get, sometimes there is a generous sized plant in the package! Be careful though some fake plastic plants have very unyielding leaves, which can trap the fish inside of its tendrils, so the fish dies. Look for a plant with very pliant leaves that the fish can swim through without the danger of getting caught inside of the leaves.
FISH FOOD!! - From 99 cents to (usually) $3 to $18 dollars -- lasts a long time, especially since you won't (PLEASE say you won't!) overfeed your goldfish. They come in Flake, Feeding Sticks, Tablets, and Pellets -- lots of variety. Tetra is my favorite brand (ahemfor my fish), but there are many other brands and varieties to choose from. Get them a good "Flake Food" for Goldfish, then a good "Color Food" for the variety diet that they need -- if you also get pellet food, feed it very sparingly, as it can cloud the water quickly. Freeze-dried food (bloodworms and the like) can kill if you overfeed it to your fish, and can also introduce parasites into the tank. Live food?? Forget it!! It's not worth the risk of introducing parasites into the tank. Again, there is also Medicated Fish Food. These people think of everything!
LIGHT BULBS (are usually tube-shaped) - $3 to $20 each, to replace the worn-out ones in the tank cover/hood, depending on whether it is incandescent or fluorescent. Use caution when changing light bulbs this is a watery environment -- so first turn off the light, unplug that tank cover or hood unit (before you even touch the old light bulb) letting the old light bulb COOL off before you even think of touching it, and THEN change the bulb away from the tank, just in case it should break.
THERMOMETER(S) - 99 cents to $3. Always a good idea to get one, to monitor any variation in water temp, which can kill or weaken/sicken your goldfish. If you can afford two -- a good one to get is one you can safely float in the filter water (without breaking the thermometer) for a few hours, to monitor the temperature, and/or one that will permanently stick onto the front outside portion of the glass tank.
AQUARIUM SHELVES - (to hold accessories and/or food and to hold the air pump above the tank so it does not get flooded should the electricity fail) -- $5 to $10.
BOOKS ABOUT GOLDFISH - Lots of pretty pictures, AND lots of valuable information (some books are better than others -- read through it before you buy it) about $2 for a paperback (I've gotten some very good ones at 5 and dimes or Wal Mart-type stores), up to $5 - $20 for a paperback or hardback.
WOW! Got everything you need?? Clean and caulk the tank (to reinforce it if new, or re-caulk it if old), caulk the ornaments if you so desire, let the caulk dry and age for a few days (let the ammonia smell of the curing caulk dissipate for a few days), then locate the area you will put the tank on, fill it with water, adding the required drops of water conditioner, and install the filters and air pumps, air lines and airstones, plants and plant weights, ornaments, and all other accessories. Modify the tank cover to fit turn on the light, and turn everything else on!! Check for leaks at the tank and filter, and check the Ph AND temperature of the water make sure everything runs as it should. Grab a goldfish book and go to your favorite java house or tea house, put your feet up, read and relax.
NOW -- GO GET YOUR FISH!! (And look over the following links for more information!)
Go to your local pet store. See the variety of goldfish and the variety of prices. Want a fancy fish but can't afford an adult?? Get the babies!! Or get the plain "everyday" Comets, Fantails, Feeders, or Orandas they are just as much fun to own!! Wave to them, in their tank, and see how they respond to youI bet that at least one of them will respond by "silent goldfish-barking" and wiggling! Choose your fish (remember to get them double-bagged, and to make sure there is an air space in their bag!). Take em home carefully, introduce them safely to their new home (put their old tank's water from the pet store into their new tank, so they don't go into shock!) and enjoy your new friends!! They will be scared at first, but be kind, talk softly, move around them slowly, and give them a pinch of food so they get used to you and their new home. The tank should have a bit of a Kosher Salt solution in it to impede disease, or parasites, and to lessen the fish's stress shock from being transported and transferred to a new home.
If some of them die at first, don't be discouraged. But I think your friends will live to a ripe old fishie age, and I know you will be proud of them!
Don't forget about some of the great web sites that are on the Internet (many with chat boards) to help you get more info about raising and keeping healthy and happy goldfish! (Kids, make sure your parents know what you are doing!) Some of these web sites are:
A very good Internet List of Pet Catalogs can be found here:
Wishing you and your goldfish a long and happy partnership!!
"THERE'S NO FISHES LIKE GOLDFISHES!"
(with apologies to Irving Berlin's "There's No Business Like Show Business")
Words - Copyright © 1986 Azar Attura
There's No fishes
Like GOLD fishes
Like NO fishes I know
They are always hungry for their FISHFOOD!!!
They can eat you
Out of house and home!!!
Fancy ones can cost more than a Lincoln!
You'll soon be thinkin'
You bought pure gold!!!
There's NO fishes
Like GOLD fishes
Like NO fishes I know !!!!!
When you clean their tank
They'll MESS IT UP again!
There's NO escapin'
Your fishie friends!!
But you'll never hear them
Scratchin' on your door,
And they WON'T
Pee on the floor!
They WON'T .. pee on the FLOOR!!!