20 gallon fish tank questions

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by akle4, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. akle4Valued MemberMember

    Last year I won a carnival fish( I think it is a comet goldfish) named Ed. I have finally begged my dad to bring home a 20 gallon long tank. I am going to move Ed in to it, and I want to add another comet. I only have access to fish from the carnival, and from petco, so keep that in mind. What do I need for my 20 gallon, that petco would probably have. I was wondering what other fish I could add to the tank. Maybe like a snail or something? I want to be very careful about not overstocking.
    I have pre bought one of the cleaning tube things, but I barley know how to use it, and I am afraid to suck my fish into it. I know that I need to take out 1/2 of the water. Can I put in tap water, or do I need to let it sit?
    I also need to know what I need to buy for my tank. So what kind of filters, and stuff.
    I am new to this, so thank you for your time:)

  2. codyrex97Well Known MemberMember

    I would not add any fish until some of our forum's experts chime in about things. It will eventually outgrow the 20 gallon. That said, it will likely live in the 20 gallon a good deal of time before needing an upgrade. I'm not familiar on how fast goldfish grow but I've heard of people upgrading tanks throughout the life of the goldfish. That 20 gallon is so much better than most goldfish get! The reason goldfish need a good deal of space is because of what poopers they are. They pollute the water faster than other fish their size. I believe goldfish eat snails but I'm not sure.

    You're going to need an API Freshwater Master Test Kit, Seachem Prime water conditioner, and good quality goldfish pellets.

    As far as equipment like filters and stuff, somebody else will have to fill you in.

    You NEED to look up the nitrogen cycle. There's plenty material online and some nifty videos about it on YouTube. It is the key to fishkeeping. Have you and your dad both understand the nitrogen cycle, and what your fish will need to live comfortably.

    There are some members here I would consider experts and I'm sure they will have great advice for you. Coradee, do you know of anyone knowledgable about goldfish keeping (or perhaps yourself, I only know your experience with loaches!) and perhaps have some advice for our newcomer?

    Lastly, welcome to fishlore! Does your dad have any experience with fishkeeping or are you both new? Keep us posted on how things are going and I wish you luck! I will be watching!

  3. GrimundWell Known MemberMember

    CindiL has a pond with comets and very knowledgeable about the nitrogen cycle.

  4. GrimundWell Known MemberMember

    Might I add, a water conditioner, preferably one that removes chlorine substances AND heavy metals, is crucial. Many tap sources, well and city, will contain one or both and they are bad for fish and beneficial bacteria alike. Seachem Prime is highly recommended here, as it offers you a water conditioner, ammonia locker, and nitrite locker, in one convenient bottle.

    Filtration is pretty wide open, you can run a Hang On Back (HOB) filter, common and cheap, or a canister filter, uncommon for that size and more expensive. Ideally, with an HOB, you would look at a gallon per hour (GPH) flow of 7.5-10 times your tank's volume, 150+ for a 20 gallon.

    A testing kit is recommended, too, as it helps people help you. Water parameters are most of the problems that the aquarist encounters.

    I don't think a heater is needed for goldfish, so that's one less expense to cover.

    Substrate! Gravel would be the cheapest and 'easiest' route for a new tank owner. Smaller and smooth pieces preferred. There are other options, like sand, that can be purchased outside of the pet store. Pool filter sand is common in aquariums and around $10 per 50 lb bag from a hardware store/DIY chain.

    Your gravel vacuum uses gravity to generate suction. Unless the fish is an idiot and quite small, I wouldn't worry about your friend getting taken away. Once the suction starts, you just get low in the gravel to pick up poop and uneaten food. It's not as complicated as it may seem.

    Your friend might appreciate some light, too. LED lights are pretty cheap for just being able to see.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  5. MissyRayValued MemberMember

    Hi and welcome! Good for you learning about fish keeping and making your goldfish happy!

    A few thoughts and suggestions I can lend are as follows:

    Comets can get huge, technically 20 gallon is still too small but go for it, what is he in now? Whatever it is, this is better and good for you!

    Go for 10x filtration on this tank. As others mentioned, these guys are serious poopers and you really need it. So 200 gallons per hour. Also, use a HOB (hang on the back)(Aquaclear makes great HOBs). You do not need carbon in it and it becomes an expense, so set it aside if the filter comes with it (reserve it to remove medications from the water if you ever have to medicate the tank) so use the sponge pad and bio-media to keep all of the beneficial bacteria housed and stuff in some filter floss to keep the water nice and sparkly. All you do with this is rinse the media and sponge with used tank water once in a while and never ever wash it in tap water. You only need to replace it if it ever completely falls apart.

    Yes get a liquid test kit, very important. API master test kit.

    Do a 50% water change as often as you can. Use Prime as mentioned to detox the water.

    As far as buddies for Ed, a snail would work. After the new tank is well established. Please please don't add any other fish at all. Give Ed the best life possible and keep him by himself.

    GRAVEL: No no no. I have to conflict the advice above on that one. Eventually Ed will grow, and he will be pecking around that gravel and get one lodged in his throat. I have kept goldfish in the past and have seen this first hand. I literally did surgery on a very sick fish to extract it. It is not worth it. I also have a relative who keeps "show" goldfish and he too has seen and heard many nightmares from gravel and goldfish. Buy some pool filter sand, put only enough to cover the bottom in the new tank (wash it well in plain water till it runs clean). It's very easy to clean poop up off of it with the vacuum/siphon you have and Ed will love to sift through it. 15 pounds is plenty to still put artificial plants and decorations down in to.

    Decorations: give this guy more swimming space than anything, so plants or decor you should keep to a minimum and put towards the sides and corners of the tank.

    I think I covered most things.

    Good luck with your new project! Keep us posted and keep asking questions!
  6. GrimundWell Known MemberMember

    Can you post a picture of Ed? Given that he was a carnival fish, something tells me that he may be a small goldfish variant, rather than a comet or common. How long is he without his tail? (Nose to where the tail starts)
    MissyRay -I personality have not heard of goldfish eating gravel. It wasn't an intentional bad advice, I've seen golds kept with both gravel and sand at varying sizes.
  7. MissyRayValued MemberMember

    Not taken as bad advice at all, I know most people do it, and yes it's very common. I just don't think many realize what problems it can pose. It seems unless the problem has actually happened to you or people are "professionally" in to goldfish it's not a common known bit of information.

    If forgot to add as well, breeders use bare bottoms at least in part due to the ease of cleaning up poop, sand will give the same effect whereas gravel tends to trap a lot of it requiring more vacuuming and harder work.

    Grimund, I hope you didn't take offense to my contradiction ;) definitely was not meant to.
  8. bizaliz3Fishlore LegendMember

    In my experience, carnival goldfish are always the common ones. The ones you find as feeder fish at petsmart for instance.

    The reason for needing something larger than 20 gallons is not just due to them being messy. They are pond fish, just like Koi. They can get a foot long. Which is why it makes me sad that carnivals hand these fish out to kids!! And companies that make tiny tanks advertise that people keep these goldfish in them.

    I always feel the need to mention their true adult size because so many people don't realize that.

    I think it is great that you are upgrading him. As previously stated, 20 gallons is a lot better than most goldfish get. Especially the carnival ones!

    He will never reach pond size in that tank. He won't outgrow it. So you may never feel the need to "upgrade" even if given the opportunity. That's the problem. I always like to point out that a goldfish like that has a lifespan of 30 years. So even 15 years is cutting their lifespan in half. He will have a much shorter life than 30 years in a 20 gallon, most likely a lot less than 15 years as well..... but he will also do much better than most :)

    I am happy for you that your dad is letting you upgrade :) Ed will appreciate it too! :) Congrats!!!
  9. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, welcome to fishlore :;hi2

    You already have gotten so much great advice!!
    I don't have a lot to add other than I agree sand is the better choice due to goldfish getting small rocks stuck in their mouths. I was on a goldfish forum for a long time when I only had goldfish and this happened time and time again.

    Also, they are pretty clumsy and I actually had two blind themselves by bumping into decorations so I would only recommend plants, fake or otherwise (silk preferred if fake) and only smooth decorations. A common or comet goldfish will have very good eye sight so this would be less of an issue than with a fancy variety.

    I did actually suck up a goldfish once during a water change when I had a tank with a few of them. I was horrified! Immediately brought it up out of the water and she came out along with the water and was ok. After that what I did was cut a piece of netting off of a washing machine lingerie bag and rubber banded it on for my water changes. It had large enough holes for the poop to be sucked up but not the fish.

    If he in a bowl right now? I would take his current substrate and put it in a media bag or nylon sock in your new tank for a few weeks. It will have bacteria that help convert ammonia over to nitrates and help keep him from getting ammonia poisoning in his new tank. You can put this anywhere in the tank or if there is room you can put it into your new hob. Rinse it in dechlorinated water before adding it to his new tank.

    Lastly in addition to the other things mentioned I would pick up a bottle of TSS+ (tetra safe start plus) and pour the whole thing into his tank when you add him. This will establish a colony of nitrifying bacteria and complete the nitrogen cycle.

    Yes,he should be alone in the tank but a Nerite snail or two will be fine with him.
  10. akle4Valued MemberMember

    I tried to buy sand but the petco person would not let me :(

    And no he is not in a bowl. I'm not a fish abuser :p
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2016
  11. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    That makes no sense to me. Goldfish are huge foragers and like to be in sand and sift through it. I would still go in and buy it, no one should be looking over your shoulder and asking your intentions for it. What do they think the sand is for then?

    Wasn't assuming he was in a bowl, just covering the bases.....
  12. LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    That's what I was going to say! What is it any business of theirs why you are purchasing a product?!
  13. codyrex97Well Known MemberMember

    Wouldn't let you buy sand? I've gotta hear this story haha. No idea why somebody at petco would ever keep you from buying something when it seems they tend to get you to buy all the things you don't need or shouldn't get.
  14. MinervaBelleValued MemberMember

    They wouldn't let you buy sand? I, too, would like to hear this story!
  15. akle4Valued MemberMember

    This lady was basically standing over my shoulder as I picked out my products. I knew what I should buy from research, but when I tried to put sand in the cart she said that her goldfish were 15 yrs old and sand will make them sick so don't buy it, and I basically had already had spent 200 dollars on my tank. I said to her that they will get big and swallow the gravel, but she said that its not good for them. I'm only 13, and it's not like I can have a fight in the fish section with the petco lady. Let's just say next time I'm going to petsmart.

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