Ammonia in Goldfish Tank?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by katielee, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. katieleeNew MemberMember

    Yesterday I started up two goldfish tanks, about 7L each. I had new gravel and new silk plants, and washed both under water. I treated the water with ammonia and chlorine eliminator, and added the fish yesterday. There is no one else in either of the tanks, and no filter. Just two simple goldfish tanks. Today, I tested the ammonia and it was about 1.0mg/L and knew this was too high so I did a 30% water change. Then I retested, and it was higher at 5.0mg/L ... How is this possible? What am I doing wrong? and what could have made the ammonia levels SO high already? pH is at 7.5
    The fish seem happy enough, however they seem to be opening and closing their mouths very wide constantly.
  2. chevyguy8893Well Known MemberMember

    Have you tested your tap water to see if it has ammonia present? Do you have goldfish in these tanks?

    If you have goldfish, or almost any fish, in a tank as small as a 7L without a filter there is nothing to remove the ammonia that builds up. There needs to be an established nitrogen cycle (<- should be an underlined link), and that would require a filter where the bacteria grow. Although with that size tank it may be hard to hold a cycle in it. Even with adding ammonia eliminator, the ammonia is still present just in a less harmful form. I believe most of the ammonia eliminators only last for a certain period of time though.

    Although if you do have goldfish in there, they produce a lot of waste (even small) and can pollute their surroundings pretty easily. Plus, they need large tanks because of this (I believe 20 gallons for one). If you meant to type 70L, then this may be a little different.

    Someone else will probably be along that can provide more help for you.
  3. JunneFishlore LegendMember

    I agree with above poster. The tank is just too small to accomdate a goldfish which is very heavy on the bioload and produce mass amounts of waste. Despite what the petstore may tell you, its not advisable to keep goldfish in that size of tank. Combine that with no filter and its going to be especially difficult.

    You will need to do at least a 50 to 75% water change daily and if your tank cycles, you will have to keep with with the maintenance. With the set up you have now, you will have constant ammonia and the only way to get rid of it is to keep up with the pwc daily or get a bigger tank.
  4. katieleeNew MemberMember

    Will the ammonia eventually get too much for the fish and kill them? Like, in the short term? Or will they just grow accustomed to the ammonia?
  5. hcroarkValued MemberMember

    Yes, the ammonia will eventually kill them. The reason they are gasping already is that ammonia lowers oxygen levels. Ammonia also burns. So there is several ways ammonia can kill them.
  6. TerraWell Known MemberMember

    In a tank that size, the ammonia will likely kill them in a day or two :( Even if they survive it, you're gonna have serious problems with them constantly because of the size of the bowl they're in. They won't be able to grow properly and will become stunted (which will kill them). Depending on what kind of goldfish they are, you could need a 30 gallon or even a 75+ gallon aquarium, and heavy filtration. Goldfish are not bowl fish.

    With 1.8 gallons or so to work with, the only thing you really could have are maybe snails or shrimp. If you're able to return them to the store it would be merciful for the fish. If you want something on the small side, I highly recommend grabbing a 5 gallon aquarium kit (I don't know what they sell in Australia, but at the local Walmart here I can grab one of those with filter+light+hood+net for $25) and a small heater and buying a betta fish after it cycles. Betta are awesome companions with big personalities, and are fine in a 5 gallon tank. Having a filter will let you cycle it so that ammonia is not a problem.
  7. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Goldfish are special and can actively dump ammonia into the water in the form of waste. Other fish do it through the gills via passive diffusion, so whatever the ammonia concentration is in the water is what's in the fish. It's the ammonia build up in the fish that kills it. What that means for the goldfish is that it can handle the ammonia a little better, but it will still kill them - they can just survive a little longer.
  8. binkbenjiValued MemberMember

    Uncomfortably... They do survive but not without pain from the ammonia burning them. It's essentially like bathing in a diluted bleach.
  9. TerraWell Known MemberMember

    My first attempt at fish owning was 3 teensy comet feeder goldfish in a 10 gallon tank. All 3 of them died, the 3rd one hung on for nearly 2 weeks. But it was horrible to watch, they suffered and there was nothing I could do but watch. Daily 50% water changes and a bottle of TSS did not save them. By the time I learned to use Prime it was too late to save the last one.
  10. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    Here's a couple little pictures that may help you decide what size tank you should get ;)

    these two are 2 years old, and around 9 inches!

    Common and comet goldfish need 55 gallons for the first 1-2 fish (75 being more preferable) and fancies need 30 gallons for the first 1-2 fish (a 40 breeder being better if possible).
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  11. JessiNoel21Well Known MemberMember

    This my comet goldfish Gwena in my parents pond she is 12" and 3 yrs old and this her at 3 months old at 1"
  12. MeganSValued MemberMember

    Based on your first photo I think Gwena is a koi of some sort. If you look close she has barbels and I though that was a characteristic of koi. On the other hand the second photo looks like a comet. Did someone do a switch with your fish? :;nin2
  13. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    It's very common for goldfish to change their colors as they mature. Black moores, for instance, often turn orange.
  14. MeganSValued MemberMember

    Actually I wasn't referencing the color difference. I was referencing the presence of barbels on the fish in the first picture and their absence in the second picture. I am under the impression that koi have barbels and comets do not. Is that true?
  15. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I don't know. But, the second picture is of a 1 inch fish, so that on top of the angle of the shot makes it pretty hard to determine that they are absent IMO.
  16. MeganSValued MemberMember

    Well based on my research comet goldfish do not have barbels and koi do so the first picture is likely a koi. I can't say for sure about the second photo due to the angle but it appears to be a comet.