Brand New. Looking for Advice.

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by cameronpalte, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    Hello Everyone,
    A few weeks ago my dad and my sister stopped at the pet store and bought us 4 little goldfish. On the ride home one died, and a few days ago, one more died (we crowded them in a 1 gallon tank with no filter).

    Finally, I convinced my mom to let me take care of the gold fish, so we went to the pet store bought a 20 gallon tank, and kit, filter ect., and then we went home and set it up.

    There are currently 4 gold fish living in the 20 gallon tank, the person at pet co said thats more than enough room. I was told to do a 10% weekly water change, (I have a suction thing that can help me clean the gravel ect.), and when I put new water in I use regular tap water with some extra liquid thing (forgot the name), you can add to make the water safe. I also have a led light in the tank, and some food for them.

    I feed them regularly following the instructions on the food container. The tank's temperatures don't switch so I don't think the fishes are under stress (except for when I took the bag from the pet store dumped the fish in the water and called it done rather than allowing them to situate (sorry fisheys.).

    Each fish is ~1 inch long and my tank has 2 castles and 6 fake plants in it for decor:)...

    I am not sure if my parents will let me spend any more money, and I do not have a test kit. I do have a heater but heard that gold fish do not need heathers.

    I also bought some gravel, but it definitely seems like not enough so my parents said next week I could go get some more.

    My only questions now are do I need to do anything else. I'm hoping to be able to get more tanks and fish and maybe even build my own pond:)... and was wondering if you have any advice. Also since the petco person said 4 fish in 20 gallons is easily more than enough, can I introduce more fish or is that good.

    Well, thats basically my fish keeping knowledge (it is my first day:)), so looking forward to your replies!
  2. TayJay76

    TayJay76Valued MemberMember


    I assume that you have just set up the aquarium yesturday? If so then you should wait at least until the tank has fully cycled. You can cycle the tank with the fish, but you need to make 50% water changes every other day(adding conditioner before you add new water) to ensure that the peremeters remain stable enough to keep the fish alive until the cycling is complete.

    What kind of conditioner are you using? Honestly, whatever the petco people tell you I would take with a grain of salt because they do not know what they are talking about. Four goldfish is way to many for that tank, they may be small now, but unless you are upgrading within the next few months to a 55 gallon I would take a couple back to the store. They get big and produce a large amount of waste. With that being said, if you plan to keep them all and get a bigger tank, for the time being you need increase your water changes to about 25% weekly.

    Try to purchase a test kit whenever you can, at least get your water tested once a week or purchase a much keeper api ammonia test kit. It only test ammonia but that should work until you can get a larger test kit.

    Let us know if you have any other questions, You may be bew, but you'll get there. Good Luck!
  3. OP

    cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    The conditioner I don't have name right now will come back with it later though. I always condition my water before placement. For the number of fish I have just started but really enjoy it, and my parents actually trust me for what's healthy for the fish (after our experiences with the 1 gallon bowl), so if they start to take up to much room I can upgrade to a 55g or get another 20/29. I have heard some about the test kit so I will look into purchasing one of those. I'm guessing this means I cant add more fish to this tank but if I were to get another 20g, what could I put in it? Thank you for all your help

    I also did not know about waiting a full day before placement and they've been in the tank for almost 12 hrs so what should I do about that (will have to do tommorow because time to sleep her)

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2012
  4. Wendy Lubianetsky

    Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    The best water condition is Prime if you can get it. If you know anything about the aquarium and the cycle it goes through it is a good thing to have. The waste by product of the waste from the fish is ammonia. When bacteria grows that accomodates the ammonia, it changes the ammonia into nitrites. Both the nitrites and the ammonia can be deadly to your fish. Then, another bacteria grows. It will turn the nitrites into nitrates which are FAR less toxic to fish if you keep the levels fairly low. So when you test, test from ammonia, and nitrite and nitrate. If there is ANY ammonia or nitrite you need to do a partial water change to bring it down. Then test for nitrates. When you start seeing nitrates, your tank is cycled and the stress level goes down on you and your fish. Daily water changes turn into weekly water changes and the worry of your fish dying goes away. If you keep your nitrates under 20 ppm, then your fish will be fine. Prime is a water conditioner that keeps the ammonia and the nitrites from poisoning your fish. It works for 24 hours, so you need to add some with your water change everyday.

    Well, that is my :;2cents . I hope it makes sense to you. Please ask questions if it does not.

    By the way, goldfish are one of the fish that produce A LOT of ammonia so watch your water.

  5. snapperWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to fishkeeping and to Fishlore. :)

    I agree that you have too many fish in the tank. I started with four goldfish (small ones too) in a 55 gallon tank, and while cycling the water was so bad I had to do daily 90% water changes, sometimes twice daily. It would get up to 4ppm ammonia and even higher in nitrites overnight (edit: THIS IS BAD. DEADLY BAD). So I can only imagine what is going on a 20 gallon tank with probably an underpowered filter for goldfish, probably one of THE messiest fish there is. If you can return 2-3 of the fish that would be best. You could also benefit from some Prime, which will help detoxify your water in between water changes while you are cycling, and a test kit is a MUST. I cannot stress that enough, a MUST.

    Don't feel bad, most of us started out overstocked with too small tanks and not knowing anything about what we needed to do. Being ignorant of what you need is not your fault because there is a lot to learn and as you have found out first-hand, the pet shop people aren't full of great advice, and you are taking steps to find out what you do need which is GREAT and says a lot about your commitment to this hobby. Best wishes for you and your new tank. Goldfish are not as easy as conventional wisdom says they are, but once you get it down they are definitely the most rewarding fish I keep. They're my absolute favorites.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  6. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to Fishlore.

    It does not appear that you are yet aware of the nitrogen cycle. Here's a link that explains the phenomena: And, ask all the questions you need until you understand this process.

    If you wouldn't mind, please provide complete Aquarium Profile Information. This information will help the members to gain an understanding of your tank. Just click the My Settings button at the top of this page, and select Edit Aquarium Info. Complete the information on your aquarium, including tank size, filtration, stocking, lighting, water parameters, etc. And save your changes. Then you won't be inundated with answering questions about your tank.

    For the next several weeks, you should plan on doing daily water changes. I would also plan to take a water sample to your LFS at least once a week until you can purchase your own test kit. The API Freshwater Master Kit includes all the testing supplies needed to monitor a tank. PetCo typically uses paper test strips, which are often inaccurate, but are also better than nothing.
  7. OP

    cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    Well the API master test kit was ~$20 demo a quick google search so I can look into buying it. And I can also start regular daily water changes. I will also look into getting another 20g to put 2 of the gold fish in. Ammonia seems like a chemical I need to find a war to take care of, and prime seems useful for helping.

    Non- Random Questions
    1) Since I didn't know about running a full water change before putting the fish in should I do that right now?
    2) Can I leave the gold fish in the small tank for now and upgrade them to a larger tank when they get bigger?
    3) Where can you buy a good API Master Test Kit (or just ammonia test kit to start out with seems to be what I need).
    4) Where should you buy prime? Is that just at your local pet store? How much does it cost?
    5) If I upgrade to a larger tank what tank size do you recommend (I have to keep all my fish stuff in my room, my parents said.
    6) Can I keep 4 goldfish and some other fish in a 55g or just the 4 goldfish?

    Random Questions (Still about fish).
    1) How much space does a neon tetra fish need? I heard they like to be kept in schools of 5-12 but how many gallons would a school of 7 need for example, these are interesting fish and I may consider buying some:).
    2) What fish can live well with gold fish?
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  8. camel89New MemberMember

    Like others have said about the goldfish, they would need a larger tank as they grow since even the cheapest feeder goldfish can grow over a foot long, and are extremely dirty.
    3) PetSmart sells the API Master Test kit, runs about $30 or so. They also do free water testing if you want to take in a sample of water for them to test, about a cup. Not Petco, PetSmart, the better one!
    4) PetSmart also sells Prime, not sure about Petco. Small bottle runs about $6.
    5) For the 4 goldfish you have, at least a 55g tank, preferably a larger one.
    6) Just the 4 goldfish would be best for a 55g tank. Not recommended to mix other types of fish with them.

    1) School of 7 neons: 20 gal will suffice but a 25-37 gal will be optimum.
    2) Not really recommended to mix other fish, like tropical ones, with goldfish, as goldfish are coldwater fish and release higher levels of ammonia and physical waste.

    Hope that helps!
  9. MatildaLjungberg

    MatildaLjungbergValued MemberMember

    I would say the larger tank is going to be a must after awhile. IMHO the 20 should be fine at the size they are now but they grow pretty fast. I rescued my goldie when she was only about 2 inches & it's been almost a year & a half & she's heading toward 7 inches. I'm looking into getting a 75 gallon tank so I can at least get her a buddy! :) She's in a 29 now & that's too small. Good luck!
  10. OP

    cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    Ok, so I need to look into upgrading my tank once the goldfish get a little bit larger. It seems like I also need $36 for the API test kit and prime conditoiner.

    Also, for my goldfish are their other coldwater fish that can live with them?

    Thanks for help!

    QQQUUUUAADDDWell Known MemberMember

    White cloud mountain minnows might be able to live with goldfish. But beware the minnows are very small and they might be a tasty snack for your goldfish.

    Also what kind of goldfish are they?
  12. OP

    cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    I am not sure what type of gold fish they are. I got them from the pet store. Is there any way to find out which type of gold fish they are? Also do you guys have any recommendations of where to go to buy cheap tanks because my 20g was $60 which I think is a little on the up side (that was for the tank, the cap everything that came in the box.)
  13. snapperWell Known MemberMember

    If you post a picture I can help you identify them. Craigslist is where I get all my tanks cheap. :D
  14. OP

    cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    I don't have a picture right now because I am in school (tanks in my room at home), and thanks for the advice, I'll look at cragslist. Just wondering, do you get used to the tanks filter because my filter makes a small waterfall into the water and last night it was really hard for me to sleep through that (not very loud just like water falling, but can get annoying).
  15. snapperWell Known MemberMember

    I have a tank in my bedroom and I keep the water level up to the very top so I don't have that issue.
  16. luke355027355027Well Known MemberMember

    Welcome to fishlore. Some very overlooked important things are the nitrogen cycle. This is just as important to fish as water. When I first started I looked. At the nitrogen cycle and thought scince to complicated and didn't really understand it well it is extremely important. Second the more filtration the better if you upgrade to a larger tank like a 55 even if the tank comes with a filter that hangs on the back I would get a an external canister filter. I run both types of filters. Canister filters are good for biological filtrations while hang on back filters are mostly for removing solid waste. Thirdly keep up with your water changes I change 35 gallons of water every other day. Also when buying on craigslist be careful and stand your ground. First if your buying a tank ask the customer if he can fill it up about 3 inches to make sure it holds water. Second if you buy something I usually print the ad out if you go to buy it and its missing something that they included either walk away or ask them to lower the price don't let them take advantage of you. Thirdly have fun and enjoy the hobby and always be patient
  17. OP

    cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    When I do my water change, I will try to increase the level so I don't have that problem as much!

    thank you for your reply, nice to read... thanks for the advice, and I like that picture:)

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