New Here, Need Help With My Goldfish

jennikz

OK folks, new to the forum and new to aquariums. Long story short, my kids won a goldfish at the fair a few summers ago. I bought a 5 gallon tank to keep them in. Of course, those didn't last long. We bought a fancy goldfish at the pet store almost a year ago. He's huge now and has a friend and we're upgrading to a 29G. I've done nothing (literally NOTHING) to the 5G other than change the water and add water conditioner. "Spot" came up with the bladder disease a few weeks ago. I gave him some peas for a few days and he bounced back. He was fine for a about a week (still in the 5G) ... now he's lying on the bottom, acting a fool. I assume its ammonia (I haven't tested yet, kit should be here today).

My question is ... I need to cycle the new tank and I know this can be a lengthy and time consuming process .. what do I do with Spot & Goldie until then? I hate seeing Spot like this, but they both have to stay in the 5G until the new tank is cycled and ready for them. Any help would be appreciated.
 

jdhef

Welcome to FishLore!

If it were me, I would cycle the new tank using Tetra SafeStart+ (TSS+). TSS+ is basically a bottle of the bacteria that will grow in your filter over the course of several weeks to cycle your tank.

If you choose to go this route, here's what you should do:
1) Fill tank with conditioned water.
2) Wiat 24 hours (very important since water conditioner used less than 24 hours before adding TSS+ can cause the TSS+ to fail)
3) Add an entire, well shaken, appropriate size bottle of TSS+ (Don't worry of bottle will treat a larger tank, you cannot overdose)
4) Immediately add your two goldfish
5) Do nothing other than lightly feed your fish for the next 14 days (no water changes, no adding chemical...nothing. It is even recommended to only test your water if the fish seem distresses since the results can cause you to do something that will cause the TSS+ to fail).
6) On day 14 test your water. If all worked correctly...congrats, you're cycled.

Best of luck!
 

Thunder_o_b

Greetings and welcome to Fishlore
 

jennikz

Thank you, thank you for the welcomes!

I've read about TSS+ ... But I've also read those types of things are only "temporary" bacterias and basically a waste of money? I apologize if I'm being ignorant -- just trying to understand. I've been reading about this for weeks now and I'm so confused on what product is what and which ones I need -- if any at all. I do have Tetra Easy Balance+ that I've thrown in the 5G a few times. Is that the same as the TSS+?

My understanding with the nitrogen cycle is, that if a tank is cycled properly, I shouldn't need all those chemical things like TSS+, seachem, apI stuff ... maybe I misunderstood?

I do know that goldies are dirty fish, and I wanted to keep my tank maintenance at a minimum, if possible. (I know it will still be work!) but it seems like everything I have read or videos I've watch contradict each other and now I'm at a loss....

Originally, the TSS+ was my plan, until I delved into the nitrogen cycle a bit more.
 

jdhef

To cycle a tank you need to develop two colonies of bacteria in your filter media. One colony converts ammonia into nitrites, the other colony converts nitrites into nitrates. The cycling process does not begin until there is ammonia in the water. Once ammonia is present in the water, it usually takes about 3 weeks for the bacteria colony that converts ammonia into nitrites to form. then once you have nitrites in the water, it usually takes about 3 weeks for the bacteria colony that converts the nitrites into nitrates to form.

So SafeStart+ (along with Dr Tim's One & Only) are actually bottles of this bacteria that will develop over the course of several weeks naturally, so it really speeds up the cycling process. Neither of those two products are a temporary bacteria, both are use once products (assuming everything worked correctly). There are other bacteria additives that are temporary, and therefore really not very helpful.

Easy balance is different than TSS+ in that it is not a bacteria additive that is used for cycling a tank. I've never used Easy Balance, and really it isn't a product that is normally needed.
 

FrostedFlakes

The temporary products use land based bacteria that eventually die off so you have to keep supplementing, but TSS uses aquatic based bacteria
 

jennikz

To cycle a tank you need to develop two colonies of bacteria in your filter media. One colony converts ammonia into nitrites, the other colony converts nitrites into nitrates. The cycling process does not begin until there is ammonia in the water. Once ammonia is present in the water, it usually takes about 3 weeks for the bacteria colony that converts ammonia into nitrites to form. then once you have nitrites in the water, it usually takes about 3 weeks for the bacteria colony that converts the nitrites into nitrates to form.

So SafeStart+ (along with Dr Tim's One & Only) are actually bottles of this bacteria that will develop over the course of several weeks naturally, so it really speeds up the cycling process. Neither of those two products are a temporary bacteria, both are use once products (assuming everything worked correctly). There are other bacteria additives that are temporary, and therefore really not very helpful.

Easy balance is different than TSS+ in that it is not a bacteria additive that is used for cycling a tank. I've never used Easy Balance, and really it isn't a product that is normally needed.
The temporary products use land based bacteria that eventually die off so you have to keep supplementing, but TSS uses aquatic based bacteria

Thank you for this! So, I will try the TSS+ method jdhef mentioned above and hope and pray all goes well and I don't lose either of them. Thank you again for your assistance and I just may be back for additional support/help! Thank you kindly!

One more question ... will I need TSS+ for water changes as well? Or is there a different product for that?
 

MomeWrath

Do you have a power filter on your 5 gallon tank? You don't mention in your original post, but if you do, just fill your 29 with conditioned water and transport everything over - filter, gravel, deocrations, and fish. As long as you have an established filter you don't need to do all that other stuff. The point of the cycle is to establish the beneficial bacteria colony. If you already have one established then you should be good to just move everything to the bigger tank at once. TBH if you have a common and a fancy goldfish in a 5 gallon unfiltered tank for the last year, they've already lived through anything the cycling process could throw at them (high ammonia....) and will only benefit from being in a larger tank. If you can spring for a 40 breeder you'd be even better off. Good luck - I know how kiddos are with the goldfishes.
Seachem Prime is your friend in the meantime. Just follow the directions
 

jennikz

Do you have a power filter on your 5 gallon tank? You don't mention in your original post, but if you do, just fill your 29 with conditioned water and transport everything over - filter, gravel, deocrations, and fish. As long as you have an established filter you don't need to do all that other stuff. The point of the cycle is to establish the beneficial bacteria colony. If you already have one established then you should be good to just move everything to the bigger tank at once. TBH if you have a common and a fancy goldfish in a 5 gallon unfiltered tank for the last year, they've already lived through anything the cycling process could throw at them (high ammonia....) and will only benefit from being in a larger tank. If you can spring for a 40 breeder you'd be even better off. Good luck - I know how kiddos are with the goldfishes.
Seachem Prime is your friend in the meantime. Just follow the directions

I do have a power filter and also bubbles (haha!) running in the 5G -- just changed the filter a few weeks ago so I'm not certain how much good bacteria would be around? I don't think the fish have had too rough of a go (at least not my fancies, the fair fish had it rough) ... and the fancies seem to be happy otherwise. The "sick" one happily swims and begs for food when I stand there and watch him ... it's just when no one is around, or not too close to the tank, he lays on the bottom. Maybe he's just depressed...lol, who knows!

Another side note... while my test kit didn't come yet, I do have test strips that I just tested the 5G with. I know strips aren't the best, but until my kit comes, here's what I'm coming up with:

Ammonia is coming in at 0. Yay!!
Nitrites are 0. Yay!
NitrATES are .... I'm going to guess between 20-40 ppm -- it's hard to tell the exact color.
Chlorine is also 0.
pH appears to be around 7.8-8 and the alkalinity is high.

This is all on my 5G, so if I take my filter and throw it on the 29G and let it run for a while along with the new filter, shall I be good to go? Do I still need to add a beneficial bacteria? I also purchased tetra's StartZyme. Can I use this or should I return it and get safestart instead?
 

Islandvic

jennikz , welcome to fishlore!



If it were me, I would return the Start Zyme tablets and get the Tetra Safe Start (TSS) instead.

Start-zyme has some type of water conditioners in it + bacteria, somehow all in a tablet form. I'm not sure how they have the bacteria strain in tablet form though. It looks like it's trying to be an all-in-one product.

You probably already have a dechlorinator to condition your tap water. So the StartZyme is not really needed or cost effective for conditioning water.

Others suggested using Seachem Prime, and I concur.

It is very concentrated. 1mL treats 5 gallons of tank water. I recommend obtaining some 1mL and 5mL plastic syringes (without needles) from a pharmacy to accurately dose it so there is zero waste. That is how I dose it.

I have used TSS sucsessfully on my tanks.

TSS will advise on the bottle to add it at every water change. This step is not needed because the type of aerobic bacteria you're trying to colonize does not really occupy the water column. It makes it's home mainly in the substrate and your filter.

You asked previously if Tetra Easy Balance is the same as TSS. Unfortunately it is not.

Tetra makes a lot of good products. They also have a large marketing division that seems to make products that are needed. Easy Balance is supposed to "regulate pH and alkalinity".

Trying to chase pH up or down without a specific need to is like chasing a rabbit down the hole.
 

MomeWrath

I do have a power filter and also bubbles (haha!) running in the 5G -- just changed the filter a few weeks ago so I'm not certain how much good bacteria would be around? I don't think the fish have had too rough of a go (at least not my fancies, the fair fish had it rough) ... and the fancies seem to be happy otherwise. The "sick" one happily swims and begs for food when I stand there and watch him ... it's just when no one is around, or not too close to the tank, he lays on the bottom. Maybe he's just depressed...lol, who knows!
Glad to hear you do have a filter - and definitely no offense was intended about their current conditions. We've all seen a lot of people who don't know any better and do the "goldfish bowl" so one cannot make assumptions. You are definitely working to do what is best for them and that is awesome.
With your filter only being a few weeks old I really don't want to say "yes they'll be fine" or "no that's not enough" because I haven't used the stock filter cartridges in years. Whatever you decide to do, moving the existing filter to the new tank for a few weeks can't hurt. Even if there is only a little bit of growth on it, that's better than nothing and will help you cycle that much faster. You might look into other filter media for your new tank. Putting a new filter cartridge on once a month like the manufacturers want you to is much like feeding dry dog food per the package instructions - the more you use, the more they can sell to you (and you end up with a fat dog). You want your biological filter media to remain as intact and undisturbed as possible.
Another easy way to dose Prime until you get a syringe is: one mL = ten drops, so the math works out to 2 drops per gallon. That's how I do it anyway. The medicine syringe works great also. I haven't used Tetra's product, only Aqua Vitro Seed which is harder to find, so I can't speak to that either.
 

jennikz

Glad to hear you do have a filter - and definitely no offense was intended about their current conditions. We've all seen a lot of people who don't know any better and do the "goldfish bowl" so one cannot make assumptions. You are definitely working to do what is best for them and that is awesome.
With your filter only being a few weeks old I really don't want to say "yes they'll be fine" or "no that's not enough" because I haven't used the stock filter cartridges in years. Whatever you decide to do, moving the existing filter to the new tank for a few weeks can't hurt. Even if there is only a little bit of growth on it, that's better than nothing and will help you cycle that much faster. You might look into other filter media for your new tank. Putting a new filter cartridge on once a month like the manufacturers want you to is much like feeding dry dog food per the package instructions - the more you use, the more they can sell to you (and you end up with a fat dog). You want your biological filter media to remain as intact and undisturbed as possible.
Another easy way to dose Prime until you get a syringe is: one mL = ten drops, so the math works out to 2 drops per gallon. That's how I do it anyway. The medicine syringe works great also. I haven't used Tetra's product, only Aqua Vitro Seed which is harder to find, so I can't speak to that either.

I bought the Marineland Penguin 200 for the new 29G tank and plan on using my own filter media this go round, instead of the pre-made cartridges -- not only because I feel like it will be better, but it will also be more cost effective. That's the mistake I've made with the small tank ... I fell into the hype with replacing cartridges and didn't realize I was throwing all that awesome bacteria away. I'm actually purchasing the filter media and carbon now. I'm wondering if I should also buy some bio rings for in the new filter? Do I need a sponge? It seems rather spacious inside so hey, if I can get more bacteria or better filtration, why not? Does this filter seem suitable for a 29G? I didn't want to go too big, but I feel like the filter on my 5G isn't large enough for these messy Goldfish so I upsized this one a little? It's recommended for up to 50 gallons and filters 200gph.
 

jdhef

One more question ... will I need TSS+ for water changes as well? Or is there a different product for that?

You only need to use TSS+ once (assuming it works correctly and the tank cycles). For subsequent water changes all you need is a water conditioner to remove chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. I personally use SeaChem Prime, but there are many other water conditioners that would work just fine.
 

MomeWrath

I bought the Marineland Penguin 200 for the new 29G tank and plan on using my own filter media this go round, instead of the pre-made cartridges -- not only because I feel like it will be better, but it will also be more cost effective. That's the mistake I've made with the small tank ... I fell into the hype with replacing cartridges and didn't realize I was throwing all that awesome bacteria away. I'm actually purchasing the filter media and carbon now. I'm wondering if I should also buy some bio rings for in the new filter? Do I need a sponge? It seems rather spacious inside so hey, if I can get more bacteria or better filtration, why not? Does this filter seem suitable for a 29G? I didn't want to go too big, but I feel like the filter on my 5G isn't large enough for these messy Goldfish so I upsized this one a little? It's recommended for up to 50 gallons and filters 200gph.
I think that size is good. I always think it's a good idea to oversize your filter. As to media - check out swisstropicals.com and look at their foam and read some of Dr. Tanner's info. I use this foam only on all my freshwater tanks. It takes care of mechanical and biological filtration all at once. That's just what works for me. Lots of people use bio rings with fine results, though. I like the laziness aspect and I'm a pretty "holistic" fishkeeper. I like to let nature do its job and mess with it as little as possible. I am learning with my new oscar that isn't always an option. I never imagined such pooping. lol. Water changes galore!
 

Islandvic

Jennikz, you're absolutely right about cartridges!

Here is a link for inexpensive and effective ways to use DIY media in your filter.
 

jennikz

Jennikz, you're absolutely right about cartridges!

Here is a link for inexpensive and effective ways to use DIY media in your filter.

THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!! This is a toal game changer! You guys are awesome!

Also, Thank you to everyone else who has made my life a little easier by helping out and being friendly. I visited another place that wasn't so kind. Thank you all!! I will post updates soon!

Okayyyyy guys ... Fish have been in the tank since Saturday and appear to be doing well, dumped in some TSS+ before they went in also put the filter and some other stuff from my old tank in to help the BB get going. Where do I go from here? Both goldfish are acting fairly normal, with the exception of my calico having his upside down float ... Which he always did off and on before ... I have not tested the water with anything but strips and everything "appears" in normal range. Should I get out the master test kit yet or just let it ride? Do I need to be doing partial water changes? I haven't touched the tank or water, other than to feed my fishes, since Saturday.

Perhaps I just roll with it and not touch anything for awhile?
 

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