What Should I Do With Carnival Fish??

starspeckledsky

Member
I thought that I'd outline my story first before continuing.

So late April my friend visited (she lives 2.5 hours car drive away) over the weekend. We took her to an on-going carnival/fair. While there, she decided to take her shot at the fish winning game. She claimed that she "didn't think she was going to win." She won. Her mom wouldn't allow her to take the fish with her home, and we had a 3-gallon tank gifted to us a few years ago, so we put him (the fish) in there. I am a huge researcher/planner, so I read everything I could find on it. I learned about water quality, the nitrogen cycle, goldfish-specific things - everything. I started panicking. Based on multiple sources, I knew that one goldfish needs anywhere between 40-100 gallons (different sources said different things). When we got my goldfish he was small, but I also read about stunting. So, naturally, I asked my parents if we could get a bigger tank, at least 40. I told them that I was willing to work for it and earn it. They refused. My mom went on about how "3 gallons is really big!" and "he is such a small fish, I don't see any need." When I kept insisting, she got angry at said that she'd throw my fish into the trash can if I didn't stop complaining. I made a presentation about the nitrogen cycling, goldfish waste, stunting, etc. and presented to my dad - nothing. He got angry and asked why I didn't just release him into the wild then, not paying attention to my explanation that just one goldfish in the wild can destroy a whole ecosystem. I then asked about rehoming - I was attached to my goldfish, yes, but I wanted him to have a better life than swimming in his own poop. My parents refused that too because apparently "no need."

This all happened in April and May. Over the summer I believe that my parents, my mom especially, have warmed up to the fish (I left my fish in my mom's care when I was away for a summer camp). Recently I asked again for a bigger tank, and while they still refused, it was less vehement. The main issue, according to my mom, is space. We don't know if we're going to move or not for my high school, and she thinks that moving a very large tank would be a hassle to move (if we move).

One last thing - my family wants to get another fish to go with my current one.

Alright, so I have been brainstorming a few options.
1) Get a bigger tank. This probably won't happen, as these things are expensive in the sizes that goldfish need. I live in central Virginia and have been looking on Craiglist and eBay - nothing. Are they relatively easy to move around (if we move)?
2) Buy an Intex pool for a temporary above-ground pond. I've been looking online and these things seem relatively cheap, especially compared to tanks that hold the same amount of water. Are these safe to use? Would they work? If we got this, it would probably go in our basement. I'm looking at and . Can you take them down and then put them back up again? We tend to move every 5-7 years so I don't know if I could ever move him to a permanent pond, but once we decide whether we're staying or moving we could move him to a large tank.

Any sort of feedback is appreciated. Currently I change 50-60% of the tank water every day or every two days and dose Prime daily. I did a whole-tank cleanout in early July and plan on doing another sometime very soon (there is a whole poop layer underneath gravel, during my water changes I stir it up and scoop as much as I can out).
 

Crispii

Member
Assuming that you have a common/comet goldfish, the second option is a better option, however, this type of goldfish can get huge (can get as big as a foot).
 
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starspeckledsky

Member
Crispii said:
Assuming that you have a common/comet goldfish, the second option is a better option, however, this type of goldfish can get huge (can get as big as a foot).
Yes, I believe common or comet. I understand that they can get huge, but I thought that the pool/tank would be accommodating either way?
 

Crispii

Member
Should be fine temporarily. However, they do really best in a much a larger system. If you're going to keep them long term, think of them as koi, since they basically need the same living space and care.
 
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starspeckledsky

Member
Crispii said:
Should be fine temporarily. However, they do really best in a much a larger system. If you're going to keep them long term, think of them as koi, since they basically need the same living space and care.
Oh okay! How much bigger would you say? The smaller one I linked is 89 gallons, the bigger one is 400 gallons. About how long would you say is okay?
 

Crispii

Member
starspeckledsky said:
Oh okay! How much bigger would you say? The smaller one I linked is 89 gallons, the bigger one is 400 gallons. About how long would you say is okay?
Go for at least a 100-200 gallons. If you can afford the 400 gallon, then go for it!
 

Elkwatcher

Member
Welcome to Fishlore starspeckledsky! I haven't anything to add but I'm going to give you your very first rating because you are one smart young person. Wishing you success with your comet habitat or rehoming if you can't!
 

Skavatar

Member
I believe JennI from Solid Gold uses those. I have a 4' long 150 gallon stock tank and a 75 gallon for mine.

found the vids.


 
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starspeckledsky

Member
Elkwatcher said:
Welcome to Fishlore starspeckledsky! I haven't anything to add but I'm going to give you your very first rating because you are one smart young person. Wishing you success with your comet habitat or rehoming if you can't!
Thank you very much!

Skavatar said:
I believe JennI from Solid Gold uses those. I have a 4' long 150 gallon stock tank and a 75 gallon for mine.

found the vids.


Thank you, I'll watch them right now.
 

Sheldon13

Member
Oh I love Solid Gold Aquatics. Girl knows her stuff.
 
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starspeckledsky

Member
Sheldon13 said:
Oh I love Solid Gold Aquatics. Girl knows her stuff.
Thanks for the tip. Maybe I'll look around her other videos.

just saw this in amazon reviews….
 

Crispii

Member
starspeckledsky said:
just saw this in amazon reviews….
It's just one review. If there were multiple reviews that say the exact same thing, then I would worry. Also, many people use PVC pipes in their aquariums without ill effects on the fish.
 

Salem

Member
It's really sweet of you to care so much about a goldfish and be so determined to keep it happy and healthy. I think that it's petco that sometimes has sales where you ca buy a tank that's 1$ a gallon- it's still a lot cheaper to get a pool in this case but it's good to know for future reference if you ever get another smaller fish.
My date-mate and I have actually talked a lot about doing pretty much this exact thing in our future house- though we plan on keeping more tropical fish in it. For a tank-or rather pond- as big as 400 gallons I think a sump filter would be best but you definitely can get away with several sponge filters. They may be a bit loud with the airpump though. You can diy a sump filter fairly easy too if you want to look into that.

Tanks can be a bit of a pain to move because they're usually full of decor and plants and stuff so you can't really fully drain them. However with something like the pools you showed you wouldn't have that issue. You would only have to make sure the filter or filter media stayed wet which you could do by simply putting it into a bucket of water for the trip to the new house. You would just drain and disassemble the pond and move the fish into a bucket (preferably with a lid) and the filter media into another- both filled with tank water. If you did want some stuff in there to act as decor or hides I highly recommend using terracotta pots. They're porous so beneficial bacteria can grow on them, they're super cheap, they're easy to move around, and if you ever get tired of them you can just use them for plants.

The only thing that would be a bit of a hassle is filling and draining it. That's a whole lot of water even when just doing water changes. I know python makes a siphon that you can screw onto a tap to make filling easier.

I think given your parents stance it would be easier to convince them on the smaller pool- less space, less water to drain/maintain, etc. It would probably be easier for you as well given you're about to go into high school and keeping up with a 400 gallon tank is a lot of work. If it were me I imagine I would get the smaller one but that's just me. If you think you can convince your parents on the big one and are confident that you'll be able to keep up with maintenance then definitely go for that one. You would have the option to add a couple more to that one at least.

Good luck!!!
 

MissNoodle

Member
Nothing informative to add, just wanna say welcome and thank you for caring about your fish as a living creature hes lucky!
 
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starspeckledsky

Member
Thank you for all the helpful information!

Salem said:
If you did want some stuff in there to act as decor or hides I highly recommend using terracotta pots. They're porous so beneficial bacteria can grow on them, they're super cheap, they're easy to move around, and if you ever get tired of them you can just use them for plants.
Do you mean using a terracotta pot as the pool for the fish to live in? Or to put in the water for plants to grow in?

Salem said:
The only thing that would be a bit of a hassle is filling and draining it. That's a whole lot of water even when just doing water changes. I know python makes a siphon that you can screw onto a tap to make filling easier.
Definitely going to get the siphon. Currently I do really minI "bucket" water changes to my 3 gallon.

Salem said:
I think given your parents stance it would be easier to convince them on the smaller pool- less space, less water to drain/maintain, etc. It would probably be easier for you as well given you're about to go into high school and keeping up with a 400 gallon tank is a lot of work.

Good luck!!!
My one issue is that we plan on getting two commons and I'm not sure if 89 gallons is enough for the two of them. Any thoughts?
 
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starspeckledsky

Member
So I rechecked in the product description about material and it's saying metal, but I assume that that's only for the frame. I can't seem to find what material the actual pool is made out of, but I'll keep searching.

EDIT: So it turns out that the material is PVC. Will this affect the fish?

Crispii said:
It's just one review. If there were multiple reviews that say the exact same thing, then I would worry. Also, many people use PVC pipes in their aquariums without ill effects on the fish.
The company states that it is made out of PVC. Now I'm just wondering if it'll harm my fish.
 

MissNoodle

Member
Many people use PVC in tank filter equipment and even in decor, without problems. I use it too for hideaway caves.

Theres a lot of fear mongering over many things in pet communities by extreme individuals.

In the end, its your choice based on what you feel is best. One review out of many people without issues. Not only that, but the review doesn't even mention if shes personally lost fish WITH PROOF that it was for sure the PVC, and not something else. PVC is used in some plumbing work as well... its everywhere.
 

Salem

Member
starspeckledsky said:
Thank you for all the helpful information!


Do you mean using a terracotta pot as the pool for the fish to live in? Or to put in the water for plants to grow in?


Definitely going to get the siphon. Currently I do really minI "bucket" water changes to my 3 gallon.


My one issue is that we plan on getting two commons and I'm not sure if 89 gallons is enough for the two of them. Any thoughts?
I meant to put the pots into the pool- you can definitely grow plants in them too. I like to lay them on their sides so my fish can hide in them.

I haven't personally kept gold fish since I was a very small child but from what I've read commons can be a foot long. I may be wrong but it seems like the dimensions of the space are a bit more important than volume in this case. I read something that suggested 42 gallons and at least 4' long for 2 commons. Following that I think a 4'×4'×1' should be fine. Again though I'm not super experienced with goldfish and bigger is always better.

PVC should be fine for your fish, many people use those exact pools for stock tanka. However if you're really worried about the possible long term affects of it you can always look into adding pond liner into it. I really think it would be fine though.
 

Skavatar

Member
PVC pipes are used by many fish keepers as tunnels and caves.

also pvc is used for potable water.

 
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starspeckledsky

Member
Thanks for the reassurances. I still might get pond liner, but I'll do a bit more research before making a decision.
 
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starspeckledsky

Member
So, in the meantime.. anything I should do to help him? As I've stated I do 50-60% water changes daily/every other day. Normally I'll scoop up some gravel to expose the fish poop layer underneath that and scoop as much of the poop as I can out. I have something like a water turner, it makes the water flow around. The tank is uncycled. There is no filter. My parents seem to believe PetSmart and PetCo over me and all my research. I did a full tank cleanout in July.
 

Salem

Member
starspeckledsky said:
So, in the meantime.. anything I should do to help him? As I've stated I do 50-60% water changes daily/every other day. Normally I'll scoop up some gravel to expose the fish poop layer underneath that and scoop as much of the poop as I can out. I have something like a water turner, it makes the water flow around. The tank is uncycled. There is no filter. My parents seem to believe PetSmart and PetCo over me and all my research. I did a full tank cleanout in July.
I know a lot of goldfish keepers like to have an empty/bare bottom tank so they can more easily get rid of the poop- you could maybe try that.

I'm curious about the water turner thing you have- you could potentionally macgyver a filter with it. Do you have any pictures of it?
 
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starspeckledsky

Member
Salem said:
I know a lot of goldfish keepers like to have an empty/bare bottom tank so they can more easily get rid of the poop- you could maybe try that.

I'm curious about the water turner thing you have- you could potentionally macgyver a filter with it. Do you have any pictures of it?
Yes, I'll send them tomorrow, but it's hard to tell what it is from pictures as it just looks like a black, rectangular motor.
 
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starspeckledsky

Member
VERY exciting news! So I was just talking with my dad about this, and he said that he would try to convince my mom to get the smaller of the two pools that I listed. It's not a definite but it's a start.
 
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starspeckledsky

Member
Unfortunately my mom's still not completely on board and I'm really not sure why. I'm also considering getting or Rubbermaid Structural Foam Stock Tanks, 100 gal. Capacity, 4242-88 at Tractor Supply Co.. I think the main thing is the dimensions of the Intex pool seem too big for my mom. Honestly, I'm just guessing, I really don't know why. I'll ask her tomorrow on the way to school.
 

Crispii

Member
These are way cheaper than 100 gallon aquarium.
 
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starspeckledsky

Member
What substrate would be best?

I've heard good things about sand, but I read some another articles/forum threads that talked about goldfish eating it and it being dangerous. I've heard good things about larger gravel, but I don't want to take the risk that my goldfish might eat it. I really want to use sand but I'm scared that it could cloud the water, irritate my goldfish's gills, and that he'll eat it. I don't want to go bare bottom because I want to encourage foraging.

Can anyone share advice/personal experiences? I'm considering getting pool filter sand, the one that's linked when you say the word on fishlore, or one of the Caribsea sands. But I might just go bare bottom with some big rocks, even though my fish wouldn't be able to forage...
 

Skavatar

Member
many members have used the course Black Diamond Blasting sand. you'll want to wash with Dawn soap, then rinse off very well.
 

chromedome52

Member
I don't ordinarily get involved in Goldfish threads, but your dedication and desire to do what's right for your fish have impressed me for some reason. So I will add a few comments.

First, I saw someone suggest that common Goldfish get as big as Koi. They do not. KoI are Carp, and can exceed 3 feet in length. Common Goldfish will top out around 18 inches, and normally don't exceed 12. However, I think a small pool is your best option, especially one that can be taken down easily for transport. I don't keep Goldfish, but I do use pools for grow out tanks for some of my fish. I use preformed 6 ft. diameter kiddie wading pools, and I have friends who have kept Goldfish in them quite successfully. A little bit awkward to move, but the cost is a fraction of those stock tanks, and gives the fish much more room to move, as well as a large surface area for gas exchange. I suspect your problem would be that it also takes up a lot of ground space, but perhaps the lower cost would get your mother's approval.

I don't believe giving the Goldfish a substrate is necessary for foraging, as it is going to shuffle around the bottom looking for food whether there is sand or not. BTW, they can pass sand through their digestive system with no ill effects. Washed sand is not going to cloud the water, even if stirred up by the fish. Larger gravel is often used in Goldfish aquaria because it is more decorative, but they are also more likely to get a small stone caught in their throat. The true experts that I know use no substrate, as even sand can damage the fins of fancy Goldfish. Commons probably don't have this concern.Not sure if Skavatar was suggesting to wash the black diamond sand with Dawn Soap, but I think he just wrote a confusing statement, as you should never use any soap on something that is going into the tank. However, Dawn soap is a grease and oil remover, and is a good hand cleaner if you rinse off very thoroughly before going into your tank.

I wish you luck, and I hope you won't get discouraged if something goes wrong, as that is another thing that often seems inevitable. You certainly seem clever enough to figure things out, like don't trust most of the stuff you find online without checking with a few other places first. I think you will find a consensus of good information here at Fish Lore. Welcome to the forum.
 

mattgirl

Member
starspeckledsky said:
What substrate would be best?

I've heard good things about sand, but I read some another articles/forum threads that talked about goldfish eating it and it being dangerous. I've heard good things about larger gravel, but I don't want to take the risk that my goldfish might eat it. I really want to use sand but I'm scared that it could cloud the water, irritate my goldfish's gills, and that he'll eat it. I don't want to go bare bottom because I want to encourage foraging.

Can anyone share advice/personal experiences? I'm considering getting pool filter sand, the one that's linked when you say the word on fishlore, or one of the Caribsea sands. But I might just go bare bottom with some big rocks, even though my fish wouldn't be able to forage...
I have pool filter sand in all of my tanks. As long as it is rinsed really really well before putting it in whatever tank you end up getting it shouldn't cloud your water no matter how much your fish stirs it. I run my fingers through the sand in my tanks with each water change and it just falls right back into place with no cloudiness at all.

I have a wheeled plastic yard and garden cart that I used to wash mine. I was able to do the full 50 pounds at the same time. The cart has a slopped front so it was easy to pour off the dirty water. I used my garden hose with the sprayer set on jet to fill the cart with water. The jet stream of water stirred the sand and allowed the detritus to float to the top. It took quite a bit of time and water but once done I was able to put it in my tank without even a tiny bit of cloudiness in the tank.

I do hope you can convince your mom to allow you to get a proper home for this little creature.
 

angelcraze

Member
Wow, I must say i'm also impressed with your research and eager ambition to care for this fish. My thoughts are already taken care of, it was a rubbermaid stock container or a kiddie pool to start. I hope you can find a nice spot to set it up, it could look really cool with plants growing out of pots and tunnels for the fish like an indoor pond :)

I'm not versed with goldfish and don't usually comment either, but I know they like to eat plants. If you keep a lot of them and feed them lots of veggie food (no overfeeding though!), I believe it's possible to keep some.

Maybe not floating plants like water lettuce, but I would suggest amazon sword for the pots. I add organic soil on the bottom and cap it with sand (to hold the dirt down). They do amazing like this and is a pretty inexpensive plant. If it spends some time in a lower level of water, it may send up a runner spike with up to 10 or so baby sword plants. I started with one plant, now I have 20 in various tanks lol. This is how I grew them in pots for an ex
 

angelcraze

Member
starspeckledsky said:
Yes, I'll send them tomorrow, but it's hard to tell what it is from pictures as it just looks like a black, rectangular motor.
Like this?


You could add a water bottle on top, drill or puncture holes in the bottom of the bottle (holes would be at the top) to allow water flow out of it. Fill the bottle with biological media, this could be anything porous like lava rock. Add a small layer of floss at the bottom to act as mechanical media to lop up the debris before it sticks and contaminates the bio media. Set up like a canister filter. Or rig a sponge prefilter. I plan to DIY some filters for a grow out tank using a similar powerhead.
 

Skavatar

Member
chromedome52 said:
Not sure if Skavatar was suggesting to wash the black diamond sand with Dawn Soap, but I think he just wrote a confusing statement, as you should never use any soap on something that is going into the tank. However, Dawn soap is a grease and oil remover, and is a good hand cleaner if you rinse off very thoroughly before going into your tank.
not sure how it was a confusing statement. "wash with Dawn soap, then rinse off very well." even you stated, "if you rinse off very thoroughly"

Can I Use Black Diamond Sand Abrasives As Substrate
"I just picked up a bag and washed it with about a teaspoon of Dawn in a 5gal bucket."

What's The First Step To Do For My 45 Second Hand Aquarium
"I've used dish soap to clean Black Diamond Blasting Sand with no issues."

5 gallon Nano Aquascape | Freshwater Aquarium Builds 327961
"I use BDBS and wash it with Dawn dish soap to get rid of the oily residue. Dawn doesn't leave any residue and easily rinsed off. One batch of sand wasn't rinsed very well and there was no ill effects to the fish in the tank."

Cutting Driftwood
"Dawn dish soap. It works great for removing oils and grease. Then rinse it thoroughly to make sure there is no soap left."

Hand Sanitizer | Freshwater Beginners 410748
"Oddly enough, the original blue dawn is crazy good for a lot of things. People won't use it on their pets for fear of stripping oils from the skin, but if you think back to what was used to clean crude oil off of seals and seagulls, it was dawn. It's called dish soap, but what it really is is a detergent. It's pretty safe for many many applications, people just don't understand it."

What's Your Most Useful Non-aquarium Tool (for Aquarium Use)?
"I legit thought soap was a no no for aquariums. Then I read a drop of Dawn is great for removing dust from sand."
 

chromedome52

Member
I have never heard of using Dawn soap to wash sand. I once killed almost a whole tank of fish by wiping the inside glass with a rag that had been through the washing machine, so I know that even a tiny amount of residue from most soaps will kill sensitive fish.

However, I would point out that I called it a HAND cleaner, not a SAND cleaner!!;)
 

Skavatar

Member
a washing machine doesn't rinse as thoroughly as a fish keeper would with a water hose and bucket, 1 rinse cycle vs multiple rinses.
 

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