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New to the hobby and wanting advice


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Hi, I got a tropical tank and a tank for gold fish and I would like some advice.

To start of I had Slimey the gold fish (general comet) for 16 years and had no intrest in going back and getting some more fish but one day I just felt the need for some.

In the past few weeks I have gotten everything set up and been through a roller coaster ride so here is my story and pictures.

I got two self contained JAD 40L tanks, one with a heater for the tropical fish one with no heater.

I set them up and let them cycle for a week then did a 25% water change a 3 day cycle and then added the fish.

In the tropical one I put 3 plady's, 2 female fighting fish, 1 angel fish and a cat/sucker fish within 24 hours they where all dead outside of the female fighters and I thought it would only be a matter of days before they passed on. I got the water tested ran through my set up with a few people and we can't work out what happened. the store I got them through was really nice and gave me a male fighting fish, a red tailed shark fish, a zebra coloured sucker fish and 5 rummy noses (they have the red nose) These guys all came out of the same tank and went in a good week after the death of the other fish. The two female fighting fish survived and are also in the tank.

Ok Picture time






I keep the water around 26 degrees and they all seem to get on fine. I feed them tropical fish flakes and once a week they get a block of frozen blood worms.

My Second tank is for my fancy gold fish. (I warn you the pictures look cloudy but they tank is not)

I got the tank at the same time and did the same cycle as the tropical tank. It is also a 40L tank. In it I have one Oranda, one black and gold buddle eye, a few little things that zip around the top of the tank and I have no clue what they are and one that we believe to be a lion head.

- Pictures in next post.

They get feed sinking pellets as I was told the Oranda's can get gas bloat from eating flakes once they are trying to get the pellets from the bottom of the tank then I add a few flakes for the little guys at the top. They also get a cube of frozen blood worms once a week and I did try and feed them peas but they showed no intrest. I have also been advised to put a heater in this tank and set it to around 18 degrees next winter so they don't get two cold.

Is there anything else I should know or should be doing? If I can work these guys out and deal I would love to get a massive tank getting up hear the 200L range and put that in a wall of my living room but I need to make sure I know what I am doing before I do that.

So yeah that is me and as I said any help would be great.


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I only have one male fighter the other one is a girl or so I have been told and they said as long as there was more then one female for the male (he has two) then they would be fine. Is this correct or should I be taking him out of the tank? they have been in there almost a week he is the boss of the tank and everyone just gives him his space I have had no fin nipping or fighting.

I have added more plants to the back of the fighters tank which he seems to love, the females love them as well. I had to wait for the store to get more plants in as they where waiting to restock

Thr goldfish with alot of red on it and the Big head (Called Brain Tumor) I have been told is an Oranda the other with a smaller amount of red I have been told is a Lion Head (Called Richard) as he has no dorsel fin.

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ok well first i would remove the male or the two female. the exes ussually dont go well together. thi would prevent any possible mishaps.

just watch them closley.

the gold fish are beautiful. the one with the most red is a red cap oranda and the otehr looks like a lion head but you cant be sure as it may be a bitsa.

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WOW. You've really gone and dived in the deep end hey ;) Get ready for the rollercoaster ride that is fishkeeping!

I have some good news for you and some bad news. The good news is that you should get that 200L+ tank sooner than you think, but the bad news is that you are going to need it!

First up, lets just go through cycling.

Cycling is the process of growing 2 separate types of bacteria to process fish waste. First you need your nitrosomonas to process the ammonia into nitrite, and then you need your nitrobacter to process your nitrite into nitrate. This isn't something that you find in a lot of fish books because most fish books were written YEARS ago and this information is only recently being understood, but it is very important. It is possibly the most important thing about keeping fish. Fish keeping is just as much about keeping the environment right as it is looking after the individual species.

From a very simplistic point of view, in order to cycle a tank you need to provide enough food to feed these bacteria in order for the colonies to grow. They eat (or process) fish waste. You need them to grow to the level where they can easily process the waste of the fish before you put the fish by adding ammonia (either pure ammonia from a bottle or some decaying food or fish waste) in OR you need to add the fish very slowly so that the bacterial colonies can increase in size with the fish population.


AMMONIA (from waste and also produced by respiration, very toxic, burns gills and skin) -->

Nitrosomonas bacteria (processes the waste into NITRITE, which is more toxic than ammonia. Binds with red blood cells and prevents them from carrying oxygen) -->

Nitrobacter bacteria (processes the nitrite into NITRATE which is the least harmful. Fish can tolerate this up to 60ppm).

In a fully cycled tank, water tests should show NO ammonia or nitrite and somewhere between 10-60ppm of Nitrate ( Nitrate levels depend on the tank and the fish). No ands ifs or buts, the first two need to be zero or there is a risk to the fish.

In an uncycled or cycling tank, things can look fine, but often that will change very quickly and your ammonia level will shoot through the roof unexpectedly. This causes the fish to start gasping at the surface or breathing very hard. This is because the gills are damaged and they are having trouble breathing.

If they get through that, the nitrite level jumps, and then you may start seeing the gasping combined with brick red gill filaments (so the gill area looks red) visible veins through the fins of lighter coloured fish, and sometimes black spots on the nose (scabs from burnt skin).

By ageing the water for a week, you haven't really given these important bacteria any opportunity to grow. This is basically the way that a lot of fish shops will recommend that you set up a tank because it gives you a chance to test the tank equipment and for the water to become crystal clear. Plus a week is a reasonable amount of time for you to ask a customer to wait, if you asked them to buy this $40 test kit and stick a dead prawn in the tank and then come back in about 4 weeks for the fish, most of the customers just wouldn't return. They'd go somewhere else to get their fish. Add to that, most people who work in pet shops learn on the job with no real official training or certification (and those that have the appropriate certification have done a grand total of 9 hours on fish care, 18 if you are lucky) and might not really keep up with the science of things. Most of them are genuinely well-meaning and caring individuals but a good majority of them wouldn't know this stuff, and those that do are often instructed not to bore customers with it because it decreases sales. Even when people come in to get the water checked for these waste products, the employees often say "it's fine" even if the levels aren't fine at all, either because they don't understand the significance of the reading or because there are some cases where the levels they are seeing might be survivable.

Anyway, essentially you've added a lot of fish to a tank that isn't ready for them yet. They are eating and pooing and there is nothing in place to look after the waste product as it breaks down. The filter takes out the solids but they are still in the water and the liquid wastes just continue to circulate.

Now, sometimes you can get away with adding fish in this way, but you have to add them one at a time so that the tank can sort of 'grow around them' so to speak, or you have to add them to a much bigger tank with much more water volume so that the waste can be diluted enough that it doesn't hurt the fish or overwhelm the good bacteria. The thing is that even with a fully cycled tank, 40L is a bit squishy for all of the fish you've got there, so there is no chance that the waste is being diluted to safer levels.

Unfortunately, unless you happen to be nearby someone with larger tanks who could fishsit for you while you get your tanks ready to house these guys, you are going to have to cheat a little ;) We can go through some options if you like ;)

I have to run now, but here are a few articles that might explain it better :) If you have any questions, just ask ;)



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WOW thanks for the info. As for getting the cycles right the guy at the fish shop gave me this pack of stuff that I had to leave in the tank for the week while it cycled and then bring a sample of my water back before he would sell me fish to go in the tank (the pack of stuff did stink like an off prawn so maybe that was in it!)

I am going to read the article and look into getting another tank for Master (the male beta) is he the only one I should remove from the tank or should I also move some of the others around?

As for the gold fish tank the Bubble eye one might be going to live at a friends as I don't like him that much and she really likes him and she is just cleaning up her tank as her fish just died (we think old ages as she had him for 7 years) once her tank is ready bubble will go live with her.

Thanks for the info and taking the time to write any more info would be great.

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I think that the platties the girls and your sucking cat fish is enought for a 40litre tank. Your gold fish will also grow huge so will eventually be too big for your tank. You can then swap them for smaller ones a your lps if you need or get yourself that nice big tank. ;)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thought I would update, We had some eating and some fighting so fish got moved around and removed.

I got told that my Oranda and my lion heat needed some heat as they swim in a funny manner put a small 50W heater in their tank set around 22oC and they are now doing well. Removed the Bubble eye fish and the smaller ones as he was eating them and nipping at the tails of the other two so now they are in the 40L tank by themselves. The LFS gave me a brissle nose (sp?) to put in that tank as well and he is a funny looking thing.

The Tropical tank also got changed around, Master my Male Beta got moved to another tank by himself, the sucking fish (which ended up being a cat fish) and the shark fin got taken out as the shark fish was attacking the rummy noses. so it just had the female fighters and the rummy noses in, then Master new tank broke (that's what you get for buying second hand on e-bay) came home and found him on his side in about 1cm of water, so he got moved back into the tropical tank and seems happier now that the shark is gone, will be looking for another tank for him anyway.

So yeah been a bit of an effort to work everything out and make sure that everyone in the tank is happy but it has been fun and intresting.

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