7 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make with Your Goldfish

There are 7 very common goldfish mistakes that you’re probably making right now…

… and they might be causing you some SERIOUS problems.

Worst of all, you may even think that these mistakes help your goldfish… even though they halt your fish’s potential to grow and thrive.

But what if I told you that fixing these mistakes only takes a few minutes of work?

You’d be pretty psyched, right?

But what ARE these 7 mistakes and how can you fix them?

That’s coming right up…

But First, The Key to a Happy Goldfish

If you’re serious about having your pet goldfish, you’re going to have to do your homework first.

goldfishresearch

After all:

Who REALLY wants to learn by failing over and over again?

Remember… knowledge is POWER.

But finding reliable resources in a sea of info can be really hard. Lots of people disagree on how to properly care for your pet.

Here’s the good news:

You’re in the right place.

So let’s get to them!

Goldfish Mistake #1: Using Small Bowls for Homes

goldfish-bowl

I can’t believe how many people still buy into this one.

“Goldfish don’t need a big tank. They can live just fine in a cute little bowl.”

WRONG.

The biggest problem is that they can’t provide enough oxygen because of such a small surface area.

So the goldfish ends up basically… suffocating to death.

Or poisoning itself with it’s own waste.

Yikes.

Toxins rapidly build up in the water if there’s no filter (which is why every tank needs one) or the bowl isn’t cleaned on a daily basis.

And most goldfish aren’t tough enough to stand it even then (especially the fancy varieties).

So it’s only a matter of time before they die.

And the more goldfish there are and the more food they are given, the faster that happens.

This gives them a reputation they don’t deserve!

Sometimes the fish may even jump out to escape its living conditions…

goldfishjumping

Remember:

Goldfish can live VERY LONG LIVES.

… But only if they are taken care of right.

They need you to do that!

While there are the occasional fish that somehow survive being kept in bowls, why not do the best you can to avoid the problems they cause?

Quick fix:

So you’re now horrified that you’re keeping your finned friend in a deadly goldfish bowl.

Here’s what to do:

1. Withhold food. Most goldfish bowls foul up very quickly because way too much food is going in. That can spell death for your pet. Don’t worry, it will be okay for several weeks if need be.

2. Change the water. If you don’t have a large tank on hand, the best thing you can do meanwhile is change the water EVERY DAY. This will help prevent toxins from building up and keep the oxygen levels good.

3. Move your goldfish to a proper tank. Don’t wait another minute if you can help it! Put your fish into extreme evacuation mode. Even a Tupperware bin will work until you find something permanent. (Read about what size tank a goldfish needs.)

The Secrets to a Healthy Goldfish Revealed

Learn how to keep your goldfish alive and thriving using the only complete, accurate goldfish manual available today –
The Truth About Goldfish.

Tell Me More!
5 100% from 39 ratings
Article Rating 5 100%

Goldfish Mistake #2: Giving Them Too Much Food

Most goldfish owners absolutely LOVE their pets.

To show their love, they use food.

And the more they love them… the more they feed them.

This can amount to quite a bit more food than the fish actually needs.

goldfishoverfed

The results?

…You’re looking at BIG TIME issues with water quality.

The extra goldfish waste overloads the tank, creating a toxic environment.

Not good.

Not only that… but eating so much protein in processed foods damages internal organs as time goes on. This causes all kinds of problems, from swim bladder issues to dropsy.

dropsy

So many problems could be avoided if goldfish only got what they needed – and no more!

Now I get it:

Feeding your fish is fun. Maybe even the funnest part of having them.

But it isn’t in their best interest to overfeed.

That’s why it’s so important to learn how to feed your goldfish the right way.

Quick fixes:

1. Cut back on the processed foods. WAY back. Surprisingly goldfish only need a little bit of this once a day. Don’t worry, they won’t starve. Scaling back may seem weird at first, but remember – it will still meet their nutritional needs.

2. Offer a fibrous supplement. Your goldfish will feel hungry if it can’t “graze” throughout the day like they do in the wild. Fibrous veggies like raw lettuce or spinach leaves can satisfy their cravings without messing up the water quality (or your fish’s digestion).

3. Be determined. Don’t cave in when your goldfish start wiggling around all cute begging for more. Set out how much they can have beforehand and leave it at that – even if someone happens to get more food than another. Ignore them, walk away, do what you’ve gotta do to resist the urge to grab that food jar! (It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.)

Goldfish Mistake #3: When and How to Clean the Tank

goldfishtankcleaning

So many goldfish owners only do 25% water changes weekly or even monthly.

They think the filter will do all the work for them.

This is a recipe for disaster.

So why do they do this?

Way too many goldfish owners have this crazy notion that water changes aren’t that important.

… Or that too frequent or too large of a water change is somehow a bad thing.

But that can’t be further from the truth!

When goldfish keepers run into problems with their fish, 99.9% of the time it has to do with their water changing schedule.

Bad water is the biggest killer of goldfish worldwide.

Not disease…

BAD WATER!

Goldfish are constantly excreting a deadly substance called ammonia into the water around them.

It will build up until it kills the fish unless the water is cleaned.

Filtration can only get you so far!

hang-on-filter

When it comes down to it, only removing and replacing water ensures your fish’s survival.

Listen:

You can never give your goldfish too much fresh, clean water.

If you could or want to do 90% water changes every day, I have three words for you:

GO FOR IT!

But if you can’t, at least do that amount weekly (or biweekly).

This is what they need to prevent things from spiraling downward out of control in the aquarium.

Is this news to you?

How should you take action?

Quick fix:

1. Get a siphon. If your tank is 20 gallons or larger, you won’t want to be hauling buckets to do the job. Invest in a special aquarium hose called the “Python” that reaches from your tank to the sink.

2. Drain & refill the tank. Use your siphon to suck out the nasty debris at the bottom of the tank. Take out 90% of the water and then use treated tap/well water to fill it back up again.

3. Repeat as often as possible. Remember – at least every week! (More really is better.) If you don’t believe me, just read more about it in this article on water changes.

5 100% from 39 ratings
Article Rating 5 100%

Goldfish Mistake #4: Reaching for the Medicine Cabinet Before the Siphon

medicinecabinet

This is a REALLY BAD mistake.

So many times a goldfish owner realizes that their fish isn’t well.

Maybe it has bloody streaks in the fins…

Sits on the bottom…

Refuses to eat…

Has ragged fins…

Or gulps at the surface of the water.

goldfishgasping

What do they assume?

“My fish has a TERRIBLE DISEASE!

So they rush to the pet store and bust out the medications.

The fish room turns into a pharmacy and the tank ends up caught in the middle of what looks like a science experiment.

As we covered earlier:

I can just about guarantee that your fish’s “illness” is not an illness at all.

Your water is in bad shape!

But the fish owner doesn’t bother to test or change it so they start dumping in store bought meds.

Those harsh chemicals push the water parameters to the point of no return!

It ends up being the nail in the coffin for Bubbles.

So what do you do if you notice your goldfish isn’t its normal self?

Quick fix:

1. Test the water! Reach for your trusty test kit first, not a bottle of medication. Pay extra close attention to ammonia, nitrite and pH (though nitrate is important) to find out if something is off.

2. Change the water. I don’t care if the test came out fine – you can never do too many water changes. Usually several large water changes on a daily basis can bring your fish back to its old self.

3. Cut back on food. As I explained, too much food causes a lot of problems (and it’s easy to overfeed). It won’t hurt your fish to go without a meal until things are back to normal.

Goldfish Mistake #5: Mixing Goldfish with Other Fish

mixinggoldfishtropical

People who love goldfish often love other kinds of fish too (especially tropical varieties).

They think:

“Let’s put them all together! After all, they are both fresh water fish!”

Here’s the bad news:

There are actually several issues caused by mixing species.

The biggest one is compatibility.

See, a goldfish eats any fish that fits in their mouth.

This leads to the “one-day-they’re-here, next-day-they’re-gone” scenario when you look in the tank (especially the older and bigger the goldfish gets).

But tropical fish aren’t innocent either!

They like to nibble on a goldfish’s tasty slime coat.

Algae eaters will actually stick themselves onto the side of the goldfish to eat them alive!

This causes injury and stress.

If you think algae is unsightly, you can try adding Mystery Snails (which won’t ruin your plants and make great companions for goldfish!) or scrubbing it off by hand.

What can you do so you won’t be guilty of this goldfish mistake?

Quick Fixes:

1. Resist temptation. Not getting the fish in the first place will save you the hassle of having to re-home them when things don’t work out. Yeah, I know it’s not easy 😉

2. Get another tank. If you just HAVE to have other kinds of fish, you can always consider getting another tank exclusively for them. That way there won’t be any issues to deal with.

3. Say goodbye. If you didn’t and can’t do the two solutions above, please consider taking your tropical fish back where you bought them from or finding someone who will appreciate them in their own tropical aquarium.

Goldfish Mistake #6: Not Cycling the Tank First

tankcycle

Many first-time goldfish owners buy a fish, bring it home and plop it in a brand new tank.

Then they don’t change the water for a while.

But within a short time, their goldfish is dangerously sick…

Or dies without warning.

What happened?

It’s something called “New Tank Syndrome.”

I’ll explain:

Goldfish produce waste, which quickly pollutes the water.

Ordinarily, beneficial bacteria in the tank would break this down.

But…

A tank that has only been set up for a few hours or even days does not have that beneficial bacteria.

Cycling the tank (a process that takes weeks) builds up that colony before any fish are added.

Without that colony (or water changes to remove the waste)…

… Total DISASTER awaits!

Quick fixes:

1. Cycle the tank first. Okay, maybe this isn’t technically a “quick” fix. But it is definitely worth considering if you know ahead of time you are planning on getting a goldfish.

2. Do water changes. If the deed’s been done and it’s too late to turn back the clock, you’re going to have to make up for your missing bacteria with huge daily water changes.

3. Reduce feeding. You don’t want to work against yourself by cleaning the tank just to foul it up again with messy foods.

Goldfish Mistake #7: Overcrowding the Tank

goldfish-overcrowded

Everyone needs their elbow room!

Goldfish are no exception.

In fact, proper space is VERY important to maintaining a healthy tank.

But so many goldfish keepers tend to buy fish after fish despite having limited space.

Now why is that so bad?

See, the more goldfish you have, the faster the water gets polluted. This makes it extremely difficult (if not impossible) to maintain good water quality.

And just like people…

… crowded conditions can make goldfish start having problems getting along with each other.

Quick Fixes:

1. Drive past the pet store. For the good of the fish you already have, sometimes it’s best to just determine not to get any more.

2. Get a bigger tank. So you want a booming goldfish community? Go for a tank (or pond) large enough to accommodate them.

The Best Private Goldfish Group on Facebook

I started the Pure Goldfish Community on Facebook so we could all band together and share tips on husbandry practices.

If you want to know how to avoid making dangerous errors with your finned friends, this is the place to be… hands-down.

Our awesome members share tips and help everyone out.

You don’t have to be a goldfish guru to join – we’ve got people from all walks of life and all levels of experience.

What Do You Think?

Are there any mistakes you’ve made – and corrected – that have made a world of difference in your goldfish keeping experience?

Or are there any mistakes you keep making that you haven’t been able to fix?

Then drop your comment below.

And if you want to avoid all of the other deadly mistakes most goldfish owners make, you REALLY need to take a look at The Truth About Goldfish eBook written by us. We know you’ll love it.

The Secrets to a Healthy Goldfish Revealed

Learn how to keep your goldfish alive and thriving using the only complete, accurate goldfish manual available today –
The Truth About Goldfish.

Tell Me More!
5 100% from 39 ratings
Article Rating 5 100%
5 100% from 39 ratings
Article Rating 5 100%
2017-09-09T21:23:30+00:00

952 Comments

  1. Mark Graham November 9, 2015 at 12:33 am - Reply

    hi Great article but…
    You don’t make a recommendation on how much water per fish. Also, would be great to have the gallons translated to litres (the rest of the world has moved into a sensible measuring system – the US will one day, I’m sure…).

    So I have a 225 litre tank which equates to around 60 gallons and 6 fish. Is that too many? Also, you say don’t over feed, but how much is too much?

    All my water tests show things are fine and I changed around 15% of the water a couple of days ago but my fish are still gulping air.

    Please help..
    cheers
    Mark G

    • Clementine
      Clementine November 12, 2015 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your suggestions, Mark. Hopefully I will be doing an article soon all about tank size, but for now I’ll tell you that it depends on the type of fish you have. If you only keep fancies that’s on the cramped side but it will do if you maintain water quality. But 15% is not enough to make a dent in ammonia levels, I’d say do at least 50% weekly or more. =)

    • Karen November 17, 2015 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      Hi can anyone help me we have a 2.5 tank with two fish I cycled the tank for a week as instructed by Petco I put in the conditioning stuff got the water checked and then gradually introduced them to the tank. I was told by Petco to change out 30% of water after 4 weeks. The 2 fish have been in the tank for two weeks they were doing fine really swimming around with each other until today. Today they seem to be hiding near the filter at the back of the tank they are near the top and they are not very active their tail is moving a lot and they seem to be stationary. I have just looked at your article and I have changed out about 65% of water and put some conditioner back in. I have even changed out the filter even though it is only 2 weeks old. What else do I need to do? I don’t want them to die.

      • Clementine
        Clementine November 17, 2015 at 6:39 pm - Reply

        Sounds like you have been given some bad advice by the pet store, Karen. 1 week isn’t enough to cycle a tank – that’s a process that takes up to 8 weeks long, and even then the parameters will still fluctuate when adding new fish. Petco should have told you to change the water every day with new fish… but 2.5 gallons with 2 fish is so small that it will be pretty much impossible to maintain safe parameters.

        I’d get them a big enough tank (20 to 30 gallons for fancy goldfish) and do daily water changes, reduce feeding, testing the water every day. After the filter has established a colony of beneficial bacteria then you can reduce the water changes.

        • Karen November 17, 2015 at 7:18 pm - Reply

          Thank you Clementine I will take your advice. I am annoyed at the pet store because we had planned this out with our young kids and I asked all the questions and thought I was getting good advice as I assumed they knew what they were talking about, obviously not I am just hoping they do not die. Would you suggest a complete 100% water change every day right now as I have only done 65% today before you responded. Thank you

          • Clementine
            Clementine November 17, 2015 at 7:37 pm - Reply

            I would do a 90% so you don’t have to take the fish in and out of the tank, but get the benefits of clean water. Oh, and be sure to treat it first as you probably know =)

  2. Aaron November 15, 2015 at 1:55 am - Reply

    Great article for beginners troubleshooting common problems we see with goldfish!

    One thing however, algae eaters will not eat your goldfish in my experience. I believe this is a bit of a myth. I keep a clown pleco in my tank with 4 goldfish of varying sizes and they never bother each other. I think what happens is a goldfish may die from some other cause and algae eaters feed on the dead fish or the fish is starving (most algae eaters need more than just algae once they grow larger). At least this is my experience and what I’ve read about it.

    I also have a question for you 🙂

    One of my goldfish seems to be gasping for air at the surface while the others are perfectly fine. He doesn’t do it all the time but definitely significantly more than the other fish. I have lots of air entering the tank from a pump and a hob filter, plants healthy, other fish seem healthy. I just can’t figure out what his issue is, any thoughts?

    Thanks!

    • Clementine
      Clementine November 15, 2015 at 3:46 am - Reply

      Thanks, for the positive feedback, Aaron! Hmm, regarding the algae eaters I’ve never met a goldfish owner who hasn’t run into problems with them sooner or later… usually later, once the algae eater gets big. The slime coat of the goldfish attracts them. Apple or Nerite snails are, in my opinion, a much safer option, but to each their own =)

      Now about the gasping. Have you tested the water for ammonia and nitrite?

      • Aaron November 15, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

        No I haven’t. I am getting a test kit soon but have always just relied on common sense and frequent water changes. I will check back in when I test the water. Seems odd that only one has issues.

        I’ll try to keep my pleco well fed then. Thanks!

        • Clementine
          Clementine November 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm - Reply

          Sometimes the weaker or smaller fish show signs of problems first.

          • Aaron November 22, 2015 at 2:33 am - Reply

            Tested the water and it was very good quality after a week. The goldfish has been better lately. I’ll continue to keep a close eye on him.

            Thanks for your help!

      • Teresa February 12, 2016 at 4:15 am - Reply

        I have had trouble with the snails. I have had 3. Replaced each as it died. They have a tendency to flip upside down in the middle of the night and I don’t see it til morning after its too late. Any suggestions as to keeping them upright?

        • Clementine
          Clementine February 12, 2016 at 5:05 am - Reply

          Do you have goldfish with them, Teresa? It could be that the goldfish are harassing them…

          • Teresa February 12, 2016 at 8:48 pm - Reply

            Havent noticed too much harrassment. Just typsy snails. Lol

            • Clementine
              Clementine February 13, 2016 at 4:27 am - Reply

              Sometimes it depends on the kind of snail, and the amount of space the goldfish have to explore. In a smaller space they might be more prone to nibbling.

    • Gravitation101 June 5, 2016 at 3:05 am - Reply

      Aaron I just thought you should know that the plecostomus do kill goldfish it is not a myth at all. I have had 3 goldfish die from aggressive plecostomus. The pleco chase the goldfish all around the tank(typically at night) and when the goldfish is to exhausted to get away they latch onto them and drag them to the bottom of the tank and suck off their slime coat and anything else they can get off of them. When you find them in the morning and think it must have died and the pleco is just scavenging just know that was the end result of a night of terror for the goldfish. I had a black more get drug to the bottom of the tank and before I could get there to help him the pleco had almost sucked his eye off….the stress of the even did kill him. And just for the record these three goldfish were killed by three separate plecostomus. When ever one would kill a fish I gave it away and got a new pleco hoping it wouldn’t happen again but as soon as the pleco reach 5″ from my experience they become aggressive as all of them were that size at the time of the events. I now have two brisstlenose algae eaters and they are much calmer and have never shown an signs of aggression they also stay smaller so that’s a plus…..anyone else having problems with a plecos size or aggression may want to look to the brisstlenose as a substitute.

  3. Phil November 29, 2015 at 12:58 am - Reply

    Hi, great article.
    I was wondering, what kind of fish can I put in my 60 gallon tank? About two years ago, I got a goldfish and put it in a ten gallon tank, but since that, he’s been growing, so we moved him to a 60 gallon tank. I’ve read that goldfish do great with other goldfish, so I got him a friend (Another goldfish). They’ve only been in the same tank for a few hours, but they seem aggressive towards each other. The older one is bigger than the one we just got, but not by much. The older one keeps chasing the younger one, yet I heard goldfish were okay to put in the same tank. Maybe it will just take time?
    Thanks!

    • Clementine
      Clementine November 29, 2015 at 1:52 am - Reply

      Good to hear you liked it, Phil. Sometimes, though not often, goldfish that have lived alone for a while don’t take kindly to newcomers. It also may be that there are some pheromones present (aka breeding behavior!). I’d keep an eye on them for a while, try not to feed foods that contain blood or even hold off on feeding and see how they do.

      • Phil November 29, 2015 at 2:26 am - Reply

        Thank you so much for the response!
        Hopefully they will get along soon. The older fish hasn’t ever seen another fish, so I think he may be curious, but the new fish is pretty scared, as much has happened to her in the last few days. Their names are Mr. Bubbles and Ms. Bubbles, so in time hopefully they will get along, as they were meant to be! =) Thanks for the advice, I’ll try it.

        • Clementine
          Clementine November 29, 2015 at 2:44 am - Reply

          Sure =) I forgot to add that it might be a good idea to make sure the new fish has plenty of places to hide.

          • Phil November 29, 2015 at 3:04 am - Reply

            I just bought a bunch of tall grass and caves online for them to hide in. Thanks for the suggestion, I think it will help. =)

  4. Shoshana December 3, 2015 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    Hi! I really appreciate all this info, I realize now I should be doing more water changes (even though my fish have always seemed happy, better be safe than sorry).
    I have a 40 gallon tank with: a pretty large comet goldfish (~5.5 inches), a 2.5 inch blackmoor, a 2.5 inch fancy goldfish, a 2 inch pleco, and 2 dwarf gouramis. The fancy goldfish is the newest, I got him about 2 weeks ago. All my fish have always gotten along perfectly until today when my fancy kept trying to nibble on my comet! =( I feed them everyday, and fed them this morning, so he shouldnt be hungry. I’ve never had problems with my fish not being compatible so this is really frustrating. My comet is by far the biggest and oldest, he was my first fish in that tank which I’ve had for 3 years. Thank you for any help you can offer!

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 3, 2015 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the kind words, Shoshana. Better safe than sorry is the golden rule for goldfish keeping indeed! 😉 For the number of fish you have I’m afraid to say your tank is quite a bit undersized. 40 gallons is really only enough space for 1 comet goldfish. So many fish in that space is likely making your fancy feel cramped.

  5. Onessis December 4, 2015 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Hii,, I need some help with my goldfish I have 8 goldfish and 55 gallon tank!! And since 2 months ago some goldfish started to staying on top of the water! What can I do about it

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 4, 2015 at 4:03 pm - Reply

      Less goldfish would be my advice, Onessis. A 55 gallon can only comfortably house 5 fancies. So I’d get a bigger tank or find a few of them a new home. Then I’d do lots of water changes to clean up their environment.

  6. ann December 4, 2015 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    I had four very happy and healthy goldfish for a short while.
    Then I went away for the weekend and as advised by pet shop, dropped a ‘seven day feeder’ in the tank, following the instructions.
    When I came back two days later, one had died, and the others then died one by one.
    It was awful. I assume too much food was released and they over-ate
    What happened? Am going back to the pet shop to talk to them about his but would appreciate feedback

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 4, 2015 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      That’s terrible, ann =( Automatic feeders may work for some types of fish but certainly not goldfish – the pet store should not have told you to get one. They would be better off without food entirely and can go for weeks without eating. Fat reserves, see. You are right about too much food released; likely it messed up your water quality and poisoned your fish.

  7. Lesley December 4, 2015 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Thanks for being here. I am new to fish keeping. One of my goldfish was stuck dead to the filter implement this morning. All of your advice here has made me feel much better. I just wanted to say thank you.

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 4, 2015 at 4:55 pm - Reply

      You’re the reason Pure Goldfish is around, Lesley =) It’s people like you that make the effort worthwhile. I’m so glad to know you appreciate it.

  8. Linda December 4, 2015 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    What a great website. I have a 12 year old goldfish. Been at the bottom of tank for a year. Has been treated last year at a vet with gentamicin and another injectable med. Did not help. Was diagnosed with severe chronic dermatitis with bacilli. I change 24 gallons twice a week in a 55 gallon tank. I use prime. I was using salt at a rate of one tablespoon per five gallons. Did not help. So I took it out. He will only eat boiled egg yolk. Stopped eating peas, gel food, pebbles, shrimp. Hardly eating egg now too. Any suggestions. Really love this little guy?

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 4, 2015 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      Happy you’re enjoying it, Linda. Do you have gravel in the tank or any kind of filtration? What are your water parameters for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH? KH and GH could also help too…

  9. Linda December 5, 2015 at 12:21 am - Reply

    That is for the quick response. I only keep a small amount of marbles in the tank. The ammonia nitrites are 0, nitrates 5.0, pH 7.4, kh is 80 and GH 100. I have two 20-50 aqua clears. One at each end. Recently added small air stone. Oxygen level is 8.

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 5, 2015 at 1:35 am - Reply

      How often are you cleaning the filters & siphoning the bottom of the tank?

  10. Linda December 5, 2015 at 1:45 am - Reply

    I rinse every other sponge in tank water every third day with water change and siphon the bottom every time I change the water.

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 5, 2015 at 1:50 am - Reply

      Sorry for all the questions, but do you ever clean out the filters themselves?

      Oh and I forgot to ask exactly how much you normally would feed him and how often.

  11. Linda December 5, 2015 at 2:42 am - Reply

    Don’t mind answering any questions. That’s the only way to know what’s going on. I really need help. I clean each filter every other time too, lightly with q-tips, cotton balls and aquarium brushes. I usually feed him a few pieces of egg yolk in the morning. He usually spits the peas out that I try to feed him at night. He always loved his peas and pebbles before.

  12. Linda December 6, 2015 at 12:51 am - Reply

    Haven’t heard anymore? Any advice?

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 6, 2015 at 1:02 am - Reply

      Sorry for the delay, Linda, we had our big store launch today. Egg yolk and peas are both very high in protein. For goldfish I would recommend a diet that consists more of fiber, please see our feeding article for my recommended diet plan. Hope this helps =)

  13. Maria December 8, 2015 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Hi – Love your site! I’ve been watching housemate’s fancy goldfish, and you just confirmed my suspicion, that their bodies are bread too small for their organs, thus getting sick. A friend said when they sell goldfish with disabilities, well I wont go on but it’s sick what they do to the poor creatures. Anyway, housemate did not change water or clean gravel of tank, get a siphon, etc. for so long (in spite of my nudges), that one has dropsy and both are gasping at top of tank. I couldn’t take it any longer so I put the one that’s about to burst in a bowl of clean water (boiled the night before to try to remove some chlorine) and at least she is not gasping at the surface, is breathing better. But the other one could not handle shock of moving. So he’s back in dirty tank gasping at surface.
    My question is: Is it better to leave the one with dropsy in the clean bowl (with stripes around it, all I found) in spite of the stress of moving, or return it to dirty tank to die? I can’t stand the thought of it dying, have grown attached and she has been such a trooper, hanging on for so long under terrible conditions. (I did do some water changes, but it just wasn’t enough without a syphon or another tank, due to heavy gravel on bottom). Sorry for lengthy post … but I’ve been distressed for weeks over this, and cannot over-step the bounds of owner). Thank you !

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 8, 2015 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      Happy to hear you like it, Maria. =) It may make you feel a bit better to know that the body shape of fancy goldfish does not guarantee them health problems… just makes them prone to getting sick, which happens when they are overfed (as they usually are). With proper care and clean water they will live many years of a healthy life.

      You’re definitely in a tough place as far as your housemate goes. For both fish to get better they would need perfectly clean water, which can’t happen in a dirty tank. Sadly dropsy is terminal in most cases. The damage usually can’t be reversed. It would probably be kinder to have the fish euthanized. If the other one isn’t too bad off on you could try asking the owner if you could clean the the tank for him or her. If they will let you take the gravel out; it is likely filled with anaerobic bacteria – and clean the bottom with a turkey baster or plastic hosing if you have to.

      Hope things turn around! I would be distressed too in your position =(

  14. Doris December 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    I have had my gold fish for 4 years. It is in a 20 gallon tank by itself. 2 weeks ago it stopped eating. We feed it flakes. That’sall we’ve fed it . The fish acts like it can’t find the food we put in the tank. It swims and gulfs, but won’t eat. HELP!

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Doris, it might be related to how much you are feeding. With flakes it is hard to tell. I recommend pellets for that reason.

  15. I don't want to tell you December 15, 2015 at 2:22 am - Reply

    I have a fantail gold fish and I bought my fish 4 months ago and I have a filter and haven’t change the filter the day I bought it.when am i supposed to change it?

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 15, 2015 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      Well hi there, I don’t want to tell you 😉

      If you have carbon than you would change that out on a weekly to every other week basis. If you have some kind of a biofilter than you would squeeze that out as much as you can.

  16. Jennifer December 15, 2015 at 4:59 am - Reply

    I have three goldies (2 comets and one common) in a 30g tank which I realize is too small but I initially bought the tank for just one of them and my friend moved into a house that had two living in a 5g tank! Soooo I felt bad for them and took them in, but they are getting bigger and the water quality is showing signs of it. Ammonia is and has always been zero but I recently got a small nitrite reading when it has been zero for about a year now. I will have to rehome two of them but for now I am making do with water changes. I was doing the 25% once a week but after reading your article realize it has to be more. My question is about cleaning the gravel and filters. I have read that if you clean the gravel and filters to intensely it can disturb the “good” bacteria or can cause a bacterial bloom. My question is should I vacuum the gravel every time I do a water change if I do it say 3 times a week or should I just change the water and do the vacuuming once a week.

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 15, 2015 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Disturbing the good bacteria is a myth. Not cleaning filters and gravel is what causes a bacterial bloom of anaerobic bacteria (highly toxic). With gravel, you want to vacuum as much as possible. I don’t really recommend gravel because it is very very difficult to keep clean with goldies, but if you must have it the more you clean it the better your fish’s health will be.

  17. Juliana December 16, 2015 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Thanks for the article. Most helpful.

    I have a 10 gal (60L) Biorb with 2 ryukins and a golden sucker. Unfortunately, I didn’t cycle the tank long enough and am now retrospectively dealing with high nitrite levels. The pH is 7.3 and Ammonia <.2 which is fine according to my test kit (these were much higher). The nitrites are still up though. So I have reduced feeding by 50%, performing 10% water changes every 2 days with treated water and also dosing the new water with bacteria, aquarium salts and phosphorous per a new tank to try and bring the nitrites down to a manageable level. I am also just waiting on a new siphon that includes a vacuum probe for targeting the nasties on the bottom of the tank.

    The fish seem to still be eating, pooping, chasing each other around and ignoring Toad (sucker fish). Water testing is occurring every 48 hours at this stage, at the same time I am washing out the filter as well as skimming floaties. I read somewhere that a clogged filter doesn't help. They are surface gasping, one more than the other and I cannot help but be concerned that I am a terrible fishy mamma.
    I will now move to daily water changes but I am worried that my little cylindrical dudes (nitrabacter) will not be enough when a friend performs a couple of water changes while I am away (I am doing one the morning that I leave). I just don't want my very expensive birthday present to die.

    One more thing, are there any decent articles on actually how to set up and cycle a tank? I have only heard the term but not been overly successful in finding out how to actually go about setting a cycle up?

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 18, 2015 at 12:51 am - Reply

      I’m afraid as long as your fish are in that tank, Juliana, you’re going to have a hard time keeping the nitrites down. It’s recommended to have at least 10 gallons per fancy. You have 3 fish which makes for an overloaded system. The siphon is a good move, though 😉

      As a matter of fact, I’m working on an article on just that subject. Stay tuned =)

  18. Juliana December 19, 2015 at 7:09 am - Reply

    I just redid the calculation. It is a 15G tank or 60L. I have removed the light for now and increased the water capacity by 2L.

    I have been at this daily water change for 5 days now. I have been performing water changes of 8L, reduced feeding by 50% (although I think G&G are stealing the concealed algae wafer I have put in the tank for Toad), vacuuming the gravel of crap, and cleaning the filter at the same time as the water change. Within this 5 days, the nitrites have dropped from 5 to .5, pH is 7.3 and ammonia is now 0. This entire process takes a total of about 10 minutes, which is pretty quick.

    Here is the water recipe I have used. 8L tap water with 4 drops of Prime dechlorinator left for 24 hours. Right before you add the water to the tank add 1/2 tsp aquarium salts. 1tsp phosphorus and 1/2 cap of good bacteria (in that order). I have done this combo for the last 5 days and tested every 48 hours. Today is the last daily water change. I need to see what happens when I leave it for 48 hours. So test on Monday night before I do the next change. I am going to add a stalk of oxyweed to my bucket which will likely end up being a hospital bucket.

    I think the kids will be fine for a water change every three days while we are away. As we are away for 2 weeks, it will be interesting to see how the tank has coped without me.

    Oh, and my year supply of maintenance equipment turned up today. Now to work out what the first aid filter does. 🙂

  19. Juliana December 19, 2015 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Oh, I forgot to add that after I have completed the water change, I skim the floaties out with my very fine net as to try and remove as much hard material as possible leaving only fluid for the bacteria to contend with.
    If I have to perform daily water changes for the rest of these fishies lives, so be it. I cannot afford a larger tank for them at the moment, so the best thing I can do for them is to keep their water as good as I can make it.

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 19, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      You probably don’t have to do daily water changes, but every other day for the load of that system. But if I were you I would stop adding salt; it stresses them when you alter the salinity and goldfish are not brackish water fish. Glad to hear the nitrites are going down! Keep it up 😀

  20. Maheen Arif December 25, 2015 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    My fish is at the bottom of her tank, this morning one of the other goldfish with her died, so i cleaned the tank out throughly and made sure it was clean and put my goldfish back, i fed her this morning, now she is at the bottom on her tank not moving at all, except every five seconds she opens her mouth and closes it, i think she might be asleep because shes done it before,PLEASE HELP im really stressed and i dont want her to die!

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 25, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      How long have you had the tank set up, Maheen? Do you have a filter and how often do you normally change the water? Also what size is the tank and have you tested the water?

  21. patti December 26, 2015 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    hello I need some help . I will try and make it briff not sure if I can ok. I had redcap oranada anout 3.5 ins long. in 10 gallon tank. bought a 20 long tank . pored the water from 10 gallon and filled the rest with tap water , well I havent been able to get it clear. bought a aqua clear 50 filter and not helping. doing 30% water changes everyday and adding prime ! when I do the water changes. I unplug everything than when I am done turn it back on poop come spiting out, I am getting frustrated can you please help me

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 27, 2015 at 5:02 am - Reply

      You might try upping the water change percentage to 90% instead of 30%, Patti. But just remember that not cleaning the filter enough or having a substrate could be a trap for debris! Hope that helps.

  22. Tim December 28, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Great article and helpful suggestions!! I have a scenario that’s been puzzling me and my brother-in-law for a while now. He has a 50 gal tropical fish tank for a few years. He always changed the water regularly every 1-2 weeks. The water in his tank is crystal clear – better than mine (72 Gal)…lol. On Xmas day, I took 3 fantail goldfish out from my tank and brought back to him. Prior to releasing the fish into his tank, I had the plastic bag with fish sitting in his tank for 15 min. to acclimate to his tank temperature. Then I released them into the new environment. After 1/2 – 1 hr. one of the goldfish was sitting at the bottom and the other one was resting on the live plant. And I saw one of the blue Gourami was nibbling on the goldfish tail. At this point I figured that this poor thing – death is imminent. Then the other 2 goldfish died soon afterward.

    My sister-in-law was saying a few days before Xmas – she bought 3 fish from a pet store and they all died after the next day. Every time a new fish died in their tank, we kept thinking – could it be the water or what’s killing them? But the thing is, the water in the tank is clean and clear. I don’t smell any ammonia when I open the tank cover to take a sniff…hehe. In the past, I gave them a few plecotomus (3″ – 5″ size) and they died after a few days. My BIL claims that he always test the water in his tank and recently changed the filter pads in his canister filter last week. Oh…he doesn’t feed the fish 2x a day like I do :).

    Do you have any idea what can cause some of the new fish to die once they were introduced into the tank? I don’t have any problem when I buy more fish and put them into my tank. And embarrassing to admit that the water color of my tank is not crystal clear like my BIL’s. My tank has like a light orange/red color from the food flakes that I feed my fish, with a stronger smell of ammonia every time I pass by my tank. Although with a possible of higher content of ammonia in my tank, unclear water color – my fish have been surviving with no problems so far. I am going to change the water in my fish tank in the next day or two. I usually change about 75-85% in my tank.

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 28, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      Clear water can be some of the deadliest, Tim. If there is any level of it in the water the system of the fish becomes stressed and can cause death. Ammonia isn’t something you can smell in a fish tank, the only way to know for sure if there is ammonia in the tank is by testing for it. Not sure if your brother-in-law is testing specifically for it though. And not sure if any of the bag water was released into the tank with the fish… if so, it’s usually very high in ammonia and could cause the water to get polluted. Goldfish are very sensitive to it. What you can smell in a tank is the fish waste or plants in the tank, which have a distinctly “fishy” smell. If you can smell it strongly that usually means it’s a good idea to change the water, though it may not guarantee you have ammonia levels. If your brother-in-law’s tank has gravel or if the filter itself isn’t cleaned out often (not just changing the pads) that could be a potential cause of ammonia accumulation. Tropical fish have different stocking requirements than goldies anyway so it’s best to have one tank per kind. Hope this makes sense =)

  23. Grace December 31, 2015 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Hello Clementine! I have a small Oranda goldfish (his name is Dabi and he’s very very sweet). He was a surprise for Christmas, a very stressful little surprise for Christmas- I had none of the equipment to keep him! For a few days he was doing alright in a ten gallon tank with a filter and air stone, but now he has a small brown spot on his side, and spends most of the day behind a small purple plant I bought for him. I am obviously very worried something is wrong, what do you think it might be and what can I do to help him? Also, what should I use to treat my water before putting it in the tank? Thank you so very much,

    Grace

    • Clementine
      Clementine December 31, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      Hi there Grace =) Probably Dabi is going through new tank syndrome, Grace. Basically the water is going bad from his poo. What you can do to help him is change the water at the bottom of the tank to suck up the waste until 50% is drained, and replace it with treated tap water of the same temp and do that each day until the system gets established (it will need a filter for that to happen). You can use any kind of chlorine remover and follow the bottle’s instructions, but my favorite is Prime because it helps with ammonia.

  24. Stacey January 2, 2016 at 7:39 am - Reply

    Thank you so much petsmart said my goldfish would be fine with an algae eater and it was for about a year and just these past few days I’ve noticed red blotches on it. Finally I sat and watched my algae eater stalk my good fish and then start chewing on his side. I thought my fish was dying but thanks to you guys I now know my algae eater is trying to eat it alive. But will my gold fish be okay or is he still going to die?

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 2, 2016 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      I was afraid that was the case :/ If you get the algae eater out of there and keep the water really clean your fish has a chance, but of course I don’t know how extensive the damage is. Hope he recovers soon!

  25. Stacey January 2, 2016 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    His side is really red behind his stomach and he keeps laying down but I have them separated and the other goldfish is protecting and helping him thank you for getting back to me so quickly and I’m about to clean the tank. Again thank you you’ve saved him and my other goldfish.

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 3, 2016 at 4:36 am - Reply

      Hope he recovers soon Stacey! Take care.

  26. Jennifer January 4, 2016 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Your site was very helpful but I would need a more specific answer if someone could help me my goldfish and I would greatly appreciate it!

    Here is our problem…

    My goldfish is a fancy goldfish (Celestial) I’ve had him since he was about 6 weeks old in a 10 Gallon aquarium with a small zebra snail for company. He just turned 1 year old last month. So he has been with me for a year now and since I got him he has always gulped for air at least 1 up to 20 times a day that i actually witness. He swims up to the top and gulps a number of times then swims back down and continues whatever he was doing before. The problem is I have no idea why he keeps doing this! I have tested my amonia levels, they’re normal. I have tested my Nitrate levels, normal as well. The temperature is stable and controlled to what I was told is adeal for him which is 70 degrees. I feed him 3 sinking pellets 3 times a day. I dont know if that is too much every pet store has told me its appropriate. He sometimes gulps so much air that his swim bladder probably fills with air which causes him alot of difficulty to swim down and cause him difficulty in general with his swimming.

    I dont know what is causing him to constantly gulp air.

    I tried recently changing his diet by giving him half of one skinned pea in the morning followed by 3 sinking pellets at supper and the other half of the pea before bed around 12am.

    Please help us I dont want him to constantly be struggling but I dont know what else to do for the little guy.

    Thanks,

    Jen 🙁

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 4, 2016 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      Hi Jennifer, I think you might be overfeeding. Please have a look at our feeding advice for how much/often to feed. So much food is probably leading to ammonia issues.

  27. Jennifer January 4, 2016 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Thank you Clementine! I just read all the feeding advice my last question is how many pellets is what he should be having… Im going to put romaine lettuce in the tank and this weekend pick up aquarium plants like those listed so in combination with having healthy snacks available 24/7 how many pellets should i be giving him for his extra nutrients he needs ?

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 4, 2016 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      3 pellets each day =)

  28. Dillion Talks January 7, 2016 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    I have 2 goldfish a common and a fantail but my fantail some times gulps at the surface and the the other follows and i change the water recently please help am i over feeding them? also i got a fish tank and with the filter were the water runs back. their no pad that goes on it. is their supposed to be a pad? thanks

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 7, 2016 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      You can check out our advice on food to know if you are overfeeding. It is recommended to have some kind of substance to grow beneficial bacteria on in the filter that doesn’t get thrown out all the time, like a sponge. =)

  29. morne January 10, 2016 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    hi weare first time owners who have two beautifull fancy goldfish but week back we clean the whole tank and they so happy swimming all over and friendly but for 4days one of ouer fishes dusnt swim around stays on one place half in middel in coner but when we feeding time they both eat but you can see something wrong our other goldfish is happy swiming around and looks worry about other one hehe

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 10, 2016 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      How often do you normally change the water, and how much, morne?

  30. I don't want to tell you January 11, 2016 at 1:17 am - Reply

    I have a goldfish and i accedently put in to much food its stuck at the bottom I tried to scoop it out but it didn’t work so I was thinking of changing the watter but i don’t know how to do that plz help

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 11, 2016 at 4:10 am - Reply

      A siphon will be your best friend in this case… or even a turkey baster, if you don’t have a siphon. Hope that helps 😉

  31. Jennifer January 13, 2016 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Hi Clementine,

    I have a question… I have recently bought my celestial goldfish a real plant to snack on and he loves it hes rubbing himself in it hes ;loving it! My question is can i get rid of all my fake plants and replace them with all real plants? Will he eat too much if heres too many plants? will it affect my water balance?

    Thanks

    Jennifer & Fish

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 13, 2016 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      Yes, absolutely. Fake plants really don’t serve much purpose except making more to clean for you. Goldfish are meant to have an unlimited supply of plants, they will never eat too much of them 🙂 It might affect your water balance… but for the better. Plants aid in the nitrogen cycle.

  32. Jennifer January 14, 2016 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    What kind of plants would you recommend ?

    Jen 🙂

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 14, 2016 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      It depends on if you want them to get eaten or not, ha ha. If you want to keep them around Java fern and Anubias are nice. But if you want them for food then elodea and duckweed are good choices.

  33. Jennifer January 14, 2016 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much Clementine! you’ve been a huge help!!

  34. kate January 15, 2016 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    o please help. i have two good sized goldifsh in a new to them 10 gallon tank (about a month in) and first, the algae bloom came, and we went on line and it said to just let it work itself out, so we waited a week, it did not clear up, so we did a full water change with well water and one fish was gasping at the surface, so we went back onoline and it said softener was the problem, so we bought gallons of spring water at the store and did a 90% water change, and today they are both gasping at the surface off and on….between the milky water and gasping fish, what am i doing wrong??

  35. kate January 15, 2016 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    when they were in a 5 gallon tank i didn’t have these problems. dont want my frick fish and frack fish to die. PLEASE HELP!!!!

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 16, 2016 at 2:20 am - Reply

      Likely that’s new tank syndrome, Kate. Not sure if you have a filter or not, but for 2 goldies you really should have at least a 20 gallon tank. It will be difficult to keep the water quality good with the setup you have now. In the meantime I would do 90% water changes every day until the fish improve. Then you can reduce it to weekly, assuming your tank is cycled.

  36. BlazingEmpireHD January 20, 2016 at 8:23 am - Reply

    So our story is quite long. A year and 1/2 ago, we had two common or comet (can’t remember) goldfish, and then we bought 5 more comet goldfish and mixed them all in a 20gal tank. Everything was grand for several weeks, we bought two more, (a case of enough is never enough!) and it went well, then about august of 2014, (9 fish in a 20gallon tank, yes, I know, BAD IDEA), we noticed one of the smaller white goldfish was looking rather sad or unhappy ‘sick’ if you will, we took him out and put him in a fresh water square glass thingy, he recovered nicely afte 1 or 2 days. We put him back, 2 weeks later, still august, we notice he is sick and has some sort of white filmy stuff on him. Taken out same process, Saturday night, absolutely fine, Sunday Morning, dead. And we then are a lil bit worred, so we think it was somehow caused by the heat, and we move the tank from the 10 window room, to the main room, about 5-15 degree difference depending on the day, Monday, another fish another comet has died. We then treat the water. Tuesday, 5 more fish passed away. We were left with only one. We FRANTICALLY moved them out, and cleaned the tank top to bottom. He survived. But, since they were the only two survivors and and in separate glasses (to recover in) we decide to get two more a couple days later after the tank and fish have recovered. Those four lasted until January where the plague AGAIN started up. (Both times it looked like parasites). We lost 3 of the four. One of the newer ones survived, named Mabele the 3rd (we’ve had 3 mabele’s). She was the last fish left, and again, depression, so we got 4 more fish and transferred ALL of them (after she recovered) into our ten gallon tank. Fast forward to November 2015, everything is fine, we notice one day, one of the 5 are missing, we search all over and couldn’t find it. We assumed a loss, and then a couple days later after thanksgiving, ANOTHER one was missing. Again, we searched and cleaned the tank. Recently the third and final (goldfish up until this point), goldfish went missing and died. Now there are only two. A ‘new’ orange one, and Mabele the 3rd, survivor of the 2nd massacre. Have you ANY idea what was the cause of this madness?

    After the second ‘massacre,’ we cleaned the tank thouroghly and replaced the goldfish with the much easier platy fish. We got 7 from petco two were preggers, and the next day we saw a little baby. They repopulated and grew and we eventually had about 10 adults and 50 or so babies. As well as two (transferred from ANOTHER tank) female bettas. Just this year, we noticed the platies were no longer ‘producing’ babies, and soon after day after day, so many many many platies died for unknown reasons, and now we had two, but one died just today, and now we only have one platy. We are completely clueless as to why or what happen! (By the way, the bettas legit watched the ‘massacre’ and now are living the good life). In otherwords, the bettas are COMPLETELY fine. Again, we have little to know clue what happened with the platies or goldfish. But, I could see some reasons for the goldfish, but nothing at all for the platies. Please help!

  37. BlazingEmpireHD January 21, 2016 at 11:29 am - Reply

    That whole page was a rough draft, had a few mistakes in it. That final platy is doing very well, she looks happy and darts around like she normally does. The bettas are still enjoying the good life. Lol

  38. Valentina Salas January 22, 2016 at 5:49 am - Reply

    Hi Clementine!!

    First of all thank you so much for this article and all the information, as well as answering all the questions. I really need some help here!! So here is the story. I’m a dog person (had many during my life) and know all about it but never had a fish, until this week. My husband’s boss just moved to another country and he and his wife had a beautiful Goldfish ( I think is a fantail ). they didn’t have any loving possible next parent for the baby and when we were helping with the move my husband and I decided to adopt the fish. To my surprise, big surprise, this fish is 6 years old ! and it’s living in a ahem :S 10 gallon tank !!!! I didn’t really know anything about this, I just noticed that the fish is too big for the tank is in. I started researching, measuring and figured is a 10 gal.. So anyway they gave me this baby 4 days ago and I already adore it. The thing is I notice so many things not going Ok and don’t know where to begin helping or what to do.

    I’ve changed water 2 times by now, because the fish is constantly gulping at the surface of the water.This is my main concern. It is there every 5 min. The old parents told me to change water only 1 a month (!) and to keep half the old water. To me that sounded really bad to be honest. I give my dogs mineral water that gives you an idea of my policy with water. So I decided to change the water today but as I’m reading I need to keep doing this daily until I change the tank. That would be my next question, or my real question, how can I help him be OK until the next tank is ready? Today I searched for tanks and I’ll be heading to petco tomorrow morning to get a 50 gal tank ! I want to give him the best!

    Please any information and tips you can give me will be highly appreciated as a new goldfish mom !!! Another thing I’d like to know is if this fish needs company ! my husband and I were thinking about getting another tank and 2 extra fish and grow the new 2 until they are the size that can be compatible with this one, but I’d like your opinion. Thank you so much in anticipation !!!! <3

  39. Maria January 22, 2016 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Clementine,

    Thanks you for posting all this. It has been educational. Wish I had looked for info before I bought goldfish. So…..For xmas I bought my children 2 goldfish and a small tank. I realized that the tank was too small but figured they would hold on till I could afford to buy a big one. I changed the water every other day or so but when I did that I changed 100% of it and transferred the fish to another container momentarily . Then I would put them back in the clean water. I wasn’t aware that there was anything wrong with plain tap water so I just added that straight in. After a couple of weeks the fish looked miserable…sitting at the end of the tank, hardly moving. They were quite attached to each other. Additionally they seemed to be hungry and I over fed them….not a whole lot but twice a day instead of once. Then I notice this white cotton wool like substance coming around the tank. Fish started gulping for air at the top and lying on its side at the top. Again I changed the water taking the fish out and then transferring them back in. And one of the poor guys died there and then. So I guess I did so much wrong stuff here I basically killed him. Now the other one is alive but still there is a little white substance coming. I faster him for 3 days and today I fed him and he won’t eat anything..its like he doesn’t even see the food. The new big tank is coming tomorrow. Please tell me what to do?

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 23, 2016 at 4:43 am - Reply

      Well Maria, likely your fish are experiencing New Tank Syndrome. To counteract that you must change the water daily 50 to 90%, being sure that the water you are replacing it with is treated and the pH isn’t too low. There is no need to move the fish around during water changes if you do it properly with a bottom siphon, it only will stress them out. You will need to have some kind of filtration if you don’t already, so that way after a while you won’t have to change the water so much. If the fish won’t eat, don’t feed… it will only further deteriorate the water quality. Be sure to remove any gravel and keep the bottom of the tank and the filter free of crud 😉 Hope your other guy makes it. Everyone loses fish sooner or later, it happens. The main thing is to do the best you can to keep the tank clean and that will take you a long way! 🙂

  40. Sara January 23, 2016 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Hello there ? I just bought a baby gold fish a few hours ago and I’m super excited since I really love fish ? Anyways, the pet store shop keeper told me to feed my goldfish one flake every two days… I’m just wondering whether that amount of food it very little ? Btw my baby gold fish lives in bowl, and when I read your article I don’t think that’s a good idea anymore ? I hope you answer my question ?

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 23, 2016 at 3:33 pm - Reply

      Hi Sara, congrats on your new baby! Exactly how big is it? That will determine how much food it needs. If it is an inch or less than it will need lots of frequent meals to keep it growing, but I wouldn’t advise doing that until it gets a bigger tank because you don’t want the water to go bad. That happens very easily in bowls. Best wishes for your new friend! 😀

  41. JAY January 25, 2016 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    My fish is constipated some hes was eating peas last week and was producing stool but larger than usual… however last Friday he didnt eat any of the peas i gave him and hasnt eaten since, he is lathargic on the ground and wont eat how can i help him if he doesnt want to eat!?

    • Clementine
      Clementine January 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      If the fish doesn’t eat, Jay, please don’t feed him. It will only mess up the water. Fasting may actually be the best thing for him.

  42. Parker.D February 3, 2016 at 3:13 am - Reply

    Hey, great article btw. I followed everything here %100 and my fish are happy and healthy. One question though, I followed did everything, not over feeding,weekly water tests,I have a filter too, lots of hiding spots and plants and my tank still gets kind of cloudy. I’m kind of worried cause my bubble eyed fish is now gasping for air. Thanks please respond ?

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 3, 2016 at 5:19 am - Reply

      Hey Parker, do you have any gravel or substrate, and does your filter get cleaned regularly?

  43. Pdiddy February 3, 2016 at 4:26 am - Reply

    Hey clementine, I totally agree with every thing you say, I have 3 gold fish now and a baby algae eater. I have a filter, 2 real plants, hiding spots etc. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, I checked the water it’s cold how they like it. It always gets that cloudy look though I know it’s not good for them. Please show suggestions for a subscriber. (Ps keep up the good work??) ?

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 3, 2016 at 5:26 am - Reply

      Hi there Pdiddy! Sure, I’ll give you my suggestions. But first… how big is your tank, and how often do you normally change the water?

  44. Pdiddy February 3, 2016 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    I have a 35 gallon tank, I change the water weekly (I iust did it today) all of the fish love each other. One is pregnant.

  45. Parker.D February 3, 2016 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Yes, I wash it monthly

  46. Parker.D February 3, 2016 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    (Ps me and Parker are the same person. I accidentally changed it)

  47. Parker.D February 3, 2016 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    I mean Pdiddy

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 4, 2016 at 4:55 am - Reply

      Ha ha no worries 😉 Monthly? That’s definitely your problem. For a normal setup goldfish have to have weekly water changes of at least 50% at least. Any less than that and the water will go bad quickly.

      • Sarah February 15, 2016 at 8:23 pm - Reply

        Hi, I think Parker said that he changes the water weekly, and washes the tank monthly. Can you please clarify if he also supposed to wash it weekly too? Or just change the water? I’m curious too. Thanks!

        • Clementine
          Clementine February 16, 2016 at 4:58 am - Reply

          Looking back on that I see I got a bit mixed up. To clarify, weekly water changes are necessary, but I’m not really sure what was meant by “washing.” I’m assuming it means dumping everything out and rinsing it in the tap, which should not be done. Hope that clears things up!

  48. Parker.D February 5, 2016 at 2:23 am - Reply

    K weekly then?

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 5, 2016 at 2:31 am - Reply

      Yep 🙂 Absolute must.

  49. Parker.D February 6, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Ok thanks! Wish good luck for the fish babies.??

  50. Marianne February 7, 2016 at 5:09 am - Reply

    Hello, Thanks for all the info. I have 7 juvenile comet goldfish in a 55 gallon tank with a ton of filtration. I know this tank is too small for them long term. However I’m wondering if they will be ok living in there for 6 months to a year? We are planning on putting them in our pond at that time, but they are too little right now. Or should we consider getting a bigger tank until then? Thanks

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 7, 2016 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      If you keep the tank really clean, Marianne, they might be okay until you can put them in the pond.

  51. Marianne February 7, 2016 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    Ok thanks, I hope so. My hubby is pretty anal about water changes so we do them several times a week. I’m just worried about stunting their growth as I’m not sure how long it takes them to grow

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 8, 2016 at 4:36 am - Reply

      You won’t stunt them with enough water changes 🙂

  52. Jennifer February 10, 2016 at 6:40 am - Reply

    Why does my fish keep gulping for air all the time?? Anyone have an Idea.

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 11, 2016 at 2:35 am - Reply

      You may be having water quality problems, Jennifer. Have you tried testing it?

  53. Parker.D February 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Hey Parker’s back 😀
    I was wondering if I could feed my gold fish crickets?

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 14, 2016 at 11:45 pm - Reply

      Hi again! Well, it might be possible, if the fish is big enough, but personally I wouldn’t do that. I would stick with fish-safe foods. 🙂

  54. Sarah February 15, 2016 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    Hi Clementine,

    I have never had fish and never really expected to. My husband “won” a comet goldfish from work a couple weeks ago. I think it was a very irresponsible prize and no one was aware that living creatures would be the prizes. I bought a bowl for him, then, after some googling, realized that he needed more space. We bought a 13 gal tank, filter, heater, gravel, and hiding areas/decorations. I put some safe start bacterial in the tank. THEN, since I bought the tank, my husband brought 2 more fish that were left at his work sitting in a small bowl because 2 of his coworkers didn’t want their “prize” and left them at the office. So they were living in the office for about a week, and he took them because he though since we had a big tank he could help them because they were struggling at his office and looked sad and like they were gasping for air all the time (we both feel for animal). So now we have 3 “feeder fish” in a 13 Gal. I know that’s way too small, and I feel bad about their situation, but I was wondering if it will work until next autumn when we will have more money to get an appropriate tank, filter, etc.? If you think it’s ok, how often should I change their water since they are in a smaller space? Also, do you know how old “feeder goldfish” are? I am worried about them breeding and creating some nightmarish situation of death like was mentioned in one of the comments above. We care about their well being and want them happy and comfortable. I have been filling the tank with culigan water, which I will not be able to continue due to cost. If I put tap water in the tank, should I put water conditioner in the tank directly before I add the tap water, or after? I don’t want to accidentally hurt them with chlorinated tap water, nor do I want to hurt them with concentrated water conditioner chemicals, if I add that first. Any advice would be appreciated and thank you for all the helpful information in your article. 🙂

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 16, 2016 at 5:02 am - Reply

      To answer your questions… yes, it can work until Fall, provided the tank and water are kept clean. If it was me, I would change their water at least every other day. Most feeder fish are probably 6 months to a year old, so I wouldn’t worry about them breeding just yet. Likely they wouldn’t even if they could in that setup. And yes, absolutely you must treat the water before adding it to the tank. Water conditioner is meant to be fish safe when used in the right amount. It is the tap which has the bad stuff.

  55. yuki February 16, 2016 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Hello ,
    I have two goldfish , and a 20 gallon tank , one of them died a week back so my brother bought another to keep it company , initially the new one was floating around always waiting for food and was not showing any signs of lethargy , but last night after i changed around 70 percent of the water it was constantly gasping for air and today i again did a 80 percent water change cleaned the gravel , but its sitting at the bottom breathing slowly and only stirs if the other one is around , what could be wrong ?

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 16, 2016 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      Hi yuki, did you try testing the water? Also, when was the last time you cleaned the filter?

  56. Parker.D February 17, 2016 at 3:58 am - Reply

    Hey clementine, thanks for all the help, my tank looks amazing now. I’m training my goldfish do play games and it’s working slowly. I’m actually entering a drawing contest and I’m drawing the fish. Just wanted to say thanks for the last time. Bye !

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 18, 2016 at 5:05 am - Reply

      Awesome! That sounds like a lot of fun. Bye Parker/Pdiddy 🙂

  57. Shaun February 17, 2016 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    Hello Clementine – Amazing information. Thank you.

    I am a complete newbie to this world. My son last week won 2 gold fish(one actually gold in color and the other greyish) at a fair. So now we are in a learning curve. Bought a starter 10 gallon tank from Petco. Added some gravel, and also have 2 fake plants. (now that I read through your website, i know that I signed up for more cleaning work).

    Here are is setup :
    – 10 gallon tank
    – cycled it only for 2 days (advised by petco)
    – have 2 gold fish sharing the tank
    – 2 plastic plants
    – 1 cm of gravel at the botton
    – have a filter, running 24/7
    – changing water around 50% every other day

    My problem :
    – I see the fish coming to the surface for air
    – I see dark blotches on one of them
    – Havent done the water testing yet. Will have to take that to petco (any recomendations on buying a testing kit)

    Need advice on
    – What am i doing wrong ?
    – can I use the tetra safestart plus to jump start the ammonia cycle with the needed bacteria ?
    – when you say wash the filter, is it enough to just take out the filter, and wash it with de-clorinated water ?
    – what to do with the dark blotches on the fish ?

    Any comments appreciated

    Again – great wealth of info on the website.

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 18, 2016 at 5:24 am - Reply

      Thanks for your positive feedback, Shaun! To answer your questions…

      As far as what are you doing wrong off right off the bat I notice the tank is undersized and the bacteria colony is not established. This is a recipe for ammonia problems, as you are seeing with the black spots (burns).

      Don’t waste your money on Safestart. At this point all you can do is daily water changes until you can upgrade the tank and the filter gets established. It will take much longer than 2 days.

      As to the filter, not sure what kind you are using, but dechlorinated water is not necessary just use old tank water.

      For the dark blotches, take it as a sign that your fish are in danger. Feed sparingly or nothing at all, clean the filter daily and upgrade your tank as soon as you can. It will make things much easier.

      Hope that helps 🙂

      • Shaun February 18, 2016 at 3:57 pm - Reply

        Thanks for the reply Clementine. Some more questions :

        – The filter I have is a biological Aqueon QuietFlow™ Power Filter. It sits on the rim of the tank. So I take out the filter, and rinse in the old tank water ? Do I do this daily ?

        – And for the tank size, what is recommended ?
        – Any chance once the bacteria establishes I can continue with the same 10 gallon tank ?
        – When you say feed the fish sparingly, do I feed them every other day ? And when do I start feeding them every day ?

        Thanks for your time

        • Clementine
          Clementine February 19, 2016 at 5:24 am - Reply

          Yes, take out the cartridge and swish in old tank water with every water change. Unless it is a carbon cartridge, then you have to throw it out and replace weekly.

          For 2 goldies that are slim-bodied you will need 80 gallons min. If they are fancies then 20 gallons min. Your tank is not big enough for even 1 fish. It will make water quality management close to impossible and potentially cause stunting. Bigger tanks are actually easier to take care of.

          If they are not acting well, don’t feed. Only feed when they are behaving and looking normally again.

          • Shaun February 22, 2016 at 2:14 am - Reply

            Clementine, if I keep cleaning the tank and the filter everyday, am I not disturbing the little bit of beneficial bacteria that is trying to make home in the tank ?

            How and when should I stop this daily cleaning cycle ?

            Thanks

            • Clementine
              Clementine February 22, 2016 at 3:19 am - Reply

              Short answer, no 🙂 Beneficial bacteria is not disturbed by even vigorous scrubbing. They are clingers and only tap water will get them off.

              You can stop the daily cleaning when the fish has gotten back to its normal self.

  58. Whitney February 18, 2016 at 2:46 am - Reply

    We have a 10 gal tank and I’m having such a hard time with the nitrate and nitrite levels being high… I was told that it is due to the gold fish we have? What can I do to lower those levels… I do water changes between 25% to 50% every couple weeks can you help me out.

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 18, 2016 at 5:26 am - Reply

      More frequent water changes would definitely be the solution, unless your tank is overcrowded – then you may need to reassess the stocking levels.

  59. Claire February 19, 2016 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Hi. Love this article. Wonder if you can help with my query. I have 4 fancy goldfish that I had in a 120 litre tank. One stopped eating and mostly sitting at the bottom of the tank. All the other 3 thriving active and growing. I was struggling to keep my 2 tanks of this size so I put my fancies in my other tank which has a few platies and white clouds. For the first 3 or 4 days I thought my little sunbeam had turned a corner as she seemed again active and swimming with the others but then went back to sitting at the bottom. Occasionally she has a little swim round and often go to the top and blows out bubbles on her way back down. I do a couple of 20% water changes a week. I was cleaning the filter media each week but didn’t know if I should be doing that. I am very new to fish keeping…..only 6 months in. It’s been a while now she’s been like this i just don’t know what to do for the best?? Hope you may be able to advice me. Thank you

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 20, 2016 at 5:03 am - Reply

      Hi, and thanks! So, you have 4 fancies and some tropicals in a 120litre, is that correct?

      • Claire February 20, 2016 at 8:48 am - Reply

        Thank you for replying. Yes that’s correct. I know it seems a lot but the fancies are not massive as yet and there are not many of the smaller fish. There seems plenty of room. It doesn’t look over crowded ? My tank is a good shape as it’s much longer in length than height which I read was important and I got the bigger fluval u4 filter rather than the u3 as I read with fancies you can’t get enough filtration. I couldn’t possibly cope with a larger tank though. I did a really good syphon of the sand yesterday and cut back on the feeding as it states in your article and actually sunbeam is swimming around this morning a lot more which she hasn’t done for ages. I haven’t seen her eat yet though ? Really difficult knowing if I’m feeding enough though. My other 3 are scatting around frantically looking for food which makes me think I haven’t put enough in. I hate the thought of them being hungry. All my other fish all look healthy and active.

        • Clementine
          Clementine February 21, 2016 at 1:54 am - Reply

          With goldfish it’s not just about size, it’s about waste load and invisible toxins they produce. Check our feeding article, if you haven’t already, to know if you are feeding the right amount. Goldfish are hungry no matter how much they eat.

  60. Saish February 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Hello , I have two redcap orandas and two telescope fishes in 60 gallon tank . The orandas have been added recently to the tank I have been doing regular water changes per week . Now the problem is that the two of orandas have not been eating since they have Been brought. All the food I gv them is consumed by telescope fishes. I also noticed orandas sitting down the tank near my filter . And is it fine to have only one filter for 60 gallon tank?

    Hoping for your reply soon as I can’t see them resting down as normal fishes swim regularly…

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 21, 2016 at 1:55 am - Reply

      How much % of water do you change at a time, and do you have a substrate? Also, how often do you clean the filter?

      • Saish February 21, 2016 at 3:34 am - Reply

        Regularly I changed 50% but since they we resting in bottom I started changing 90% and I guess it helped . They are now playing around with tankmates. I clean my filter in month.
        Now,a new problem has occurred as I feed evry fish the telescopes eat all the food and orandas juss see the food gulp and then throw it out without eating. What is the solution?

        • Clementine
          Clementine February 21, 2016 at 7:26 pm - Reply

          You might be feeding too much. Have you checked out our feeding article?

  61. Robert February 20, 2016 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    Thanks for all the great info Clementine. Can you please explain how to cycle a tank? Also, you mentioned that raw lettuce or spinach is a good supplement for goldfish. Is one piece of fresh, raw baby spinach a good amount for one goldfish, or would you put in a portion of a piece? Thank you.

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 21, 2016 at 1:58 am - Reply

      You are most welcome, Robert! Cycling is an involved process, but in summary it is done through the gradual and consistent introduction of ammonia to the tank until nitrate shows up on test readings. You can try one piece of spinach and see how quickly it gets eaten. If it goes in a couple of days you may want to put more in at a time.

  62. Claire February 21, 2016 at 9:57 am - Reply

    Please can you tell me if cleaning the filter media in old tank water each week then taking the whole filter out each month is too much ? Should I rinse the media every other week and once a month take the whole filter out. Thank you. By the way sun beam has not been sat on the bottom for 2 days. Not sure what has made a difference but so pleased my little one is swimming. Still can’t wait to see her go for food like she is hungry but at least she’s not just slumped at the bottom of the tank. Thank you

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 21, 2016 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      As often as possible for the filter. You can’t clean it enough. Be sure no stagnant pockets of crud are getting built up in it!

  63. Reru Florenda February 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    My goldfish is gulping oxygen cause he is a fishbowl we change the water everyday and give him 3 food balls every 5 days so anything more we need to do for the gulping problem??

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 21, 2016 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      As you said, there really isn’t anything more you can do for him until you give him a bigger tank. Water changes are all you can do.

  64. Noah February 22, 2016 at 12:16 am - Reply

    Hello. I had a goldfish in a tank that had cycled for a month or so. I was doing 40% water changes weekly and then I noticed he had started laying in the corner and not moving. I did a 50% water change and he still didn’t perk up. So then the next day I did another 50% water change and still no sign of him getting better. Later that day he died. I checked my water levels and they were all good. My local fish store told me he died because I did to many water changes and he went into shock and died. They told me from now on do 25% water changes weekly instead of 40% water changes weekly. I got a new fish and he seems to be doing fine except when he is suspended vertically in the tank towards the surface gulping air. I tested all my levels with an API fresh water test kit and they were all exactly were they are supposed to be except the PH is a little high. I’m not quite sure why he is doing this. My only thought could be from the ph level being to high. It is at 8.

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 22, 2016 at 3:18 am - Reply

      What the pet store told you is probably not why he died. They are used to giving advice for tropical tanks, not goldfish tanks. Exactly what are your readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH? Also, do you have a substrate, and how often are you cleaning the filter?

      • Noah February 22, 2016 at 4:02 am - Reply

        Ammonia:0
        Nitrite:0
        Nitrate: 15

        I changed the filter once every 2 weeks but am now just reading that all the good bacteria are in the filter and that I need to use the filter for longer and then when I am finished with it swish it out into the aquarium. Am I correct?

        I am not sure why my oranda is gulping air when the water levels are good?

  65. Noah February 22, 2016 at 4:02 am - Reply

    And the ph is at 8

  66. Noah February 22, 2016 at 4:04 am - Reply

    Is substrate gravel? If it is then yes, I have substrate

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 22, 2016 at 4:38 am - Reply

      Yes, gravel is substrate, which is a trap for bad bacteria. I would advise to remove it, and up the cleaning of your filter. The more the better.

  67. Noah February 22, 2016 at 4:47 am - Reply

    Remove all of the gravel? Won’t that get rid of the good and bad bacteria?

    Also when you say clean the filter do you mean replace the filter cartridge or the actual filter unit?

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 23, 2016 at 4:27 am - Reply

      No, it won’t. Bacteria live mostly in the filter.

      I mean, swish out the filter cartridge in old tank water and wash out the inside of the filter unit. So, both 🙂

  68. Jitheesh February 22, 2016 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Great Article ,

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 23, 2016 at 4:27 am - Reply

      Thanks!

      • amber February 23, 2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

        Hi..is it alright to clean the goldfish tank every 2 days?..maybe do a 50% water change every 2 days?

        • Clementine
          Clementine February 24, 2016 at 4:39 am - Reply

          Absolutely 🙂

  69. Alan February 24, 2016 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your article above it was very informative especially for a new goldfish owner like myself.
    We recently got a little ‘feeder’ goldfish, my son won it in school.
    So we went out and bought a 10 gallon tank and a filter and some friends.
    We bought 2, 2-3 inch goldfish and 3 more little tiny feeders (as they call it in the store).
    After the first few days the first feeder died.
    So we went back to the store and they said we need to condition our water from the chlorine.
    So we started that and a week went by OK.
    Our water started getting cloudy so we changed 80% of it.
    The next day it was cloudy again, so back to the store we went.
    This time they sold us Acurel F and Fluval waste control biological cleaner.
    It cleared up the cloudness for 1 day.
    So this time I brought them a water sample.
    The sample showed high ammonia, so they sold us Prime concentrated conditioner to detox the amonia and a Fluval filter ammonia remover for my filter.
    Well the water for clear, BUT the goldfish (especially the little feeders) started turning black.
    So I looked that up and saw that it said that really was from the previous high amonia levels and it was now coming out.
    But right away another feeder died (yesterday) and this morning another one. I also changed the water twice over the last 2 days (80%) and added the water conditioner and other stuff back in.
    So now I’m down to 1 big (3 inch) 1- 2inch and 2 tiny feeders.
    BTW, in the store they said that our 10 gallon can handle what we HAD but from reading all your replies I am believing that was incorrect.
    So now what can I do to make sure the last 2 feeders don’t die and what about the black from the previous high amonia levels, will it correct itself.
    I also plan to return to the store today to get the current water checked out again.
    Thanks in advance for your help!

  70. Alan February 24, 2016 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Also, why did they die right after I corrected the ammonia issue and not before? They lasted a week like that but the day I corrected the ammonia issue 2 died off.
    Is there a such thing of too much of a correction???

  71. Alan February 24, 2016 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    Oh one more thing, I changed the filter 2 days ago with a water change, replaced it with a new one. It was only 1-2 weeks old but with so much waste build up it looked like it needed to be replaced.
    I am reading above now and see that the good bacteria lives in it. Was that a mistake and is that part of my problem, that I got rid of it and need the good bacteria from it?

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 25, 2016 at 5:29 am - Reply

      If the fish are turning black, it does not necessarily mean the ammonia spike is over. Likely there was still a high ammonia concentration present, as your tank is not cycled and sorry to say overstocked, so the fish are continually putting out more ammonia than the filtration can handle, but even the stress of going through an ammonia surge could have caused death shortly afterwards. It is quite toxic. Correcting the ammonia issue can’t be done effectively with chemicals, only water changes provide that solution. And yes, you do not want to throw away the filter, you want to clean it often.

  72. Jenn February 25, 2016 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    I have a goldfish who is hiding inside the filter housing. It’s a Tetra Whisper filter. Is this normal behavior? Is it dangerous? I’ve noticed he likes to wedge himself between things. We just got him last week and are new to keeping fish, so I really don’t know if it’s normal or not.

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 26, 2016 at 4:40 am - Reply

      Probably not normal, Jenn. Goldfish do that when they are weak and/or stressed. You may need to look into your water quality.

  73. Brian February 25, 2016 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Until this morning, we had 2 goldfish living in a 10 gallon tank. We had one for about 3 years, the other for 2. The older one had been having some problems for a long time — swim bladder issued for a while (peas!), and his tail didn’t seem right — but they were both getting along. I’d replaced 50% of the water about weekly, with complete changes every 10 days to 2 weeks. The complete changes would include wiping down the glass (no cleaners), scrubbing the decorations with an old toothbrush, and rinsing out hte gravel. Changed the carbon filter whenever nasty.

    Yesterday I decided the gravel was getting too hard to keep looking clean, and my daughter picked out some fun mixed-color gravel. Rinsed it per the instructions, did my usual full water exchange & cleaning. This morning I woke up to the older fish dead on the bottom, and the younger one was gone by lunchtime. The lonly thing I can think of is that I must not have rinsed off the gravel well enough, and they somehow suffocated on sparkly dust.

    Any other thoughts? I’d hate not to learn from this. I’ll miss them.

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 26, 2016 at 4:45 am - Reply

      Removing the old gravel likely released toxic pockets of bad bacteria. Gravel is not a good choice for goldfish because, as you know, it is impossible to keep clean. As for other thoughts… a 10 gallon tank really is only enough space for one fancy fish. The space gets foul too quickly otherwise. If you consider getting more fish my advice would be only to get one, unless you plan on getting a larger tank.

  74. Hi February 26, 2016 at 10:10 am - Reply

    HI I have 7 goldfish in a 2.5 gallon tank and have had them for a few weeks. I know this is too small ,the water is dirty, fish seem to gasp for air at top a lot. Some seem to be turning black. Bought a 13 gallon tank today..I know still not big enough but can’t afford bigger right now. Didn’t realize how big of a tank they needed. How do I go about moving them to the new tank without killing them. Should I put all the old water in the new tank? Should I put the new bigger filter in the new tank with clean water first? Then the old filter and water and fish? What about the old gravel? And I got new travel as well. This whole process worried me I don’t want to kill them.

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 27, 2016 at 5:55 am - Reply

      Don’t save the old water, it’s loaded with toxins. You would do best to use tap water that has been treated. Use both filters on the new tank, but clean the old one in old tank water first. Toss the gravel, it will only complicate things for the worse. It is not going to be easy to keep 7 goldfish alive even in a 13 gallon, so there sadly is a chance that some or all won’t make it… hope that helps! 🙂

  75. Jennine Eng February 27, 2016 at 5:32 am - Reply

    Hi! I recently got a goldfish. He does not have a proper tank, just a large plastic bin, no air pump so far, and no filter. I do full water changes every other day, and feed him a small pinch of fish food each night.

    I am not sure what causes it, but whenever I check on him, he seems to be gasping, and his gills are moving at abnormally fast speeds. When I gently reach into the tank with clean hands to test his reaction, he doesn’t seem to move unless I really push him around. Might it be an illness? I’m really worried about him. This is the 2nd day I have him, and I don’t want him to suddenly die on me.

    • Clementine
      Clementine February 28, 2016 at 4:41 am - Reply

      Hi Jennine! Have you checked out our feeding article? I think he might be getting too much food which leads to foul water.

  76. Jennine February 28, 2016 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Oh, I just recently went to the pet store and purchased a 5.5 gallon tank, along with Api Stress Coat and a Bacteria thing from Top Fin. I set up the tank yesterday, and I placed my fish in it. I also have a large plant in it, and a small filter hanging from the side. I have read other articles about the overfeeding, so I haven’t fed him today or yesterday. He seems lethargic, though, same as before, and would only move if I really push him.

    And since I have a tank, the Pet Store recommended I do 90% water changes every week instead of every day .

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 1, 2016 at 4:55 am - Reply

      My suggestion is to up your water changes to daily. Sadly, a 5.5 gallon tank isn’t large enough for him… goldfish need at least 10 gallons apiece, and your tank isn’t cycled so he is probably experiencing new tank syndrome.

  77. BlazingEmpire15 February 29, 2016 at 7:46 am - Reply

    Hey Clementine!, your site is FABULOUS by the way! I have a couple questions. About 4wks ago, we went to Petsmart to buy more platies for or main tank (disaster struck, long story), anyways, we decided to get 3 small goldies, and one bigger one to go with the two big ones we already had that looked lonely.
    The new fish cooperated well the first few days. (The big fish we got even seemed like he had been there about 3 months). We fed them regularly, and all, then we woke up one day, and all three of the smaller fish were dead. And we have little clue why! I somehow managed to lose my favourite fish. 🙁 Well, we noticed that one of the other orange ones we had previously had white fuzzy stuff on him. IMMEDIATELY took him and the other two fish out and put them in separate tanks, and cleaned our tank. I am just curious to what you think may have caused this shenanigan, (we even cleaned the tank right before we put the fish in), I am not too pleased as that cute lil’ black and orange one is now gone. Shark was his name.

    What should we do to prevent this in the future if we get more? If it was something related to bad water, why dis all 3 little ones die ON THE SAME day, why not the others with? See my point? We’re just a bit confused. Is it different for bigfer fish than smaller fish, lesser immune system? That’s what I figure. Cuz’ if they had all had the same imm. system, they’d likely have all died.

    I hope ya respond asap, thanks!

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 1, 2016 at 5:01 am - Reply

      So, you had 6 fish in a 20 gallon tank, am I correct?

  78. BlazingEmpire15 March 1, 2016 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Yes, that’s correct. But the 3 were 2-4 inches, and the other three less than an inch.

  79. BlazingEmpire15 March 1, 2016 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Yes, I am aware it’s a bit too small. But the three remaining have lived there for about 1-2 years. (Our oldest is 2), (the second is 1 and 1/2 years), and of course the third is new. (But probably half a year old?)

    They’re doing fantastic by the way. I am just a little disappointed that the three smaller ones didn’t make it.

    My immediate thought is Ick and New Tank Syndrome. Thanks!

  80. Billie March 3, 2016 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Help. We got a 10 gal tank for our granddaughter, see love to watch fish. We cycled the tank for a week then got her some tropical fish, well they all died over a few months. We took the tank apart, cleanded everything, we used no soap or cleaners of any kind just hot water. Set it back up cycled for about a week, i got a test kit and tested the water everything was good. We got some goldfish this time, just prettier, brighter, we got home and floated the bag about 20 min and at the same time i got a bigger stronger filter but one still made for a 10 gal tank, i am running both filters right now so the new one can cycle. they seemed to be doing very good and they ate and swimming around but this morning they are a huddled under the small filter and not swimming around and not eating, the tank readings are still good mostly except it reads stress. Help please oh we got 4 fish.

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 4, 2016 at 4:43 am - Reply

      Hi! 4 fish in a 10 gallon is (even with good filtration) not a setup that can support your fish; it’s recommended to have 10 gallons per fancy at least. Also, 1 week is also not enough time to cycle the tank, that is a process that takes several weeks and the careful and gradual adding of an ammonia source. Your fish are experiencing new tank syndrome coupled with overcrowding (which makes NTS worse). You will need to change the water frequently until you can get a larger tank.

  81. Jennine March 5, 2016 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    Sorry for the late reply! Your answer to my previous question was phenomenal. I do have another question though. I have been doing what you are telling me to do, but for some reason my fish keels swimming back and forth, super close to the long side of the thank. He won’t come off the side, unless to eat. Yesterday, he wasn’t acting like this, but when I woke up today and looked at him, he was. Is there something wrong?

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 6, 2016 at 4:25 am - Reply

      Yes, that’s a sign of irritation. Even with daily water changes though, it will be hard to keep the water quality good in that space, likely that’s what his behavior is telling you. You may not want to be feeding anything while he is acting abnormal.

  82. Jennine March 6, 2016 at 5:18 am - Reply

    Thank you! I think that is a good decision. My for the past 2 days, he is not been passing any stool. Even with my weak filter, there should be some left, but from what I have observed, there is none.

  83. Elyssa March 9, 2016 at 7:41 am - Reply

    So what do you do if your fish enjoys rubbing against your finger? I mean is it dangerous to let your goldfish do that? Or is it a sign that your goldfish really. likes you?

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 10, 2016 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      No, it’s not dangerous if they are the one rubbing. If you are rubbing the fish though, that could be damaging the slime coat. It might be that the fish is begging for food 🙂

      • Elyssa March 10, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

        Thanks I was worried that it was causing damage if it rubbed against me. Now that I know it won’t makes me feel better about it. And my fish does like to eat alot I feed it only twice a day and I don’t think it likes that routine.

        • Clementine
          Clementine March 11, 2016 at 4:49 am - Reply

          Yeah check out our feeding article, would be my suggestion 🙂

  84. Jordan March 11, 2016 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    I wanted to take a moment to say JOB WELL DONE!!
    I entered the world of goldfish after having marine set ups for years, so goldfish
    Have been a very zen experience.
    Although I’m more then fluent in the world of fish I am always reading and learning
    New methods and updating my knowledge of fish science.
    I came across your page by chance and have to say this is without doubt one of
    The best “guide to goldfish”.
    Thank you for taking the time, failure with goldfish can drive people away from this
    Interesting and wonderful hobby.

    I did want to add that I think people should know the history and origins of these
    Highly respected creatures. I don’t think people understand that all goldfish stem
    From the same parentage or how many years of breeding it took to create fancies.

    One last interesting fact is how many breeds have ended up extinct due to important
    Moments in human history.

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 11, 2016 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your kind words, Jordan! Definitely will take your thoughts on educating about history into consideration for future articles 🙂 Would you care to elaborate on the relation between extinct breeds and human history?

  85. Natalie Ceja March 12, 2016 at 1:10 am - Reply

    Hi…this is a great site….I read most of the questions and answers above. And now I have these to ask you……I’ve had one ordinary goldfish for 5 years and he’s been happy most of the time. Currently he has 3 or 4 red spots so we’re doing 50% water changes twice a week. He’s also sitting at the bottom of the tank….that’s new. Questions: you don’t like gravel…so if we removed it, what do you recommend? If we replace the silk plants with live plants that he can eat, don’t those plants have to be set in sand? If yes, how in heaven’s name do we clean sand? We have a filter that hangs over the top edge. Up until now we have rinsed the permanent filter in old water and replaced the carbon filter about twice a month. Is that OK? We vacuum the gravel about twice a month. Should we do it more often? We have always added salt. Should we continue doing so? Did I read correctly that the good bacteria is on the filter unit? The unit always feels slimy. Is that the way it’s supposed to feel? When we clean the tank, gravel and plants, we always rinse the entire filter unit in old water. Hope you can answer my questions and correct whatever we’re doing wrong. When Fishy is about 7″ long. We’re looking to place him in a pond if we can find one somewhere. We’re getting too old to take care of him much longer. Thanking you in advance. Natalie

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 12, 2016 at 2:23 am - Reply

      Thanks Natalie 🙂

      To answer your questions…

      Bare bottom.
      Depends on the plant, but many plants just need to be tied down or you could set them in small glass jars.
      Your filter change schedule is probably a big part of the problem. They need to be cleaned at least with every water change.
      Gravel has to be vacuumed at least every water change, preferably more, and preferrably no gravel.
      No don’t add salt. Salt will stress him.
      Yes good bacteria grows on surfaces in the filter unit, but mostly on the filter media you provide. Slime is normal.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  86. Natalie Ceja March 12, 2016 at 4:43 am - Reply

    Clementine….thank you so much for responding.Once we remove the gravel, how should we clean the bottom of the tank….vacuum? scrape? wipe with soft cloth? Replace carbon filter twice a week? Your last line above…bacteria grows on the filter media. What is filter “media”? Will those red spots go away?

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 12, 2016 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Sure 🙂 Vacuum is best. It sounds like you don’t have any filter media, which is a permanent surface for the beneficial bacteria to grow on like a sponge. You can replace the carbon filter weekly but I would also put some media in there. With good water quality the spots will heal.

  87. Jonathan March 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Heyah! I have this problem with my black demekins every mornings. Everyday I woke up and turn on the aquarium lights they’re all like half black and half white??? … But later they’ll return to normal… Will it be bad for their health? And how do I prevent this?

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      Hey 🙂 Typically goldfish will lose color when they sleep. It’s normal, not really much you can do. Black is a very unstable color and it may end up changing to more panda color as time goes on.

  88. Louisa March 13, 2016 at 4:27 am - Reply

    Hello! Your site is soooo helpful 😀 but I wanted to ask… How do you avoid cloudy water in the first place? Because I saw our neighbors aquarium always so cloudy O.O … And I also plan to buy a tank soon and I don’t want that to happen… Any advise?

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 30, 2016 at 4:00 am - Reply

      I just found your comment buried in with the others, Lousia, sorry for the delay in response! Avoiding cloudy water is as simple as keeping the tank water changed on a regular basis. Water clouds when it isn’t changed often enough or too much food is being dumped in.

  89. Tim March 14, 2016 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Hi, I’m Tim and I have used your website and I have had a lot of success in keeping goldfish. I think I have a problem though in my one 30 gallon tank, with two larger goldfish which we have had for about a year. They are great; they swim to the edge of the tank to greet us and they can be somewhat hand fed. Very tame fish. We feed them 2 or 3 pellets every other day, sometimes go longer without feeding. The tank is cleaned with 50% to 80% water every other week. The filter is changed every month, and it’s a good filter. However our female has recently filled with eggs. I believe it has been 5 days since we have noticed she has eggs. At first she was fine and we have noticed normal feeding behavior, so on the third day I added a breeding mop. They were interested in the mop at first, and the female started hiding at the bottom of a stone arch and just staying there. We fed her one pellet after that for two days then stopped feeding her because she would just stay there which we were told by our vet friend can be normal behavior. However, today we noticed she was on her side at the bottom of the tank and wouldn’t come up like she usually does when I pass by the tank to say hi (they’re friendly). Her behavior did not change and stayed at the bottom on her side for a few hours so I transferred her to our medical tank (we had it ready for the eggs or any baby fish that spawned from her eggs). Unfortunately I believe the eggs may either be impacted or she has dropsy, in which case I will not hesitate to euthanize her as she will probably not recover from it. If you have any advice I will gladly listen.

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 15, 2016 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      Glad the site is proving helpful to you, Tim. Egg binding is rare and I wouldn’t suspect that to be the cause without eliminating the possibilities of water problems. I’m concerned about your filter schedule; if you have carbon cartridges, those don’t last longer than 7 days or so, which means you only get about 1/4 of active filtration you need each month. If she is on her side, that is probably a sign she isn’t going to recover and sadly I think euthanasia is the best choice… but of course, only you as the owner know when it’s time.

  90. Karuko March 17, 2016 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Please help!!! My Comet is Floating near the filter and isnt eating at all, its very close to the filter, i can see that its ill, my other comet is perfectly fine. Im worried please help me out!

  91. Karuko March 17, 2016 at 6:29 am - Reply

    I am feeding Flakes and I have somewhere around a 5 gallon tank to 10 gallons, It is still breathing/etc I hope i can fix this easily!

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 18, 2016 at 3:30 am - Reply

      It sounds like you have an overcrowding issue, Karuko. For now you should change the water and clean filters, but the long-term fix will involve upgrading to a larger tank.

  92. danno March 19, 2016 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    I just brought 3 gold fish and I put it in a large plastic container is that OK for the gold fish to live in. Also my sister brought a. 3 gold fish and put them in a small glass bowl is it bad? Also my other sister brought 7 fish and put them in a large glass bowl would
    they die quickly?

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 20, 2016 at 3:47 am - Reply

      Hey danno! How big is your plastic container? Is it a tub? As for bowls… yes, they kill goldfish faster than just about anything I know. Goldies need proper tanks to do well, 10 gallons per fancy (double tail) with filtration and frequent water changes.

  93. Claudia March 21, 2016 at 1:27 am - Reply

    Hi, so I’ve had an oranda gold fish for about 2 months in a 20 gallon tank. About 2 weeks ago, I bought another oranda and they seemed fine together. And just the other day, I bought another. Not even 20 minutes of having the new fish in the tank, the oranda I bought two weeks ago started showing signs of sickness. She was laying at the bottom of the tank and not moving at all.. Only swap up to eat but only ate a little. I also noticed white spots on her wren. I immediately took the new fish out of the tank and put him in a separate one.. It’s been about 4 hours now and my 2 week fish is still showing signs. What should I do?

  94. Claudia March 21, 2016 at 1:30 am - Reply

    My first oranda is doing just fine though btw

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 22, 2016 at 3:45 am - Reply

      Hi Claudia, did you happen to introduce any water from the bag into the tank? I’m thinking your water has ammonia.

  95. Laura March 26, 2016 at 1:05 am - Reply

    I recently got fish. I got 2, they were different species but from the same tank. Before I found out about your website from a friend, it was too late. One of my fish had been gulping air for 2 days, and then she tipped over a lot and died the next day. My other fish then spent about a week and a half on its own before I got a new fish today. Its a different species to the other fish. Different to the one that died as well. I got a hew fish from a different store, and I floated the bag for ten minutes like they said at the pet shop before putting the fish straight into the tank. I also cleaned the water then. I didn’t know you were supposed to clean it weekly, so this is the first time I replaced the water (about 50%). My older fish seems to want to go up to the new fish, but when he does, the new fish chases him around the tank for about max 10seconds. He keeps going back, so he obviously isn’t getting hurt, but I’m worried they aren’t getting along very well and I might have to, well, give one back. I really don’t want to! ?. What should I do? Also, sometimes when they go up to gulp air or just go to the top, they will float complete vertical up. Should I be worried? They are the same size, just one is a think called a black moor and the other I’m not sure. It is white with orange and black spots.
    Thanks,
    Laura

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 26, 2016 at 3:58 am - Reply

      If your fish are having aggression issues, I think it would be best to give one back as hard as that would be. Goldfish really should only be kept with other goldfish. As far as gulping air goes, that is usually a sign of an ammonia problem.

  96. Laura March 28, 2016 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Thanks, my fish have calmed down now, I think they were just getting to know each other. My black moor has been flapping his fins, but he hasn’t really swum around that much. Is there anything wrong or is it usual when they are new?
    Thanks
    Laura

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 30, 2016 at 3:52 am - Reply

      It is possible that things aren’t right in the tank, it could be anything from your stocking situation to how long the tank has been set up… more details would help 🙂

  97. deepakmadhukumar March 29, 2016 at 7:05 am - Reply

    wat water i should use ? and food?

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 30, 2016 at 4:05 am - Reply

      Tap water treated with chlorine remover is fine in most cases, but it depends on your water source. For food, you can check out our feeding article for advice 🙂

  98. Lia March 30, 2016 at 1:00 am - Reply

    I have two comet gold fish I just got them about two weeks ago and they where doing just fine until they started going to the top of my 3.5 gallon tank to get more oxygen there are lots of bubbles at the top. The worst thing is, is that they are starting to get small black spots on them. I don’t know if its the filter, but every fish I got has not lived past 6 months what do I do.

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 30, 2016 at 4:06 am - Reply

      Your fish are getting ammonia poisoning, Lia, so you will need to change the water every day until you can get a bigger tank and do not feed.

  99. Lia March 30, 2016 at 1:08 am - Reply

    also I’m a teen on a small budget because I have spent a lot on my two 25 cent petsmart goldfish.

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 30, 2016 at 4:07 am - Reply

      To save money, you can consider a plastic tub or bin or anything fish safe (be creative) for a suitable living space.

      • Lia March 30, 2016 at 9:25 pm - Reply

        How big does the bin or tank have to be and what type of filter.

        • Clementine
          Clementine March 31, 2016 at 3:58 am - Reply

          For 2 single tail goldfish, those actually get enormous. They need 40 gallons apiece. For filtration, it depends on your water change schedule and there are many options that all have pros and cons. Slim bodied goldfish can tolerate strong current, so you can have a more powerful one.

  100. Hanna March 30, 2016 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Hi, i think my goldfish has a mild case of Ich. He doesn’t seem uncomfortable, he’s behaviour is normal, he’s not flashing or anything. Tho he’s got white spots all over him, but not so many in total. They are not exactly what everyone describe on internet, they don’t look exactly like salt grains: they are not bleach-white and they seem a bit fluffy, not coarse.
    My problem is i don’t have a heater nor the money to buy one now to give them the heat-treatment but i’ve been reading it’s possible to clear out with only salt so i’ve been doing that for a few days now, didn’t keep count but i assume i’m on my 6th day today. I took out all decoration i had in the tank and part of the gravel too. Now i disturb the gravel every time i change the water as i read part of the ich protozoan’s cycle is in the gravel. I did big daily water changes, almost full water change, then half, then once every two days i do a half, and always disturb the gravel.
    I do have the medicine for Ich but i’m an “all natural” type of person. I wanted to ask if you think this is working or should i use the medicine? the spots on his body have been getting worse since i started treatment which i know is a sign of it working, but they’ve been staying that way now for a while.
    Thanks!

    • Clementine
      Clementine March 30, 2016 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      I’m with you, Hanna, and wouldn’t use the medicine. Chances are it will make things worse, because ich is a sign that something isn’t right with the tank itself. I would take all the gravel out, change the water 90% daily and focus on clean water.

  101. Caroline March 31, 2016 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Hi! I have a 350 L pond (approx 92 gallons). I had two standard goldfish and one day (about a week ago) the water went cloudy and stunk (it seemed to happen overnight) and one of the fish died. I went into emergency mode; removing the dead fish, pulling out any excess/dead plant matter, and changing most of the water.
    The colour of the water has cleared and I have tested the chemicals (nitrates/ph etc) which are all within expected levels. I have been changing the water (approx 50-60% at a time) daily since the issue.
    Today I bought some more fish so we now have 4 goldfish total (2 standard goldfish, one nymph, and 1 shubunkin) one is an adult and the other three are the new young ones. As soon as I put them in the pond, they all started gulping at the surface.
    The chemicals are still at the right levels (I just retested) and I’ve been changing the water over daily.
    I do not have a filtration set up on the pond – which has worked fine for the last 4 years – it’s only been the last week we’ve had issues.I do not have the means to set up a filtration set up for the location of the pond – are there other ways to aerate the water?
    Thank you so much in advance for any comments/suggestions.

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 1, 2016 at 4:25 am - Reply

      Without filtration, the stocking capacity goes down, and the need for larger water changes goes up. Aeration can be accomplished through water changes, air pumps/filters or water fixtures, but plants can help to release oxygen into the water and absorb excess nitrates.

  102. Blank April 2, 2016 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Hello, Clementine! I have 2 Small Comets in a 5 to 6 gallon tank , Also with 3 Baby Fish which are perfectly fine, I bought the Comets before the 3 baby fish, Anyway, One of my Small Comets are Staying very close to the filter, at the top, the other is surfacing and swimming around the top alot, (They both start eating the surface of the water, < What it looks like) They stay near the air pump bubbles flowing around the surface of the water, I can see alot of oxygen flowing through the water, I can see their gills moving normally (I think that means that they are breathing) I never cleaned the gravel before and I've only started cleaning the gravel recently, I clean the whole tank Weekly or in 5 days, I do not have a test kit, very expensive in my area, I added some ammonia remover as instructed just incase, recently aswell. The main problem is that my 2 Small Comets are Surfacing quite alot (They do go down once in a while to swim around the bottom, They normally go inside one of the decorations I've set, its an effiel tower with a hole in the bottom where it is very dark) and they almost look like they are gasping or eating the surface.

    Thank you very much.

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 4, 2016 at 4:22 am - Reply

      Hi 🙂 Your issue definitely has to do with the size of the tank you are keeping that many fish in. 5 to 6 gallons sadly isn’t enough water volume for the waste load even one goldfish produces. The ammonia remover will not help you in the case of toxic bacteria buildup, which is likely happening. You will need to get a larger tank, but until then you can change the water every day.

  103. Laura April 4, 2016 at 8:29 am - Reply

    Hi,
    I clean my tank at least twice a week, and my fish has recently been gulping for air. Also, 3 times i have noticed ‘poo’ dangling. I have taken it out each time and think that it might be because he eats too much of the food i put out for my 2 fish. Is there something i can do to stop it? He my favourite and I’m stuck on what to do!
    Help and thanks in advanced
    Laura

  104. Laura April 4, 2016 at 8:31 am - Reply

    By the way, the fish that died, did the same thing, gulped air in that area and also he had ‘poo’.

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm - Reply

      It very well could be overfeeding. Have you checked out our article on the subject?

  105. Blank April 4, 2016 at 9:49 am - Reply

    My small comet has a white patch on its skin its like 1 little extra layer of skin as a patch, its white and I think its Body Fungus but im not sure, help me out in anyway please! If you know what this is, Clementine can you give me the causes of it? Our other comet had the same thing, we had to humanely euthanize it because it was heavily breathing and not moving on the gravel, Please help! What is thiis white patch!?
    Photos: http://imgur.com/lcARfYH
    http://imgur.com/EKgC1k6
    http://imgur.com/3C84qD1
    http://imgur.com/goYPSTH

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 6, 2016 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      To me, it looks like a fungal infection. Those are caused by prolonged exposure to poor water quality.

  106. Lora April 5, 2016 at 9:24 am - Reply

    Hi, I’m hoping you can help me out. One of my goldfishes is repeatedly gasping for air, I don’t know what else i can do to help. I changed 20% of the water as I do on a regular basis, I also checked the ammonia and pH both are a-okay. I don’t have a nitrate kit so perhaps that’s worthwhile. But do you have any other suggestions? Does my filter positioning have anything to do with it..

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 7, 2016 at 4:18 am - Reply

      How big is your tank? What kind of filter do you have and how often are you cleaning it and the tank?

  107. marc April 6, 2016 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Hi there,

    I made the huge mistake of putting my goldfish into a 40 gallon tank without cycling it first. The next morning, I woke up and found that 3 of the 5 fish were dead. Their gills looked normal. I tested the water for ammonia levels and it basically at 0! I can’t figure out what killed my beauties. The pH was around 7.3, temp was around 72. I used well water in the tank. Also, the fish were put in the tank gradually. Any ideas what caused this?

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 7, 2016 at 4:31 am - Reply

      It’s probably one of two things. Possibly the way the fish were introduced into the tank caused water from the bag to contaminate the tank. This is very common. But it is also likely that there was a large ammonia spike which fell before testing, as the parameters in an uncycled tank will rise and fall suddenly.

  108. Natalie April 7, 2016 at 11:14 am - Reply

    I would like to know how to help my fish. One of my goldfish is sleeping all the time abd is just floating at the top of the water shes not doing the as if she needs air so what is wrong with her?

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 8, 2016 at 4:42 am - Reply

      Can you provide some more details about your setup, Natalie? Such as, how many fish, what size tank, diet and water change schedule? Thanks!

  109. nicole April 9, 2016 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    i have recently got 2 gold fish and bought a small tank as i was told by the people from the fish store that they would be fine in a small tank and they where doing fine until recently i noticed they are both swimming t the top of the tank but i jst cleaned their tank yesterday and i was wondering should i be worried. i dont have a filter or anything like that i just pills i put for oxygen twice a week. i am really worried they are going to die and if its over feeding i am not sure how much i should be putting in there

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 11, 2016 at 3:50 am - Reply

      Check out our feeding article as to how much you should feed, and be sure to focus on keeping their water changed as often as you can.

  110. Melissa April 14, 2016 at 11:52 am - Reply

    I have had my fish tank for 8 years and never had any issues. I have a 30 gallon tank with goldfish. I had 3 gold fish. One is 7 inches, the second is 5 inches and the last was 2.5 inches. I only had a filter and some decorations in my tank. I do 25% water changes monthly and I always rinse out the filter machine when I do the water change as there is always so much sludge. In 8 years I have never tested my water for anything but ammonia as the pet store 8 years ago said it wasn’t needed as long as I did my water changes. 2 weeks ago I noticed black climbing up the glass of the tank and the baby goldfish appeared to have white specks. I went to pet store and bought ICK and treated my tank. The guy in the pet store told me I really should have a air stone in a gold fish tank so I purchased one. The baby looked a little better a few days later but WOW did she ever look pregnant. Then her scales started to look funny and by the time I caught it I realized the baby had dropsy. I went to the store and the pet store gave me Mircolife Artemiss to treat my tank. I used this but boy did it cloud my tank. I did a 25% water change, my baby died and my other two large goldfish appear to be fine with the exception that the largest goldfish is now losing scales. I went back to the pet store and bought a water test kit. The nitrates was 0 and the ammonia was ideal. The pet store did not have a PH test so I dont know that. My tank is not near a window or heater, I threw all decorations out so the only thing in the tank is filter tube, and airstone. Airstone is now turning orange. I only fed my fish 1x a day and only a pinch. I have bought flakes, pellets and dried shrimp. My fish as soon as I put the shrimp in tank they swmin to the very bottom and wont touch the dried shrimp.. I have tried cuccumber in the tank and they act like they are scared of that to. Any suggestions on the black, why my fish is losing scales. Thanks for your time.

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 16, 2016 at 4:06 am - Reply

      The black could be a form of algae growth. The missing scales are an indication of severe water contamination. 25% monthly is not sufficient for goldfish and the filters have to be cleaned as often as possible, or bad bacteria gets out of control, and the fish’s immune system being very weak will come down with all manner of problems.

  111. Melissa April 14, 2016 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    BTW the goldfish I purchased when they were just babies and they are now 8 years old. Could age be a factor?

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 16, 2016 at 4:06 am - Reply

      Nope, 8 is young for a goldie 😉

  112. Tony April 15, 2016 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    1 fish per 5 to 6 gallons. When you feed flakes that float, gold fish sometimes thinks there might be food and skim the top of the water which makes it look like it’s gulping air. So pellets could be better. Another option is to make sure you add good aerators (bubble makers) if truly gulping for air is a problem. Also there’s no such thing as too much filtration. I use a 300-400 gallon filter (fluval fx6) on a 60 gallon tank. Not to mention it has additional two marineland bio filters with 4 bio wheels. It will save a lot of headache in the future. If you forget cleaning, or busy or go on vacation , whatever it gives you good room to work with.
    And surely don’t ever mix and match anything with goldfish and also algae eaters create more problem for the fish although they make the tank look nice. I tried about 4 different varieties and once the algae eaters get big , they will almost always stick on the goldfish at night or when they’re resting (it’s hard to detect sometimes) and suck the living slime out of them and causing infection and redness and wounds on the body. So finally no more algae eaters. Maybe suggested snails might be an option.
    I don’t know how much I agree with 90% water change every week. If you don’t have a professional high capacity filtration system then maybe.
    Once your tank is cycled ammonia is never a problem if you’ve good bio filters and décor and other rocks etc,. where good bacteria can grow. It’s the nitrates after.
    And it’s better to feed them lettuce, oranges, peas and stuff on and off few times a week. Occasionally I also add a vitamin boost to the water.

  113. Dito April 15, 2016 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    I have a common goldfish that I got 2 days ago. He is always hiding under my plant and used to go up to the top and get air (he doesn’t do that anymore). I’m not always home because of school. So I was wondering what is happening. Also he is on the other side of my room and not close to the window. Is he getting enough light? BTW Great article!! It has helped me a lot!!?

    • Dito April 15, 2016 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      He is also trying to eat the water

      • Clementine
        Clementine April 16, 2016 at 4:25 am - Reply

        What size tank is your fish in, Dito? If you didn’t cycle it ahead of time, likely that is the problem.

        • Dito April 16, 2016 at 1:57 pm - Reply

          It is a 12 x 6 x 8 inch tank

          • Clementine
            Clementine April 16, 2016 at 10:22 pm - Reply

            Yeah that’s too small of a tank for one goldfish, and since it’s not cycled you will need to do daily water changes.

  114. Dito April 16, 2016 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    How big does the tank need to be? And could I keep him in the tank I have until I get a new tank and cycle it?

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 16, 2016 at 10:32 pm - Reply

      For a slim-bodied goldfish? 40 gallons minimum. Ponds are ideal. Yes, you could, with daily water changes, but it will require careful monitoring.

      • Dito April 16, 2016 at 10:35 pm - Reply

        Do I need to do daily changes if I have a carbon filter?

        • Clementine
          Clementine April 16, 2016 at 11:28 pm - Reply

          Absolutely.

  115. Monica April 18, 2016 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Clementine – I would like some advice if you could please help. I am paying the consequences of an in-fish cycle for my new tank. after the first day my very young goldfish had an ammonia burn so I did a 70% water change twice the following day. After the first water change he seemed fine. After the second WC however – he keeps gasping for air constantly and I am worried. I treated every bucket of water (from the tap) with Tetra AquaSafe which eliminates chlorine, chloramine, and other hard metals as well a protective coating on the fish.

    The tank also has the venturi on so there are enough bubbles on the surface for oxygen. I really do not know why he keeps gasping for air. Could it be that the water I put the second time may have been a slightly warmer temperature and is affecting him?

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 19, 2016 at 4:26 am - Reply

      Hey 🙂 Most likely the ammonia levels are still surging and falling sporadically. You will want to be doing daily 70% water changes until the tank is cycled.

  116. maria April 27, 2016 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    i have a goldfish that lies in the bottom of my tank and seems that it has problems getting up hes still alive because sometimes he tries to get up and eat i separated him from the my other fishes so he can have more space and be able to eat i dont know what else to do can you please help me i dont want him to die

    • Clementine
      Clementine April 28, 2016 at 4:13 am - Reply

      Hey Maria, have you tried testing the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH? How big is your tank, and what is your water change schedule like?

  117. Chloe April 30, 2016 at 6:15 am - Reply

    Hey Clementine, my three goldfishes are half a year old, and lately two of them have been lying at the bottom of the tank with their fins tucked in. Only one of them is eating and the other one isn’t. I only change half of the water once a week, and sometimes even once in two weeks. Straight after changing the water I filter it.both are opening and closing their mouths none stop. I only feed flakes and nothing else. Do you know what’s happening? I would appreciate it if you could answer quickly, as I don’t want them to suffer.

    • Clementine
      Clementine May 2, 2016 at 4:24 am - Reply

      What size is the tank? Weekly water changes are mandatory… the clamped fins indicate irritation from a water problem.

  118. Bridget May 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I’m sort of worried about my 2 goldfish, my dad bought them 3 weeks ago and had been caring for them until yesterday when we moved them to my room, but they both seem to be hanging around the filter at the back of the tank a lot and not really moving from that spot, could this be anything to do with the water? About three days before we bought the fish we filled the tank with tap water and I think my dad has only cleaned the tank once so far, is there something better I should be doing? Also how do I properly clean the tank? I’ve searched but can only find instructions on how to clean and set up some sort of tank kit.

    • Clementine
      Clementine May 2, 2016 at 4:31 am - Reply

      If you’ve only cleaned the tank once there is no question about it, your fish are in bad water. What you can do is use a siphon to remove 75% of the water and refill it with treated tap water. If you have gravel you would siphon that part. You can swish and dump the filter/filter media out in the old tank water.

      • Bridget May 2, 2016 at 7:39 am - Reply

        Instead of treated tap water, is it true that I can put normal tap water in the tank (without the fish in it) and leave it to filter over night before putting them back in it? Because I don’t have anything to treat the water with and no money to buy any with

        • Clementine
          Clementine May 4, 2016 at 4:03 am - Reply

          I wouldn’t do it that way, I would let the water sit out in a tub overnight rather than moving the fish out overnight. 🙂

  119. Gold May 1, 2016 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    My daughter won 4 goldfish at the carnival. One has died so we’re down to 3. We bought a 3 gallon tank and have it running with filter and treated to clean water. We haven’t put the fish in because in the instructions it says to let it filtrate for 24 hours. we’ve got about 10 more hours to go. In the mean time the three goldfish are still in the same container we brought them home in. Im afraid they are going to die in the small amount of water they’ve been in since yesterday. Any suggestions as to what I can do to keep them from dying? Please help asap. I’ve been looking online, but I can’t find any answers.

    • Clementine
      Clementine May 2, 2016 at 4:36 am - Reply

      The more space they have, the less chance there will be of them dying. But, the bad news is that moving them from the small amount of water they are in to a 3 gallon tank is probably not going to help them all that much, because the water volume is far smaller than what is suitable for goldfish (it is recommended to have at least 10 gallons per fancy fish). They produce a lot of waste and it will quickly foul up even with a filter if there isn’t enough water volume to dilute it until you can change the water. I’d advise putting them in the 3 gallon right away, until you can get them a more suitable home. 24 hours won’t do anything to make the tank safe for goldfish, it takes weeks for it to “cycle” and that itself is a process. Since you already have the fish you will need to do water changes of at least 90% daily, preferably twice daily, and feed very very sparingly. Hope that helps 🙂

  120. Julianna May 7, 2016 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    I have four 1 1/2 inch goldfish that I took in from school after a goldfish experiment. I set them up in a 5 gallon tank (it was the only we could afford since I’m going to college soon) but the water was clear last night when I moved them in, but my parents are being a liiiittle stingy with what we buy for them and I’m gonna have to go and buy nitrate and ammonia testers, but I don’t know what exactly to look for. The water is cloudy and all the air bubbles I saw last night on the sides of the aquarium last night are gone now. Any advice on that?

    • Clementine
      Clementine May 9, 2016 at 4:34 am - Reply

      You don’t have to have a test kit, it is better to invest in a larger tank size because the water quality in that size of tank with that many fish will perpetually be bad, sadly :/ Even a Tupperware tub can be a great place to keep them (for 4 fancies you will want at least 40 gallons) on a budget.

  121. Greenday1 May 16, 2016 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Euhm, not sure you are right about cleaning ALL the water. You need bacteria in your water to break off the nitrites and turn it into nitrates. this bacteria is NEEDED and is also in your FILTER.

    There is a reason you need to wait more than 3 weeks before you put any fish in your aquarium, so that there are enough bacteria in your water and there isn’t going to be a nitrite peak = poison for fish. I have a 70L aquarium and clean the water only about 25L. my fish are perfectly fine and do not die.

    • Clementine
      Clementine May 17, 2016 at 3:44 am - Reply

      Hi Greenday1 😀 Bacteria themselves do not live in water, they live on surfaces in the tank (mainly the filter). You are absolutely right about waiting several weeks to get that colony going though. Nitrite is super deadly.

  122. KC May 19, 2016 at 5:10 am - Reply

    Hey there!

    My younger brother recently brought home two goldfish from school. We had no food or a proper tank at first so one died overnight before I could get what it needed. The one goldfish that survived seemed to be thriving in the new 10 gall tank for a couple days. (The water had been conditioned but the filter had only been running for a day before he was plopped in the new tank) But just the other day the fish seemed to slow down and mainly hang out in a corner. Also his poop is all of a sudden clear and long/stringy and not breaking away from his bum. He is only eating flakes atm, will try something else soon and add in some greens to the diet. But in the meantime it seems he has been suffering from new tank syndrome and it looks like I need to do a water change asap. I have a question about doing this. After I siphon the water out can I just add tap water from the bath tub and then condition it while the fish is in the tank? Or do I fill a bucket with tap water, condition it, leave it over night, then add to the tank? And the filter has only been running for a week, is it too early to change the cartridge or do you think it’s necessary? Any advice helps, thanks

    • Clementine
      Clementine May 23, 2016 at 4:38 am - Reply

      Yes, you can condition the water in the tank with the fish, as long as you put the conditioner in first. No need to leave overnight if you have conditioner but the bucket method is fine too. It’s not too early for the carbon as it doesn’t last more than 7 days.

  123. Claire May 22, 2016 at 4:38 am - Reply

    Hi,
    Please help! My son has been asking for a goldfish for ages and I’ve decided to buy him some. I bought a tank (125L) which is a used one as I couldn’t afford a new one of such capacity. To begin with, how many comet gold fishes can I put in the tank? Do I need to recycle the used tank before putting the fishes into them? What do Ineed to do before putting them in there to ensure their safety and wellbeing? You can email me your response please if you don’t mind. Thanks in advance