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Goldfish
November 8, 2013
11:23 pm
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Catre
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I can't find any advice on this site for goldfish.

How large a tank do goldfish need?

 

 

November 9, 2013
11:06 am
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KittyKat
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I recommend at least 120×45×45 cm (4×1.5×1.5 ft) for fancy goldfish or at least 180×60×60 cm (6×2×2 ft) for common goldfish. Those are the sizes of tanks that I have seen them grow to full size in. I think part of the reason is that they (especially the "normal" body shaped) need the swimming space, but also goldfish produce a lot of waste and the maintenance burden in smaller tanks is too high for the average fishkeeper.

To be honest, I think of common goldfish more as pond fish than tank fish and if you think about pond sizes, then it's not unreasonable to expect ponds to be considerably bigger than what I mention above.

Kat
November 10, 2013
11:37 am
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Catre
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KittyKat said
I recommend at least 120×45×45 cm (4×1.5×1.5 ft) for fancy goldfish or at least 180×60×60 cm (6×2×2 ft) for common goldfish. Those are the sizes of tanks that I have seen them grow to full size in. I think part of the reason is that they (especially the "normal" body shaped) need the swimming space, but also goldfish produce a lot of waste and the maintenance burden in smaller tanks is too high for the average fishkeeper.

To be honest, I think of common goldfish more as pond fish than tank fish and if you think about pond sizes, then it's not unreasonable to expect ponds to be considerably bigger than what I mention above.

Thanks for the reply!

Yeah I think commons are more suited to ponds to but I must admit I am surprised how much space you think fancy goldfish need - a 240L tank right?  I would have thought at least 15G per fancy goldfish rather than 54G! I had heard to have 30G (140L) before the first fish then 10G per fish, but seems to be a bit inadequate then?

Different sites say different measures as with all fish but goldfish seem the most variable!

That's good to know.

November 10, 2013
3:17 pm
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KittyKat
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That's not quite what I'm saying there. I'm saying that I consider that fancy goldfish need to have at 120 cm in a straight line that they can swim and 45 cm for comfortably turning around (with decor in the way) and 45 cm of vertical swimming space.

Volumes and dimensions are two unrelated concepts when it comes to stocking. Dimensions cover swimming and territorial spaces. The most important part of the dimensions is the footprint of the tank, while height is not relevant to most fish. These are a minimum that the fish need to grow to their full adult size and not be restricted in their movements.

Volumes are important for dosing additives such as dechlorinator and medication, for buying equipment… volumes on their own cannot be used for stocking.

For example, a 240 litre rectangular tank of the dimensions that I specifies is great for fancy goldfish, but a 240 litre column tank would be a really bad idea because the fish would barely be able to turn around!

As the dimensions are more important than volume, while I say that 1 fancy goldfish should have at least a 120×45×45 cm tank, I also say that 5 fancy goldfish should also have at least a 120×45×45 cm tank.

Of course, what stocking would *actually* work also depends on what filtration and decor you have. For example, a 120×45×45 cm tank with an external filter that is rated for a 500 litre tank can probably take 15-20 adult fancy goldfish quite comfortably, assuming you keep the nitrates down. On the other hand, a 120×45×45 cm tank with an internal filter that is rated for a 250 litre tank can probably take a maximum of 10 adult fancy goldfish as the filer is unlikely to have the capacity to process the waste. I'm explicitly specifying adult goldfish because they get pretty huge if looked after well.

On that subject, I expect an 2×+ overrated external filter connected to a reverse UG filter is probably the best filtration that you could possibly have for goldfish. And as always, I'd recommend plants to help out with keeping the nitrates down.

Kat
November 10, 2013
8:33 pm
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Catre
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Wow 20 adults?

 

I was thinking more 3 for a 240L max! They can be right poop machines at adult size.

 

I understand what you mean about dimensions vs volume. Having danios - I get that slimline fish need lots of space and I suppose for a 30cm fancy then a 120cm tank isn't THAT huge dimension wise.

 

I haven't heard of a reverse UG filter - I though UG filters were not great but having just read an article on this set up on PFK it sounds interesting!

November 10, 2013
11:57 pm
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KittyKat
Norwich, UK
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20 if set up and maintained correctly! If you don't want to be changing water and cleaning filters all the time, then the tank won't take 20, of course.

The great thing about reverse UGs on an external filter is that the push all the crap out of the gravel and help the filter pick it up, so that you can remove it manually just by cleaning the pre-filter sponge. This helps reduce nitrates as you'd remove the waste before it rots. It's a quite a popular setup for highly stocked tanks.

Kat
November 11, 2013
10:49 am
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Catre
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The only thing is would the plants not clog the filter?

November 11, 2013
11:15 pm
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Rüdiger
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Hi Catre,

no, they wouldn't, since in this case the substrat itself would be the biggest part of the filter medium. There is a good chance though, depending on the size of the filter pump, that smaller plants will be washed out of the substrate! The external filter canister should be set up as a mechanical pre filter while biological filtration happens within the substrate.

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
November 12, 2013
1:10 am
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Catre
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Oh I meant the plant roots might block the holes in the under gravel filter?

November 12, 2013
12:03 pm
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KittyKat
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I would actually use the filter partially for biological filtration as well… anyway, I haven't heard of an undergravel filter getting clogged by plants before and I've used them in planted tanks as well.

Kat
November 12, 2013
8:23 pm
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Rüdiger
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KittyKat said
I would actually use the filter partially for biological filtration as well… 

Hi Kat, that would of course happen anyway, unless you'd use some cemically active filter medium! What I was referreing to is, that by mass, compared to the canister, the substrate would make up the major part of the filter medium. And for that matter it would be sort of logical, especially with the amout of mess produced by gold fish, to set up the external chiefly as a prefiter. As an additional bonus, one doesn't always cause a "mini cycle" with the required, rather frequent, cleaning of the canister in a gold fish tank!

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
November 30, 2013
12:58 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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bowl-sequence-1024.jpgImage Enlarger

I've not posted here for a while, mostly because I can't offer info on much other than goldfish, but here's a goldfish thread! :D  Hope no one minds me sticking my oar in on this one :)  I've kept a variety of 'styles' of goldfish for a number of years and it's a permanent learning curve with them!

KittyKat is right in that dimensions are important, as much as volume is.  Fancies can easily get to 30cm plus, my largest was a fantail who was 30cm long, not far off 30cm 'tall' and weighed about 1lb.  She was about the size of a grapefruit, you needed two hands to pick her up.  A fish this size, with the turning circle and manoeuvrability of an HGV needs a big footprint just to be able to swim about and turn around.  They need room to be able to get out of corners etc. as some aren't very good 'drivers'.  120cm is the minimum I'd want to see a fancy kept in, a lot of people don't believe how big they can get, and there can be a big variation in size depending on breeding etc., but they all have the capacity to get big and I don't agree with those who say certain varieties get bigger than others.

They also like company, so a tank needs to be able to house more than one, preferably more than two.  IME they don't like a crowd scene; while they're not aggressive fish they can get a little tetchy, and competitive over food if there are too many in the tank.  So you need to consider how easily 3, 4, 5 fish each 30cm long and the size of a grapefruit would be able to swim around without crashing into each etc.  Food time can be quite a scrum so there needs to be enough room for them to shove each other around and blunder about.  And if you have males and females they can get very boisterous and need space to be able to 'get away' from each other as well have room for spawning behaviour which involves a lot of chasing about and bashing each other.

They like decor as they are very much 'doing' fish and really benefit from lots of live plants so there needs to be room to have a good number of plants, maybe some bogwood, without compromising swimming room.  They also benefit from a good airstone so again there needs to be room for this without turning the tank into a washing machine.  They need a decent level of oxygen in the water so a big surface area is certainly preferable.

I've never tried reverse UG filtration but it's worth bearing in mind that many of the fancy varieties are prone to resting on the gravel as their over large fins and poor design make it harder for them to maintain their position in the water when sleeping and resting so they often rest on the bottom.  I'm not sure how compatible with this a reverse UG would be.  Talking of filters, they need big ones, and big ones are prone to high flow.  Smaller tanks with powerful flow cause too strong a current for floppy fins and poor swimming ability.  

They can produce a lot of waste as they eat a lot.  Far too many are horribly underfed as the 'thou shalt not overfeed' mantra is adhered to religiously by those who don't really understand their dietary requirements.  Many people don't realise that underfeeding is often recommended by 'unscrupulous' types to avoid pollution in undersized tanks.  This is not acceptable.  The set up and maintenance regime should be such that the fish can be fed what they really need.  When I say they eat a lot they really do, I have nine goldfish and they get through a blister pack of frozen food in three days, and that's only for their evening snack.  They have a heap of pellets every morning, they work their way through (literally) hundreds of pounds worth of plants, they often have spinach, algae wafers etc. and they have a big bioload.  My tanks are 600 litres and I still have to be very careful with nitrate levels rising. 

I have to disagree that a 500 litre tank could easily take 15 or 20 adults though, at one point I had four in a 120cm long x 70cm tall by 50cm wide (330 litres) and they were making it look small, they really didn't have much room.  I've now got them in 600 litre tanks (four in one, five in another) and that's much better for them as well as helping keep the water conditions more manageable. I really wouldn't like to triple the numbers although I'd be happy with maybe two additional fish per tank.  I'm sure some will say I'm being ridiculous but it's much better to err on the side of caution with goldies and not set yourself up for a constant round of water changes and nitrate problems.  A big filter will keep ammonia and nitrite under control but nitrate will still rise and need dealing with.  Even if water conditions could be kept perfect I think 15-20 would be overcrowded and you'd end up with all sorts of behaviour issues and stress related problems.  I think they'd be more prone to nipping at each other and I think there's a higher likelihood of bullying.  They can be bullies, I had a pearlscale that was an absolute cow!  She'd sneak up on the others and nip at fins before they could get away, she'd corner them and nip at them too.  I also adopted one who was accused of murdering his tank mates.  He came from a 30 litre tank that originally housed three.  He hadn't murdered them of course, but he was a red-blooded male and he'd harassed them to exhaustion and death in a tiny tank.  He was good as gold in my tank but that was over ten times bigger!  Behavioural issues do need to be taken seriously as it can lead to stress and that in itself can be a killer.

Goldies produce somatostatin which is a hormone that restricts growth in other goldies.  This is often misunderstood with people clinging wildly to the idea that it's some sort of magic means of allowing them to 'grow to the size of their tank'.  If my understanding is correct, it's actually a competitive advantage tool.  They all want the lion's share of food, and they all want the ladies, so if your rivals are smaller than you it gives you the edge, especially if food supplies are limited.  In a closed environment this can build up and the fish can end up restricting itself.  Whether or not this is detrimental is up for debate, but I can't see how it would be considered ideal.

They live a long time, fancies should really be getting to at least 10 years old, and commons at least 20.  You need to consider the fact that they're spending a very long time in a tank, so it needs to be big enough to provide a suitably rich environment to keep them stimulated for all those years.  They're intelligent fish (despite the ridiculous myths about them!) and need a rich environment, small tanks don't really allow for that, IMO.

As I say, I'm sure there are plenty who would disagree with my views on stocking levels, but (and this is very much a general statement) goldfish keeping needs its game raising.  There are far too many threads on various forums which seem determined to state that goldies don't need big tanks etc. and it's disheartening to see them not being taken seriously (I'm not saying anyone here is guilty of that, it's just a general observation!).  I've even seen it said that they don't need big tanks because they don't swim very fast! They might not shoot around all the time but they get up quite a head of steam when they want to, and when they want to they should be able to.  A friend of mine summed it up quite well in reference to a large catfish he had, he said 'he doesn't swim much but when he does, the whole tank goes for a swim with him!'  Far too many people seem to be trying to settle for 'what can we get by with' rather than really thinking it through and heading towards 'best practice'.  A constant chorus of 'but it was fiiiiine' really doesn't cut any ice with me, lol!

When all's said and done you need to remember that they are carp.  Think of them as rugby players in evening dress, they might look fancy and snazzy and all dressed up but underneath it all they're still big fellas that eat a lot and take up a huge amount of room :)

Hopefully I've attached a picture of some of my own, the bowl is nine inches wide at the widest point and seven inches deep, it helps give an idea of how big the fish are!  The common was a fairground prize won by a friend of a friend, he's thirteen now and certainly not one I'd have bought!  He's probably heading up for 2lb in weight now.

www.injaf.org
November 30, 2013
1:30 pm
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Rüdiger
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Hi there posh.............,

I don't believe that anyone here on SF, anyone with real practical fis keeping experience that is, would call your views rediculous.

Personally, I wholeheartedly agree with every single word you said about stocking levels, space requirements, footprint of the tank and especially growth and final size!!!

As far as reverse UGF is concerned, if installed correctly, which takes a bit of d.i.y., it will generate a much gentler flow of water than any other type of filter outlet!

 

Regards

R

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
November 30, 2013
5:42 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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Thanks Rudiger :)  Sadly there are plenty of people out there who would disagree, but it's very refreshing to come somewhere that does understand fish and can appreciate what these big guys need.  I don't post here much, but I loiter a lot, and I know the members here are quite exceptional in their collective experience and understanding :)  Unfortunately until Joe Public realises that a foot long carp isn't an ideal candidate for a tiny cartoon tank in a child's bedroom we've still got a way to go.  As with all species, choosing the tank is about the understanding the bigger picture.

I must admit I only recently became aware of reverse UG filters when they were featured in a PFK mag a few months ago.  It would be interesting to try it, KittyKat mentioned that they are useful for wafting 'griff' off the substrate and into a canister filter and this would certainly be a benefit!  With the footprint of my tanks I'd have a lovely big area for bacterial colonisation as well. I've got Eheim 2180 filters on mine but I have a sponge over the intake to help keep maintenance to a minimum.  It made quite a difference, they can clog up even a 2180 in quite a short space of time but the sponges have made it much easier to maintain.  The Eheims are powerful, so I use plants and bogwood to break up the flow, and strategically positioned airstones to avoid dead spots.  Maybe if I'd been aware of reverse UGs earlier I'd have given it a go :)

 

www.injaf.org
December 5, 2013
10:57 am
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Matt
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Great post Sue. So these reverse ug filters push water up through the substrate to dislodge material trapped within it?

Cake or death?
December 5, 2013
2:40 pm
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Rüdiger
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Hi Matt,

the idea is exactly the same as with the regular UGF: to employ the substrate as a biological filter medium, just the flow of water is reversed. The two main benefits are 1. opposed to regular UFG the filter intake doesn't get clogged under the substrate and 2. if installed correctly, a lot less waste can settle on the substrate. But to make it really effective, one shouldn't use the commercially available UGF elements but rather install slotted pipes. This is where the aforementioned d.i.y. comes in! ;-)

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
December 7, 2013
7:40 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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Thanks Matt :)  One of the many things on my list of 'stuff to do' is a goldie caresheet along the lines of the SF ones, they're a good 'template'. Maybe I'll run it by you if I ever get it done, if it's up to scratch maybe you'd consider adding it to the SF profiles :)

Using slotted pipes for a reverse UG makes more sense, that would ease the flow nicely while still allowing a decent level of turnover.  I was thinking of the amount of flow you get from a spray bar but of course UG systems have a bigger run of piping than that which would even out and ease flow too :)

www.injaf.org
December 12, 2013
7:30 pm
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Matt
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Thanks for the explanation Rudi - have you tried this method yourself?

Sue that would be great since it's also on my 'to-do' list!

Cake or death?
December 12, 2013
11:35 pm
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Rüdiger
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Yes Matt, I have. But that is many moons ago, more than I care to remember! ;-)

If memory serves, it was a 25 L tank at the time. I had set up one of these japanese "bonsai tanks" (for those who don't know the term, it's a cross between Aquarium and Paludarium). Filtration worked like a bomb!

These tanks are usually set up with "normal" ugf and the return water channeled over rocks and roots. So with my rugf set-up, I had to install a second pump to get all the moss and plants watered.

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
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