Proud new owners of a couple of goldfish! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-01-2008, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Proud new owners of a couple of goldfish!

It's kind of a funny story how the whole thing transpired but tonight we were having cod fillets for supper. In the middle of the meal my husband tells me he's going to the pet store to get some more cat food. Then Emma says "can I go with?" and Nate asked the same question.

Ken told them they could go with him after which Emma said "can I get a fish?" and the light bulb in my head came on! I never had fish growing up so, honestly, I really could care less about them but nonetheless I thought this could be a good lesson in responsibility for the kids.

So after supper we all went off to the pet store and came back with some cat food, two 18-cent goldfish and about $15 worth of supplies for them.

We picked out two fish with different coloring so the kids could tell them apart - Elmo (named after the Sesame Street character) is the classic orange and Zoey (also a Sesame Street character) is kind of light brown and white.

I'm wondering if the girl who helped us out at the pet store really didn't know what she was talking about. I asked her how often to feed the fish. She told me a pinch once every other day. When we got home and I looked at the package insert on the fish bowl it said "once or twice a day," then I looked at the back of the fish food container and it said "2 to 3 times a day." So, which is it?

Also, how often do you clean out the fish bowl? Once a week?, or more often?

Lastly, is it honestly feasible to keep 2 goldfish together in this little gallon-sized bowl forever (or 2 weeks, however long they last! ) I mean, the girl at the store told us that if you really know how to take care of them they can live for 2 to 3 years. Wouldn't they outgrow that gallon-sized bowl by then?
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-01-2008, 11:38 PM
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The clerk didn't know anything about goldfish. They should not be in anything smaller than 10 gallons of water when they are young, and moved up as they grow. This isn't your fault, Jo, but it was cruel to sell you that goldfish bowl. Mine were in a 29 gallon tank, and eventually a 55 gallon. (you don't have to do that.) They are big eaters and grow quickly.

They should be fed twice a day, as much as they will eat in 5 minutes. Then, if in an aquarium, they would stir up the gravel and get whatever food that fell. They should have some greens in their food.

Until you get a 10 gallon tank (watch the papers for a used, non-leaking tank), change the water daily. They like water at aroung 68-70 degrees, so no heater is necessary in spring, summer, and early autumn. When you get a tank, get a power filter, as big eaters dirty the tank quickly. A filter, even a box filter, (a few dollars) will keep the tank clean. I like to have a small corydoras catfish in the tank to keep food from decaying at the bottom.

Move them up to at least a 20 gallon tank or they will die early, and have no chance to grow. It's best to have a thermometer also. You will probably be able to get the whole works in the paper, Craig's list, or the Pennysaver very inexpensively. Make sure it's not a leaker, but if it does leak, it's easily repaired. Just shop at an aquarium from now on...for food and advice. The pet shop clerk should never have sold you that setup. Sad.

I would get a book on the care of fish, if I were you, Jo. The internet will be a help also, and many of us here have or had aquariums.
Good luck, Jo.




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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-02-2008, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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A 10-gallon tank for 2 goldfish?

Honestly, with the kids only being 3 years old I don't expect this fish fetish to be anything more than a fad that goes just as quickly as it came. I really wasn't thinking of spending money on an aquarium, filter and the whole 9 yards on for a couple of goldfish. I kind of wish we hadn't gotten into this situation now.

As far as shopping at an aquarium, that isn't an option around here. The only places to get fish are the local mom-and-pop pet stores which also have cats, dogs, bird, rodents and reptiles or at the Super Wal-Mart.

I'll be very honest. I wish I could get the kids talked into a gerbil or hamster or something like that. The only thing there is we would definitely have to watch out for the cats and make sure that if the kids ever took them out to pet them that they are behind closed doors where the cats can't get them.

How much longer do you think I have before I absolutely NEED to get an aquarium (that is if the darn things survive long enough to get bigger)?

I kind of feel like a dufus for spilling all this on Cat Forum now. I know from reading many previous threads that quite a few of you are experienced with fish. This is an entirely new ball game for me but one that I was willing to try for the kids' sake.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-02-2008, 12:43 AM
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Bet you didnt know 20 cent fish could be so expensive! I dont know much about fish but I love to watch gold fish cuz they move around the tanks more than the tropical fish seem to. More active.

When my son was young wed make a ritual of turning off the lights in his bedroom except for the tank light and sit in front of it and talk about the day. It was a special time! Easy way to get them to talk!
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-02-2008, 12:44 AM
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I thought goldfish just needed one of those little bowls, too, Jo, so don't feel bad.

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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-02-2008, 01:00 AM
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The widely accepted general recommendation for goldfish is 30 gal min, and no less than 10 gal per medium size fish. Keeping them in a bowl is terribly unhealthy and cruel, for so many reasons. You can get away with using a smaller tank (absolutely no smaller than 10 gal) while they are still small, but they will need something bigger within very little time.

Goldfish are some of the most widely abused pets out there, next in line I think would be another finned creature, the betta. Fish, unfortunately, are so misunderstood by so many people. There's so much more to keeping fish than filling a tank with water, dumping the fish in, and feeding them once a day.
Goldfish can live 10+ years, as long as a cat. Despite the all too common practice of keeping them in a bowl, they do need large tanks with heavy filtration. Fancy goldfish, if cared for properly, can grow the size of an orange with fins, and Common and Comet goldfish (often referred to as feeder goldfish) really belong in a pond, or a very large tank, as they will easily grow to 12" and are fast swimmers. They eat a lot and as a result, produce a lot of waste.

I have 5 fancy goldfish. They live in a 55 gal planted tank with double the recommended filtration that needs at least 20% of its water changed weekly. they're still small now, but I'm going to need to either split them up or upgrade to a bigger tank when they grow bigger. I love to watch them swim... its so relaxing. I call them my "flutter fish" because they remind me of underwater butterflies.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-02-2008, 01:18 AM
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Wow. My Mom had several 55 gallon tanks all over the living room, all kinds of fish, but we never had goldfish. I think everyone just sees the cartoon goldfish in a bowl and the cat trying to get it and that's where they get their info. At least in my case....

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-02-2008, 01:39 AM
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The goldfish in a bowl image is everywhere... cartoons, tv shows, commercials, advertisements, and the worse place of all, petstores, which most are just more interested in taking your money rather than providing a healthy environment for your fish, and it gives people the idea that bowls and other small containers are okay. It makes me sick and angry every time I see it. Most people don't know how bad they actually are until they do some research. Others know but so many just don't care... who cares, its just a fish, they say. To me its a living creature, and if you're going to keep it as a pet, it should be treated humanely. Pet stores shouldn't even be allowed to sell bowls.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-02-2008, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by marie73
I think everyone just sees the cartoon goldfish in a bowl and the cat trying to get it and that's where they get their info. At least in my case....
Yep! That's exactly where I'm coming from. My thoughts of a goldfish are seeing Dorothy (Elmo's goldfish on Sesame Street) and of Lamont, the little goldfish that Rudy had on The Cosby Show years ago, and she came home from school one day, the fish had gone belly up and everyone in the family dressed in their Sunday best and gave poor Lamont the proper sendoff in the biffy.

Please, people, don't chastise me for this but I honestly thought that goldfish were not much more than minnows, or food for bigger fish.

After reading all the posts here I really feel guilty looking at Elmo and Zoey in that little gallon bowl. They seem fine in there now but, really, how fast do these little creatures grow?

I should be heading off to lala land very soon as I have to get up for work in about 6 hours but instead I've been trying to find as much out about pricing for a decent 10-gallon tank. As I was saying, we have no major brand pet stores around here, all locally owned, except for Super Walmart. Unless I missed in on their website, Wally World doesn't sell a 10-gallon tank. I did find a couple available at Petsmart and they have a store located in Bismarck an hour and a half from here. Ken is heading down there for his friend's bachelor party this weekend (he's going by himself) and the the wedding is the Saturday before Memorial Day (I'm going with). Do we dare keep the goldfish in the conditions they're in now until then, roughly 3 weeks away?

I'm also trying to envision the size of a 10-gallon tank and how much room it would take up, wondering where we would put the darn thing. Boy, oh boy, what have we gotten ourselves into? I honestly want to do the right thing by these little guys and get some bigger better equipment. I just don't know that we'd have it all together in the next couple days.

Oh, another thing, the kids were in bed so Ken and I were watching our DVR'd recording of tonight's survivor when Herbie jumped up onto the China cabinet (where we decided to put the fish bowl, thinking the cats wouldn't notice them up there) and he was trying to play with Elmo and Zoe. Ken swiftly got up and put the fish bowl on top of the entertainment center which is about 6 feet tall. I really don't think any of the cats has the ability to get up there. I'm just thankful we were still awake when Herbie did this. Had this happened in the middle of the night we would have had a sad story to share with the kids when they woke up.

Well, it really is time for me to go beddy-bye. If anyone else has ANY more helpful information about this situation I'm definitely listening! Thanks for everything so far!
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-02-2008, 02:02 AM
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Our Craigslist has fish tanks ALL the time for sale for very cheap. Or Freecycle - for free.

Because of you, Jo, we've all learned so much tonight.

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