goldfishcare

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My TVR Harmui has such large cheeks that they poke out of the water when she eats. Harumi was spawned in early April of 2012, so she is a Nisai (second year of life) TVR with Oishi x Kageyama x Oishi bloodlines. She is a big fish, and was 125g when I picked her up last month. Hopefully within the next month she’ll be getting a boyfriend so I can start breeding TVR next season. I know SVR are really in currently and I love them but since finding TVR and really seeing them in person I’m pretty smitten with them as well.

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I woke up this morning to find one very pissed off pearlscale being pushed around by the boys. However they seemed to be unsuccessful at getting her to spawn. So I got a bowl and hand spawned them instead. It was pretty easy because Ushi was so full of eggs that just her struggling a bit in my hand was enough to release them. Then with some gentle coaxing I managed to get most of the eggs out. Both Cider and my new boy (who still does not have a name) both contributed lots of milt. (so much so that the bowl was pretty cloudy) I had her in a net box afterwards so she could get some rest since it seemed like they had been pestering her for a while before I checked on them. Within a few hours she was re-introduced and they’ve stopped bothering her so I think I got enough eggs to count as the entire spawn; hopefully any that are left will be reabsorbed. I haven’t tried to count the eggs but there are a ton! Also sorry for the poor picture quality I was using my phone.

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Size comparisons of all my pearlies and my fry Izoku from my May accidental RyukinXHibuna spawn. These fish are all on the smaller side, but both are sexually mature.Ushi (calico tiku) and Cider (sakura hamanishiki) are both reaching one year in my care. They were both much smaller upon purchase and are still growing quite quickly. Here are their past records for weight (ignore the poorly made table):

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As shown above, they are growing, and while Ushi has been growing more quickly Cider seems to be at the beginning of a growth spurt. My newest pearlscale has not been weighed yet but is probably around 15 grams. Izoku is only around 4g. These guys are all quite small in comparison to my largest fish (TVR Harumi) who is a hefty 125g.

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Took a video of the babies at 6ish days! they are living in a larger sterlite tub but I was in the middle of cleaning it out so I scooted them into the glass dish(which looks nicer). Everyone is eating and doing well. One fry developed without a swim bladder and was stuck on the bottom so I had to cull it but other than that everyone is healthy and defect free. They’re are 12 babies in total C: all with very full tummies.

The Basics of Setting Up a Goldfish Tank- Filtration

Filtration

As mentioned in the previous section: The Basics of Setting Up a Goldfish Tank- Tank Size, goldfish are very messy and have high ammonia outputs so a powerful filter is a must. Filters hold beneficial bacteria which live on the filter media and convert the ammonia into nitrites and then to nitrates. In order to do this you want a lot of media for the bacteria to colonize and preferably a flow rate of 10x the gallonage. So if you have a 40gal tank you want a filter that has a GPH(gallons per hour)of at least 400gph. This is the standard rule for HOB(hang on back) filters. If you decide to use a canister filter you can go as low as 7x filtration; this is because the water although moving more slowly through the canister is coming in contact with much more biomedia and therefore more waste is being processed and removed/changed. This article will be a very basic rundown of the two main types of filtration available commercially and the pros and cons of each.

Canister vs. HOB Filters:

If you’re new to the hobby you might be thinking; What is a canister filter? Simply put a canister filter is a large container filled with various stages of media that tank water is passed through. It typically relies on gravity and suction, via an impeller, to draw water down into it and must be lower than the tank to function properly.

The benefits of canister filters are that because they are placed behind and below the aquarium they offer much more space for filter media. This increases the amount of beneficial bacteria the filter can hold and therefore maximize biological and mechanical filtration. Canisters also offer tons of customization options for media combinations. For example you could have two canister filters on one tank, and pack one with ceramic noodles and loose sponge to hold as much biological potential as possible. Then you could decrease the flow rate in that filter so that the water is filtered more thoroughly. Meanwhile the other filter could be filled with water polishing sponges and other things that handle mechanical waste filtration. Canisters are also very quiet.

I don’t really see many cons for canisters. They can leak everywhere if not properly sealed or assembled so I place mine in trash bags or in small stylized trash cans in case they overflow or leak. However, I’ve never had this happen, but better safe than having 55 gallons of water slowly leak onto the new carpet. They can be hard to open when you need to clean them, but I find them very easy to move and I just open them in the bathtub so making a mess isn’t an issue.

The most popular canister brands are Fluval and Eheim; but I have only owned fluvals and have nothing but praise for their products. I have a Fluval 306 and a 305(the previous model to the 306). They both look nearly identical and function nearly the exact same. They have lots of room for media customization and are easy to disassemble and clean. I clean my canisters out well bi-monthly if I’m below stocking levels, and every 3-4 weeks if I’m at or above recommended stocking levels.

HOB Filters are the other popular choice. HOB stands for Hang On Back, and are the most common way of filtering any tank. They have an impeller that draw water up the intake tube and through the filter media that is held in the section that hangs off of the tank, then it flows back into the tank.

Aquaclear filters are my personal favorite, because they can hold a lot of media and typically have a high gallonage per hour rate. The pros of HOBs are that they do not take up as much space as a canister and can be moved around easily. They are said to be easier to clean but I found I had to clean them more frequently (bi-weekly) than my canister which I clean monthly or bi-monthly.

The cons are they look more obtrusive than a canister which can sit below the aquarium. They can overflow if not maintained properly or if you stuff them with too much media. They also tend to be noisier, especially as the impellers start to get old.

I find that on bigger tanks (29gal +) HOBs can get especially large and bulky, so for larger tanks it tends to make me lean towards canisters. I also enjoy the amount of customization you get with layer different types of media in a canister filter.

These are really your two best options for filtering a tank for goldfish, as they are very high waste fish and can get quite large.  Neither one is better than the other, in the end it boils down to personal preference. Other filters like sponge filters are only effective for quarantine and for raising fry, as they only provide biological filtration and at a lower rate. So they should only be used in scenarios where the fish are receiving large frequent waterchanges. Under Gravel filters should never be used as they are hard to clean which can lead to bacterial issues. In my opinion they are archaic and I can’t see them being better than other options we now have.

I hope this article is of some help to you! If there is anything that wasn’t covered that you’d like to see added please let me know and I’ll put it in. :)

Filter diagram credit to FiltersFast. They will be replaced with my own images when I get the time!

Goldfish Feeding and Digestion

This article will discuss how you can feed goldfish to minimize swim bladder and feeding related health issues, the amount that should be fed, and how this ties in to the anatomy of the goldfish.

They have an extremely inefficient GI tract, and are completely lacking a true stomach.

About 15% of teleosts, including cyprinids, have no stomach and no region of low pH or pre-digestion. Anterior portion of intestine has some storage function, intestine in these species is usually very long compared to, say, a trout (Rombout, et al. 2011. Teleost intestinal immunology. Fish and shellfish immunology)

Here is a more in depth description:

Carp lack a stomach, but have a long intestine which winds extensively throughout the visceral cavity. The gall bladder rests on the dorsal surface of the anterior midgut and the bile duet opens into the intestine just anterior to the gall bladder. In addition, the liver has no specific shape, but seems to serve as packing material around the intestine. Food seems to be ingested in small particles in a relatively steady stream instead of intermittently in large units, so the storage function of a stomach probably is not missed. With the liver filling all the available visceral space, there would be no room for accommodating the stomach expansion of a large meal anyway. The remainder of the visceral organs are relatively unremarkable(L. S. Smith. “Chapter 1. Digestion in Teleost Fishes.” 6.3 Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio). University of Washington, 1980)

Their odd anatomical structure has evolved out of a carp’s need to forage constantly to take up any food source they could find. This is partly why they can also be such a hardy and incredibly invasive species. But there is much to be learned from this in regards to their health and feeding habits in a domestic setting.

This is precisely why goldfish need small meals, especially fancies with their compressed body shape, which makes them more susceptible to complications caused by overfeeding. The best way to establish how much food your fish should be getting is by weighing them. It is generally accepted to feed .5-1% of the fishes body weight if feeding pellets. If gelfood is being fed, which contains much more water, you can bump this number up to 2-3%. This post on Koko’s Goldfish Forum can tell you approximately how many pellets to feed based on weight. Then take the total amount of food you’re going to feed and divide it into as many meals as possible. I try to feed my fish 3-6 times per day, but this varies with my work schedule. The key is to experiment and see what your fish do best on. Proper food management in regards to time and amount can really make a huge impact on fish with swim bladder issues and help encourage growth (in fish that are growing slowly) or discourage growth (to lessen chances of obesity).

Many breeders looking to groom a fish to show will feed more frequently but this does increase things like obesity and often does impact the lifespan of the animal, so take into consideration that overfeeding does have consequences other than the obvious (more waste output). Another factor to consider is how old your fish is. Goldfish do grow throughout their lives, but the first two years are when the majority of significant occurs. After two years growth does not halt, but does slow considerably. Around two years the fish is at it’s prime for growing and you will most likely not see another large jump in growth; so trying to feed on the high end of the spectrum to get the fish larger will do more harm than good.

Overall proper amount when feeding and spreading more meals out over a given period of time will help food be constantly moving through the GI tract and in proportional amounts. This will lessen the pressure being put on other organs, the swim bladder in particular, which will aid in better balance and lower the risk of constipation.

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Worlds fastest pearlie! Ushi is ridiculously fast for being so round. She managed to get the food out of my hand as soon as it hit the water.

Picture of the fry set up (or as I was setting up the fry set up). The tub is a 10 gallon mixing tub from Home Depot. I have it fitted with an airstone and a small heater (not shown in these pictures). I won’t add a sponge filter until they’re around one month because the calmer the water the better chance that they develop healthy/normal swim bladders. They get twice daily 100% water change and are fed 3-5 times a day. Right nowt heir diet consists of mainly baby brine shrimp and crushed New Life Specturm Thera A. I had 35 little ones hatch on 10/27/13 so they are almost two weeks old now. I had one fry die a few days after hatching but have not found any dead others dead, so everyone is eating and growing well! I'll  try and get some shots of the fry themselves tomorrow.