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Novice about Fish

November 25th, 2009, 02:13 PM
Apologies, if this is repetitive, but...I am kind of considering adding some cool, colorful fishes to my home. I have 1 senior dog, and am missing a second type of pet to my life. A few fish in a bowl would curb my desire for this, as my dog really requires most of my attention these days.

I don't know much about fishes, other than the few goldfish I had as a 6 yr. old. I am well beyond 6:laughing:

Any suggestions?

I am not necessarily looking for the "aquarium" scenerio - although, if there is some sort of compromise between the large and small to medium tank scenerio, I will consider this as a possibility.

Thank you in advance:)

November 25th, 2009, 03:10 PM
What kind of fish are you looking for, and are you thinking of cold water fish, or tropical fish?

Just like there's more to a dog than letting it pee and poo on short walks, followed by a game of fetch, there's more to keeping goldfish than a simple round bowl.

The lowest care fish are bettas, which are Japanese fighting fish. No more than one to a small bowl (they're puddle dwellers, like murkier water, and it can be small and shallow)

Goldfish require much more care than a simple bowl - they are one of the dirtiest fish around, and in regular glass bowls they live no more than a year or two if the water is changed every few days - because they poison themselves with their excrement. Goldfish are carp and can live to be 15 years old if they are one to a 5 gallon tank complete with water filters and proper water cycling (water cycling is a learning curve in and of itself).

If you want anything more than an easy care betta, you'll need at least a 5 gallon tank, a water filter (the strength of the filter depends on the fish you're going to keep), a thermometer, dechlorinator, and if you've got tropical fish, a heating device.

If you go for goldfish and want to keep them physically optimally healthy, you will likely need to upgrade the tank from 5 to 10 or 15 gallons (depending on how many you're keeping) after 5 years. The more goldfish you have, the stronger the water filter needs to be. For example, a 5 gallon tank, with 2 goldfish, requires proper cycling AND a 10 gallon water filter, and an upgrade to a 10 gallon tank with a 20 gallon filter in about 5 years. Anything less than that will cause physical strain on the goldfish.

With tropical fish, they tend to grow less, and are less self-soiling. You can have more to a tank, but they still require a good comprehension of cycling.

Here's a pretty decent explanation of the first steps toward getting started on any kind of tank:

And here's a brief explanation of 'cycling':

November 26th, 2009, 12:06 PM
Thank you Marcha, for providing a distinction between cold water and tropical fish, and their individual needs. Although, I would never have put dogs (especially senior aged dogs) and fish in the same sentence when pointing out care and maintenance matters....

I am familiar with "Japanese Fighting Fish." I have been told that if males are in the same space, they will "fight." But I do recall their colorful markings, and a murky water environment.

I am leaning more towards the lower maintenance type of fish. I will check out the links you provided, and take it from there.

November 26th, 2009, 12:25 PM
Although, I would never have put dogs (especially senior aged dogs) and fish in the same sentence when pointing out care and maintenance matters....

I hope that didn't confuse you ... It's more that some people think that goldfish don't require much care, just like some people don't think dogs require much care. We cringe or even cry when we hear of a dog that dies at age 2 of sheer neglect and its complications and implications. While we don't generally see minimal care of a goldfish as 'neglect', a lot of people don't realize that a goldfish isn't supposed to live for a year, but can reach the age of 10 with ease and 15 with excellent care.

The betta requires less care than a goldfish, and there is plenty of information out there on proper care. They can live up to 3 years, though they often don't live as long in a home aquarium. But it's a good way for you to figure out whether you are interested in keeping fish on a longer term, before you invest too much or find that you are unable to care for them appropriately.

November 26th, 2009, 01:53 PM
You are right. Some people are not fully educated on the ins and outs of caring for a pet. Thank goodness for this forum!

The fish I had lived a reasonably long time. The store associate who sold us the fish and bowl did the right thing by NOT pushing more than necessary onto a young child.

And no, you did not confuse me. Nothing to be confused about:laughing:

It's so sad when someone loses a pet because they did not have the right information - and sometimes, they are not entirely to blame...I've had pets my whole life - mostly dogs, and they have lived well...
As far as neglect goes, I've seen the result of it while working in shelters. People who surrender their animals, or have them seized by animal protection and control people - it's simply heart wrenching!

Anyways, I will do more research on my own, so I may determine the most appropriate types of fish to have.

November 26th, 2009, 09:04 PM
You'll have to keep in mind that if you go the goldfish route, you cannot mix in tropicals and vice versus. Gold fish excrete something from their bodies that is poisionous to tropical fish and will kill them within hours. :confused:

November 26th, 2009, 09:15 PM
As far as I know, it's simply the huge amounts of poo that a goldfish generates, resulting in an extortionate amount of ammonia in the water. Tropical fish are very sensitive to ammonia levels, and a tropical aquarium would require a pH kit for that reason (to test the pH levels of the water every week or so). You could use a pH kit with a goldfish so that you can find out what works best for your goldfish regarding substrate, filtering and oxygenation.

November 26th, 2009, 09:32 PM
Thats what I was trying to think of Marcha--thank you! :thumbs up