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> Beginner's Guide To Goldfish Keeping
post Fri, 04 Nov 2005 4:16 pm
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Every now and then we have begineers who pops in and asks questions like"Hi, how many fishes can I keep in a 3ft tank?".It is irritating having to repeat the answers over and over again and in mosts cases the answers can be found in the forum if the member uses the search engine to look for them. mad.gif

Below is a list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) in which I hope is exhaustive enough to answer most if not all common questions asked by newbies.I certainly hope that newbies will take some time going thru them, afterwhich you can use the search function to search for more infos that are not covered here.

1)What is the recommended tank size to keep goldfish?
We recommend at least a 3ft tank.So, 3, 4,5 or 6ft tanks are ideal.
It is a misconception for a beginner to think that "I am new, it is safer to start off with a small tank.When I am more experienced,I will upgrade to a bigger tank."Wrong!The bigger the tank,the easier to maintain.When you are more experienced, you can handle a smaller tank!

2)So how many goldfish can I keep in my tank?What about the water depth?
First you need to know your tank capacity.You can use the aquacal to calculate:
As a guide,we recommend about 80L per fish (six inches avg length); 50L per fish shall be the bare minimum, 100L per fish is ideal.So as a rule of thumb it works out to about 2 to 3 goldfish in a 3ft tank, or 4 to 5 goldfish in a 4ft tank.
As for the depth,contrary to many people's believe,goldfish can easily withstand 2ft depth of water without any problems.Except for fries and grooming / development of top view ranchus where water is kept shallow,it is OK to keep in depths for up to 2ft for other varieties.
Here is a general guide to water height for TVR:

3)I got my tank, what else do I need?
A filter and airpump.And lights to view them.
A cheap sponge filter will suffice, but there are many other filters in the market such as overhead filters (OHF),cannisters etc.If you are using OHF, you will need a submersible pump.Get one with a capacity that turns around the tank water 3 to 4 times per hour.For eg, if your tank is 200L, get a pump with a capacity that pumps out 600 to 800 L/hr.
Invest in a good airpump as well, especially if you are using sponge filters.The life of your goldfish depends on it.Some recommended brands are Shiruba,Atman and Rena.

4)I often hear people talking about tank cycling and good bacterias.What is this all about?
Fishes produces ammonia (thru their gills and wastes).Just like your pee, it contains loads of ammonia.It is toxic and harmful.You do not want to swim in your own pee, and your goldfish do not want to swim in their own sewer either.A cycled tank is simply an ecosystem that has been established in a mature filter / tank whereby there are already adequate beneficial bacterias (BB) to convert the toxic ammonia (NH3) to nitrites (NO2) which is also toxic; and then nitrates (NO3) which is much less harmful.This process is also known as the nitrogen cycle.Nitrosomonas bacteria converts ammonia to nitrite and then Nitrobacter converts nitrite to nitrate.One may observe that during the cycling process,the tank water may turn cloudy.This is normal.
There are many articles on the net explaining the nitrogen cycle; this is just one of them:

5)I have read that a sandbed or undergravel filter is good to have.It helps promotes the population of BBs, and decorates my tank too.Shall I use them?
Here we do not advise to have sand or gravel base for your tank.It will create a host of problems;diesease etc; and is difficult to maintain.Go for a bare tank.I personally find that this is an important point to note.

6)I see,so what medium shall I put in my filter to cultivate these BBs and how long does it take for a tank to mature?
Though not a must, ceramic rings or sinster glass are recommended.Coral chips can also be used.They provide ample space for the bacteria to thrive.They are found everywhere actually,in filter mats, airstones for eg.
A new tank takes about a month to cycle.

7)How do I know if my tank is cycled?
Get a nitrate test kit.Presence of nitrates (in large amounts,at least 20ppm) indicates that the tank is cycled.

8)So I only need a medium to cultivate bacteria.But the uncle at the LFS recommends me other things;he says to use zeolites to remove ammonia and to use activated carbon to purify the water.Do I need these?
You dont need zeolites.Removal of ammonia will not help to cycle the tank.Furthermore, there is a limit of its adsorbtion capacity and once reached,you it not adsorb further.
As for activated carbon (AC), its up to you.Its not really necessary,but no harm using it either.There are some discussion on AC here:

9)Do I need to add salt into the tank?
No.Read more about it here.

10)What about a heater?
No.Goldfishes are cold blooded,and they can survive temperatures that are near freezing.

11)What type of food to feed and how often?Do I need to soak the pellets before feeding?
Good quality pellets are recommended.Feeding of veggies such as peas occasionally, and frozen feed such as frozen bloodworms are OK.Stay away from live feed such as live bloodworm or tubifex.These carry parasites and are too risky.If your fishes have access to algaes, its the best.The more the merrier.
There are no hard and fast rules on the feeding frequency.Seasoned keepers may feed 5 to 6 times a day, but for a beginner we advice twice, or at most 3 times a day.This is because beginners tend to overfeed and is poor in water quality management.
As for soaking of pellets,no need.A waste of time.And,a waste of the nutrients dissolving into the water.

12)I know, we must change water.But,since my tank is already cycled, why do I still need to change and how much?
We change water to get rid of nitrates,organic matters,replenish lost minerals and remove growth inhibitors.Try to keep nitrates below 50ppm,and you will have much lesser problems.Nitrates accumulates linearly,and partial water changes merely dilutes them.So we say massive water changes weekly.As a rule of thumb,change at least 80% (better still 100%) of your tank water for a stock level of 100L per fish which is fed 3 times a day.
Here is a very good article on nitrates accumulation:
Here is a discussion on growth inhibitors:
Anyway,if you find these difficult to digest,just remember - CHANGE WATER.THE MORE THE MERRIER.

13)What must I add during a water change?
Anti-chlorine and chloramine.Thats all you need.Pls note that aging tap water to remove chlorine is no longer useful in Singapore; due to the introduction of chloramines.More info here:

14)Must I wash the filters during water change?
You should periodically void your filters of the trapped scums.Disposable mats are best disposed.However,do not wash your filters using tap water!This is kill the BBs and you have to start your cycling all over again.Wash the medias in old tank water.

15)What is 'buffering'?I heard that it is important to buffer our water.
Whew.Easy to explain, difficult to understand in depth.It simply means preventing the pH of tank water from dropping during the nitrification process, but for a better understanding pls read this:

16)I have more questions.......
Pls read point (15) again! mad.gif Read and understand it.It took me quite some time to digest the material.

17)Do I need any test kits?
You can do without test kits.However,if you wish to monitor the ammonia and nitrite levels during cycling, get them.Once your tank is cycled,all you need is just a nitrate and pH test kit.Check nitrate levels before your water change to get the feel how much it has accumulated over the week and check your water pH to see if it has dropped; ie whether your water is well buffered.
There are many brands available, here are examples of nitrate and pH test kits.

18)What about quarantine?Why do we need to quarantine new buys?
To ensure that your new buy does not introduce diseases to your established tank.Read more here:

19)Can I mix different types of goldfish together?
Its OK, but some species are known to bully others.Ryukins may be more aggressive,some say, but so long as the different types of goldfish all get to eat during feeding,its OK.

20)What's the difference between top view ranchu(TVR) and side view ranchu(SVR)?

21)Hi,I am new here.Where can I buy nice and cheap goldfish?
Gosh,I hate this question. dry.gif Nice goldfish is never cheap,and expensive goldfish does not mean it is nice either.Here is a list of LFS retailing goldfish, but some info may be out-dated:
Do keep us informed if you visited the place and found that it has closed down,though. biggrin.gif

22)OK,OK not nice and cheap goldfish.Surely you can recommend some places to get cheap accessories, such as fish food and medication?
Ah.....that's a better question.You can refer to this link 'Rafflesgold Lobang' for places with good buys.But then again, this thread was also not updated for quite some time already, so do update us if you discover any new lobangs. biggrin.gif

23)What's the most important thing to note in goldfish keeping?
The most important thing is water quality.The second most important is water quality.The third most important is water quality.The fourth most important is water quality.The fifth most important........

24)Any other advise?
That's all that I can think of at the moment.But here is another must-read,written by our good ol' Doc Goldrush:

Point to note - The above pointers are written from the point of view of goldfish keeping in this region.Temperature is hot and humid all year round,and so is feeding.Conditions such as weather,temperature and water parameters may differ greatly depending on where you reside; therefore it is advisable for you to also understand the conditions of your local context and deciding for yourself what is the best keeping methology.
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post Mon, 16 Aug 2010 11:06 pm
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That's very nice tips..very informative n applicable.. nicetry2.gif
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Posts in this topic
CP   Beginner's Guide To Goldfish Keeping   Fri, 04 Nov 2005 4:16 pm
KokiBali   Thanks, CP. Very helpful for newbie like me. :th...   Fri, 11 Nov 2005 5:27 pm
CP   My pleasure. Just giving back what I have taken f...   Fri, 11 Nov 2005 7:12 pm
goldrush   Fabulous index for everyone here whether oldies,ne...   Fri, 11 Nov 2005 8:25 pm
benthenk   as newbie i have many knowledge from this topic, T...   Mon, 20 Apr 2009 9:56 am
CHLeong   :clap CP, Recently I visited a newbie hobbyist an...   Sat, 12 Nov 2005 8:04 pm
spyke   very good information especially the 1st two quest...   Thu, 24 Nov 2005 4:18 pm
desireless   After searching through this forum, I think I...   Wed, 28 Feb 2007 3:44 pm
gohks   I suggest that whenever an old or stale question b...   Wed, 28 Feb 2007 5:53 pm
Titus   My personal opinion: I really enjoy reading info ...   Thu, 01 Mar 2007 11:37 pm
d_golem   Initially, it could seem a little unfriendly. But...   Fri, 02 Mar 2007 1:09 am
goldrush   Yep you will be GRILLED and DRILLED by our passion...   Fri, 02 Mar 2007 8:19 am
Titus   Yep you will be GRILLED and DRILLED by our passio...   Sat, 03 Mar 2007 11:31 pm
Dragonhead   If you see a group of people you don't know at...   Sun, 04 Mar 2007 10:41 am
chochiss   If you see a group of people you don't know a...   Mon, 05 Mar 2007 12:25 pm
gohks   Note that we are in an "Open" forum with...   Sun, 04 Mar 2007 11:47 am
twinso   ""1)What is the recommended tank size to...   Tue, 30 Oct 2007 5:23 pm
twinso   nvm above msg -> read the L and realise the m...   Tue, 30 Oct 2007 5:35 pm
CP   Hi twinso, Here fish tanks are sold in terms of f...   Wed, 07 Nov 2007 1:41 pm
tommy2510   Hi everyone... :hi :hi   Tue, 17 Jun 2008 8:40 pm
fishyaffair   hi everybuddy!!!! i used to be c...   Tue, 17 Jun 2008 11:29 pm
ktm   Thanks CP for the basic advises. much appreciat...   Fri, 13 Nov 2009 6:26 pm
Wilgan   Very infomative for a newbie like me. Just cross o...   Wed, 07 Jul 2010 2:06 pm
freddy_vesalius   That's very nice tips..very informative n appl...   Mon, 16 Aug 2010 11:06 pm
Anniko   Thank you for the tips...I learnt a lot!   Thu, 21 Oct 2010 6:29 pm
white horse T1   why my healthy fishes and QT fishes can just die a...   Mon, 25 Oct 2010 2:56 pm
clovergirl   Hi All! I am a somewhat beginner and I have o...   Sat, 18 Aug 2012 4:29 pm
thankstoy   This is also one particular ill wanting nike air m...   Thu, 24 May 2018 5:05 pm
shoukango   Soon after narrowing your search down it is best t...   Sat, 18 Aug 2018 2:45 pm

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