This month I am setting up a new fish tank. As I started filling the tank with water, it occurred to me some people do not know the basics to buying up a Goldfish tank. So, I’m going to tell them what I do.
You may be surprised by this, but the first thing you should do is not pick out your tank, but rather, pick out where the tank shall be set up.
The first thing I should point out is that Goldfish live up to 20 years or more, if well cared for and living in good conditions. The second thing I must point out is that Goldfish get up to 10 inches or more.
Taking those two things into consideration, I shall now point out that bowls, 2 gal tanks, and 5 gal tanks are inhumane and are the reason that 90% of all pet Goldfish die before they reach 3 years of ages and 5 inches in size.
Goldfish are a big fish. Remember this. Write is down. Brand it in your brain. Goldfish are a big fish. They require a big tank. Never put Goldfish in a tank smaller than 10 gallons. If you choose a 10-gallon tank, do not keep more than two Goldfish in it, and transfer them to a larger tank when they outgrow the 10-gallon one, which will be within 2 years after you get them, because they grow fast. Okay, that said, let’s move on.
For my Goldfish tank, I first had to ask myself: Where am I going to put the tank? My answer was: I live alone and these fish are going to be my personal pets, not family pets or office decorations. So, where will I be most often when I am at home? My bedroom is also my office. I spend both night and day in there. They are going to be living in my bedroom, because that is where I will see them most often. If yours are going to be family pets than a better place would be in the living room, game room, or family room. Fish tanks should not be placed in the kitchen, bathroom, or garage because there are so many chemicals in those rooms and the tank’s air pump on the tank would such the invisible toxins right into your tank.
After choosing the room, now you much choose where in the room. Keep in mind where heavy foot traffic goes through the room. You want to set up the tank where you have easy access to it, but where heavy foot traffic will not scare the fish. Keep in mind that you will be changing the water in the tank 2 or 3 times each week, so you will need enough room around the tank to allow for pumps and buckets and cleaning equipment to be maneuvered easily.
Remember never to place your tank directly in front of a window as the sun will both overheat the water (which is not good for the fish) and will cause algae to grow, which is not necessarily bad for the fish, (they will eat the algae) but makes the tank look pretty ugly after just a couple of days.
After studying the layout of my room, I determined that the best place to set up my tank would be in the corner, between my computer and my reading chair, just at an angle from my bed, about a foot to the left of the window. I choose this spot because it is were I spend a great deal of my time and were I well be able to see my fish most often and because of ease of access and because they will get light from the window, without getting too much direct sunlight. There was one slight problem with this spot, well two. One, that spot is where my Siamese cat keeps his food, water, and litter box. Two, there is a large window were the morning sun comes directly in and well shine full light on the tank. These problems were easy to correct. I moved Topie’s water and food dishes over by a few feet, and choose a fish tank stand, that allows for his litter box to be hidden away under the tank stand.
To correct the problem of the sunlight, I put up bamboo shades that allow filtered sunlight into the room without my ever having to open them. Since the only view from this window is the street and sidewalk, not opening this shade ever again is not a problem. (Additionally, you may plan to put a Mylar screen on the backside of the tank to keep out extra sun.) The result is that my fish well receive nice filtered sunlight without being in direct sunlight. This will mimic sunlight filtering down through the leaves of trees to a mountain creek bed, which is what they would have in the wild. They well enjoy that.
Next thing to decide, once figuring out where to put the tank, is how big a tank can I fit in that space. I would have liked to get a 20-gallon tank; unfortunately, one would just not fit in the place I choose for it. However, a 10-gallon one would fit just fine. This however changes my plans as to how many fish I can keep in this tank: the answer is just two. Remember: goldfish get very big – some types can get well over a foot long, though this is not common.
The next step is to buy a stand. You must buy the stand before the tank (or at the same time) so that you have a place to put the tank once you bring it home. In my case, I did not need to buy a stand, because I already had a solid hardwood table, which is much, much sturdier than a regular tank stand, and will hold a 10-gallon tank.
If you decide to go this way, make sure that you have a table made of solid hardwood, with very strong sturdy legs. A 10-gallon tank filled with water, gravel, plants, and fish well weigh 150 to 200 lbs, and once filled, it cannot be moved. Well, it could be moved, but it must be taken down, the fish put in a mini travel tank while you do so, and than the whole tank reset up and recurred, and that is stressful on the fish. The less you transport them around the better. If you are going to use a table as opposed to a tank stand, be sure to test it to be certain it will not buckle under the weight of the tank. If the stand/table is not sturdy, the result will be a lot of broken glass, a water damaged floor, and dead fish. If the stand/table wobbles or bends in the slightest do not use it and buy a different one. In the case of the stand, it is better to be safe than sorry.
If this is your first tank, than a 10-gallon tank with only two fish is best for you. If you are more experienced you can get a larger tank if you have the space for one.
Now it is time for you to head to the store and buy your tank. One thing that is important: get a rectangle shaped tank, never a round, square, or octagon one. The rectangle should be a long low &horizontal; one, never a tall &vertical; one. You should not have to worry much. The typical tank is a horizontal rectangle one, and the odd inhumane shapes are not so common anymore. Moreover, never get one of those little &goldfish bowls; those are just inhumane, and will not support a goldfish for more than a few months. If you are going to buy a fish that’s going to live for 20 years, don’t buy a bowl that will kill it in six months.
For the beginner I recommend that you get a pre-packaged kit that includes a 10-gallon tank, a hood with built-in lighting, and a filter unit. In fact, I recommend this even if you are not a beginner, because by doing this you ensure that you are getting a hood and filter that are made to fit the tank. These kits are generally available in 5-gallon, 10-gallon, 15-gallon, and 20-gallon tanks. Bigger tanks are some times available as a kit as well. I would only recommend the 5-gallon tanks for use as hospital/quarantine tanks though, as they can only house one or two Goldfish fish in them and only for a few hours at a time. For living quarters the 5-gallon tank is only suited to housing smaller fish breeds such as betas, tetras or guppies. The 5-gallon tank just isn’t big enough to house Goldfish.
I do not see that the brand of tank matters. All tanks are pretty much of the same quality. When buying the tank be sure to check all the seals to make sure that none is visibly broken. Also never, buy a tank if there are any cracks or chips in the glass. If the tank is pre-packaged in a boxed kit, you can check it when you get home. Should you notice any defects, take it back to the store for an exchange. It is vitally important to the health and safety of your fish, that the seals are tight and the glass undamaged! Never buy a cracked tank.
For this project, I choose to purchase: Aquatic Gardens Starter Aquarium Kit, the Goldfish edition size 10, which included the Tetra Whisper Power Filter. This worked out will for the first couple of months, however, my two 2 inch long baby Ranchus grew well over 4 inches in their first six months and required a 50 gallon filter be added to the 10-gallon tank, in order to support their required filter levels.
Once you have bought your tank, set it up, fill it with gravel, plants, water, and a few tablespoons of fish food and let it run for a few weeks (I recommend at least two months) before buying your fish. This will help cure the water. Always remember to add chemical removers and PH stabilizers to the water each time you change the tank, and change at least half the water in the tank twice a week.
Now the fun begins: you can head to the pet store and start looking for your new goldfish to bring home. Good luck with you new fish!