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A lot of questions; New Tank size, outdoors, rehoming and more

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by JMuth, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. JMuth

    JMuth New Member

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    So I’ll start with the main questions I’m looking for answers for:
    1) How big of a tank should I get and how can I stock it? (I have some fish already in desperate need of an upgrade)
    2) How should I rehome my goldfish? (There’s a few options and a lot of questions)
    3) How do I work with weight restrictions for a new tank? (This one ties into #1 and 4)
    4) Can I put a tank outdoors?

    Before I start elaborating on these question I want to do a brief intro to my situation:
    I recently acquired some fish, tank and all, from a friend who said he couldn’t take care of them anymore and would just use them for bait on his next fishing trip :O (this was after I had been fish-sitting them and grew attached). They are in to small of a tank and were not properly cared for. I made matters worse and added a two new GloFish, 3 ghost shrimp and a snail. I can’t do anything too crazy because I’m still living with my parents (I’m a young adult, but just haven’t moved out yet). I am an hour and a half from the nearest big city and I have no fish experience but I have researched for many hours.

    Right now theres 1 common goldfish, a dwarf gourami, 3 Glofish zebra danios, 3 ghost shrimp, 1 mystery snail, and many marimos sharing a single 5ish gallon tank. The water parameters were outta whack, so I’ve been doing gravel vacuuming and 50% water changes every day or two to stabilize. If you want a little more info, check out my previous thread www.fishforums.net/threads/new-here-and-new-to-fish-any-ideas.453358/

    Now to the questions:

    1)
    I’ve been able to find some 30-75 gallon tanks for sale on craigslist, but I’m not sure how big I need to go. I know the goldfish will need to be rehomed entirely. I know I need to get at least 3 more of the GloFish because they are schooling fish, and I would like to keep the dwarf gourami, and if possible add more invertebrates or fish. I guess the real question is how big do I need to go? Also, if I get a 50-60 gallon tank would I be able to add a few additional compatible fish to my existing fishies (if so, suggestions on tank mates are appreciated)? Before you answer this question, be sure you read question #3-4 because they detail some of my limitations.

    2)
    I know the common gold fish will grow to big even for a 50 gallon tank and would put all the smaller fish and invertebrates at risk of becoming a meal. He really needs a new home but I don’t know how to do that. There a few options;
    A] I could rehome to some stock ponds (used for livestock water for goats and donkeys) on my girlfriends property. There are already some goldfish in these ponds (and by ponds I mean concrete tanks) that have lived happy for a year or two. There are sticks, rocks, plants, algae and other such things for the fish to hide and play in. The catch is these ponds are not cared for with fish in mind, the current fish just seem to thrive anyway. The ponds are filled with well water and not filtered. I don’t know if this is truly a good option, but it still could end up being the best one.
    B] I could rehome to livestock ponds on my property that are used primarily for cows. Again, these are not setup or cared for with fish in mind but are filled by rain or well water. There are no fish intentionally introduced to these ( but there may still be some in the dug-out ponds). There are a few concrete ones ( probably 500-1000 gallons) and there are a few dug out ones (easily 5000-10000+ gallons). The main issue with the dug out ones is if there is extreme drought (not to uncommon), they may dry up. Again, I don’t know that this option is ideal, but it is readily available.
    C] I can try and find someone that has well cared for ponds. I have no clue where anybody that has these would be, but If you know anyone in the Austin, Texas area that would be greatly appreciated. I have no clue where to even start with finding someone.
    D] I can just keep him in the current tank (with lots of cleaning and water changes) and move him to the bigger tank when I get one. This would not be a permanent solution, but it should buy me more time.

    3)
    I have weight and other restrictions on the tank I can get. I live in a old home that has a pier and beam foundation. This is not a home that was built to any building code. It seems that whoever built this house just used whatever they had available or could afford and cut corners if it made things easier. We found parts of the house that didn’t have nearly as many supports and floor joists as they should. My parents are worried that putting the 400-500lbs of a 50gal tank in one spot could cause some big issues. They would really get concerned with anything bigger than 30gal indoors. Doing serious reconstruction to make the room with the tank more stable is out of the question. I could, however, put the tank outside on a shaded concrete porch with no structural problems. I will elaborate on this more in the next section.

    What I really need is just some advice on what to do with these limitations.

    4)
    Doing a outdoor tank would remove the weight restrictions, but I am not sure if this is really possible in my climate. Where I live, it can get 105F in the summer (being in the shade will reduce this slightly) and it can get as low as 10-20F in the winter. Is it possible to successfully keep my current fish with these wide temperature ranges? I can definitely install heaters for the winter, but I am not so sure about what to do for the heat. If it would take over $1000 to install coolers and everything needed for this, then this wouldn’t be doable for me.

    I know this is really long, but I just really love these guys and want to make sure that everything I do is good for them. I’m up at 2am writing this because I can’t sleep worrying about these guys. I figure more info will help y’all have better advice for my situation. If there’s anything you need to know, just ask and I’ll do my best to answer. I’m still pretty new to this forum, so I also apologize if this is in the wrong place.

    Please don’t tear me a new one. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into when I rescued these guys. I figured someone that someone that really cared about them would be better than letting someone who was going to use them as fish bait or throw them in the nearest river keep them.
     
    #1 JMuth, Jul 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Your goldfish doesn't need to be rehomed in the next few days, or even the next few weeks. So stop worrying about that. Yes it needs a bigger home but it's not urgent and as long as the water is good in the current tank, the fish will be fine for a few more months.

    Do your girlfriends ponds dry out during summer?
    If not then put the fish in her pond with the other goldfish.

    If the ponds/ dams are big and have plants in, the fish will be fine without a filter. Aquariums need filters because they have small volumes of water and lots of fish. Most big ponds have a lot of water with only a few fish.

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    If the floor is not up to building code, then don't go bigger than 30 gallons. A 30 gallon tank weighs about 120kg, which is about the weight of 2 average height people that are not overweight. If you get 2 adults to stand where the tank is going to go, and the floor doesn't change shape or make funny noises, you should be fine with a 30 gallon tank.

    If you can find a tank that is 3 foot long x 14 inches wide x 18 inches high (or similar to those dimensions), that should be fine for all your fish (including the goldfish for the next 12 months) and a few other fish or shrimp. It will also fit the weight requirements for the flooring.

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    Yes you can keep aquariums outdoors in the shade. The big concern is with winter temperatures dropping that low, you will need a couple of big heaters and you will need to insulate the tank with polystyrene foam. If you could build an enclosure around the area where the tank would go, then you could seal it up in winter and it would save on heating costs and keep the temperature in a better range for the equipment.

    Glass can be an issue if it gets frozen. Having an insulated room in winter, would be the best option.

    The high temperatures in summer should be fine as long as there is plenty of aeration/ surface turbulence, and as long as there aren't too many fish in the tank. Having said that, if the water temperature sits on 40C (104F) for days on end, the fish and shrimp could die.

    I have had rainbowfish in tubs outdoors over summer and their water hit 40C+ during the day and came down to about 30C at night and they were fine. But shrimp don't normally like it that warm and some topicals die at temperatures above 32C. Gouramis are fine at 32C.

    Again, if you could insulate the concrete area, it would reduce the extreme heat from affecting the tank.

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    The cheapest option is probably a 3 foot tank and give the goldfish to your girlfriend.
     
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  3. JMuth

    JMuth New Member

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    Thanks for you great advice as always Colin_T!

    I’ll check with my girlfriend when she wakes up about her ponds, but if I had to guess, they are probably on float valves so that there is always water for the livestock. If that’s the case, barring the well going dry, they should always have water. I’ll take a look at those ponds when I can and see how they look (and maybe snag a few pictures). If there is a significant difference in the size between her fish and mine, should I wait till mines a little bigger?
    ——-
    I’ll bring the family in to stand on the floor with me in the morning and see how it looks. Fingers crossed that all goes well with that!
    ——-
    I wasn’t planning on keeping the tank on the concrete, more just saying that a solid concrete slab could take much more weight than the pier and beam foundation. If I did an outdoor tank, I would have it on a stand and use some sort of insulation on the bottoms and three of the sides to help with heat retention for the winter. I could also build some sort of wooden wind breaker to reduce wind chill on the tank.

    From what you say, It seems that fish can really tolerate a lot of variety in temperature as long as it’s not sudden. Ill put my 5 gallon out there with only some plants after I get a bigger tank, and see what the temperature does as a bit of an experiment to see if it would be viable for fish in the future.
    ——-
    Thanks again for you advice! From what everyone said in my last thread it felt more like I needed the upgrade in a matter of days which was really stressing me, but I can rest easier knowing that a month or two is fine as long as I keep the water stable!
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Find out how big the other fish are and then let us know. Goldfish can be housed together even if they are different sizes. Obviously you don't want to put a 1 inch fish with 12 inch fish but yours should be fine with fish that are 5 or 6 inches long, especially in a big pond.

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    The temperature in 5 gallons of water will fluctuate quite considerably due to the small volume. Bigger tanks with more water won't vary as much. You can do your experiment with 5 gallon buckets and bigger plastic storage containers.
     
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  5. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Herder
    Pet of the Month Winner!

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    Plastic storage containers are so helpful! :D
     

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