Where to go now?


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Jan 22, 2021
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S/W Ontario Canada
After a hiatus of about 50 years I am back in the fish hobby. Back then a typical community tank was usually tiny, had no heater, very basic filtration with no ideas about cycling a tank. What a learning curve I have been on!

I originally purchased feeder goldfish for my new pond with no idea what I was really doing. I Intended to leave them in the pond year round and see what happened. Yea, well that was the thought with the reality being I became attached to them and worried about surviving winter outside in our very cold winter. So without much thought I bought a used aquarium! I was told it was a complete set-up ready to go, 45 gallon with stand. So I drive about 2 hours to pick it up only to find it still had fish in it, I had no idea what fish or how many as it was absolutely disgustingly filthy. I was so not prepared to transport fish but I did my best. The seller insisted that we leave several inches of water in the tank with the fish, gravel, ornaments etc. and that they would be fine. Needless to say the only thing that survived the trip was a Bristlenosed Pleco and one Dwarf Gourami.

When I arrived home the water was so filthy it actually looked like untreated sewage with a smell to match. It was hard to believe anything could live in that mess. I had done some basic reading about cycling a tank but as my Goldfish were still outside I was not in a rush. The Pleco and Gourami lived in a large rubbermaid tub while I cleaned the sludge from the gravel and tank. I refilled it with a combination treated tap water and pond water and after a few days the Pleco and Gourami were returned to the tank keeping my fingers crossed. A few weeks later the goldfish were added uneventfully. They seemed to all co-exist without an issue however I was surprised that some of the goldfish had become huge in only a few months from 1 1/2 inch in Mid August to 6 inches in early October. I had no idea they grew that quickly from only what they found to eat in the pond!

Fast forward a few months where I acquired some frogbit, hornwort and other floating plants my Goldies liked to snack on. If I had put it all in the aquarium at once it would be gone in a day so I started it in a large glass vase to keep it growing and add it slowly to their tank. Of course that led to " if I have a large collection of plants it needs a fish" so home came my new male Betta! After some more research I discovered that living in a vase was not optimal, despite him living in a tiny unfiltered plastic cup in the pet store. A small nano tank was needed for his comfort, lol. Of course some very fine gravel, a heater and a light quickly followed as well as some suitably sized decorations and live plants. I know they don't get lonely as other fish might but I felt the tank needed a little something. Aha, a couple of Kuhli Loach were the solution so they were ordered for him as companions. Now I live in a small town about 90 minutes away from a town large enough to have a good selection of fish. If I am driving that far I might as well think about the goldfish tank as well. I had already decided that I wanted something in the large tank in summer when the goldfish were in their pond. Several sites had suggested White Cloud Mountain Minnows as tank mates, so I ordered 10 of them. Now remember this is all occurring during a Covid 19 shutdown so it is curbside pick-up only so I dont look at the actual fish just an online order. The order is placed and off I set for my new finny friends. They were well wrapped to protect from the cold on the trip home so I did not really look at the WCMM until I got home and floated their bag in the goldfish tank. Oh no! They are far too small and the goldfish would just snack on them. Now what? I need to find somewhere for them to live and quickly. Back to the large glass vase (about 1 gallon) with an airstone added while I await an Amazon delivery of a tank divider as of course nothing is available in my town. They have now been in there for 3 days and all is good, the divider should be here in a couple of more days and they can then move in the large tank. So somehow in a few months I have acquired a 55 gallon aquarium, (seller was wrong about size), a 5 gallon Betta tank and 1 gallon nursery for plants and minnows. This is such fun!
I have done some serious thinking and reading about the goldfish and have decided that I will enlarge the pond in spring and they can become year round residents outside as they are really far to big for a 55 gallon aquarium. I also need to consider the Pleco that I was told was a Bristlenose but is actually a common Pleco and is now about 9 inches in length.
The current plan is in the spring, to transition the goldfish tank to one that has several types of smaller schooling fish rather a few large fish. I would like to keep 1 small veiltail goldfish indoors as I dont think he would be quick enough to get food outside in the pond. The tank is fairly heavily planted with goldfish proof plants and submerged driftwood so I am open for suggestions of what to add to the White Cloud Mountain Minnows and 1 goldie? I would like each type of fish school to be distinctive in colour or body shape so any suggestions are welcome. Its likely to be several months before this plan can be put in place so lots of time for research.
Thanks and looking forward to this forum. Bev


Fish Expert
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May 8, 2019
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Lawrenceburg, KY
The gold fish might eat the WCMM.

The Pleco may be able to stay outside in the pond, because they aren’t tropical fish. They can survive cold temperatures.

@Deanasue has goldies, maybe she can give you first hand advice.

(Welcome to the forum by the way. ;))


Fish Maniac
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Oct 29, 2018
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Single tail goldfish will be fine year round in the pond. If it gets cold where you are in the winter, get a de-icer for the pond. I keep one in mine and it makes a small hole in the ice so fish still get oxygen. Pleco aren’t cold water fish so no pond for him. A fantail will be fine in a tank...20 gallons for first fancy goldfish and 10G for each additional one. My moors are now 8” long. White clouds are a good cool water fish to go with fancy goldfish but they are much smaller and could be snacks. I keep goldfish only with goldfish. Fancy goldfish don’t have good vision and can’t compete for food with other fish. I have 2 female moors in a 75G tank with a bristlenose pleco. My other goldfish tank is 45G with 2 males in it...one red cap oranda and one calico Ryunkin. Goldfish need a companion goldfish. They come in so many varieties and colors that you don’t need to and shouldn’t mix them with other fish. I hope this helps. :)


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