small cold water fish..

cjbrady(forest grove OR)July 14, 2005

My 4 year old daughter was given a very small feeder fish at Sunday school. Of course, we went out and bought a large (1 gallon) fishbowl for it and, of course again, it promptly died. So, I had to go get her a new fish... of course ;-)

I bought her some colorful gravel, a fake plant and two small orangas. They were dead within a week. I took a water sample in to be tested and Petsmart said the water was perfect (I had used a conditioner in the water). They did say that a 1 gallon bowl would be better for smaller fish like two small guppies. Which I, of course, bought.

One guppy died within two days - the other took a week.

Any ideas of why the fish are dying off and what might be an easier/hardier type to keep? I don't let her feed them, I do it so I'm sure its not that. The water seems ok, its not in direct sun so not too hot - there's no shells in the bowl and I did NOT clean it with soap. I'm out of ideas. I've had larger tanks with tropical fish and never had this problem

thanks in advance for any input

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woeisme(z7b NC)

Guppys are not cold water fish. Petsmart peeps are right about 1 gal not adequate for goldies. They will outgrow it and poison them selves from the ammonia produced from waste. As far as test results possible they did it wrong or you have a water quality problem.Another possibility is wasteing disease. Try a different petshop in this case. I wouldnt trust the petsmart crew that gave you the advise that the guppies would be OK in a bowl anyway.I would clean out the bowl and put candy in it(swedish fish perhaps). If you have the room a 10 gallon is about the best bet. You can get kits for under $50 with everything but the gravel. A test kit,gravel vaccum are also necessary to safely establish a new tank. If you dont want to spend the extra money for this stuff and insist on keeping a fish bowl,Then a betta will keep if you change the water alot and keep the water at a good temp 72-78 degrees. I dont know why people give fish to the wee ones? I know there heart is in the right place but when it dies from unintentional neglect it can upset a small child. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 4:01PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

You done been steared wrong. Firstly a bowl isnt the place to keep a fish,there isnt much surface area and fish without lungs suffer as a result (dont worry, not your fault, you didn't know) I'll bet that your water quality wasnt good either, I'm sure petsmart didnt tell you that because they want you to keep coming back and buying more fish to die. What you need to do is find a real LFS (local fish shop) and support them by buying a small aquarium, say 5-20 gallons (seems big now, but its tiny trust me) and a heater and a filter and some gravel for the bottom, just a little. Then theres something that needs to be done called cycling, where you build up bacterial colonys Via one or more of several methods, Traditionally you would start with one or two small fish and keep them for a month then add another fish and wait two weeks then add two more fish and wait and then two more and keep going till your tank is full, Alternatively you can start out with a handful of gravel or an old filter cartrige from a healthy tank and cut the first 4 weeks down to about 2 or so, If you want to cut that initial time down more you can use a cycle aid, first generatioin cycle aids can be found on the shelves of most LFS's but with a second generation cycle aid (biospira) retrieved from a refridgerator at some LFS's you can cuty that time down to one day. Also if you want to save the initial fish and not expose them to the amonia that is present in a precycle tank you canuse fishfood to generate ammonia or even clear amonia from a department store (no scents or sufocants BTW).

Now, on to small coldwater fish, if you really dont want to spring for a heater and increse your options in a 10 gallon tank you could keep a school (they dont like to be alone) of white cloud mountain minnows or one or two bitterlings (a very sharp looking fish) or if you keep just them some mosquitoe fish. Goldfish are dirty dirty animals and if you keep them you have to do more waterchanges than you normally would.

Also if you have cycled your tank you must be sure that the water changes that you do (every 1 to 2 weaks) are done with spring or well water or carbon filtered water or water that has been treated with a dechlorinating agent.

I hope that this helps and that I've not scared you away from this fascinating hoby.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 9:41PM
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cjbrady(forest grove OR)

Thanks for the input. No, this doesn't scare me away. I've actually had a 55 gal tank before complete with undergravel filter a vacuum etc. I've just never, ever had a fish bowl. I may try the white clouds or a betta. I don't want anything else to suffer, most especially my daughter.
We live on property and have horses, ducks, cats etc. so she knows that things eventually die. These fish just happen to be much LESS eventual.

I was just given a 50 gallon tank, by the way, so I'll be asking alot of advice to get it started.
cjb

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 9:52PM
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