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Title: Mixing Goldfish With Tropical Fish?

MOTmom2 - March 24, 2008 04:11 PM (GMT)
Please advise! So, there are some fish at my local auto repair shop that I want to rescue. The guy there has a BIG tank with mostly little fish: looked like rosy reds, mollies, maybe some guppies, and one neon tetra. But he's tired of them, & just stopped feeding, adding water, filtering etc. -- I think he's just waiting for them to die off, so he can get some more exciting varieties. Some look healthy, and some look like they're starving (duh!).

But I'm leary of getting a THIRD tank. I have a 10 gallon tank with a 3" goldfish, a 2" goldfish, and two tiny Otocincluses (which I've only had a couple of weeks, to combat the algae). They all seem to be fine together. (I keep the goldfish well-fed.) Now that I added the Otocincluses I'm keeping the temperature at 70 degrees.

Then I have a 20 gallon tank with the ~9" pleco, 4 mature rosy reds/fat heads (2 each) who dominate the tank, and 4 tetras (2 white fin, 2 black fin).

So do you think I can get away with introducing these new fish, maybe some into each tank? I was planning to use the natural antibiotic stuff (Mela-whatever? I forget the name but I have it at home). And I do weekly 30 to 50 percent water changes, and aerate the tanks, and filter, of course.

I figure they're gonners if I do nothing, so if there's a chance they'll fit in, I'd like to save them. Perhaps I could get them healthy and then pass them on to someone else, so my tanks don't become too overcrowded... Would a tank divider be a good idea?

Thanks ahead for anyone's experience with this kind of thing! --Karen in Ithaca, NY

frogman3 - March 24, 2008 05:04 PM (GMT)
Karen, That's a tough situation. Sounds like your tanks are maxed out as far as fish load. You also have to consider since the fish have been neglected they would be very subject to parasites or bacterial infections and they should be nursed back to health before adding any of them to your tanks. Would he consider letting you help take care of them, at your work, untill a new home could be found for them? Maybe he would part with the whole set-up if he is tired of having fish period? Some people will almost give away their equiptment once they determine they are done with fish tanks! How big is his tank?


Robyn - March 24, 2008 07:48 PM (GMT)
It is a tough situation. In an ideal world, you would get another larger tank for probably the larger fish - the goldfish who can grow over a foot long and will outgrow the 10 gallon in short order. Neither one of your existing tanks has a lot of room for more than a fish here or there. How many fish does this tank in need of rescue have, if you know? I really suggest another tank not just for room issues but because they may not be healthy and could make your existing fish ill especially in a crowded situation. As an alternative, you might try to find other people to help. You can try asking your local aquarium store or club or advertising (for free) on Craig's List for fish available.

MelaFix is helpful but it can't protect your fish from anything the new fish might have. It just helps heal wounds and reduces some bacteria.

A tank divider won't prevent parasites and bacteria and poor water quality from being problems but certainly will help if you think some of the new fish might be aggressive to your fish or vice versa.

Where do you live? Maybe someone on this forum lives nearby who can help? No matter what, if the guy lets you, get those fish out of that situation even if they have to be set up in a temporary situation. You can even put fish in plastic storage containers as emergency tanks. You don't have to have an actual aquarium. If you could put them in say a Sterilite storage container, you could then treat them and find new homes for them if need be. You'd only need a spare heater and filter. Be sure to cover the top too with hardware cloth or pond netting to prevent jumping. I don't know if you have spare aquarium equipment but there are many around, like me, who have tons of spares of things. I hope you can find someone to help!

MOTmom2 - March 30, 2008 02:00 AM (GMT)
Well I took your-all's advice & set up a third tank for the rescued fish, and brought them home today: 2 mollies, 2 clearish looking tetras with very faintly red ventral fins (anyone know what kind they are?), 1 sad-looking neon tetra, 4 rosy reds, and 2 fathead minnows. The rosys & minnows look pretty unhealthy: all but one are very thin, most have a raised dark lump or two on their side, and you can see slight bloody-looking areas, not on the surface but internally. The neon tetra looks pretty bad too. I think I've seen most of the fish eat already, except for the neon one. I put salt & Melafix in the water, I don't really know what else to do except feed them small amounts frequently, and hope for the best. Any advice there?

I left behind a few rosy's that had to have been very close to death -- very irresponsible pet owner I'm afraid. He has plans to get different fish, so didn't offer me the tank. There were 2 plecos in the tank that he wanted to keep; one had a big round spot on its side, do fish get "ring worm"?

By the way, I also recently got 2 otocincluses for the 10 gallon tank with the 2 goldfish. They appear to be O. vitatus. They are very cute -- lots of fun to watch. They seem to be doing just fine so far -- scrubbing away at the algae, definitely more active at night.

FYI Robyn, here is a link correction at the bottom of your Otto page: Catfish of the Month <> - information and pictures of Otocinclus vittatus; it's been moved to the following archive page: I'm hoping the larger goldfish doesn't decide to eat an otocinclus; s/he looks big enough to. How likely do you think that is? I've seem it lazily chase an oto once or twice, but mostly not.

Okay, thanks for your help! --Karen

christina2lehner - March 30, 2008 03:32 AM (GMT)
MM good lord you have taken on a task. best choice you made was gettin a solitary tank for the new ones especially with what you decribe hopefully some tlc and milo whatever will cure them.

In my tank 150 gal I have 11 fish with a mix that most people wouldnt do I guess but all have done rather well gold fish shouldnt bother no one I have a HUGE gold fish with a Tetra (red fin blue/gray body) which I think is a Colubiana Tetra per photos I posted here. I have a little see through something 2 pleco 1 which is large, albino cat, cory cat, kuckoo cat, iredecent shark and rainbow shark (they sound tougher than they are)and a guromi they are all living in harmony.

I have to agree your tanks seem to be at or above fish limit which may lead to problems down the road as the fish grow. I got my goldie end of September as a feeder fair fish and in 6 months he has grown HUGE which we lovingingly named Carnie so they do grow big and fast

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my fish go CRAZY over blood worms (frozen) all of them i got at the pet store Put a frozen cube in a little hot water let it melt you will see all the worms (which are dead) so it isnt that nasty and dump it all in it is like chumming that may peak the light or non eaters to munch a little.

good luck I really hope your efforts pay off even if not all of them make it the ones that do will have a great home. And that you tried your best.....poor little fishes :(


fishkeepergod - March 30, 2008 12:56 PM (GMT)
Hi I have kept my fantail goldfish with platies, mollies and guppies for quite a while now and they get on fine.
I have the water at 70ish degrees without a heater the lights do it for me !, and slightly salty for the mollies and the goldfish don't mind it at all.
If you want to keep small tropicals like neons then you will need to move the goldfish, likwise if you want to breed livebearers because the will eat the small fish.
If fact I only have greif from my pleco who hates big fish and kills them.
If you can afford to run another tank then do so as many fish keepers will advise that the goldfish go in the largest possibel tank with the fewest amount of fish ( rule of thumb one inch of fish in one gallon of water i.e in one gallon of water you can have one male guppy ) this gives the golfish a better environment as well as the tropicals as they will also have more room and will be more likley to eat something without the goldfish getting it first !!

Robyn - March 30, 2008 08:34 PM (GMT)
I'm glad you were able to rescue some of the fish.

I'm not sure what the clear tetras with some red on the tail might be. There's no red elsewhere? Red tetras have red only on the fins but they're not sold often. If you can get photos, we can probably identify those fish.

In addition to aquarium salt and MelaFix, you may want to try some real antibiotics like Maracyn by Mardel since it sounds like at least the minnows have possible bacterial problems (emaciation, red streaking, and lumps).

I feel sorry for those fish you left behind since the guy sounds like an "insert your favorite bad word." Ringworm is a fungal infection. Fish don't get ringworm. A white "ring" on the pleco could be a fungal or bacterial infection or injury.

Larger goldfish can certainly eat little ottos. How big are the goldfish?

Sorry about the bad links on my site; I can't keep up with the information let alone the links. People keep moving their web sites and pages around.

The one inch of fish per gallon of water only applies to small fish that are either under a few inches or skinny-bodied. It doesn't apply to goldfish or other fat-bodied goldfish. Could you imagine having a 15" goldfish in 15 gallons? The poor thing wouldn't be able to even turn around. I've had a few 15" goldfish in my pond.

MOTmom2 - April 6, 2008 03:47 AM (GMT)
So, the rescued fish seem to be doing great, all eating like crazy. Even the neon tetra is eating dependably, though s/he's very shy; I manage to get it to eat best by overfeeding, so there's a rain of food; if I feed more moderately then the other fish seem to get it all way before it comes anywhere near the neon. Hopefully it will become stronger & braver soon, meanwhile I'm vacuuming & changing the water weekly. I'm really amazed that none of them have died yet; they all seem visibly improved, just in this short time. So here are some pictures, taken right after I got them. The neon has a slightly rounder tummy now, but is still very thin:

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Here's one of the pair I'd like to identify, maybe a tetra?, with red ventral fins (can be hard to see in the photos)

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It was hard to get good pictures of the rosys & minnows, they move so fast, but here's one, you can see how skinny it is:

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And finally (for today!) here are the two otocincluses, alighting briefly on a little shell:

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So right now there are 11 small rescued fish in the 10 gallon tank. I'm thinking of moving the two tetras and maybe some of the rosy reds/minnows to my 20 gallon tank with the big pleco, 4 mature rosys/minnows, & four 1 to 2" black & white skirt tetras. Then I'd get maybe 3 or 4 more neon tetras to hopefully cheer up the lone one. Do you think this could work?

The full-grown rosys & minnows in the 20-gallon tank seem so big & healthy now; such a far cry from what you see in the pet stores. One of the minnows has turned very dark, with vertical striped pattern (I'll put up a picture when I can). Tonight I found one of the rosys jamming its head into the gravel in the corner, I mean way past the gill-level, with its tail sticking almost straight up--it was kind of weird. I was worried that it was in trouble, so I gently dug it out with the net handle; it seemed catatonic for a minute or so, & then normal. Maybe this is something to do with preparing to breed? Another minnow went over to the same corner & poked around head down for a while too, but didn't actually get stuck or seemingly stuck, like the first. Anyway, that's the first time I've seen that behavior...

I see what you mean about hefty goldfish. Mine are about 3-1/2" & 2" right now, but they eat like mad, and now that I've raised the temp. to 70 to accomodate the ottos, they'll grow even faster. I might have to give them away to someone who has a bigger tank, though they are fine for now. I'll put up some pix of them too, next posting.

So thanks for all your helpful postings! --Karen

Robyn - April 6, 2008 10:03 PM (GMT)
The white fish is a tetra. It looks like a white skirt tetra. Does it look like your black and white skirt tetras? I think it would be happy with your skirt tetras even if it's a slightly different species.

That poor neon has a bent spine and may have various problems from malnutrition and/or infections. I'm surprised but glad that he's doing so well.

The fathead minnow with the dark stripes is a mature male. They shouldn't jam themselves into the gravel though to spawn. Either the fish was trying to get to some food or wanted to "escape." I've never had a fish jam themselves down into the gravel that far.

I'm glad the fish are doing well!

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