Katie's Goldfish FAQ


These are the questions I'm most frequently asked about my goldfish, usually by people who see them in real life.   They really pertain to my own fish. 

---How long have you had your fish?

I got my first fish, Sammy, on September 23, 2001.  Visit the individual fishies' pages for specific dates on the rest.

---How big were they when you got them?

Tiny!  (Especially compared to their current sizes!)  I don't have exact measurements, but Sammy was probably around two inches, counting tail and Jackie was around three inches.  Mellie and Tony were very tiny when I got them, little more than an inch long.  Addy was probably around 1 1/2 or 2 inches.  Benny was larger than the others at time of purchase--around 4 inches--and Fergie was slightly smaller than him, perhaps 3 1/2".

---Where did you get your fish?  How much did they cost?

I got my fish from a pair of locally-owned shops in my city.  (Never buy fish from Wal-Mart!  They take atrocious care of their fish!)  Jackie and Addy were $5.00 apiece, and Tony, Sammy and Mellie were $2.00 apiece.  They all came from the same store.  Benny and Fergie came from the other store.  Benny was larger so he cost more, $18.00.   The clerk insisted that Fergie was an oranda for some reason, so she cost $22--but she was so cute I don't even care that I was overcharged.  ;)  Minnie was a bit less because she'd been at the store for a few months and she was pretty beat-up so I got a discount.
As for the tanks, filters, food, decorations, siphons, medicines and water treater...well, let's just say that all cost a LOT more than the fish did!  ;)

---What do you feed them?  How often?

Lunch is served promptly at noon.   ;)   The main course is ProGold from The Goldfish Connection, plus a pinch of some other, store-bought brand for variety.  Supper is at 10:15 PM (we're night owls around here.), and consists of Ultra Gold and Spirulina Duraflakes from Aquadine.

Every so often as a treat they'll also get some Wardley's sinking shrimp sticks, Tetra brand freeze-dried brine shrimp, or other random kind of fish food.  They ate flakes when they were smaller (many different brands, alternated) but now that they're so big they ignore the flakes and the tank just gets messy from them.  When they need a little extra help with their digestion I feed them some shelled frozen peas.

Their all-time favorite thing to eat, the thing that sends them into complete bliss, is scrambled eggs.  Just plain, unseasoned scrambled eggs.  Just eggs and milk, no salt or pepper!  It's a rather rich and fattening treat, so they don't get them too often--just once every month or two.  But they love them!

---Is there something special in the glass that makes them look bigger, or are they really that big?

LOL!  This question always cracks me up.  No, they really are that big.  No trick glass!

---Don't goldfish just grow to the size of their tank?

No!  This is a myth.  If kept in a container that's too small, a goldfish's growth is stunted, yes--but this leads to health problems, skeletal abnormalities, and ultimately shortens the life of the fish by a lot.  Goldfish need a bare minimum of ten gallons apiece to be healthy, happy, and grow to the size that God intended for them to be.  The best guideline I've found for adult goldfish is 20 gallons for the first fist and 10 for each additional one.

---Are you sure they're goldfish?  I didn't know goldfish got that big!

Yes, I'm sure they're goldfish--and yes, I actually have been asked this!  LOL!  I didn't know they'd get that big outside of a pond, either, when I got Sammy.  But I learned quickly!  ;)

---What kind of tank and filter do you have?  How big?

I have two aquariums, one in the dining room (that's housed Jackie, Sammy, Benny, Fergie and Minnie through the years), and one by my computer in the living room (that's housed Tony, Addy and Mellie through the years).    Both are 37-gallon All Glass brand aquariums.   I use Aquaclear 200 filters.

---How do you keep your tanks so clean?

It's a special secret called "only take photos of your fish right after you've cleaned the tanks, never when they're filthy."  LOL!  ;)  In addition I faithfully do water changes every five to seven days.  I love my Python siphon system--no hauling buckets around!   Most experts suggest you never change more than a third of your tank water at the time but I usually change more than that.  Goldfish are very messy!

---Do you have any algae eaters or live plants in your tanks?


---Is it common for goldfish to change color like Jackie did?

It's not really common, but it's not that unusual, either.  Black is an especially unstable color, but even red/orange-and-white fish like Jackie sometimes change color.

---Have your fish ever gotten sick or hurt?

Oh, we've had a few adventures.  ;)   Jackie had ich shortly after I got her, and Sammy was starting to come down with it, too, when I finally got the medicine to treat it.  Tony, of course, succumbed to a mystery illness.  Mellie had a touch of it, too, but she got better and lived for a very long time.

Addy had swim bladder problems.   After a visit to the vet and a double round of Baytril antibiotic injections, she simply adjusted to life in a cotton flannel harness with fishing sinkers and bobbers attached.  It looked silly and was a bit awkward, but she learned to swim quite well in it and was very healthy otherwise for almost two years..  I had to hand-feed her, though, as she couldn't get to the gravel to bottom-feed.

Jackie suffered from heavy breathing, trouble swallowing and swim bladder problems for just over a month before I lost her.   She also made a trip to the vet and was even X-rayed, and had several different medicines, but it was simply her time.  :(

The most exciting fish health crisis was when I had to do the Heimlich maneuver on Mellie!  o_0  She was still quite small, and she got a huge piece of gravel stuck in her mouth while bottom-feeding.   Her whole mouth was stretched out as far as it could go, and she panicked, racing around the tank like crazy!  When she couldn't dislodge it, she laid down under a bush and gave up.  That's when I caught her in a net and held her (in the water) against the side of the tank with her head pointed downward.  With some careful pushing on her cheeks and throat I finally got the gravel out, and saved her life!   The things we do for our pets!  :-o


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