why won't my goldfish swim?

kimvanduzerFebruary 12, 2007

We found a small fishtank with solid green water and two goldfish on the sidewalk.

there was a note that said please take my fish.

We cleaned the tank but after a few weeks, the two fish still just lie on the bottom.

they come up to eat and then fall back to the bottom!

very boring fish!

any suggestions?

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Do you have a filter to clean the tank and a pump and airstone to oxygenate the water? A filter will need time to work properly by growing the type of good bacteria that keeps the tank healthy and it is crucial for goldfish because they put out a lot of waste.

The pump and an airstone are also important and they won't live long without it.

Another possible problem is that if you put tap water in without using a declorinator before putting the fish back in, that can kill them. Always declorinate any water you add.

People think goldfish can live in a bowl with no accessories, but they rarely survive long. They have certain basic needs that are crucial. Also, they get very large and need either a huge tank or a pond to live in. You can get a lot of info on their care at the pond forum in the garden section of this site. Good luck with them. I hope they pull through.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 9:30AM
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Do they appear to struggle as they swim to the top for food?
I would suggest first buying a water test kit at a pet store and check the water. High nitrates and a pH that is too high or too low will cause what you're seeing. It will also cause their death if the water isn't adjusted.
This site states the ideal water quality for goldfish... http://www.goldfishinfo.com/.

The link below also has some good basic info.

Feed only once a day with a good quality fish food and offer some romaine lettuce and a few green peas (no skins).

Here is a link that might be useful: goldfish

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 11:45AM
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Because they don't have anywhere to go.

But in reality, you probably need to change the water. Tap water is rarely good for fish. For a small fish tank, a Brita pitcher can be easily remove chlorine and some hardness most stuff that would bad for fish.

A filter pitcher won't take care of nitrates though, so you should test for them also.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 3:15PM
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A number of years ago I was setting up my 33 gal fishtank and in order to get some biological action going I purchased three feeder goldfish for 8 cents a piece. These are the goldfish by the millions that people buy to feed to larger fish. Normally they don't live very long anyways, so I was told. Well they lived alright. After about a year they were going on 6 inches and absolutely beautiful looking fish and almost hand tame. Unfortunately we had to move cross country last year and rather than chance fate I found someone who was glad to have them.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 7:48PM
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Yep, a bigger tank, filter, pump, air stone and de-chlorinated water. The other posters are right about them getting big.

I had my yellow-bellied slider in a 75 gallon tank with 6 feeder goldfish. He never ate them and they grew rather large and we all got attached to them. Two years later someone gave me two small red-earred sliders so I moved the other turtle to a 55 gallon and put the two new little guys in the 75 with the goldfish. They didn't bother the goldfish. A couple of months later they went on a feeding frenzy and in one nights time, killed and ate the goldfish. All of them! What a mess. I ended up giving those two turtles to someone that appreciated their natural instincts.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 11:25PM
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I can't buy feeders without getting attached to them unless they eat them in a few days.

My turtle and my piranhas always leave some guys over. I've added the feeders to my community tank. Rosie Reds, gold fish, bait minnows and a crayfish.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 3:21PM
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My goldfish (Cedric) hides at the bottom and looks upset when he is not happy about something, or is scared.

They may still be adjusting to the trauma of being ejected onto a sidewalk to smother in their own water. Or maybe they just haven't gotten used to you yet.

I had a chinese golden algae eater that got too big and territorial and was bullying my goldfish. I took the algae eater out, but the goldfish continued to lie at the bottom of the tank for another two or three days (maybe making sure the other fish was gone?) - only coming up to eat but then going right back down again.

After that adjustment period, he started swimming more and more until he was the well adjusted (okay, not well adjusted since he is "Cedric the murderous goldfish") and happy fish I know.

One other time he started acting funny and hiding in a back corner of the tank. We realized one of DD's electronic toys that flashes and blinks was on the desk next to the tank. He did not like it. Once we removed the toy, he was fine again.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 4:16PM
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Kim, put water in a well washed open container and let is sit for a day so the clorine and such can evaporate and the water gets to room temp. Wash the rocks and decore in their bowl and put them back in.

Goldfish in a bowl do not need air pumps and filters. They do need water that has sat and is changed daily and the rock washed because they are poop/pee machines.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 5:00PM
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Goldfish do not belong in a bowl, and yes, they do need air pumps and filters. I have a 500 gallon pond and bring my fish into my basement for the winter. I keep them in a child's pool with the pump and filter running. Last year the pump clogged and stopped working, and when I discovered it, it couldn't have been down for more than a few hours. Already, my fish were gasping for air at the surface and one was starting to float. These were a dozen 3 to 4 inch fantail goldfish in a large pool, so it wasn't because they were so crowded. Luckily, I got the pump fixed and they all survived.

Most goldfish in bowls don't survive more than a couple of weeks, when they can actually live well over 20 years with proper care.

BTW, if you use a declorinator, you can have the water safe for use in minutes rather than having to wait for it to sit. It's inexpensive and you can buy it in any pet store or even Walmart.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 8:26PM
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