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Gold Fish Care

History of Goldfish
External Parts of the Goldfish
Aquarium Basics
Aquarium Setup
How to Maintain Water Quality
Fish Bowls
How to Clean the Aquarium
Goldfish Varieties
Oranda Goldfish
Ryukin Goldfish
Pearscale Goldfish
Redcap Oranda Goldfish
Lionhead Goldfish
Veiltail Goldfish
Fantail Goldfish
Black Moor Goldfish
Bubble Eye Goldfish
Celestial Goldfish
Common Gold fish
Comet Goldfish
Egg Goldfish
Jinkins Goldfish
Pompons Goldfish
Ranchu Goldfish
Telescope Goldfish
Wakins Goldfish
Black Dragon Eye
Shubunkin Goldfish
Auto Feeders
Feeder goldfish
Breeding Goldfish
Goldfish Healthcare
Goldfish Diseases
Steps for Building a Pond

How to Maintain Water Quality?

The most important aspect in keeping fish is the quality of water available. Fish will not survive if the water has Tchemicals in it. Chemical-free water will also preventdisease and other health problems. It is therefore essential thatyou maintain favorable water conditions at all times. Temperature,pH, dissolved oxygen, hardness of the water, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia levels all affect your fish. Besides changing 20% of thetank water every week, you should buy a water testing kit fromyour local pet store and check the water often.

The Nitrogen Cycle

Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are produced at stages of thenitrogen cycle through animal waste, decaying food, and the nitrogen produced by the fish. Ammonia is oxidized by bacteria, forms nitrites and then nitrates. Nitrates are used as food byplants and hence enter the nitrogen cycle again.

This cycle is controlled by nature, but in enclosed spaces like tanks, aquarium and ponds. It is often difficult to maintain safelevels. In easy terms, it means a fish eats and defecates and urinates and this turns to ammonia. Ammonia, thus formed, if not
The Nitrogen Cycle

How to Maintain Water Quality?

broke down by beneficial bacteria will cause illness and possiblydeath in your fish. So the fish keeper must do routine water changes, provide a good source of filtration and monitor water conditions. Do not overfeed. When the ammonia mixes with the nitrifying bacteria, it creates nitrites which are less toxic than ammonia to the fish; However, nitrites are converted further by bacteria and oxygen to nitrates, Which are way less toxic. The only way you can control this problem is by doing routine water changes, not overfeeding and cleaning out leftover food everyday. Goldfish will tolerate 500 mg of nitrates per liter of water. A level higher than this will cause your fish stress and also make them prone to diseases.

Photo taken from The Healthy Aquarium: Dr. Neville Carrington

Test kits to check ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels are available at pet stores. You should definitely buy the kit and check your water regularly. This is how you test for each of these levels in the water.


Ammonia is generated from fish wastes, from excess food floating around the tank and from dead fish tissues. Ammonia has to be cleaned from tanks as they are dangerous and can cause manyproblems for your fish including death. Other common problemsincluding reddening of fins and the excessive production of mucus.

It is therefore very essential to keep the various levels as low as possible. Even the presence of 2 parts of ammonia per million parts is deadly to fish. So ideally, you should have 0 parts permillion of ammonia in the tank.

If you find a slight change in the ammonia level of your tank, you should partially change the water and clean out all visible waste products. If the ammonia levels are found to be very high, youshould change all the water as your fish may become poisoned and killed. But a sudden change of water can be stressful for your fish. In that case, add a few drop of anti stress solution to ease the problem.

Although it might not help much, your fish are safer in clean water. Ammonia levels will keep rising until you change the water,especially at high temperatures. Also, the more fish you have in a tank, the higher the concentrations of ammonia will be and the faster it will rise. Ammonia cannot be removed naturally from a new tank, as there are no bacteria that help in removing theammonia. It takes several months for the helpful bacteria, Nitrosomonas to grow. But this isn't enough to eliminate all of the ammonia.

These bacterias converts the ammonia to a less toxic nitrite. But this isn't enough to eliminate all of the ammonia. Below is a helpful guide to the appearance of the fish and theaction that should be taken:

0 PPM .5-1 PPM 2 - 3 PPM 4 - 5 PPM 6 - 7 PPM

Ammo-Chips can be purchased at most pet stores.

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Ammonia Test Kit

Quickly & accurately measures the level of ammonia in pond water, reading levels from 0 ppm to 7 ppm. Makes 75 tests

Mardel Ammonia Test Strips.

Ammonia test strip refills for your Mardel Master Test Kit (also available, sold separately).

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kits

Tests tap water and aquarium water in six different ways to protect tropical fish from dangerous water conditions.

Jungle Labs Quick Dip Pond Test Kit, 5 in 1

The fast, easy and accurate way to measure five different water conditions with one Quick Dip strip. Kit performs 125 tests. Scientific quality, "dip and read" test kits give accurate results in anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds. Kits contain from 25 to 100 Strips.

Jungle Labs Quick Dip Water Test Kits

Scientific quality, "dip and read" test kits give accurate results in anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds. Kits contain from 25 to 100 Strips.

Symptoms of rise in ammonia levels

Your fish will:

  • IIsolate themselves.
  • Lie on the bottom of the tank.
  • Keep their fins clamp.
  • Secrete excess slime or mucous.
  • Develop red fins.
  • Show symptoms of dropsy or have a pinecone effect.
  • Prone to parasitic and bacterial infections.


Nitrites are produced during the nitrogen cycle and just likeammonia, it is very important to keep its level in your tank as low apossible.It should ideally be 0 parts per million, but definitelynot more than 0.25 parts per million of water. High nitrite levels make it difficult for your fish to get enough oxygen and they may suffocate and die. The more fish you have in the aquarium, the more nitrite you will have. Having a larger tank and less fish isperhaps the best way to avoid this problem.

High nitrite levels will also cause the fish a lot of stress. This can be reduced by adding 2.5-2.75 teaspoons of aquarium salt to every
gallon of water. Nitrates are formed when nitrites are broken down by oxygenation. Nitrates are not harmful to fish and thereare no ill-effects linked to its presence in the aquarium. However,it is good to keep it under 40 parts per million and this can be achieved through routine water changes.

Nitrite Color Chart

0 .25 .5 1 2 6


Nitrites are toxic waste material found in varying concentrations in most aquariums. It is produced by nitrifying bacteria in the biological filter as it breaks down ammonia. As the filter develops and grows, it uses the nitrites as a food source and breaks themdown into a less harmful nitrate. Regular testing should be done because low levels of nitrites can cause problems in the tank
causing your fish to have reduced oxygen which could lead toNitrite Color Chart suffocation and death. The chart shows levels from 0-3.

Nitrates in Aquariums

Nitrates are the result of the bacterial breakdown of ammonia which turns into nitrite, which in its final stage becomes nitrates.Nitrates are less toxic than ammonia and nitrites,but can cause stress, which can lead to disease as well as death if not properly cared for.High nitrate accumulations are more toxic when oxygen is low. Nitrates can do damage to the fish'sred blood cells and this in turn causes them to be oxygen deprived.

Symptoms of high nitrate levels are:

New small fish die off within 2 to 3 weeks. Fish appear lethargic other than at feeding times. Growth is slowed.Increased susceptibility to disease, slow woundhealing, redness or red patches on the body.

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater/Saltwater Nitrate Test Kit

Tests nitrate levels from 0 to 160 ppm in fresh or saltwater.

Mardel Master Test Kit

Tests nitrate levels from 0 to 160 ppm in fresh or saltwater. A complete kit for testing the water quality in your fresh or salt water aquarium. Tests for six important water conditions.

pH (phosphorous)
pH Color Chart

What is pH?

It is the measurement of acidity or alkalinity of water. A reading of7.0 is neutral. pH that is higher than this is considered to be alkaline.If it is lower than 7.0, the water is acidic.

Goldfish prefer water that is more alkaline. There are many different test kits available at pet stores that will test the pH. Iprefer the easier ones that allow you to add some water to a test tubeand drop in the chemical drops. You then allow the water to sit inthe tube for a minute or two and shake it really good and youwill have a color.

It is also very important to keep the water pH under constant check.Goldfish thrive at the 7.2 - 7.6 range. Anything above or below this
range will make your fish sick and even kill them. You should buy apH testing kit from a pet store. The above chart was taken from a
brochure that came in my pH test kit made by AquariumPharmaceuticals, Inc.

Comprehensive instructions chart for you to follow. A low pH means that the water is acidic. This happens when there are too many fish in is less toxic.Acidic water will make your fish weak. If you find that your fishare anorexia, have excess slime, rest at the bottom of tank away from other fish, and notice streaks of blood in the fins, this is a sign that the tank water is acidic.A high pH indicates that the water is alkaline. Ammonia is more toxic when the pH levels are high. If the water is alkaline your fish will produce excess slime and gasp at the surface. Once alkalosis takes place, it is hard to reverse it. Test the pH of freshwater within a 6.0 to 7.6 range and adjust pH levels as required. 250 tests per kit.

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Wide Range pH Test Kit

Quickly and accurately measures the pH of pond water, reading pH levels from 5.0 to 9.0. Makes 160 tests. Water Hardness is determined by the presence of dissolved minerals in it. A few minerals present in the water make water soft. Goldfish do fine in either.

Chlorine and Chloramines

Density Of Water Water has toxic metals, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, phosphorus. It is likely it contains chlorine and chloramines also. We have to remove chlorine and chloramines by using a zeolite or zeolite carbon filter. Another method of removing chlorine is Aeration. Aeration is a method which increases the oxygen in the water. Due to increase in oxygen, ammonia gets diffused out. It directs nitrification of waste products contained in the water.

Density Of Water

Density refers to the amount of salt in the water. Goldfish will not survive in salt water for any length of time. However, adding a small amount of salt to the tank will not kill your Fish! It is stated that it will perk up their immune system. You should only use freshwater aquarium salt for this.

Aquarium salt has gained popularity over the last few years and is a very handy and easy method to prevent your fish from falling sick. It is also known to cure many diseases and in fact many fish owners prefer using salts to putting their fish on medic ation. It is also known to control the toxicity of nitrite/nitrate spikes.

There are many advantages of using salts. They are:

  • Salt does not harm tank filters.
  • It is cheap.It isn't harmful to human beings.
  • Most fish don't react to it.
  • It is known to kill 7 out of 9 common fish tank parasites.
  • Low salt dosages in the tank also provide required minerals
    for the fish.
  • Salt also stimulates the formation of slime coat.
  • Aquarium salt is easily found in all pet stores. If you can't find it or run out of it, you can use food grade salt, non-mineralized cattle feed grade salt and non-iodized salt instead.

    How much salt to use?

    The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon of salt for every gallon of water. You should repeat this three times with a 12-hour between each dosage. If you have a big aquarium or a pond, you will have to use 3 pounds of salt for every 100 gallons of water.

    Before using the salt, just make sure you remove all live plants from the tank. Plants won't survive the salt. You should also take out 50% of the water and replace it with fresh water. Although aquarium salt does no harm to Goldfish, you should not let them stay in salt water too long. Salt also makes water harder and hard water causes a lot of stress to your fish. Too much salt may cause physical imbalance (causes osmotic stress) and your fish could fall seriously ill (energy loss and weakening of the immune system).

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