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Old 09-07-2016, 10:26 AM
15,793 posts, read 20,483,047 times
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Goldfish, in general, are messy fish. The recommended tank size is not so much for their own personal space, as it is for diluting their waste to levels low enough for them to survive.

In the 5 years they've been in the 10 gallon tank, have you ever measured the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels? How often do you do a water change to dilute these factors and bring the levels down? high nitrates potentially could stunt growth, which is why they never got over 4" long. Have you ever measured these levels?

However, space is also a secondary concern. The fish may survive fine, but are they really thriving?

It's really no different than putting Betta's in a 1/2 gallon, unheated bowl. They may live 2-3 years like that, but they aren't thriving. I've kept Betta's in 55G community tanks heated to 80 degrees. They were lively, active fish with personality (especially the femals). A huge difference from the sluggish bettas I see sitting in 65 degree cups at the local Petco.

These days, I only have 1 fish. A single 10-11" Oscar I keep in a 75gallong aquarium. I have to change the water weekly to keep nitrate/nitrite levels down to safe levels for him. Large goldfish can be even messier.
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Old 10-29-2016, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by SharonLeighGermain View Post
Thanks, Foxy... That's the information I see everywhere... but after a half century, I don't think our moors could have been healthier or happier. I know about the 43-year-old goldfish but believe it's an anomaly (in a half century I have never personally met anyone whose goldfish lasted longer than ours at 14 years... MOST lasted a few years at most according to what owners have told me, even in much larger tanks.) Most encyclopediae say what wikipedia does: "The average goldfish lifespan is 10 – 15 years, though it is not uncommon for them to live 20 years or more in well-maintained goldfish aquariums and ponds." Talking averages here... Our shortest lived was 7 years (inherited and, as I said, turned silver so may have been old or ill when we got him but lived another 4 years), others lived 9 - 12 and our longest two for 14... (they loved to do "tricks" like the eating from hand and swimming through bubble-hoops.) They may have been "stunted" but I do NOT think they suffered or were compromised in any way. People kept them in bowls for centuries before the aquarium industry. Of course, I was ONLY 10 YEARS OLD when I put one in a large bowl (not knowing as it was 1959 and NOBODY was pushing big aquariums for goldfish back then.) Of course, I'd never do that again but I am pretty convinced people can raise happy, healthy moors in a 10 gallon... I have seen that personally over and over and have , like I said, never met anyone who honestly kept one any longer in a huge tank. I'm pretty sure I'll hear from plenty of folk online who HAVE... but never MET anyone...nor have I personally in 50+ years ever seen one in A HOME AQUARIUM bigger than 6 inches (at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago we saw some 8- and 9-inchers in 1981 and have seen them bigger in PONDS...) I HATE to see parents denying their kids the joy of a lovely companion because they can't afford or don't have room for a huge tank. Thinking it's better for people to want a good pet for 14 years than wanting to see how huge they can be made to grow or how many years longer they can live... (And yes... we are religious about care because we've always loved them so... named and petted and spoiled them like the real pets they are.) Thanks for your thoughts and for taking the time to share them. Appreciated!
No, the fact that a ten year old fish is only 4 inches long means it is stunted. It may very well be happy but it was not the size that it should be. It lived this long because of genetics, luck and just being tough. I am sure you only changed that 10 gal tank water only once a week at most and probably just a percentage of it. It's like living in your own toilet water...gross.
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