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It's one 1.5 inch goldfish in a 1 gal tank with a filter. DD has been feeding the fish around 2x per week. We have high chlorine levels in our water, so I put some kind of salt in to help negate that. We haven't done anything at all since we put it in the tank around 3 wks ago. It's still swimming around as normal.

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I am a complete goldfish novice. DD was given a little goldfish a few weeks ago, but now it is turning black. What are we doing wrong? What can I do to fix it?


can you attach a photo? Our fish that have been sick, swam around fine, too...until they didn't. We've lost 3 fish in the last week...well, the turtle ate one (we think the remaining carcass spiked the ammonia levels which wound up doing in our 2 plecos).


The black usually indicates healing...it is very likely that your tank spiked nitrates/ammonia during the first month you set up the tank and added the goldfish, and now that it has (hopefully) cycled, the good bacteria has reduced the levels and it's getting better.


Test your water at least once a week...and don't disturb the gravel at the bottom of the tank (that's a natural biofilter...you can clean off the very top of the gravel, but don't try to vacuum it all out).


ETA -- if your water has chlorine, the salt will be minimal help, but you usually need to let the water sit out for 24 hours and/or add a water conditioner designed to take out the chlorine and any heavy metals (a product like stress coat is what you're looking for). You should change out a percentage of the water each week (10-25%), so the day before, let your water sit, condition it, and before adding it, test the water first to make sure it's ph, etc. is balanced. Have fun with your fish (we have to wait a couple more weeks before adding new fish to our tank...as it is finally cycling again after our recent debacle)

Edited by LisaK in VA
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I highly recommend getting a larger tank. Goldfish don't stay small for long! Larger tanks are actually less work than smaller tanks in the long run, as they will stay cleaner and you will have healthier fish. You will want to move the gravel from your small tank into the large tank without washing it, as it now contains beneficial bacteria.


Your goldfish really needs a 10 gallon tank at a bare minimum. A 20 gallon tank would be even better. Goldfish produce a larger volume of waste than other fish, and in such a small tank (particularly a new one which has not fully cycled) the ammonia will build up quickly, even with a filter. Your fish could have healing burns from ammonia.


Also, salt will not remove chlorine from water. You will either need to add a product like Stress Coat (which will also help with skin injuries and stress) or let your water sit out for 24 hours before adding it to the tank, as another poster noted. Stress Coat is inexpensive and you can find it at places like Walmart.


Buying some test strips can help you determine if there are problems with your water (too much chlorine, ammonia, nitrites, etc.)


You will need to change about 10-20% of your water once a week--more often if the test strips show a problem.


Your fish needs to be fed once a day, only as much as he will eat in about 2 minutes.


Here is a great website for new fish owners:



I've linked to their page on goldfish, but the whole website should be helpful to you.


Good luck!


Edited to add: Almost everyone I know who has fish--myself included!--had a rocky start at first. Caring for fish is a little trickier than you might think, but once your tank is stabilized with good water quality, things should go more smoothly. Fish are beautiful and can be very enjoyable pets.

Edited by MercyA
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You've gotten good advice. An uncycled tank would have built up toxic ammonia levels pretty quickly, especially with a goldfish. They're super waste producers! They're also pretty hardy, which is likely why the little guy is still alive. I do disagree with feeding twice a day, though. Excess food causes waste buildup and unhealthy ammonia levels. The easiest way to combat that is to prevent it. I feed my freshwater tank every other day or so and, like a previous poster said, only as much as they will finish up in a couple minutes or so.


Anyway, decent filtration and a good biological filter (you need good bacteria to keep the bad stuff in check) is key! You could turn the fish tank and all the chemistry and biology that goes with it into one totall geeked-out homeschool science project, for sure. :D


Also, do not put any other species of fish with your goldfish. If you get a bigger tank and add other goldfish, fine, but other species do not fare well with goldfish.

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