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Discussion Starter #1
I have two goldfish in an office tank. There were brought in by someone in a bowl with no filtration and no aeration so I went out at lunch and got a 5 gallon bowfront tank with a filter. I know, I know. The first ten responses are going to be "the tank is too small!!!" and that is certainly an option but I am keeping very close watch on the ammonia and nitrates/ites and they are always at zero (I do 1/4 water changes every 2-3 days).

My question: since I've been at work this week (yesterday and today) my goldfish are constantly taking gulps of air from the surface like they used to when they were in the bowl. What suprised me was that they kept doing this immediately after I did my wc yesteryda - when the water was certainly well aerated. I've had these fish at my desk for over a month and have never seem them do this. They're not constantly gasping at the top but every 30 minutes or so they'll skim the top like this for about 30 seconds and then go back to their old fishy business. Nothing else about their behavior has changed - they're still perky and eating and spending a mojority of their time near the bottom moving the gravel around.

Is this just something that goldfish do? Maybe begging for more food? Are they really going up there for more air? They have grown quite a bit since I bought the tank - could they now be taking in more air than the filter provides? If they need a bigger tank I can take them home to a larger one but this is the largest tank I can keep at the desk (I'm not very important so my desk is kinda small).

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

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Aquarium Engineer
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55 Posts
Goldfish will also gasp at the surface when the tank temp is high. High temps bring on low oxygen saturation, or low oxygen levels in the water. Are the Goldfish gasping early in the morning when the water is cooler? High temps for Goldfish are 75F and up, and oxygen will deplete very fast in a 5.5g tank.

They will gasp even when you change the water, because they will deplete the oxygen in the new water within a few minutes---this is also due too only having 5.5gallons. And you are possibly doing the water change at lunch time and matching the waters 75-F or higher temp?

1.) Higher temps = lower oxygen levels.
2.) Small bodies of water = quick oxygen depletion times.
3.) Water changes at 75-F in small bodies of water = #'s 1 and 2
 

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This is how I feel.
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The reason people are going to come in here and tell you that a 5g for two goldfish is too small is because, well...it is. And you're finding out why right now. Goldfish excrete more ammonia than a comparable-sized tropical fish, and they really require a large amount of cool, well-oxygenated water. A good rule of thumb is 10g per 1" fish; they'll eventually need even more water as they get larger, depending on what type of goldfish we're talking about.

I'd wager it's a combination of things like what Mark13 listed, and they simly just need to be put into a new, larger aquarium.
 

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Crazy as a loon
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I have a 60 gallon with 3 goldfish and a monster air stone. One of my goldies has always hung up at the top of the tank and she likes to eat the bubbles. Sometimes, they will do that out of habit. It's also very rare, that she will venture to the other part of the tank, so in my mind she's basically still stuck i her 5 gallon tank, where I think she felt really comfortable and happy. She was a little mad when I moved her to her mansion.

Since this tank is at work, and I'm sure your boss wouldn't be too thrilled with you having a larger tank there, have you considered getting a air pump and an air stone. At least you'll be raising the level of the oxygen in the tank.
 
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