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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've volunteered to help fix up the tank in my school since looking at it depressed me so much. It's a 10 gal that's been setup for several years. It's got three 4-inch goldfish and two plecos of some sort. Apparently, the goldfish are being used by a class so they're a permanent fixture to the tank. I know it's overcrowded, but at the moment, there's nothing I can do about that.

The light is currently inoperable and I don't even know what type it is since it's nothing I've ever seen before. There's no heater and I'm guessing ambient room temp is about ~70 F. There's an air pump connected to the frog thing and an undergravel filter, I think, that's not even plugged in. I want to add plants but goldfish'll eat them and the blue gravel is just crap. There's potting soil in the department I can use, but no better looking gravel to top it off.

What can I do to make this tank better?



 

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Anubias, java fern, n moss. They're more column feeders so you won't have to use soil. They're also hardier so it'll survive the goldfish, while req very min amount of nutrients, light and there won't be a need for co2 either.
 

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This is a case where you don't want to try and turn this into anything too fancy.

In my opinion, the tank is going to get neglected once you stop working on it. Also, with the goldfish, plants are going to be tough anyway.

I'd make water changes, until the water is reasonably clear. Clean out the filter. Most likely your going to have to replace the media in it. Get the air pump working or get a small powerhead so you get the under gravel filter functional.

Goldfish are a cold water fish, so you really don't need a heater, but you cold add one. A 25w once should be fine. The light seems to be a typical older T8 fixture. Try replacing the bulb, if that doesn't work, your LFS should be able to replace the fixture.

As for plants, this is a case where you want to get quite a few plastic plants. Obviously that's almost a heresy on this forum, but they are not going to die, or get eaten, and you will not have to worry about maintaining the balance of light and ferts needed to have good plant growth and no algae.

Optionally, you could replace the blue gravel, and remove the plastic air operated fish.

At this point, you'll have something that looks decent, and at least is no longer in the eye sore category. Yes, it's not exactly what we are looking for here, but it will stand up to the neglect and abuse it's likely to get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They apparently change the media every week which is bag stuffed with ceramic rings, stating that the goldfish are "messy." I was like, duh.

And the light is weird. I know it's a standard T8 light fixture, but they've got this funky bulb in it. I'll take a picture of it next week. The light was functional at one point and they said it raised the temp of the water too high for the goldfish which steadily began dying, so they turned it off. A T8 bulb wouldn't do that, would it?

As for plants, we've got some coming in from the companies where they buy all the bio supplies. They're packages of about 5 species, but of course, they don't say which ones. I'd bet one is elodea, which is a fixture in bio labs, and cheap.

I have to make printed instructions on how to feed (they suspect overfeeding of the fish by some staff members) and maintain the tank. I haven't kept goldfish since I was a kid, so anyone know the proper way to feed them? And the plecos?
 

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Why not just tell them how horrid the conditions are in that tank and ask them to take it down? At least try. 3 goldfish and 2 plecos in a 10 gallon? Maybe print out some info for whoever is in charge of it so they can see how wrong they are for keeping this tank up and running. It's a horrible tank to have in a school, unless they are teaching students on the proper way to torture and kill fish.
 

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Goldfish don't have stomachs, just intestines, so they eat constantly all day. 2 or 3 small meals throughout the day is better than once a day. Also, some driftwood for the plecos would probably be beneficiary.
 

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Here's a good goldfish profile to print out: http://www.fishlore.com/Profiles-Goldfish.htm

Here's one about the nitrogen cycle for them as well: http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

If they don't see the error of their ways and can get a bigger tank maybe you could get the undergravel filter going and get a hang on the back filter for extra filtration. They really are messy and the extra filtration may help some and those aren't usually too expensive. Also pea gravel at a home improvement store probably wouldn't cost more than $5 for a tank this size. Then you'd have some more natural color in there. The plecos definately need some wood. I found some nice smaller peices at petsmart for around $7 in the reptile isle, mopani wood. So that's not too bad of a price.

Good luck to you!

Hope those might nelp!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Why not just tell them how horrid the conditions are in that tank and ask them to take it down? At least try. 3 goldfish and 2 plecos in a 10 gallon? Maybe print out some info for whoever is in charge of it so they can see how wrong they are for keeping this tank up and running. It's a horrible tank to have in a school, unless they are teaching students on the proper way to torture and kill fish.
It's a shame too since it's the biology department. I guess having a doctorate doesn't equate to knowing how to care for fish.
 

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I know, school aquariums are terrible, one of my teachers has a 10yr old aquaclear that, doesn't really work, and he never cleans the tank. Amazingly none of the fish have died, I have the same size filter on my 5g. I would buy a cheap Aquaclear filter and cheap heater. You could also get some java moss and try to regime the plecos. Say that one a week during lunch you could do a water change. If you are taking care of it, why would they say no?
 

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No school aquariums are not terrible. Just the individuals who keep them can be terrible. I am a teacher who keeps aquariums. I have some at home too. I educate myself and keep what is reasonable and what the school and budget allows... which isint much. I have been a aqua-holic for about 16 years now... maybe a bit more :p And I have known a few professionals who have done wonders and some... not so much. Most of the time they just need the education in choosing the proper inhabitants. Depending on where they got their information they may think everything is fine for the tank. We all know bad information is given out way way more than good information.
But honestly, in most cases the school does not help with the cost of the upkeep of tanks. It all comes out of the teacher pocket or is donated. With teachers salaries we try to keep things as cheap as possible. We are also given a limited amount of space and that is not a permanent space either. We can be transferred to another classroom or school easily from one year to another so a small tank is much easier to cart around than a large system.
I do agree however that goldfish was a poor choice but they were probably told that they are hardy and grow to fit the size of the tank blah blah blah and got those. As for the pleco's same thing. People are told to buy them because they keep the tank clean. That is the only reason why they get them. Consideration to eventual size is not even a thought. Heck, corydoras are said to eat fish poo so they keep the tank clean. That means you never have to clean the tank if you have a catfish and a pleco. Sounds great eh?
Educate before bashing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would buy a cheap Aquaclear filter and cheap heater. You could also get some java moss and try to regime the plecos. Say that one a week during lunch you could do a water change. If you are taking care of it, why would they say no?
I have trouble enough funding my own tank let alone my school's. I've offered my time to take care of the tank which will include cleaning, water changing, you name it, but I can't afford to buy new equipment. I will however donate any of my own stuff I no longer need.

Really? The teachers at your school have doctorates? Seems like a waste of a doctorate if you're just going to go back and teach high school after getting one.
I actually attend a community college where a huge percentage of our professors have doctorates.

My high school had quite a few PhDs as well.
 

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No school aquariums are not terrible. But honestly, in most cases the school does not help with the cost of the upkeep of tanks. It all comes out of the teacher pocket or is donated. With teachers salaries we try to keep things as cheap as possible. We are also given a limited amount of space and that is not a permanent space either. Educate before bashing.
My sons local school tank isn't the greatest either I have to say.

I know funds and time is limited but if they can't afford the tank or don't have the time the fish shouldn't have to suffer and maybe they shouldn't have the tank. And really i'm not trying to be mean but the least they should be doing is regular water changes. Heck maybe try getting some funds from the pta or something.

I just don't think that limited funds is the greatest excuse.

I think the origional poster is doing an awsome thing by helping out.
 
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