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   Goldfish are frequently the first choice of aquarium hobbyists. There are many reasons for this, but the most common one is that they are easy to maintain. This is not entirely accurate, however, when dealing with the many questions concerning goldfish dilemma. 

   Problem solving can be made much easier when a few basic principals are taken into consideration: water quality, seasonal difficulties, and nutrition. Let's consider each of these separately and then take a look at how they interact. 

   Poor water quality results in the demise of more goldfish than any other factor you may encounter. Ammonia and other nitrogenous waste products so degrade the environment that they can outright kill a goldfish in a very short time. 

   The first thing we want to know when dealing with an acute problem is the pH and ammonia level of the tank water. If either or both of these factors are outside proper parameters remedial action is advisable, but be aware it will provide varying amounts of value. 

   Often, uncomplicated stress symptoms caused by sudden degradation of water quality will benefit most from a massive water change and/or reasonably aggressive pH correction or chemical filtration. Unfortunately, the effects of long term, marginally poor water quality are much more difficult to correct. By the time the problem comes to your attention, it's often irreversible.

   Seasonal difficulties bring a whole new perspective to goldfish. Any hobbyist who has gone through a summer or fall season selecting replacement goldfish knows how much more exacting this becomes. Most goldfish are produced outdoors where warmer water encourages the growth and replication of bacteria and more complex parasites. This multiplies the problems inherent in collecting and shipping goldfish. 

   Another fact to take into consideration is that goldfish spawn only in the spring, and the small fish you are getting in the fall are still quite young with relatively immature immune responses. This doesn't make them "bad" fish; it just means that they are less able to tolerate stress. 

   Nutrition is as important, especially in the longer term, as any other factor involved in the keeping of healthy goldfish. Goldfish have very specialized digestive processes, and there are several products designed specifically for them. A tropical fish diet will lead to problems in the long run. 

   Often it will seem that the pH wasn't far off and there was only a little ammonia in the water, etc... so why did the fish get sick? Because stress is cumulative, and stress factors can work synergistically. Success with goldfish and tropicals involves monitoring ALL the factors which promote a healthy environment.

Gold Channel Catfish are not goldfish; They are cold water fish supplied by many of our domestic goldfish suppliers. They will easily fit into most tropical tank situations as well as cold water ones. Just remember- they do tend to eat small fish.

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