Caring for a goldfish is no different than caring for any other fish. All they ask is a clean home with enough room to grow in, meals delivered to their front door, and maybe some decor to give the place a little class. However, some of their requirements differ slightly from those of most other common aquarium fish. It is not difficult to meet them, but doing so is key to keeping your goldfish happy and healthy.
The number one thing that seems to get over most people looking to keep goldfish is that they get a large percentage. Even for the smaller varieties, expect adults to be about 8 inches long with some going through easily. This of course means that fish bowls, in which goldfish are commonly depicted, are almost worthless in holding goldfish (or any other fish for that matter). Really, anything under 30 gallons is too small for even one goldfish in the long run, and if you want more than one fish, the tank needs to be bigger. Without enough space to grow fish, they will become stunted, leading to health problems and most likely premature death.
While they are usually sold alongside a host of other types of tropical fish, which tend to prefer what might be perceived as tropical temperatures, goldfish are actually more of a cold-water species. In fact, they can survive near-freezing temperatures, although something in the aquarium in the mid-60s to low-70s is preferable (or something around 18 to 23 degrees Celsius). Even though they work well at lower temperatures, a heater is still a bad idea. Temperature fluctuations are never a good thing for any fish. The heater ensures that things don’t change too quickly on particularly cold days.
This does not mean that your goldfish has to live alone. There are plenty of other fish that have a lower temperature. White Cloud Minnows are very popular cold water fish, and the common Zebra Danio is fully adapted and does well in cold water. Just make sure it’s not too small because your goldfish might mistake it for a tasty snack! Some loaches and plecos are also compatible, though care must be taken if you keep plate and goldfish with frill-tails as they may be bothered by plecos.
Goldfish also differ from more common aquarium fish in that they are quite messy. Their digestive system works a little differently than other fish and can be considered rather inefficient. Add to this that they are just plain big fish and it’s easy to see why they need so much filtration to keep their tanks clean. In general, you will need twice as much filtration as you would normally for the size of the tank. Good circulation and mechanical filtration are especially important for keeping the bottom of the tank clear of waste. This also means that regular maintenance is most important. Even with a good filter, the substrate tends to get quite dirty necessitating vacuuming.
Along with their unique digestive system comes the need for a unique food. When choosing food for your fish, be sure to buy something specifically as goldfish food. Ordinary tropical foods can be very difficult to digest, leading to a messy tank and malnourished fish. But, just like other fish, they will get bored of the same thing day in and day out, so don’t forget to change up their diet every now and then. You can even branch out to newer alternatives. Goldfish are very fond of peas and may accept pieces of other cooked vegetables.
So, to recap, or if you’re just looking for a quick guide to what goldfish needs:
Goldfish are getting bigger and therefore need a big house. Expect it to reach 8 inches and need at least 30 gallons.
Goldfish are cold water fish that prefer temperatures in the mid 60’s to 70’s.
-Messy Goldfish – Includes extra filtration and be prepared to clean her tank weekly.
– Make sure to feed your fish specially formulated food.
– As a side note: Koi are not goldfish. They are linked together, but too large for the average home aquarium.
The goldfish aquarium offers a unique aesthetic not found in most other aquariums – large, peaceful, brightly colored fish. They are a popular species. They can be instantly recognized by almost anyone even from across the room. While their needs are a little different than most other common aquarium fish, it’s not really difficult to meet them. Achieve these goals and you will have happy goldfish for many years to come.