The common goldfish (Carassius auratus) is easily among the first fish kept by humans as pets. While many domesticated breeds have been developed by specialized breeders, the symbolic goldfish is instantly recognizable even to those who have never owned an aquarium. But goldfish require an understanding of basic fish farming and there are specific needs that need to be met to thrive.
Here, a guide explains where goldfish come from and how to take care of a goldfish to make your fish happy and healthy for years – and perhaps for decades.
Table of Contents
How to take care of a goldfish for you
1. Aquarium Requirements and Care
1.1. The minimum tank size for a goldfish is 20 to 30 US gallons (75.7 to 113 liters). If they don’t have enough space, a survival mechanism can begin to create it so that they stop growing, but there is a catch: their organs will continue to grow. If you can’t have such a large tank, look for another fish. You will need an additional 15 US gallons (56.8 liters) in it for each additional goldfish.
Do your research on all the different types of goldfish. For decades, goldfish have been advertised as being able to live in small bowls, and hence why they have a reputation for being short-lived. However, goldfish can actually live up to 20 years! Without enough filtration, ammonia accumulates quickly in such a small space and the environment becomes toxic.
1.2. It takes some time and attention to establish an appropriate goldfish habitat. Fish are sensitive organisms that are stressed from one environment to another. Too much change too quickly can actually kill fish even when the environment is ideal. Do not keep transferring your fish from one box to another.
1.3. Goldfish are especially prone to gravel getting into the mouth. Use large gravel (too big to swallow). Big pebbles are better for goldfish because they won’t get stuck in the throat. Be sure to clean your gravel before you put it in the tank. Even if you just bought it, rinse and soak in water for a day and help ensure that your goldfish has the best environment to breed.
1.4. Make sure your tank has some landscape and lighting. They need light to maintain a healthy wake/sleep cycle. There is also evidence that light is needed to keep your fish’s colors bright. Fish that do not sleep well or do not receive enough sunlight will lose their color and become dull. Keep your aquarium bright for 8-12 hours a day to recreate a healthy day/night cycle if it doesn’t get natural sunlight. Never place your tank in direct sunlight, as this can cause large temperature fluctuations and contribute to the growth of rampant algae. Goldfish thrive with minimal decoration. Plants are beneficial because they help absorb some of the nitrate accumulated in the aquarium.
1.5. Goldfish need a filter. A water filter should have 3 stages: Mechanically, to remove large particles such as fish waste or leftovers; chemicals, to eliminate odors, discoloration, and other organic substances; and biologically, to decompose fish waste and ammonia with beneficial bacteria. Having clean water and an efficient filtration device will keep your goldfish content healthy.
1.6. When you receive your tank, fill the treated water with an appropriate water-conditioning solution. Or, you can use distilled water. Untreated tap water or drinking water contains chemicals and minerals that can be harmful to fish.
1.7. Before you add fish, you will need to make sure the environment is ready for the fish. Take a pH test kit and check the tank for the appropriate amount of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. You want no ammonia, no nitrite, and less than 20 nitrates as your end result.
2. Upkeep and Feeding
2.1. Hopefully, if you have more than one goldfish, then your goldfish is the same type. Unfortunately, goldfish are known to eat other fish, smaller and may eat too much. You can use a commercially available tank divider to keep your fish bullying or weaker fish apart from the other. Goldfish can be a good “community tank”. However, good roommates need to be chosen carefully. Any new species introduced into an established aquarium should be quarantined two weeks in advance. If they have any disease, you don’t want them to spread to your healthy fish! Remember that goldfish prefer cooler water than most species in the community.
2.2. Clean the aquarium at least once a week even if it doesn’t look dirty. Goldfish create waste that even your water filter may not be completely able to remove. A clean tank means happy, healthy goldfish. And a healthy, happy goldfish can live for decades! Soap is toxic to fish and will kill them quickly, so don’t wash your tank with soap. Also, do not use tap water often to place it in your tank. Drinking water is not good for them because it takes out some minerals that are good for goldfish. Buy a water conditioner at a pet store. Avoid removing fish from the tank when you clean. Perform a 25% weekly water change. Change 50% water whenever nitrate reaches 20.
2.3. Measure ammonia, nitrite and pH. The level of ammonia and nitrite should be at 0. A pH range of 6.5-8.25 is good.
2.4. Feed the fish 1-2 times daily. Be careful not to overfeed them, the goldfish may easily eat too much and may die. If you use floating food, soak it in water for a few seconds before feeding it to sink. This reduces the amount of air the fish swallows while eating, thus reducing the risk of floating problems. Just like humans, goldfish want a variety of nutrients. Only feed the fish what they can eat for a minute. Remove any excess food. More goldfish die from eating too much more than anything else. Feed the goldfish at the same time each day (once in the morning, once at night) and in the same place in the tank.
2.5. They have no eyelids and they don’t actually stop swimming, but their bodies hibernate. Goldfish like to “sleep” in the dark. But even if you don’t have an aquarium light, practice good environments to reduce unnecessary energy use by turning off the lights.
2.6. Let the water temperature change when the seasons change. Goldfish do not like temperatures above 75 ° F (24 ° C), but they seem to prefer seasonal changes when temperatures drop to as high as 50 or 60 (15-20 ° C) in the winter. A good thermometer makes this quite easy. There are two types to choose from internal suspension types and external suspension types.
3. Dealing with potential issues
3.1. Check the oxygen level in the tank. If you notice your goldfish is gathering on the surface, the odds are not enough in the water. But good news! The oxygen level will increase with decreasing temperature. So lower the temperature or take your fish tank out of the sun.
3.2. Repair turbid lake. The water may turn yellow, green or even white. If you notice it right away, it’s not a big deal. But have to clean your tank!
3.3. One of the most common diseases of goldfish is ich – where the fish receive small white spots on the body and fins and have difficulty breathing. It is a curable parasite. Move your fish to a hospital tank and use commercially available fungicides.
The important thing to do here is to isolate your fish from other living things, including plants. The parasite can spread to any living plant or animal.
3.4. Another parasite is a common culprit, Flukes. If infected, your fish will scratch the surface, grow mucus outside, become reddish and may have abdominal swelling. As with any fish parasite, quarantine your fish.
3.5. Look for cystitis. This is easy to determine, as your fish will swim to the side or even upside down. But luckily, it is not contagious and can be easily repaired. For this, you may not need to isolate your fish. Gallbladder disease is not a parasite.
3.6. If a fish is dead, take appropriate measures. You can bury it, or throw it in the compost pile. Do not flush the fish down the toilet! Take it from the tank with a plastic bag around your hand, invert the bag and tie it. If only one fish dies, hopefully, it’s a parasite that you see fast enough to prevent it from spreading to other organisms in the tank. If all your fish are dead or dead, you will need to completely clean your tank with a cleaning solution.
An aquarium is a beautiful addition to any home and watching fish is relaxing. Taking care of goldfish is rewarding and they are the ideal first pet or for those in the apartment.
As you can see there is more goldfish care than you think. However, once the tank is established, it is easy to maintain. As long as you regularly check the water conditions and closely monitor your goldfish, they will live long and happily.