Goldfish are popular pets throughout the world. However, doubts around whether they are easy to take care of lingering in our midst. This is not without good reason since they do have a propensity to overeat and release excess amounts of waste, not to forget jump out of tanks.
It isn’t a tall order to take care of a goldfish if you give them adequate space and provide a safe underwater environment. They are fairly peace-loving creatures that can survive in low temperatures and with a variety of other species.
If you’re looking to get some goldfish home but not sure if they are easy to take care of, read on. We look at the topics of concern people commonly have and dispel all your doubts about their care and maintenance.
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How big a tank should I get?
One common misconception about goldfish is they are short-lived and do not grow very long. So, some people believe goldfish can live easily in small bowls. However, less tank volume means low oxygen levels, which could even suffocate them to death. In fact, goldfish live long and grow up to 10-12 inches. So, what should be the size of your goldfish tank? Ideally, for your first goldfish, make sure the tank can hold 20 to 30 gallons of water. Then add 15 gallons per goldfish after the first.
The size of the tank also depends on the species. So, if you’re getting a comet or a single tail goldfish, you may even need a tank of a capacity of at least 150 gallons. In general, it is a good idea to multiply the adult size of your goldfish by six to arrive at a safe number.
Can a small tank choke goldfish?
Having less water and space for goldfish doesn’t just reduce their space for exploration. It also results in toxification of the underwater environment. Typically, goldfish give out huge amounts of waste, causing ammonia build-up, which can choke the animals to death.
Is it important to have a water filter for my goldfish tank?
Just like other fish species, goldfish also need proper filtration in their tanks. A water filter helps eliminate waste, get rid of odors and scraps of old fish food, and combat discoloration. The need for a water filter increases when you have a small tank.
Which water filter should I choose?
Based on the type of aquarium you have, there are three kinds of water filters. For instance, hang-on-back filters attach to the back of the tank, taking water in and out. These are the most popular and affordable type of filters. On the other hand, canister filters are placed under the aquarium, are quieter and considered more effective than hang-on-back filters. Wet/dry filters are much larger and are made for tanks with a capacity of at least 50 gallons.
Another consideration for buying a water filter is the flow rate, or how much water it filters on an hourly basis. Typically, you should aim at filtering about 10 times the capacity of the water tank every hour. Clean the filter at regular intervals, but do not use tap water to do so.
What if I can’t afford a water filter?
In this case, you must carry out water changes at least twice a week. Alternatively, you should change the water when starts looking dirty/cloudy. You could also spot your goldfish reaching out for air when the levels of oxygen in the tank fall below par.
What are some essential supplies and accessories for the goldfish tank?
Goldfish are fairly tough and adaptable creatures, but here are a few essentials you should keep handy to make sure they grow in a healthy environment.
- A thermometer, in order to regulate the temperature of the tank. Find out the ideal temperature of your goldfish according to the type.
- A lid with lights, which will not only prevent the fish from jumping out but also allow you to see them properly. Goldfish can often jump out of tanks, due to loneliness.
- Conditioning agent, to dechlorinate the supply water and also get rid of chloramines. Ideally, you should get one that also adds minerals and nutrients to the water.
- A siphon tube and scrubber, to clean the tank’s bottom regularly.
What does tank maintenance entail?
In order to keep the underwater environment healthy for your goldfish, you must carry out a partial water change on a weekly basis. You can do this by
- Scrubbing the tank’s walls in order to remove algae formation
- Emptying about one-fifth of the water and refilling the tank with freshwater after treating it properly
- Using the siphoning tube to vacuum-clean the gravel and rocks at the bottom
Is overfeeding dangerous?
It could be tempting to overfeed your goldfish. However, it can prove dangerous since it could cause bloating and excess waste, and ultimately suffocation for them. Feed them twice a day and for a couple of minutes each. Any food leftover post that is to be removed from the tank, since uneaten food can drop to the bottom and start decaying, which the goldfish may try to eat.
What are the signs of overfeeding?
If you notice strands of waste sticking to its body, it is most likely a sign that it has eaten more than it needs. Another giveaway is algae, which is visible in the form of brown or green-colored slime on the walls of the tank. Often, this happens when you leave excess nutrient-rich food in the water, which is consumed by algae spores. So, if you notice that your fish are bloated, have a swollen abdomen or raised scales; it could also point to overfeeding.
What kind of food should I give to my goldfish?
It is important to get good quality pellets or flakes. When it comes to choosing one between the two options, you can choose depending on the size of your goldfish. Also, consider the size of the tank. For instance, pellets are ideal for bigger fish. When feeding them flakes, it is a good idea to pre-soak them. This prevents flakes from staying on top of the water, which requires goldfish to gulp them. This, in turn, can cause swim bladder disease.
Is a natural environment really all that important?
Goldfish are naturally inquisitive and social creatures with a great need for exploration and getting in touch with nature. In order to make the tank environment look and feel more natural, you can place some gravel and pebbles at the bottom of the aquarium. Make sure these are big enough for the fish to be unable to swallow them. Another important element is light. Typically, goldfish are active during the day and need light to keep their colors bright. Since placing your tank under direct sunshine is not ideal, make sure there is adequate lighting in the tank to replicate the day/night cycle.
Do goldfish need to sleep?
Just like humans, goldfish need to get some shuteye. In fact, goldfish’s bodies do enter some sort of a rest mode, which is easily identifiable by dip inactivity. Therefore, switch off and let them get their rest.
Real plants or artificial?
It is always a good idea to opt for real plants since they can absorb carbon dioxide and accumulated nitrates in the water. However, if you don’t have the time to keep your goldfish from chomping on the plants, get artificial plants instead.
Are goldfish compatible with all kinds of other fish?
It is important to not stuff your tank with more goldfish than it can hold. This is because more fish means more waste and oxygen consumption, which could end up taking a toll on each of the resident members in the tank.
Another common mistake people often make is they put different kinds of varieties together. This, however, could prove dangerous because they might have entirely different temperaments and come from living environments. So, before choosing tank mates for your goldfish, make sure they are comfortable in the temperature range of the former. Also, since goldfish love to eat other fish, it is important to either get fish that are larger or considerably faster than them. More importantly, consider keeping aggressive species such as bettas, tetras, and cichlids away from the goldfish tank. Some safe tankmates you could consider including are Comets, Shubunkins, White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Weather Loaches, and Bristlenose Plecos.
What to do if my goldfish has an ‘Ich’?
This is a common condition, where the fish will have difficulty breathing. Also, they could have small, white spots on their bodies. In such cases, move your goldfish to another tank and use approved fungicides. Since the disease typically comes from a parasite, keep the affected fish away from other fish and even plants. Also, you can try raising the temperature of the water a little, or adding a little aquarium salt into it. While doing the former, make sure to not raise the temperature too fast. After about a week, reduce the temperature and carry out partial water changes.