Do Goldfish Need a Filter?

You probably already know that aquariums need filtration, but do your goldfish tank really need a filter? Typically, pet stores offer a range of aquarium gadgets, but not all of them are essential.  So, if you want to be absolutely sure about the need for a filter before actually buying one, please continue reading.

So do goldfish need a filter? Well, “need” may not be the right word, but your goldfish tank should definitely have a filter to keep the water clean and breathable for your fishy pet. In fact, a filtration system helps keep the tank water moving and remove any harmful bacteria from the tank.

Now that you know your goldfish tank should have a filter, you may have a series of follow-up questions. For instance, what happens if we keep a goldfish without a filter? What type of filters does a goldfish tank need? Hopefully, this article will resolve all your queries.

Can goldfish live without a filter?

Actually, goldfish can survive in an aquarium without a filter. However, keeping them in unfiltered water can reduce their lifespan. In fact, water quality is one of the main factors that determine the quality and length of a goldfish’s life. Essentially, poor water quality limits a goldfish’s ability to breathe inside the tank water.

Can goldfish live in a bowl without a filter?

Again, goldfish have the ability to survive in a bowl without a filter. That’s not to say, however, you should keep your goldfish in the unfiltered bowl water. On top of the water quality issues, living in a bowl could make life more difficult for your fishy pet due to lack of space. Remember, goldfish are naturally wired to live in large ponds with good water quality. So, it is advisable that you keep your goldfish in a proper aquarium or tank and use a filter to keep the water clean.

How long can goldfish live without a filter?

In general, a healthy goldfish can live up to 20 years. However, the actual lifespan of a goldfish depends on several factors, such as water quality, living conditions and diet. In fact, poor living conditions could shorten the lifespan of a goldfish to less than 5 years. Generally, a goldfish can live only 2 to 3 years when kept in a small bowl without a filter. If, however, you keep it inside a large aquarium but without a filter, you can expect it to live up to 5 years.

What are the different types of goldfish tank filters?

Firstly, you have mechanical filters, which move the water through a sponge. That way, a mechanical filter helps remove any solid particles, such as fish feces, leftover food and algae from the tank water. Then you have biological filters to help reduce ammonia levels in the water. In fact, this type of filter breaks down toxic elements like ammonia and nitrite in the water and turns them into compound nitrate. Finally, chemical filters help keep the tank water clean by removing any harmful contaminants and dyes from the water.

What kind of filter do goldfish need?

Ideally, you should use a filter that combines all three types of filtration systems mentioned above. In fact, most filters from the top brands feature a combination of mechanical, chemical and biological media. Importantly, your filter should first move the water through a mechanical media. Next, the filter should clean and disinfect the water using a chemical and a biological media. When choosing a filter for your goldfish tank, also check its maintenance needs.

What should be the water flow rate in your goldfish tank?

Typically, a filter should have the capacity to move10 times the water volume your goldfish tank can hold, in an hour. For instance, if you are using a 15-gallon goldfish tank, you’re your filter should have the capacity to move at least 150 gallons of water every hour. However, some experts say that it is enough if your filter can move 5 times the water volume of your goldfish tank. In addition to the size of your tank, also consider how many fish you’ve in your tank and your feeding frequency.

Do goldfish need an air pump?

First of all, let’s understand that an air pump is not a filter. Often, a filter helps filter out the tank water. On the other hand, an air pump’s job is to blow air bubbles into the tank water. Typically, you’ll install the air pump outside of the tank. From there, the pump breathes air onto the surface of your goldfish tank. Eventually, this helps create surface disturbance and dissolve oxygen into the water. In most cases, your filter is enough to create the necessary surface disturbance. So, an air pump is not always necessary.

Do goldfish need an air pump in addition to a filter?

Sometimes, you may need an air pump on top of your filter. For instance, you should consider using an air pump when your existing filter fails to create enough surface movement. Also, an air pump could be necessary in summer months to keep the water temperature cool. In addition, if your goldfish tank has a small surface area, consider investing in an air pump.

Can goldfish live in tap water?

Usually, tap water contains harmful chemicals. So, it is advisable not to keep your goldfish in direct tap water. In fact, unfiltered tap water can kill the good bacteria in your goldfish aquarium. That’s exactly why you should cycle your goldfish tank. In essence, cycling your goldfish aquarium helps kill the bad bacteria but safeguards the good bacteria. To that end, it is critical to use a good quality aquarium filter.

How often should your change goldfish water with a filter?

Ideally, you should conduct water changes in your goldfish tank once every week. Even when you are using a filter, consider changing the tank water every week. However, your tank might require more frequent water changes, depending on the ammonia levels in the water. Importantly, you should not change all the water at once. In general, changing 50% of the water every week should suffice to keep your tank water clean.

Do goldfish need a heater?

Typically, goldfish can survive in both cool and warm conditions. However, if you are looking to grow your goldfish fast, try to keep the water temperature anywhere between 60 and 70 °F (16-21 °C). So, do goldfish need a heater? In fact, you don’t need to use a heater in most cases. However, if your area often experiences sudden temperature fluctuations, consider using a heater. Also, if you are planning to breed your goldfish, a heater is necessary to replicate the seasonal changes in water temperature as it happens in the wild.

Do goldfish need a light?

Goldfish need just enough light to survive and thrive in an aquarium. Importantly, you should not expose your fishy pet to excessive light. In fact, they need a combination of light and darkness. Also, don’t expose your goldfish to direct sunlight. Conversely, the lack of light could turn your goldfish white. Ideally, you should turn on the aquarium light for around 12 hours daily. In fact, lighting also impacts the sleep cycle of the pet. Often, it is advisable to turn off the lights at night.

Should you keep live plants in a goldfish tank?

Evidently, live plants help increase oxygenation in your aquarium. In addition, they make your aquarium look aesthetically pleasing and provide shelter for your fishy pet. More importantly, live plans absorb the carbon dioxide (CO2) and lower the ammonia levels in the tank water. So, keeping live plans could benefit you on multiple counts. In fact, if you want to purify the tank water to a T, just using a filter may not suffice. You also need live plants. However, make sure the plants are goldfish-proof. For instance, plants like Duckweed, Java Fern and Amazon Sword grow fast and require minimum maintenance. So even if your goldfish nibble on them, the plants will grow back fast. 

How often should you clean your goldfish tank filter?

Unfortunately, there is no set rule for how often you should clean your goldfish aquarium filter. Often, the right frequency depends on the type of filter you use. So, check if the manufacture’s recommendations. In general, hang-on filters need monthly cleaning. On the other hand, you should clean a sponge filter every two weeks. However, if you use a canister filter, you can clean it after three or four months. Interestingly, experts often advise against cleaning a filter too often and too thoroughly. In fact, a thorough cleaning could discard the filter’s biological media and dispose of all the good bacteria in the system.

How often should you feed your goldfish?

Typically, you should feed your goldfish several times throughout the day. In fact, experts advise against feeding large meals. Instead, give it multiple small meals at frequent intervals. Since goldfish don’t have a stomach, whatever foods they consume, pass through their body very quickly. Essentially, this means they produce a lot of waste. As a result, feeding your goldfish heavy meals often pollute the tank water. So make sure you don’t over-feed your goldfish. Also, use a good quality filter to keep the tank water clean and breathable for your fishy pet.