For those who are new to the world of goldfish ownership, here is a comprehensive guide on how to care for them
Although goldfish aren’t the best pets for novices, they may be gratifying and low- to medium-maintenance. Although goldfish demand the same level of attention and equipment as other aquarium fish, a too-small aquarium will be fatal to your finned pet. If you’re considering raising goldfish, already have one, or are just interested in the experience, here are some tips for making sure your fish stays healthy and happy for years to come.
Inquiring minds need to know how to keep goldfish happy and healthy. You are at the correct location. This guide is great if you’re a complete newbie who only wants to know the basics.
However, there will be no more pet tasks, so you may begin establishing a robust goldfish population. No smart person would ever make a link between goldfish and anything else. I have no background in fish farming.
I’ll show you the basic steps to take so you can keep your new goldfish from dying a horrible death.
How to Take Care of Goldfish: Beginner’s Guide
1. Tank Requirements and Care
✦ Get a large enough tank.
To keep a single goldfish happy, you’ll need a tank that’s at least 20 to 30 gallons in capacity (75.7 to 113 liters). A survival mechanism can kick in to cause them to stop growing if they don’t have enough room, but there’s a catch: their organs will keep expanding anyway. Look elsewhere for a pet if you can’t provide a tank of this size. For every additional goldfish, you’ll need an extra 15 US gallons (56.8 liters) of water. Learn as much as possible about the many types of goldfish. Since they may reach a foot or more in length, goldfish with a single tail, such as the common goldfish, comet goldfish, and others, need large ponds or tanks. If you don’t have access to a pond or tank big enough to accommodate a single tail when it becomes too huge, then you shouldn’t obtain one.
- For decades, the common belief was that goldfish had limited lives because they can only be kept in tiny basins. On the contrary, certain species of goldfish have been known to survive for twenty years or more! Ammonia rapidly accumulates in such a restricted area without proper filtering, making the air hazardous.
- Goldfish will fill up its tank, so be sure to provide enough room for them to do so. You are not obligated to develop their full potential, however. If you have a huge pond or a professional aquarium, your one-inch goldfish may grow to the size of your arm.
✦ Set up the aquarium first before you buy the fish.
Setting up a suitable environment for goldfish requires some effort and attention. It’s important to take a number of precautions to guarantee that the fish are living in optimal circumstances, as will be discussed below.
- Moving from one habitat to another may be stressful for fish because of their sensitivity. Even under optimal conditions, fish may be killed by sudden, drastic changes in their surroundings. Stop constantly re-homing your fish into other containers.
- Goldfish do not do well in temporary surroundings with limited space (such as a plastic bag or tiny dish). Small water containers are OK for an hour, but not for more than a few.
- Water conditioner-treated water stored in a big plastic bucket that has been thoroughly cleaned is suitable for use in an emergency.
✦ Use gravel that will not get stuck in your fish’s throat
Choose gravel that will not cause obstructions for your fish. Aquarium gravel may cause serious problems for fish, and goldfish in particular. You may either use extremely huge gravel (too big to swallow) or very little pebbles. Goldfish like large gravel because it does not get trapped in their throat and because it is easier for them to dig about in the gravel to find food that has fallen to the bottom.
If you’re going to use gravel in your aquarium, wash it well beforehand. Unless you rinse them beforehand, many aquarium gravels will leave your aquarium hazy and unclean. Even if you recently purchased it, giving it a thorough washing and letting it soak in water for a day can help remove some of the pollutants and provide the best possible habitat for your goldfish. Soap should not be used.
✦ Make sure your tank has some scenery and light.
It’s best to use aquarium-specific lightings such as tank hoods with built-in lights rather than regular lightbulbs or lamps. As their name implies, goldfish are diurnal, meaning they are most active during daylight hours. Light is essential to the cycle of wakefulness and sleep for these creatures. There’s also some evidence that your fish need exposure to intense light in order to maintain their vivid hues. Fish that don’t receive enough sunshine or rest will lose their vibrant hues. If your aquarium does not get direct sunlight, you should keep it illuminated for between 8 and 12 hours a day to simulate a natural day/night cycle. Additionally, you should never place your tank in direct sunlight since doing so may lead to significant temperature swings and excessive algae development.
- You could want to consider a wood or rock centerpiece with some fake plants for your fish tank. The fake plants will not hasten the development of natural plant life in your tank, and the rock or wood will provide hiding places for your goldfish. Goldfish do well with bare minimum décor. As they are often overweight and terrible swimmers, having fewer impediments in the water allows them more freedom of movement. If you want to offer your fish the greatest swimming room possible, place one big or medium-sized focal point in the middle of the tank and a few fake plants around the edges.
- Live plants are preferable since they may help reduce the number of harmful nitrates that build up in an aquarium as a result of decaying food and other organic matter. On the other hand, goldfish are omnivores that devour their food. Don’t bother with genuine plants unless you find a way to prevent the goldfish from eating them.
- If you’re going to decorate with anything, make sure it doesn’t have any sharp edges and isn’t hollow (as this might be a breeding ground for germs that could cause injury) (your fish might tear its fins).
- Put your goldfish in a tank with fluorescent lighting. Both halogen and incandescent bulbs may be used. You should give your goldfish a cycle of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness, so keep that in mind.
✦ Install a filter on the water supply. All goldfish aquariums should have a filter.
There should be three distinct phases in a water filter: mechanical, for eliminating big particles like fish waste or extra food; chemical, for removing smells, discolorations, and other organics; and biological, for breaking down fish waste and ammonia with beneficial bacteria. Likewise, it has to be approved for use with the size of your tank. If your tank’s dimensions are just on the cusp between two filter sizes, it’s typically best to choose the bigger of the two. Your goldfish will remain happy and healthy if you provide them with clean water and use a filtration system that works. The three most common types of filters are:
- Water is filtered and recirculated by HOB filters, which hang from the tank’s rim. They provide great value for the money and are widely used because of their affordability and widespread appeal.
- Canister filters are tubular filters that sit beneath your aquarium and filter the water as it is pumped in and out. Canister filters are more effective at filtration than HOB filters, are almost quiet in operation, and cost a bit more. Similarly, canister filters are normally only available for tanks larger than 50 gallons (189.2 liters).
- To remove contaminants, wet/dry filters include an overflow box. Wet/dry filters, on the other hand, are much larger than HOBs or canisters, and so can typically only be used in aquariums of at least 50 gallons in volume (189.2 liters).
✦ Put water in the tank.
As soon as you acquire your tank, fill it with water from the tap that has been conditioned with the proper solution. Distilled water is another option.
- There are chemicals and minerals in regular tap water that might be harmful to fish.
✦ Before introducing your goldfish, wait for at least one full cycle.
Adding ammonia to a tank and monitoring nitrate levels produces an environment suitable for goldfish in a fish-less cycle. Sadly, many fish perish shortly after being introduced to a new tank due to ammonia and nitrate toxicity. The chlorine in tap water is toxic to fish, thus a de-chlorinator is a must.
You need to make sure the ecosystem is prepared for fish before you introduce any. To ensure the tank has adequate levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, you need to get a pH test kit. Ideally, the final output would include no ammonia, no nitrite, and no more than 20 nitrates. Instead of using test strips, which may be confusing to read and are often more costly, consider investing in a liquid test kit, such as the API Master Test Kit.
It’s going to turn into a steady stream of ammonia drips. That will kick off the nitrite reaction. Nitrates, which are used as a food source by algae and plants, will appear if you keep doing what you’re doing. After you’ve completed a lap, you may eat fish.
2. Maintenance and Nutrient Supply
✦ Add your fish.
If you have more than one goldfish, they should all be of the same kind. Goldfish have a reputation for being predators, eating other, smaller fish, and even becoming gluttonous to the point that they refuse to share their food with the community. A rival fish has no chance if it is weaker or slower. Separate your “bully” fish from your lesser fish using a tank divider, which can be purchased at pet stores (s).
Goldfish are suitable members of a “community tank.” Good roommates, however, need careful selection. Plecos are a nice option, as are White Cloud Mountain Minnows or Zebra Danios. However, as these fish swim in schools, you should purchase at least a dozen more than you need. Simply said, only house your goldfish with other goldfish.
When adding new fish to an existing aquarium, it’s best to quarantine them for at least two weeks beforehand. You wouldn’t want their ailments to be passed on to your healthy fish, would you?
You should include hardy species in the aquarium since goldfish like cooler water than other communal fish. (To keep your fish population under control, you may wish to add a goldfish to a tank with too prolific livebearers so that it may devour the unwanted progeny.)
✦ The fish tank has to be cleaned.
on a weekly basis, even if it doesn’t seem unclean. Waste products from goldfish may not be completely removed by a water filter. When kept in a clean environment, goldfish thrive. A goldfish in good health may survive for decades if given the proper care. Washing the tank with soap is a certain way to kill your fish, therefore keep the soap away from your aquarium. In addition, you shouldn’t fill your tank with normal tap water. Because it lacks the nutrients goldfish need, drinking water is bad for them. A water conditioner may be purchased at a pet shop, and the recommended dosage should be followed.
- When cleaning the tank, don’t take the fish out. Debris may be sucked up by a gravel vacuum without removing the fish from their natural environment. If you must remove the fish, a plastic container is preferable to a net. Goldfish fins are more susceptible to damage when kept in a net than when kept in a container. Another thing that makes them anxious is nets, which they are naturally afraid of.
- Assuming you have adequately supplied your tank, you should do a 25% water change once a week. When nitrate levels exceed 20, do a 50% water change. Having a few spare old towels on hand might come in handy during this sticky procedure. When replacing the water, be cautious not to suck up any little fish.
✦ Measure for ammonia.
Find the ammonia concentration, nitrite, and pH levels, right? You conducted the test before you put in your lovely little fish, right? That’s fantastic; keep it up! In order to maintain optimal health, ammonia and nitrite levels should both be at 0. pH in the 6.8–8.25 range works just well.
✦ Feed your fish 1-2 times daily.
The food label is incorrect, so don’t give them any more than they can finish in a minute. It’s really simple for goldfish to overeat to death. It’s better to underfeed than overfeed every time. Use water to make a floating food sink before giving it to your pet. If the fish can cut down on the quantity of air it takes in while feeding, it will have less trouble maintaining its buoyancy.
- In the same way that people do, goldfish benefit from eating a wide variety of foods. Goldfish should be fed pellet food on a regular basis, with occasional additions of live meals like brine shrimp and freeze-dried treats like mosquito larvae or blood worms. Never give your goldfish freeze-dried food without first rehydrating it in a cup of tank water. Goldfish have trouble swimming after eating freeze-dried food because it expands in its stomach.
- Be sure to just give your fish what they can devour in one minute. Take out the leftovers. Among the leading causes of death for goldfish is overfeeding.
- Always feed your goldfish at the same position in the tank, and at the same time each day (morning and night).
✦ Even goldfish need sleep.
Turn off the light and let them get some sleep, Let them sleep in darkness, please They don’t hibernate in the traditional sense, since they continue to swim even if their bodies seem to be dormant. A small shift in hue and less activity (they’ll gravitate toward one side of the tank) are telltale signs.
- In the dark, goldfish like to “sleep.” Only if you’re growing plants or the room is too dark will an aquarium light be necessary. Turning off the lights is excellent environmental practice regardless of whether or not you have an aquarium.
✦ Let the water temperature change as the seasons change.
Goldfish die at temperatures over 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), although they seem to like the seasonal changes that come with winter lows in the mid-50s or 60s (15 to 20 degrees Celsius). Keep in mind that goldfish won’t eat if the water temperature falls below 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit (14-13 degrees Celsius).
- With a reliable thermometer, this becomes a breeze. You may select between indoor and outdoor varieties. Both of these should be close enough for most uses.
- For goldfish that aren’t being bred, keeping them at a constant 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) is ideal. Goldfish breeding needs a seasonal environment (goldfish spawn in the spring). Drop the temperature to between 50 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 12 degrees Celsius) and declare winter (“Hey, people, must be winter!”). After that, gradually raise it to somewhere around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) when you start trying to conceive. After being instructed, the goldfish will begin to deposit their eggs.
3. Dealing with Potential Problems
✦ Make sure there’s enough air in the tank.
Goldfish that swim to the surface is probably not getting enough to eat. I have, however, wonderful news! When temperatures are lowered, oxygen levels rise. Drop the thermostat or move the tank out of direct sunlight, and maybe the situation will stabilize. you might also use a bubbler and air pump to circulate the water.
- If you’ve made it this far down the page, you already know the most frequent issues and how to prevent them. If you feed your fish the right amount, don’t let them get too much waste, and keep the tank clean, you’ve solved 95% of the issues that may arise with your aquarium inhabitants. Those are excellent results.
✦ Purify the aquarium’s water.
Despite our best intentions, there are occasions when things still go astray. Water may take on a variety of colors, including yellow, green, and even white. It’s not a huge problem if you realize it right immediately. However, you need immediately begin the process of tank cleaning.
- Problems come in many shades of the rainbow. Anything from algae and bacteria to decomposing plant materials might be to blame. Worry not! Should be OK with another cycle and a water change.
✦ Protect your goldfish against ich.
Ick is a frequent sickness that causes white patches all over a goldfish’s body and fins and makes it hard for the fish to breathe. The parasite may be treated. Put them in a quarantine tank and treat the water with a fungicide you can buy at the store.
- It’s crucial that you keep your fish in an environment free from any other living things, including plants. The parasite is capable of infecting all forms of life.
- White patches on your gravel or decor indicate that you need to treat the whole tank, so turn off your chemical filter stage. Don’t mix your healthy fish with the sick one, since the sick one will need more attention from the vet.
- Increasing the water temperature or using a lot of aquarium salt are two chemical-free options. Most strains of ich can be killed by heating the water to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) or adding about a tablespoon of salt per gallon. However, the temperature or salt concentration should be increased gradually at a rate of no more than 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit (0.55 to 1.1 degrees Celsius) per hour or 1 tsp/gal per 12 hours, and treatment should be maintained for at least 3 days after all signs of infection have subsided. When finished, make periodic partial water changes to eliminate salt or lower temperature. Prepare yourself for a dulling or fading of your fish’s color after treating them.
✦ Keep an eye out for the flukes.
Similarly, flukes are another prevalent parasite that causes problems. Your fish will scrape against surfaces, produce an exterior mucous, turn a mild shade of red, and potentially develop a large abdomen if they are diseased.
- Keep your fish in a quarantine tank if you suspect they have a parasite, including ich. If you start treating it right away, he may be swimming with his finned companions again in no time.
✦ Try to find any signs of swimbladder illness.
Your fish will be swimming sideways or perhaps upside-down, so you’ll know it’s this one. You may believe he’s in a heavenly fishy paradise, but alas, he’s not. Fortunately, it’s not infectious, and the problem can be easily corrected.
- In this case, quarantining your fish may not be necessary. Parasites are not responsible for swimbladder illness. But if you’d rather be safe than sorry, by all means.
- Because overfeeding and poor nutrition are the most common causes of swimbladder disorders, medication is seldom used to treat them. Try feeding your fish less, or even better, fast them for three days. This will allow the bacteria in your fish’s stomach to return to normal. Peas, cucumbers, and other high-fiber foods might be added to their diet, or you could try a medicated fish meal made for the express purpose of curing internal infections if the symptoms continue.
✦ Make the necessary preparations if a fish has died.
Get rid of the fish first so it doesn’t stink up the home. You may bury it, or, if you feel so inclined, toss it in the compost heap. Take care not to dispose of the fish in the toilet. Wrap a plastic bag over your hands, invert it, and pull it out of the tank. The best method for cleaning an aquarium is the one that works best for you and your needs.
- If just one fish perished, then hopefully the cause was a parasite that you caught in time to save the others.
- If your fish are all dead or dying, you should empty the aquarium and disinfect it with bleach. You just need a dash (about a quarter of a teaspoon) for every gallon (3.8 liters) of water. Put it in water for an hour or two to flush out any harmful substances. The next step is to drain and air-dry the solution.
Small rocks may be ingested by goldfish. Do not be alarmed if you see this behavior on their part. They often just spit it straight back out! Be sure to avoid purchasing gravel that is too fine in size to cause suffocation.
A week without food is nothing for fish, so if you forget to feed them for a day or two it won’t hurt anything.
There is no such thing as a 3-second memory in fish. They have a great memory, as seen by their “swim to the top” reflex whenever the feeding flap is opened. There is a lot of smart fish out there.
Never keep goldfish permanently in a bowl or tank that is less than 20 U.S. gallons in size. Fish can’t develop to their full potential in bowls because of the lack of space, the poor filtration, the low oxygen exchange, and the increased risk of accidental breaking owing to the bowl’s circular shape. Fish kept in bowls are subjected to potentially lethal toxins that aren’t removed by a filter and terrible confinement. This severely compromises their immune system, resulting in instantaneous or excruciating death. Goldfish that are confined to a bowl tend to die off about 80 percent sooner than their tank mates. That’s equivalent to the lifespan of someone who is just 15 or 16 years old!
Goldfish may grow to be 15-30 years old and up to 20 centimeters in length (though luxury types tend to stay smaller). Due to misinformation and misunderstanding, millions of lives are lost every year (goldfish bowls, etc). The longevity of your fish will greatly increase if you treat them with care.
Don’t follow the stocking suggestions printed on the tank’s box; virtually all of them depict overcrowded aquariums that are very problematic and severely limit the fish’s ability to move about.
The fish you pair with them should be considered carefully. You don’t want to discover “Goldy’s” bones floating about in the tank, so do your research and ask your pet dealer questions. Be wary of taking advice from pet store employees, since the vast majority of them will not know what they are talking about. Some of the largest U.S. chain retailers fall under this policy. Instead, try looking for the answer on message boards or care sheets.
When changing the water in the tank, you should mix the sand to prevent it from compacting and trapping dangerous vapors.
Be careful what you put in the tank with goldfish since they will attempt to devour it.
Expect a long-term commitment from that point on! Goldfish, if properly cared for, may live up to 30 years!
FAQs How to take care of goldfish for beginners
Q. Is it easy to take care of a goldfish?
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Goldfish are easy to take care of. This is because they are very hardy fish and they can tolerate water chemistry fluctuations. But you do need to fulfill their basic requirements which include feeding them high-quality food and keeping them in a large enough tank
Q. Can 1 goldfish live alone?
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Goldfish are just not the same as humans – they’re not social animals in the same way that we are, and they don’t have the same capacity to get bored or long for companionship. In fact, many of the longest-living goldfish have been kept alone, with no obvious harm to their well being
Q. Do goldfish need sunlight?
Goldfish do not rely on lighting as plants do, but it is still important to give them a day and night cycle. This will help their eye development and provide them with the light requirements that they would receive in the wild.
Q. Do goldfish need an air pump?
As it has been stated, goldfish do not always require an air pump to survive. It can do well in a tank that is well-oxygenated for as long as it normally can. What is this? As long as there is enough surface movement that translates to oxygen, then the goldfish can live just fine without an air pump.
Q. What size tank do I need for 2 goldfish?
Based on the rules above, the goldfish tank size we recommend for two goldfish is 42 gallons for two Common goldfish. That’s 30 gallons for the first fish and 12 additional gallons for the second fish. 30 gallons for two fancy goldfish.