Far away from natural predators, with regular access to food and any veterinary emergencies taken care of, most animals in captivity live much longer than in the wilderness.
The same does not seem to apply to iconic home aquarium fish.
Goldfish can live up to 41 years in the wilderness. Taken care of in ponds, they can live up to 30 years. In aquariums, they live ten years on average.
This has a lot to do with our pet goldfish care.
Seen as decorations in many people’s homes, mostly in bowls, they are often regarded as easy to maintain.
This is not wrong. They are not demanding, but goldfish do need more than a bowl to thrive and be healthy.
Taking good care of your goldfish doesn’t have to be challenging or time-consuming. These are the things to keep in mind to raise a healthy fish that will keep swimming happily for years to come.
What Every Goldfish Owner Needs
Here are a list of things you would need when you plan to keep a Goldfish in a tank/aquarium:
- A rectangular tank that holds 20 gallons of water (per singular fish)
- Lid for the tank
- Water conditioner
- Goldfish food (flakes and granules)
Simple Step-By-Step Guide on Goldfish Care
You’ve got the tank that is the right size, goldfish of your choice, equipment, and food the seller recommended. All there’s left to do is to follow these steps:
- Fill the tank with water and treat the tap water with the water conditioner. Hard water contains chemicals that are harmful for fish. Treating it with a conditioner neutralizes toxins.
- Decorate the tank to create hiding spaces. Decorations such as plants (artificial or live), gravel or driftwood create safe hiding spaces for your goldfish as well as prevent boredom.
- Add fish into the aquarium. In case this is your first tank, you can gently add the fish after treating the water with a conditioner. If you bought more fish to add to the existing tank, keep your fish in a separate tank for two weeks. That establishes if it has any illnesses before you add it to the main tank.
- Change 10% of the water every week. If you have a water filter, and a 20-gallon tank, changing 10% of the water weekly with fish still inside will keep it clean.
- Feed your goldfish twice a day. You can feed them 2-3 times a day, but be careful not to overfeed your fish. Every goldfish is different so keep track of how much it can eat in the span of 2 minutes.
- Look out for the signs of a sick goldfish.
Pigment changes, hiding, unnatural swimming positions (e.g. vertical or upside down) are common indicators that your goldfish might be ill.
Let’s explore some more essential information on goldfish care to create the perfect how-to.
Do You Need a Fancy Goldfish Tank?
You’ll have a happy and healthy goldfish as long as the tank is the right size, shape, has a couple of hiding spaces, and a lid.
One goldfish needs a tank that holds at least 20 gallons of water. It can survive in ten gallons, but it’s going to be a struggle to keep the water clean as you’ll need to clean it more often.
In suitable aquariums, goldfish don’t surpass seven inches, but having a small tank (ten gallons) limits their growth to 1-2 inches.
The shape of the tank is important and rectangular shapes are your best bet. A small curved tank (bowl) distorts the surrounding environment and causes stress for the fish.
Goldfish can and will jump out of the aquarium, even the properly sized one. Getting a lid for your tank or creating one yourself is a lifesaver.
Which Decor Is Suitable For A Tank?
Having gravel, stones, plants, and all sorts of decorations allowing them to swim around in a tank will keep them entertained and create hiding spots for your fish.
Just make sure they don’t contain any toxic coloring or holes in which they might get stuck as they get bigger.
Note on plants: live plants that prevent algae growth are beneficial, but many people prefer artificial ones because goldfish go feeding frenzy on the live ones.
Where to put the fish tank?
Any calm area away from the direct sunlight, TV vibrations, and away from other pets.
Can You Put Goldfish in Tap Water?
You can put them in tap water, but you’ll need to treat hard water from the tap with a water conditioner to remove or neutralize harmful chemicals such as ammonia and chlorine.
What about the water temperature, pH, and oxygen levels?
Goldfish thrive at room temperatures, but their optimal temperature depends on the type of goldfish you get. It ranges from 60° and 70°F.
Below 60°, goldfish can become slow and refuse to eat. A temperature that is too high can cause overheating and sluggishness.
PH should be 7.0-8.4. However, unless you want them to reproduce, it’s not that critical because goldfish can handle changes in pH better than most fish.
Oxygen levels are important, though. If your goldfish is gasping for air on the surface or swim slower than usual, your tank might benefit from the air pump or a water change.
How Often Should You Replace the Aquarium Water?
Smaller tanks need to have their water changed twice a week. In larger aquariums with filters, you’ll have to replace 10% of the water every 7-10 days.
Goldfish produce more waste than other fish, which means you’ll have to clean their spaces more often.
But that ultimately depends on the size, type, and whether your tank has a water filter.
You don’t have to do a deep cleaning every week. However, if you notice cloudy water and algae on the glass, it’s time to thoroughly clean the tank.
What Do Goldfish Eat?
Goldfish are omnivores, and their typical food in tanks consists of flakes and granules.
Depending on the food brand you choose, your goldfish may change its color to more or less vibrant orange. Brands that use carotenoids (as in carrots) in their formula get vibrant results.
How often should you feed your fish?
Feeding your goldfish two times a day is enough. Observe how much it can eat to avoid overeating.
According to RSPCA, “a good rule of thumb is to only feed an amount that the goldfish can consume in under two minutes or only feed as much as the size of the goldfish’s eye.”
How Will You Know That Your Goldfish Is Sick?
Goldfish are a beautiful addition to any home.
They’re fun, low-maintenance pets that can live for years if you take care of them well.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to overlook any warning signs that your goldfish might be sick and not realize until they’ve already gotten to the point where their health is in serious jeopardy!
Here are some indicators that your goldfish might be ill:
- swimming vertically (possible bladder issues) or swim upside down
- changing color – turning red (bacteria), black (ammonia poisoning), turning white (needs oxygen)
- losing appetite
Consult a vet if you notice these signs. Some vets treat ornamental pet fish such as goldfish and you can look for such vets online and find one in your area.
Aquarium water that is too dirty or not treated with conditioner is the main culprit for common diseases and infections of a common and fancy goldfish.
Some of them are:
- fish lice
- bacterial infections
- ich (white spot)
Making sure your goldfish lives in the proper conditions and ensuring that the water quality is top-notch with the tips above will keep them healthy.
Is It Hard to Take Care of a Goldfish?
Goldfish are ideal for beginners because they’re easy to take care of.
It takes some time to figure out the right tank size and correct food dosage for your new fish.
Once you get your tank setup ready, the way you maintain it boils down to feeding your fish twice a day and changing 10% of the water once a week.
Fish are smaller-sized, quiet, and cannot communicate their needs so well as our furry pets.
As a result, fish owners tend to neglect their health.
It can even be strange to think about going to the vet with your goldfish.
But the truth is, they don’t need much. If their basic life requirements are met, the goldfish can live long and happy lives.
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