This page is intended for those that have never before looked after a goldfish, or have very little experience of doing so, and wish to provide the best quality living environment possible for your new friend. There is no reason why, if you are careful and follow my tips, your goldfish could not live for 15 - 20 years, or even 40 years! Goldfish are simply a type of Carp called Carassius auratus and have been bred in Asia for thousands of years, often to provide a wide variety of shapes and sizes to hobbyists. Goldfish are cold water fish that are found naturally in a variety of streams, lakes and ponds throughout Asia but the goldfish you will buy will almost certainly be bred in captivity.
How To Care For Goldfish
A comprehensive guide to keeping your goldfish happy and healthy, for those who are inexperienced at fish keeping!
Section 1. Equipment
Thermometer:- One of the most important things to keep constant check on is water temperature, which should never rise above 73 degrees Fahrenheit and should ideally be kept between 65 degrees and 68 degrees. Remember that this is Fahrenheit and NOT Celsius! Keeping your goldfish above 73 degrees for a long period will deprive the fish of oxygen and can cause heart damage and nerve damage, as well as seriously weaken your friends immune system.
Tank / Bowl:- It is essential to the health and happiness of your new friend(s) that they have enough space to swim about. Imagine a family of four people in a one bedroom apartment, they would be a lot happier in a three or four bedroom house! Try and apply the same principle to your goldfish, I would recommend that each small-medium sized goldfish has a minimum of 4 Gallons each. Having 3 goldfish in a 4 gallon tank is like having 3 people living in one bedroom; they will not be happy or healthy. Ideally your 3 goldfish would have 12 gallons, which is 4 gallons each, although it would not matter too much if you had 4 goldfish in your '3 bedroom tank'. Each week, you should change 10-20% of the water in your tank so that your goldfish always has lovely clean water and to help out your filter (that's coming next). Below will see that I have recommended two very good tanks, I actually have both of those tanks myself and they are a fantastic environment for your fish to thrive.
Recommended Tank - 1 Small Fish
|Baby biOrb Aquarium with Halogen Light, Silver, 4 Gallons|
Filter:- A filter is essential if you would like your fish to live a healthy life, as your tank does not have the natural filtration systems that occur in streams and other natural goldfish habitats. The filter will remove harmful toxins from the water and help prevent disease, and should be checked frequently to ensure that it is in good condition. When selecting a filter you should ensure that the filter is one that suits your tank size, as a large filter in a small tank will cause too much current and your friend may find it difficult to swim. Be sure to make sure that your tank doesn't come with a filter already, as you don't want to waste money, the biOrb aquariums that I have recommended already come with a perfectly adequate filtration system. Some people fill tanks with 1/4 inch of gravel at the bottom, preferably these should be incorporated with an under gravel filtration system. A huge benefit of the tanks that I have recommended is that the filter system is sufficient so as to not need gravel at all; I cannot recommend these tanks enough. I would never suggest that anybody uses the common gravel system, as these have been shown to promote disease and infections.
Section 2. Food
Goldfish are scavengers so will pretty much eat anything that is thrown in front of them, so ensure that you vary their friends diet if you want him/them to be at their happiest; it is important that your fish is provided with a diet which is high in carbohydrates as all that swimming round in circles uses a lot of energy! It is important that you remember that your goldfish only need to be fed once per day, and you should ensure that you do not exceed the amounts recommended by the food manufacturer. Your goldfish may look like he is constantly hungry, because he is always scavenging, but this is just because they are greedy and slightly forgetful!
As a general rule the food you give them should be all gone within 5 minutes, otherwise it can begin to create harmful toxins in the water. If you notice a large amount of food left after this time, then consider slightly reducing the amount that you give them; otherwise you may be promoting harmful diseases within your tank. Imagine living in a trash can full of food waste, you would probably get very sick too! Remember, NEVER feed your fish more than once a day! I have presented a few good goldfish foods below, these can be frozen or dry foods, but there are lots of good foods out there these days. Also, make sure that you do not give your goldfish tropical fish food as the dietary requirements of tropical fish often differ from that of coldwater fish.
Section 3. General Care
Hiding Places:- In the wild, or even in a pond, your goldfish would be a prey fish. Because of this they have a natural instinct to be wary at all times. Whilst a huge fish with teeth isn't going to get into your fish's tank, and a stork isn't going to fly into your living room, your goldfish doesn't know this. Therefore in order for your fish to be happy you should provide it with lots of hiding places and little dens. There are some fantastic decorative ornaments available for fish tanks and fish of all sizes, and your fish would probably enjoy a few real underwater plants to. Try and provide enough dens for all of your fish to be able to hide at once, this will help prevent them from becoming stressed which is good for their immune systems. A healthy fish is a happy fish, so a happy fish is a healthy fish!
Smooth Decorations:- Do however ensure that you ornaments do not have rough or sharp edges, as this can harm them. Make sure you do some research about what type of goldfish you are buying/have bought as some have very poor eyesight, these fish will be most vulnerable and you have to be extra careful with them. In my opinion plastic plants are a complete NO!! NO!! and have no decent purpose whatsoever!
Mixing Fish:- Generally you should keep goldfish only with other goldfish, and ideally with the same type of goldfish. Although your goldfish will never be aggressive towards another fish and are friendly animals, different types of fish have different levels of physical ability. If you have fish with different levels of abilities/disabilities then you will find yourself having fish that compete for food. A physical weaker / slower fish could well starve to death whilst the others eat all of the food.
Section 4. Sick Fish
No matter how much you care for your fish, sometimes something can go wrong and they can become poorly; you must take action as soon as you notice that one or more of your fish is sick. If you do have a sick fish then follow these steps:-
Step 1:- Clean The Tank/Bowl:- It is important that you don't completely dismantle your fishes home. Simply use a scrubbing pad to scrub the inside of the aquarium glass. Clean all sides until they are entirely clean (if its a bowl then clean around the whole of the inside of the bowl). Also clean all ornaments, the filter etc, you do not need to remove them from the tank.
Step 2:- Clean The Gravel:- Often people decide to provide their tanks or bowls with a quarter of an inch thick layer of gravel; unless of course you have a biOrb. Do not disturb or remove the gravel, instead use a special gravel washer, which you can pick up pretty cheaply. I am not going to recommend a gravel cleaner because I 100% cannot recommend gravel; my fish have looked a lot healthier since I got a biOrb and gravel is a well known cause of disease in aquariums.
Step 3:- Change 10% to 20% of the Water:- Change some water in the tank, just 10% - 20% like you should be doing weekly already. Repeat this daily until your fish are looking better (only when sick, otherwise do weekly). Please remember never to change more than 20% in one day, this can seriously shock the fish and could drastically change the temperature of the tank - this could make your fish sicker!
Step 4:- Add Medicine:- There are a number of different medicines out there, many for various different reasons and of many varying degrees of effectiveness. Never buy cheap and not very well known medicine, I have always sworn by Quick Cure. For Goldfish you should add 1 drop of Quick Cure for each gallon of water (so for a 4 gallon tank add 4 drops, for a 12 gallon tank add 12 drops). Repeat this daily until your fish look healthy.
Step 5:- Add Aquarium Salt:- Add Aquarium salt to naturally help fight infections and harmful bacteria. This can be purchased by clicking on the link below or from any good aquatics store. DO NOT REPEAT THE SALT, DO THIS ONLY ONCE.
Your sick fish will be healthier and happier in no time!
Quick Cure Medicine
|Aquarium Products Quick-Cure Aquarium Treatment, 4-Ounce|