Goldfish are great, rewarding pets to have. If you're looking to breed goldfish, have one as a pet, or are simply curious about what it might be like,they’re not hard to meet, but doing so is key to keeping a happy and healthy goldfish.
Goldfish food contains less protein and more carbohydrates than other fish food (such as tropical fish food). Manufacturers of goldfish food have produced food with the specific dietary requirements of goldfish in mind, so you shouldn’t just pick up a tub of generic “fish food”. Your goldfish need to eat proper goldfish food that meets their specific needs.
The goldfish food you buy will be in the form of flakes (which float) or pellets (which usually sink – thoughfloating pellets are also available). There are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to feed your goldfish flakes, pellets or a mixture of both:
Is your fish big enough to eat pellets? Some pellets can be too big to fit in the mouths of young fish.
Sinking pellets may be more difficult to find and remove. This means that uneaten pellets will rot and pollute your water.
Goldfish may swallow air when eating flakes or floating pellets off the surface of the water, which can cause digestion problems.
Flakes can lose some of their nutritional value after the tub is opened and the flakes are exposed to air. Pellets retain their nutritional value better than flakes do.
While they’re typically sold alongside a bevy of various other species of tropical fish , which tend to prefer what could be thought of as tropical temperatures, goldfish are actually considered a cold water species. In fact they can tolerate temperatures close to freezing, although in the aquarium something in the mid 60s to low 70s in preferred (or roughly 18 to 23C). Even though they do just fine at lower temperatures a heater still isn’t a bad idea, however. Temperature swings are never a good thing for any fish. A heater ensures things don’t change too rapidly on particularly cool days.
This doesn’t mean your goldfish have to live alone, though. There are lots of other fish out there who enjoy a cooler temperature. White Cloud Minnows are quite popular coldwater fish, and the common Zebra Danio is quite adaptive and does just fine in cooler water. Just make sure they’re not too small as your goldfish may mistake them for a tasty snack! Some species of loaches and plecos are compatible as well, though care should be taken if you’re keeping a pleco and goldfish with frilly tails as the pleco may harass them.
In order to breed successfully, goldfish need their usual quality care – including plenty of space, good nutrition and excellent water conditions – plus specific temperature changes to induce breeding.
Before commencing a goldfish breeding program, always think about the amount of tank or pond space available to you. Do you have room for new fry in addition to your existing fish? If not, don’t try to breed goldfish!
The number one thing that seems to slip past most people looking to keep goldfish is that they get BIG. Even for smaller varieties expect adults to reach about 8 inches in length with some easily passing a foot. This of course means that fish bowls, which goldfish are so commonly portrayed in, are virtually worthless for keeping goldfish (or any other fish for that matter). Really anything under 30 gallons is too small for even a single goldfish long term and if you want more than one the tank will need to be even bigger. Without adequate room to grow fish will become stunted, leading to health problems and most likely an early death.
Goldfish definitely do need light.
Like most animals, goldfish would not be healthy if permanently kept in dull or dark conditions.
However, you should not keep your goldfish in direct sunlight (as the water may get too hot) and you don’t necessarily need to add an aquarium light.
The only reasons to add a light to your aquarium would be to grow plants or if your goldfish are in a particularly poorly lit area.
If you do add a light to your aquarium then switch it off at night.
Goldfish are classified as cold water fish and can live in an unheated aquarium at a temperature comfortable to humans. However, rapid changes in temperature can kill them.
Maintain a steady temperature. The immune system of fish gets compromised below 50oF(10oC). Parasites and other infections can often become more active when the temperature increases rapidly.
If the water temperature in your house varies considerably from day to day, then you need to install a heater in your tank. "Fancy" goldfish varieties require a water temperature between 60oF(15oC) and 75oF(24oC).
Water temperature is also very important when breeding goldfish. Goldfish breeders stimulate their goldfish by increasing the water temperature during the day.
Goldfish also differ from most common aquarium fish in that they are quite messy. Their digestive system works a little differently from other fish and can be considered somewhat inefficient. Add to this that they are just plain big fish and it’s easy to see why they need a lot of filtration to keep their tanks clean. Generally you’ll want about double the filtration that you would normally want for the tank size. Good circulation and mechanical filtration are of particular importance for keeping the bottom of the tank free from waste. This also means that regular upkeep is all the more important. Even with a good filter the substrate tends to get quite dirty necessitating vacuuming.
Along with their unique digestive system comes a need for unique food. When picking a food for your goldfish make sure to get something specifically sold as goldfish food. Normal tropical foods will likely prove too hard to digest leading to a messy tank and malnourished fish. But, just like other fish, they will get bored with the same thing day after day so don’t forget to change up their diet every now and then. You can even branch out into fresher alternatives. Goldfish are quite fond of peas and may accept other cooked vegetable bits.
So, to recap, or if you’re just looking for a quick guide to goldfishes’ needs:
-Goldfish are messy- include extra filtration and be prepared to clean their tank weekly.
-Goldfish are coldwater fish preferring temperatures in the mid 60s to low 70s.
-Goldfish get big and thus need a big home. Expect them to reach at least 8” and need at least 30 gallons.
-Make sure to feed your goldfish food formulated specifically for them.
Without any control over their own environment, goldfish rely on us to provide them with the proper goldfish care that they deserve. To enhance the quality of the goldfish's life, it's important to plan things right from the beginning, not rushing trough any part of the process.