Goldfish Care – Complete, In-Depth and Free Guide
Goldfish have no control over the environment they live in. Instead they are completely reliant on us to provide the proper care they need to live long and happy lives.
Unfortunately, the majority of people are unaware of even the basics of proper goldfish care and think they can live quite happily in a tiny and otherwise empty, unfiltered bowl. But this environment and lack of care inevitably leads to living very unhappy and sadly short lives.
This isn’t really the fault of the owner. It’s more to do with the cartoon images that bombard us since birth and the ill-informed advice of inexperienced pet shop staff who advise to use and then sell such small bowls.
And we all have a story of a child who hooked a duck at the fair and was soon skipping home happily, looking forward to starting a life with his new aquatic friend, Blinky. Only to tearfully discover him floating, lifeless in his bowl, just a few days later.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Did you know that when properly looked after they can live for more than 20 years? It takes little effort and just a bit of knowledge and planning to look after a goldfish properly and is something everybody can achieve.
So whether you’re researching how to care for a goldfish before making a purchase, or you’ve found yourself wondering what to do with a new pet after your child’s success at the fair, you’ve found yourself in the right place.
Whether you own common, comet or a selection of fancy goldfish, we have all the care information you need.
Welcome to Its A Fish Thing’s complete guide to goldfish care!
This guide contains all the information you need to keep goldfish in a home aquarium successfully. This page is a hub page linking out to many detailed articles on topics, going into way more detail and depth than your average goldfish care sheet. Enjoy!
Goldfish FAQ: Quick Answers To Everything
In this FAQ we provide short, to-the-point answers to over 30 questions – and the list is growing all the time.
How long do they live? How big do they grow? How many varieties and types of goldfish are there? Are they good for beginners? What do they eat? What water temperature do they prefer?
We answer these questions and many more – Essential reading for everyone.
Tank Size: What Size Tank do Goldfish Need?
Although they always seem to be pictured in tiny glass goldfish bowl, this is the surest way to cause sickness and cut their life short.
In a small bowl there’s nowhere for their waste to go, resulting in poor water quality and slow but steady poisoning. Not only this, but they need a lot of room in which to swim and perform their natural behaviors.
So the single most important step to take toward caring for your goldfish is making sure they have a large enough tank in which to live.
But what size tank do they need? How many gallons of water does a single fish need to be happy and healthy? How about 2? 3? More even? Stick to the following rule of thumb:
It’s recommend for fancy varieties: 20 gallons of water for the first one, add a further 10 gallons for each added fish thereafter.
For single tail varieties: 30-40 gallons of water for the first one, plus a further 10 gallons per additional fish (although truthfully, ponds are best).
Learn why this is true – and more – in the following article:
Filters: Do Goldfish Need a Filter? YES! Here’s Why and How to Choose
Goldfish are messy. Very messy. They create a lot of waste and this can very quickly build up to dangerous levels because in a closed tank, there’s nowhere for it to go.
The need for clean water is exactly like the need for clean air to us. After all, fish do breathe water so if it’s full of their own waste, it’s like us breathing in toxic fumes.
This is where good water filtration can help and a filter is possibly the most important piece of equipment you will buy for your tank. But with so many different types, styles and sizes of filter available, how do you know which is the right one to choose?
Aquarium Filters 101: Filter Media, Maintenance and More
The previous article should have convinced you on the need for filters in your aquariums and informed you of the different types available. But that’s only half the story! Yes, there’s a whole lot more to consider.
Filters are capable of holding many different types of ‘filter media’, from sponge to ceramic tubes, and floss to activated carbon. There are so many different things you can put ‘inside’ your filter, it can be hard to know where to begin.
That’s where this next article comes in! To discuss all these options so you can make the best decision.
Air Pumps: Do Goldfish Need an Air Pump? Yes, Aeration Is Important
Aeration in goldfish aquariums isn’t just ‘because it looks good.’
Yes, that decorative rock shelf or ornamental shipwreck may look nice with a curtain of bubbles rising from it, but there’s far more important reasons for installing an air pump with your tank.
Find out why we recommend an air pump, the benefits it brings (more oxygen in the water being the big one!), the difference between an air pump and a filter and more besides in our article here:
Lights: Do Goldfish Need Light? Why? How Much? What Type?
Yes they do. Like many animals, goldfish require regular intervals of light and dark, to regulate their bodies and establish proper and regular habitual times and cycles for eating, activity and sleeping.
Without regular daily cycles of light and dark, their bodies get confused, work sub-optimally and it’s detrimental to their health.
So although overlooked by many goldfish keepers and perhaps not as important as a suitably sized tank, filtration and feeding, but lighting is still a very important aspect of care and should not be ignored.
Learn here why lighting is so important to health, different lighting options and the intensity of light and hours per day you should consider.
Substrate: Gravel, Sand or Bare Bottom? Which to Use?
Substrate is the name given to the stuff you use to cover the bottom of your tank.
The substrate in a goldfish tank is an important place for beneficial bacteria to grow, anchors your live plants, fixes decorations, and due to so many different styles and colors available, gives you a chance to significantly affect the look of your tank.
But the substrate you choose can have a major impact on the overall health of your tank and your fish, so the one you choose should be a well-informed decision.
You can select from gravel to sand, crushed coral to marbles, with some people even choosing to leave the bottom of the tank bare.
In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of the most popular substrates, how they affect the look and health of your tank and ultimately which you should choose that will be right for your tank.
Cycling: Why You Must Cycle Your Tank BEFORE Adding Fish
Ammonia is a very high component of a goldfish’s waste and sadly, this ammonia is extremely toxic and harmful!
But in a well established and healthy tank there are beneficial bacteria that break down the ammonia first into nitrites, which are still quite toxic, then eventually into far safer nitrates. You then remove these nitrates each time you change the water.
However, these bacteria take a good time to develop and until they are thriving, introducing a fish into the tank is very harmful to their health. So you want to ‘cycle’ the tank, develop these bacteria, before you ever introduce your fish.
In this article, we discuss the nitrogen cycle (or nitrification process), how it’s an essential thing to understand for the care of goldfish, why it’s so important for you to understand, how to use a test kit to check your water for harmful chemicals and what to do when things get thrown out of balance.
Food: What do Goldfish Eat? What Food Should Your Provide?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the only thing they need to eat and thrive is flakes, after all when people picture goldfish food it’s always the humble flake that comes to mind. But this being their only suitable, or even the best food just isn’t the case.
Like most animals, they need a varied diet to stay healthy and the average flakes just don’t cut it. In the wild they would eat insects, algae, vegetation and even other fish. They love and thrive on variety.
But you can’t only focus on what they eat, you also need to be mindful of how much and at what times because feeding the wrong foods, or the wrong quantities, can be just as harmful or worse as feeding them too little.
Read this article to discover the pros and cons of pellets vs flakes, why you might want to avoid feeding flakes that float on the surface, other foods you can feed them, what you can give as the occasional treat and how to make sure they are getting just what they need…as well as not too much.
Partial Water Changes: How to Do Water Changes Safely
Performing a water change helps clean away waste products that have accumulated in the tank water and are an essential part of looking after a goldfish.
In this article, you will learn how often you need to change your tank’s water, how much water you should be changing each time, how not to do it, how to prepare tap water, and why you must use a water conditioner to remove chlorine, all so you can be sure you’re doing the best for your fish.
The Best Goldfish Names – By Sex, Type and Color
So, you’v got yourself a new goldfish, researched how to set up their tank, and now you want to name them, right?
The this is the article for you! We have many hundreds of names, sorted by gender, type and color so you can easily find a suitable name for your new pet.
We’ve made sure to include many cute and funny names too, because if you can’t have fun naming your pets, when can you?
The History and Evolution of Goldfish
The goldfish is one of the most iconic aquarium fish in existence today. When most people think of keeping fish, it’s the first fish that comes to mind.
But where did these beautiful golden fish come from? They are certainly one of the oldest fish ever to be kept in an aquarium.
Well, they’ve had a long and eventful trip to get from the wild waters to our tanks and you can learn a few facts and the timeline of that journey here:
External Resources on Goldfish Care
Recommended site no. 1: Is good for general aquarium set-up and on-going care, with lots of short yet information packed articles: ThatPetPlace.com: Aquatic Articles
Recommended site no. 2: We recommend for it’s short but information rich articles. Not great if looking for in-depth information, but good for beginners getting a handle on things. After reading an article, look at the links in the sidebars for a selection of related subjects: Pets.Thenest.com: Beginners Guide to Caring For Goldfish
Recommended site no. 3: We recommend because it has lots of fantastic information on types and their individual care requirements, common diseases and cures, tank set-up and more besides on goldfish keeping: Goldfish2Care4.com: Sitemap