Goldfish Care: How To Care For Goldfish

Ultimate guide to goldfish care written around two swimming goldfish on white bgGoldfish 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 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 goldfish 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 with proper goldfish care 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 your 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.

Welcome to Its A Fish Thing’s complete guide to goldfish care!

Goldfish FAQ: Quick Answers To Everything

2 goldfish in a tank surrounded by question marks and goldfish faq written in the top right

© Depositphotos.com / ivosar

In this FAQ we provide short, to-the-point answers to over 30 questions on goldfish – and the list is growing all the time.

How long do goldfish live? How big do they grow? Are they good for beginners? What do they eat?

We answer these questions and many more – Essential reading for the owner of any goldfish.

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Tank Size: What Size Tank do Goldfish Need?

what size tank do goldfish need written under various tank sizesAlthough goldfish always seem to be pictured in tiny glass bowls, 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 goldfish 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 you need for a goldfish? How about for 2? 3? More even? Discover this and more at the following link:

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Filters: Do Goldfish Need a Filter? YES! Here’s Why and How to Choose

do goldfish need a filter written between a goldfish and filter on white backgroundGoldfish 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. But with so many different types, styles and sizes of filter available, how do you know which is the right one to choose?

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Aquarium Filters 101: Filter Media, Maintenance and More

Aquarium filtration 101 written across a beautiful aquascaped aquarium scene

© Depositphotos.com / abramovtv

The previous article should have convinced you on the need for a filter 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.

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Air Pumps: Do Goldfish Need an Air Pump? Yes, Aeration Is Important

A goldfish in front of many air bubbles on white background

© Depositphotos.com / gunnar3000

Aeration in a goldfish tank 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, the difference between an air pump and a filter and more besides in our article here:

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Lights: Do Goldfish Need Light? Why? How Much? What Type?

Do goldfish need light written above 2 goldfish swimming in a light bulb

© Depositphotos.com / urfingus

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 caring for a goldfish and should not be ignored.

Learn here why lighting is so important to goldfish health, different lighting options and the intensity of light and hours per day you should consider.

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Substrate: Gravel, Sand or Bare Bottom? Which to Use?

Gravel or sand written across a blend of bothSubstrate 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 aquatic plants 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 could choose from gravel to sand, or crushed coral to marbles, with some people even choosing to leave their tank bottom 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.

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Cycling: Why You Must Cycle Your Tank BEFORE Adding Fish

A diagram of the nitrogen cycleAmmonia 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 nitrates, which are still quite toxic, then eventually into far safer nitrates. You then remove these nitrates with each water change.

However, these bacteria take a good time to develop and until they are thriving, introducing a goldfish 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), why it’s so important for you to understand, how to test your water for harmful chemicals and what to do when things get thrown out of balance.

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Food: What do Goldfish Eat? Learn What To Feed Your Goldfish

How to feed your goldfish written beside a cartoon fish carrying a plate of chipsYou’d be forgiven for thinking that the only thing a goldfish needs to thrive is goldfish flakes, but this just isn’t the case.

Like most animals, goldfish 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. Goldfish 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, other foods you can feed them and how to make sure they are getting just what they need…as well as not too much.

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Partial Water Changes: How to Do Water Changes Safely

How to do a partial water change written above assorted equipment for the jobWater changes help clean away waste products that have accumulated in the tank and are an essential part of looking after a goldfish.

In this article you will learn how often you need to change your goldfish tank’s water, how much water you should be changing each time and learn how not to do it, so you can be sure you’re doing the best for your fish.

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The History and Evolution of Goldfish

History of goldfish written on white BG with a prussian carp and goldfish with arrow between

The goldfish is one of the most iconic aquarium fish in existence today. When most people think of keeping fish, a goldfish is the first thing that pops 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 time-line of that journey here:

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Video: How To Set Up A Goldfish Tank

This video has a lot of good information on setting up your first goldfish tank and general goldfish care. It’s packed with information from tank size to recommended filters, from possible tank mates, to the best decorations and ornaments.

The video is very long, but it’s interesting and I believe consuming information presented in more than one way – the written words in the articles above and the video below – Will help you to absorb and retain more of the info.

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 goldfish types and their individual care requirements, common diseases and cures, tank set-up and more besides: Goldfish2Care4.com: Sitemap

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Daniel - September 4, 2015

“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.”

Love the passion! That is SO TRUE. It’s like a disease… one pet shop employee learns it from so-and-so who they are being trained by, but so-and-so never really knew the truth to begin with because they heard it from whoever told them that goldfish do just fine in bowls. So many fish end by dying as a result of this totally wrong misconception.

    M Jenner
    M Jenner - September 6, 2015

    The saying: “Blind leading the blind” springs to mind!

    Just checked your site Daniel, nice work! loads of good info there 🙂

      Daniel - September 17, 2015

      Mark, it absolutely it does. And the worst of it is that by and large, people trust the pet stores to give reliable information… when in fact, they have been known to repeatedly give some of the worst advice possible.

      And thank you! 🙂 I find yours to be very comprehensive as well. Keep up the great work – these fish need us!


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