Looking After Goldfish

Although goldfish are cheap, common and easily obtained from the petstore, they can be extremely beautiful to look at and fun to keep.

Step 1. Pick the right gold fish

Selecting a healthy goldfish to take home from the pet store is very important.

Here are some signs in a healthy goldfish which you should be looking for.

Smooth body – A healthy goldfish will have a smooth body without scales sticking out. A person who is tired, sick or crazy will have ruffled hair, a person who is healthy and normal will have well-maintained hair. A bird that is healthy has a “smoother” appearance whereas a dead or sick bird has ruffled feathers, making them look “spikey”. This is the same for goldfish, a healthy goldfish should have a body that is smooth.

No missing scales – Scales are extremely important to a goldfish. They protect the soft bodies from all sorts of attack. Although many healthy fish may have a few scales missing, every open space in the body opens up the fish to a possibility of bacterial infection or physical attack. Always pick the fish with the most scales.

Swimming & Moving freely – A healthy goldfish swims around the tank freely. Compare the movement of your goldfish to the others in the tank. If a fish cannot swim freely there is definitely something wrong with its overall health. Make sure the fish’s body is straight, not angled or crooked – indicating it is in poor health.

No swollen parts / lumps – A healthy goldfish will have a smooth, well balanced appearance. If a goldfish has any swelling/bumps, it has probably had some sort of problem such as infection or over-feeding, avoid selecting this type of goldfish.

Clean water/aquarium – Something else to consider is the environment of the fish. Is the fish tank clean and well-maintained by the owners of the pet store? If the environment is dirty, the survival ability of the fish will be compromised. Always strive to buy fish from a clean tank, they will last longer in your tank too.

Type of goldfish – Usually, normal looking goldfish are easier to keep than “fancy” goldfish, such as those with large eyes or long tails. The “fancy” goldfish have been bred to have features which are aesthetically pleasing for humans to look at but have little functional survival advantages in the wild. Bulging eyes and long tails may be prone to infection and attack from other fish, standard shaped goldfish are generally more robust (although it is completely possible to keep “fancy” goldfish healthy).

Step 2: Pick the right tank

Fishbowls are a popular way to keep goldfish. Their round surface and lack of corners makes them very easy to clean, their shape makes them aesthetically pleasing to look at and their small size makes them easy to place.

The problem with fish bowls is that they are usually quite small, it is very hard to keep fish long term in small tanks. If you must use a fish bowl, buy the largest bowl you can afford, this will make it much easier to keep fish.

Fish do not like rapid changes in environment. If you keep a small fish tank, the water will be easily influenced by environmental changes (such as temperature) as there is a smaller volume of water to absorb the changes. This will shock the fish. A larger tank will have more water to reduce the intensity of any environmental changes.

Another disadvantage of a fish bowl is the strange shape. Fishbowls have edges which are rounded and curved, making it very hard to install attachments such as water filters. Water filters, even very small or cheap ones, are essential for keeping an aquarium long term as they maintain the cleanliness of the tank.

Yes, it is possible (although much harder) to keep goldfish without using any accessories in your tank. Just make sure you have a large fish tank.

Click here to read more about the benefits of using a large fish tank instead of a smaller one.

Step 3: Pick the right accessories

A filtration system is something every gold fish aquarium should have. There are many different options depending on the size of your tank. Whether you decide to go chemical or biological, external or hang on, always have a filter in your aquarium. It will save tremendous amounts of time and effort, the time saved is well worth the one-off investment.

Goldfish can be messy creatures, the pollute the water very quickly with their feces and left-over food. A filter will remove much of these pollutants, allowing your aquarium to stay clean and healthy for your goldfish.

Feeding your goldfish

Overfeeding goldfish is the by far the most common mistake beginners make. Unlike humans, goldfish do not know when they are full, they will eat as much food as you can feed them.

Goldfish don’t have a stomach, rather they have a digestive tract (intestines) so they have less space to store food. Humans can eat a single meal and store all the food in stomach, where it will be slowly digested for later consumption. In the wild, goldfish will constantly scavenge for bits & pieces of food throughout the day to keep a steady stream of food going through their digestive tract. You should feed your goldfish according to their natural eating habits, feed a little bit of food steadily throughout the day.

How much should you be feeding your fish? This question is very hard to answer, there are many factors such as size of your fish, quality of food, amount of movement, water temperature, etc. Always ask the pet store owners how much they were feeding the fish before selling them to you. Another way is by trial and observation. Start off feeding your goldfish as little as possible, if they still look healthy and you see no negative change in behavior, you are feeding them the right amount. If they begin to act differently, for example become less active, then you are probably underfeeding your fish.

Fish tank maintenance

A fish tank needs to be cleaned constantly just like a human’s house. You need to open the windows in your room regularly to let in fresh air, the water in an aquarium should be changed often too.

It is highly recommended that you buy an aquarium filter for your fish tank. Almost every single fish tank worth looking at will have a filter which will help to keep it clean tremendously.

Here is a list of the best aquarium filters that we recommend at fishcrown.

When changing the water in the aquarium, many people simply scoop out their goldfish with a net, place them in a separate container, pour out all of the water from the tank and fill it up with clean water all the way to the top. We do not recommend this approach at all. First of all, you should avoid scooping up your goldfish with a net, this causes intense shock and stress for your goldfish. If you must separate your goldfish from the tank into a separate container, make sure the water in the separate container is scooped from your fish tank to minimize the amount of environmental change your goldfish will experience coming in and out of the tank.

Instead, we recommend changing no more than half of the tank’s water at one time. Although this will still produce some shock, this will be far more gentle than changing all of the water at once.

Sources of water:
The quality of tap water varies a lot depending on where you live. Chlorine, fluoride and various chemicals can all affect how your fish will respond to tap water. For this reason, its advised that you use distilled water from the supermarket, or rain water is you live in a clean area of the world. This is not to say that tap water won’t work, we can confidently most people are using tap water for their aquarium and they are seeing few problems – decide if this is a risk you want to take.

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