Have you ever discouraged yourself from owning pet goldfish because of what other previous goldfish owners have said about them, particularly the negatives? Well, you shouldn’t; especially if you can’t vouch for the truth on why their goldfish originally died! Perhaps the owner tried to keep the fish in a bowl, after partaking in the TV show myth of happy goldfish swimming in an adorable round bowl. Or, maybe the environment was not a bowl, but it was still confining; depending on how many goldfish the owner was keeping at a time (Goldfish need to swim in schools-that applies to just about every type of fish known to man-except “Siamese fighting fish” or Bettas). Or who knows-maybe this person wasn’t on the up and up when it came to some of the important key points of maintenance. Goldfish care is certainly not rocket science, but they too are not a “set and forget” kind of hobby-I have seen all too many perfectly good pre-owned aquariums for sale at second-hand stores and other places-It makes me sad to see that; perhaps these owners “didn’t have the time” for this hobby after awhile. I cannot speak for everybody who eventually abandons fishkeeping-but it’s kind of a shame to see some people turn their backs on such a rewarding hobby. I don’t want that to happen to you. Let’s look at some of the finer points of owning pet goldfish…
The first is the beautiful colors and patterns. Many out there you will find are not completely “orange”. They have patterns of golden yellow, black, and white mixed in. The fancier the goldfish (such as fantails and moors) the more varied these patterns will be, but even common goldfish can be striking, too. One of mine is two-toned in white and orange. You will also find that goldfish are friendly, intelligent, alert (you will never forget to feed them as they will be greeting you at the glass as soon as it’s time!) And they subsist on a fairly varied diet..pellets and flakes are good, but they’ve been known to enjoy spinach and shelled peas, brine shrimp and bloodworms. If you like live aquarium plants, I would refrain from keeping them around goldfish as they will nibble on them too.
You will also find that goldfish are hardy and long-lived (Japanese koi live even longer-some up to 20 years or more!) I’ve had the same orange and white pet goldfish for going on three years so I can tell you they are pretty tough. They are not completely immune-there are a few goldfish diseases like ick and swimbladder that definitely require attention and solitary quarantining. A goldfish lifespan depends on different things-but do not underestimate the “key points” which I will talk about in the next paragraph. The first point is their habitat.
Yes, absolutely, 100 percent. You NEED to keep them in a tank… NOT a bowl. I would strongly advise you against purchasing one of those “mini” or “nano” tank kits if you plan on keeping goldfish-save those for your solitary Bettas in the future. The tank needs to be fairly roomy-doesn’t have to be gigantic (in such a case, you’d be better off keeping them in a backyard garden pond, where they will thrive in large numbers.) Many experts will tell you that you will need a 30 gallon tank at least. If you own a 29 gallon capacity tank; no big deal here as that’s just one gallon off. There are friendly “natural” tank-cleaners like pleckos and Chinese algae eaters that can give your tank a little cleaning boost. The reason for this larger size is that a bigger tank will keep the water pollution issue to a minimum. Goldfish waste levels definitely exceed that of other freshwater varieties. The smaller the tank, the more frequently the water will need to be changed. You also need a good filtration system and an air pump. A heater for the aquarium will not be a necessity as goldfish are not as temperature sensitive as some other freshwater fish breeds.
Bi-monthly (every other week) water changes are important; the first time you may want to siphon about 25% of the water, the next time and subsequent changes, about half of the water should be good. Now if you are thinking of just pouring that dirty fish water down the drain, take a tip from my brother-in-law who has raised goldfish longer than I have. The bacteria present in fish waste laden water will make great plant fertilizer if you have a garden in progress. Even for a few houseplants, the soil will get a much-needed boost. When you replace the removed water with clean (chlorine-free; no instant from the tap kind of water) be sure to also change the filter cartridge as well.
You should (and will) enjoy your pet goldfish for a long time to come if you remember all the important points made earlier. Goldfish are attractive, not difficult to care for, and quite inexpensive (depending on whether you are looking at common or fancy varieties.) Four “common” goldfish from a pet store retailer set me back only a dollar. “Fancy” goldfish start at a dollar apiece and up from there depending on the type. They will pay you back in dividends as you see how big these little guys will get eventually! I have a four-incher that you would never guess was once two inches long so I hope it doesn’t get any bigger. I consider this particular goldfish the “alpha male” or the “Queen Bee” of my bunch.
If you ever want to take this hobby to the next level one day, you might want to look into garden fish ponds. A lot of work goes into crafting the dream backyard goldfish pond-much more than tank-keeping-so keep that in mind. Until then though, I hope you will get the maximum benefit from raising your goldfish to be happy and healthy in a nice home aquarium!