There are many people that like to own a pet but they do not have enough energy and time to take care of one. Adopting a fish is a popular option among busy people because it doesn’t require as much effort as owning a dog or a cat.
However, goldfish are not “maintenance-free” pets and you will need to put some effort and energy to ensure their health and survival. Owning a pet is a responsibility even if you own just a small goldfish.
Don’t keep your goldfish in a fish bowl, it’s much better to keep it in an aquarium with water aeration and filtration. Remember, the aquarium will be a home for the fish for its entire life and it should be a nice and clean space.
Types of Goldfish
The goldfish (Carassius auratus) has many different varieties. They are divided into the usual or standard (long-body) and fancy (round body) varieties.
Most people usually know the Comet Goldfish which is the most common species. When they are young goldfishes are very small but they can grow up to 14 to 15 inches long. When they grow up they may need up to 100 gallons of water.
The Shubunkin and Sarasa goldfish varieties have a similar body type and come in a combination of colors including red, white, yellow and black. There are many fancy varieties of gold fish including Moor, Fantail, Oranda, Ranchu, Celestial, Ranchu and many others.
They can have rounded or eg-shaped bodies. These fishes do not grow as large as other goldfishes and they are usually prone to diseases. They have big eyes and delicate fins and are prone to buoyancy issues and spinal diseases.
The Oranda goldfish can grow a fleshy thing on its head that may need trimming if it grows too big.
Environmental Requirements for your goldfish
It’s very important that you maintain a proper aquatic environment for your goldfish. It usually takes at least 20 gallons of water per goldfish while long-body goldfishes may need more water.
Comet goldfish live up to 20 years and they are some that can even live up to 40 years. It’s very important to take care of the quality of the water in the aquarium although most goldfishes are tolerant to water quality mistakes. Some of them can tolerate moderate levels of ammonia, and nitrate.
Make sure you keep the nitrate levels less than 20 mg/L and the ammonia and nitrate at zero. In case you have a densely packed tank, frequent water changes may be hard.
Goldfishes are known for eating too much and they also create a lot of waste in the water and that is precisely why they require a lot of space. Research shows that they can tolerate a wide range of pH but it’s important that there is enough carbonate to stabilize the pH levels.
Goldfish usually spend most of their time digging around in the aquarium looking for food. They like to eat every bite of their meals and they usually use small rocks in their mouth to clean food leftovers. There’s a small chance that these rocks will get stuck in their mouth, so don’t worry about it.
Make sure you don’t use small gel bio balls in the goldfish tanks. They can cause oral foreign bodies that are dangerous for your fish.
Housing Goldfish Outdoors
You can keep your goldfish in an aquarium or in an outdoor pond. Gold Fishes can withstand changes of temperature throughout days and different seasons.
If the pond is large enough, your goldish may have fun in it and enjoy spending all their time in it. In the winter period it may be more suitable to split their time between outdoors and indoors. Make sure your outdoor pond has proper water aeration and filtration. Also, every outdoor pond should have at least 30 gallons of water per goldfish. The water depth should be a minimum of 3-4 feet.
Don’t put fancy goldfish in outdoor ponds. They are not able to swim large distances and the increased depth can put pressure on their bladder. These fishes cannot compete with other fishes for food and are usually prone to predator attacks.
How Much and How Often to Feed Goldfish
Goldfish are known for enjoying food and eating constantly till they gorge themselves. They eat all the time and they are almost insatiable. Fish are ectotherms which means that the warmer the water gets the hungrier they get.
This is why it is important to regulate the water in their aquarium. If the water temperature is below 70F (21C) give food to your fish once a day. If the temperature in the aquarium is above this, feed your fish twice a day. Your fish should eat as much food as they can eat in 3-5 minutes.
The diet of your fish should consist of 30-35% protein and 5-7% fat. If your fish is juvenile or reproductively active, you should provide it with a diet that is higher in protein and fat. You can find a number of different diest online or in local pet stores.Give protein-rich foods to your fish such as worms or brine shrimp only if the water is warm. Shelled green peas is also a good meal for goldfishes.
Usually fancy goldfishes have problems with their diet and develop buoyancy disorders. They are surface eaters, so sometimes they can suck in too much air during eating and become temporarily positively buoyant.
Goldfish Maintenance Requirements
Keep in mind that goldfish aquariums and ponds require regular maintenance. Make sure you clean the filters once a week but do not replace them all at once as the aquarium may lose the necessary bacteria it needs. Remove the debris with a gravel siphon and remove the detritus with conditioned fresh water.
Purchase a liquid-based water quality test kit to maintain the water chemistry. Keep a close eye on the water quality in the aquarium to ensure your goldfish has a healthy environment.