The Guide to Keeping Healthy and Happy Goldfish
Out of all of the pets that are regularly kept domestically, it would be fair to describe goldfish as one of the easiest. As you will soon discover, they lack plenty of the basic requirements that draw so much time from owners of cats and dogs and for this reason, they will always be popular.
Nevertheless, you can’t just throw a goldfish in a tank of water and hope for the best. There are still plenty of guidelines out there to keep your goldfish healthy, and there are many innocent reasons which cause harm to them by new owners of the animal.
It’s for the above reasons that we have put together this guide. We will now scrutinize each and every area that you need to cover if you are about to keep goldfish, and keep them happy and healthy.
What is the best home environment for a goldfish?
Something that you will soon find through this guide is that a goldfish’s requirements really aren’t overly intense. In fact, they will be suited to pretty much any home environment, with the only ones that aren’t appropriate being those which might have lots of airborne chemicals (and this includes air fresheners, we should add).
One important point related to the home environment is that you must consider the weight of the tank. A lot of people simply don’t realize the sheer weight of this equipment and if you are placing it on an upper floor, you need to ensure that it is going to be strong enough to hold the tank. At this point you should remember that the tank isn’t just the basic equipment itself, it also includes the water, the gravel and a stand – not to mention all of the fish that you have planned for it.
On the subject of the position of the tank, always make sure that it is outside of direct sunlight. While this sunlight won’t directly hurt your fish, it will increase the temperature of their water. There have been plenty of occasions where the temperature has risen to a fatal level for fish – and this is one of the most common reasons why so many goldfish die within the first week of being placed in their tank.
What equipment do you need for your goldfish?
For some pets, the equipment list might be as long as your arm. Like a lot of things with the goldfish, this isn’t the case.
Instead, the basic equipment comes in the form of a tank. Sure, tanks can come in all shapes and sizes and there are some that are incredibly expensive. However, in terms of the amount of equipment you need, the list is very short.
In relation to the size of the tank, the basic industry equation suggests that you should have about 25-30 gallons of water for your first fish, and a further 10-15 for every additional one.
There are some smaller accessories you need alongside your tank, although these are so minor that they are unlikely to hurt your budget. We’re mainly talking about gravel or glass pebbles, which are readily available, as well as live or silk plants which will just add a bit more interest to the life of your goldfish. As well as the above, don’t forget a filtration system, which is needed for obvious reasons.
Some owners will go slightly further than this and acquire “extras”. Such extras include things like an algae scraper to make cleaning a little easier, and a fish net to make it easy to move your fish at various moments. Again though, these really are minor items and they are unlikely going to break your budget.
How should you maintain your tank?
As the tank is the primary piece of equipment, it goes without saying that this is going to require at least some maintenance. The good news is that one of the smaller pieces of equipment, a filter, is the item that will make life a lot easier for you.
One of the best reasons to invest in a good filter is that it can do most of the work for you. It will hang on your tank and effectively produce a waterfall to ensure the water is constantly in optimum condition.
So, how do you choose on a filter which is going to make your life much easier? Put simply, you need to look at how much water they are able to treat. You need to ensure that this number is larger than the capacity of your tank. For example, if your tank has a capacity of 50 liters, ensure that the filter has a range above this. Make sure it’s always above this (never the equivalent), as it just won’t be able to function effectively.
As well as your filter, there is some DIY required. Every week you should grab about a quarter of the water in the tank and replace it. Make sure you also get the water from the bottom of the tank (with something like a siphon), as otherwise this will never be replaced. By using a siphon, it will also do the job of pulling away any debris which may have accumulated around the gravel. When replacing your water, ensure that this has been at room temperature for the last 24 hours, as this will mean that its temperature has stabilized and any unwanted chemicals (chlorine being the main offender) have evaporated.
An interesting point about maintenance relates to the green algae that you might spot on the walls of your tank. While this most certainly appears unsightly, it’s actually harmless. Sure, you can scrape it off yourself to make your tank look more aesthetically pleasing, but it’s not going to be of any harm to your fish. In fact, your fish may even like to eat it after it has been scraped off.
How should you feed your goldfish?
In terms of feeding, there is slightly more information to consume. This isn’t because the subject is complicated though; fortunately goldfish eat very basic food.
There are no complicated foods to purchase; regular commercial goldfish food is all that you need to arm yourself with. This generally comes in pellet and flake form and is suitable for both large and small fish. The way this type of food dispels in the tank means that all of the fish will get a chance to eat some of the food, which sometimes doesn’t occur if a ‘bully’ occupies the tank.
In terms of the quantity of food, the basic advice is to feed two to three times per day. You should only put in the amount that they are able to consume in two minutes; which is generally the same amount of food that would cover a fish’s eye (in other words, only a very small amount). There is no need to panic if you happen to miss a day or so, this is unlikely to cause any sort of harm to your goldfish (although naturally, you should avoid).
This is probably the section that we should comment about constipation. This happens to be one of the main reasons a lot of goldfish die prematurely, yet it’s something that can be avoided very easily. All that you need to do is cook a piece of spinach in hot water, before adding it to the tank. The fish will start to consume the spinach and ease constipation symptoms considerably.
What exercise requirements do goldfish have?
We were almost tempted to exclude this section from the guide, as the answer is probably blatantly obvious. Unsurprisingly, fish take good care of their own exercise requirements and you don’t need to involve yourself in any form. They will swim around their tank and this will satisfy them completely.
At this point it’s worth mentioning that depending on the breed of fish you acquire, some are more active than others. For example, a slim breed is always regarded as being more active, so if you have a rounder one don’t necessarily start to worry.
Can you train your goldfish?
This last part should really come as no surprise. As you probably already know, goldfish are hardly like cats or dogs. Training really isn’t required and while some owners might be able to get their goldfish to offer a greeting from time to time, this is really as far as it goes.