Looking to get a new goldfish? Everyone loves watching goldfish swim around in their tanks. Goldfish are friendly, playful fish and great companions for people of any age. But once you decide to get a goldfish, one question that will immediately come to your mind is…
How to take care of a goldfish? There are 3 essential steps in taking care of a goldfish. They are:
- Selecting The Correct Goldfish
- Setting Up The Goldfish Aquarium
- Properly Feeding The Goldfish
Now that you know about the steps involved in taking care of a goldfish let’s take a detailed look at each one of them…
Step 1: How To Select Your New Goldfish?
It is best to get your goldfish from breeders instead of a pet store, especially if you want a young fish.
When you go looking for your new goldfish, here are a few things that you should look for before picking one out:
- It swims around a lot and is moving around, looking for food and is perky.
- It looks like it is trying to find something to chew on.
- It does not have any genetic defects that can severely affect it; these include bent backs, collapsed mouth, or missing anal fins.
- It is swimming in clean water. Dirty water can lead to infections.
- It does not look ill. This includes having white spots, bloody fins, or red marks.
Once these preliminary checks are done, you also need to think about what kind of goldfish you want.
Do you have a lot of space in your house for a large tank? Or are you in a small apartment and do not have space for a large tank?
If that is the case, then, you might want to get a goldfish that needs a smaller tank.
Here are three goldfish breeds that grow large even though they look small:
- Comets and
These fish appear small at first, but as they grow, they get big, about a foot long.
They are usually kept in ponds; however, if you want to put them in a tank, you will need a large tank.
If you do not have a lot of room for a large tank, perhaps you should consider getting a fancy goldfish.
These fish have two tails and a short body, and they do not get as big as the other goldfish do.
This means they do not need a lot of space to thrive.
If you want a good beginner fish, you should either get a black moor or a fantail fancy goldfish.
These fish can withstand most unfavorable situations, so it is easier to take care of them.
Interesting Further Reading: Do Goldfish Eat Each Other? And How To Keep Them Together?
Great! Now that you have selected your new goldfish and brought it home, should you just put it in its new tank?
You need to quarantine your goldfish first…
How To Quarantine Your Goldfish?
No matter how healthy your new goldfish looks, you need to place it in a separate tank before putting it in the main one.
This is especially important if you have other fish or tank critters in the main tank. There are two reasons why you need to do this:
- This process gives your goldfish the time it needs to adjust to its new surroundings. Your goldfish will already be stressed from being moved, and its immunity might have decreased during this time. If the other fish in your main tank is ill, your new goldfish could catch something quite easily.
- This process gives you the chance to treat your new goldfish for any diseases that it may have contracted. This will help you to cure your new goldfish and prevent it from getting sick later. Doing this will also ensure that the other fish in your main tank will not get affected.
Recommended Further Reading:
- 6 Common Goldfish Tank Mates + (How And Why To Choose Them)
- Can Guppies Live With Goldfish? (Yes and No, Here’s Why?)
Most pet suppliers that sell goldfish do not quarantine them, so it’s likely that the goldfish are already sick in some way, shape, or form.
Even though these fish may look healthy, they have been moved around a lot and may have contracted something unwanted.
It is also unlikely that they have been treated for any goldfish diseases yet.
So quarantining your new goldfish is a good idea.
But keep in mind that most young fish tend to get stressed from being in the pet store and then moved to their new home.
So some of them might not even make it past the quarantine stage.
Okay! Now that you have quarantined your new goldfish, the next step is to set up the goldfish aquarium…
STEP 2: How To Set Up A Goldfish Aquarium?
After getting your goldfish, here comes the second fun part of being a new pet owner – setting up the goldfish tank.
It is now time to build a home for your new goldfish.
You need to get a goldfish tank, not a fishbowl!
It is usually recommended not to use a bowl for your goldfish. Never put your goldfish in a bowl unless you know what you are doing!
If you are not careful, this can be a horrible way to treat the little fish.
However, if you set up and take care of the bowl properly, then you should not have any problems.
But this means more work for you. So aquarium tanks should be preferred whenever possible.
We will talk about this in detail in just a bit.
But first, let’s talk about setting up your goldfish tank…
How To Set Up A Goldfish Tank?
The very first thing that you will need to do while setting up your goldfish tank is to pick a tank that is of the correct size for your goldfish.
Once that is done, you then need to pick the tank accessories that are required to keep your goldfish safe and healthy.
There are some fish tank accessories that you should definitely get while some are optional.
We will talk about them in detail later, but first, let’s talk about tank size…
What Should Be The Size Of A Goldfish Tank?
Remember, the bigger the tank, the healthier the fish!
This will also make you a happy fish owner.
So you need to make sure that you get the right size tank, depending on the type of goldfish you picked out.
But what is the ideal tank size for a goldfish?
Given below are some of the recommended guidelines to keep in mind while buying a tank for your goldfish:
- 1 square foot of the tank’s surface area per 1 inch of your fish,
- 1 gallon per 1 inch of your fish,
- 10 to 30 gallons of water per fancy goldfish.
You can also do 20 gallons of water for the first fancy goldfish, and then ten additional gallons of water per extra fancy goldfish.
While 30-55 gallons of water is recommended per slim-bodied fish, they are also recommended to be kept in a pond.
In general, the rule of thumb is, the larger the goldfish, the larger the tank.
Whereas smaller goldfish do not need a huge tank; you can even use a fishbowl if desired.
Keep in mind these are just general guidelines and are not the final “rules” of sizing up a goldfish tank.
Depending on the situation, you can vary the size of the tank needed.
However, using these base guidelines can help you figure out how big a tank you should get for your goldfish.
Apart from tank size, there are certain fish tank accessories that you should get.
Some of these are required, while some of them are optional to get.
Required Goldfish Tank Accessories
Given below is the list of goldfish tank accessories that you should seriously consider to buy.
- Fish Tank Filters: These will help you to keep the tank water clean and will allow good bacteria to grow depending on the filter. But do keep in mind that you will still need to change the water regularly yourself, even if you use a filter.
- Siphons: When you need to change the water, you will need a siphon. You will need a type of siphon that connects to your sink for easier water changes. If not, you will have to move a lot of water around to change the water. Even with an excellent filter that cleans everything, you will still need to change the fish tank water regularly, so a siphon is very useful.
- Fish Tank Heater: It is important to have a heater for keeping your tank water at a steady temperature. This will keep the fish happy. It will also prevent your fish from getting stressed due to constant water temperature changes.
- Aquarium Lights: These are needed so that you can see your goldfish better, and also for showing them off to your guests. However, the main reason to have aquarium lights is to keep your goldfish thriving. They also help plants thrive that you may have planted in the tank.
Interesting Further Reading: Do Goldfish Poop and Pee? (Here’s What We Found)
Optional Goldfish Tank Accessories
These are some additional add-ons you can use for your tank.
They are good for keeping your goldfish happy and healthy; however, they are not required.
- Sand Substrate: This is a much better alternative to use than pea gravel; you should never use pea gravel with your goldfish. This is because it can be a choking hazard, which can end up killing your goldfish. Using sand allows your fish to graze on it without the fear of choking and it also helps to make your fish tank look aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
- Bubble Walls: These walls help to increase the oxygen flow in your fish tank, and they can also add a little aesthetic to the back of your fish tank. Also, some of the filters that you use may not oxygenate your tank’s water very well, so adding these walls can help with that issue.
- Live Plants: These are great additions to your aquarium because they make your tank look aesthetically pleasing, and they can also provide some safe hiding areas for your goldfish. However, a lot of decors used in fish tanks can be dangerous to goldfish because they can spread contaminants that can poison your fish, and eventually kill them. Using these live plants can also help with reducing ammonia and increasing the oxygen in your fish tank. Make sure you pick plants that are friendly to goldfish; otherwise, your goldfish will munch on them, and they will become food instead of helping with the oxygen.
Now that you have understood everything about the goldfish tank, it is time to talk about fishbowl…
How To Set Up A Goldfish Bowl?
If you decide to go with a fishbowl instead of a tank, there are a few things you need to do so that your fish will be safe and happy.
These include five different methods of setting up your goldfish bowl.
Method 1: Sand Planted Bowl
This is a safe, simple, and reliable way to house your goldfish in a bowl.
The whole point of this bowl method is to make a self-sustaining home for your goldfish.
Wondering how you can achieve this? Just follow the steps below!
First, put about a 1/2 inch layer of sand at the bottom of your fishbowl.
If you want to put plants in the bowl, you may need a little more sand at the bottom.
Add some pebbles, shells, and any other decorations to the bowl and then add dechlorinated water very slowly to the bowl.
Then, you can add your plants if you want them in there.
Lastly, add your goldfish! Make sure the goldfish has been quarantined and is healthy, and make sure you place the bowl in a well-lit place but never directly in the sunlight.
Method 2: Undergravel Filter Bowl
The plants in the sand bowl essentially help to clean the bowl while the fish thrives.
However, if you do not want to plant anything, you can try the undergravel filter method.
This method places a filter under the gravel which allows it to clean most of the water in the bowl.
These filters do not create a lot of currents and end up aerating the water.
So go ahead and follow these steps to set up your undergravel filter bowl!
- Follow the instructions in the package for setting up the filter, then place the filter in the bottom of the empty bowl.
- Fill the bowl containing the filter with about 1/2 inch of gravel.
- Put in any decorations you want in this bowl, then fill the bowl with dechlorinated water.
- Put the airline tubing to the air pump, then connect the two and turn the air pump on.
After this, you can add your goldfish into the bowl. Make sure that the goldfish has been treated for any diseases and is healthy.
Now that your goldfish bowl is set, you will need to clean the bowl regularly.
You can add hornwort to the bowl so that you don’t have to clean the bowl often.
But you will still need to clean it at regular intervals.
Method 3: Sponge Filter Bowl
The advantage of using a sponge filter is that it does a great job of aerating the water along with growing good bacteria that you want in your bowl.
The current it creates is nice and gentle for your goldfish. Follow the instructions below to set up this filter bowl!
Place any substrate in the bottom of the bowl; you can use sand, plants, gravel, or marbles, whichever you want.
Then, add decor as desired into the bowl and put your filter in as well.
You can use either the stones that are provided with it or whatever you want to put inside the bottom of the cartridge.
Lastly, fill your bowl with dechlorinated water and add your healthy and quarantined fish to it.
Method 4: Power Filter Bowl
This popular method comes with a filter and a small aquarium kit. You can purchase them together or separately.
The great thing about these filters is that they keep your fishbowl’s water clean for longer time.
It also gives you more time in between two water changes.
If you would prefer, you can also add live plants to the bowl, which will help clean the water as well.
However, it will not allow you to grow the good bacteria in the bowl that the goldfish needs.
One of the major downsides of using this method is that the cartridges are a constant expense you have to deal with.
There may even be issues with ammonia being produced by the carbon if you do not add any plants in the bowl.
These filters also create stronger currents which can be an issue for your little goldfish.
You might have to add a small sponge or cotton ball to help slow the outflow of the currents.
If you are going to use this method, then make sure that you change the cartridges weekly and if using the sponges, squeeze these out weekly.
Method 5: Dirt Planted Bowl
This last method includes a self-sustaining, balanced ecosystem for your little goldfish.
It is also low-tech, so less money needs to be spent to keep this bowl clean. Follow the steps below to set this up.
Place one inch of an organic potting mix at the bottom of the bowl. You can use sand or gravel first to hide the dirt.
Cover the potting mix with a 1/2 inch of sand, then you can add 1/2 inch of gravel to the bottom.
While planting your plants, make sure that 50% of the surface remains unplanted.
Keep misting the plants to keep them moist. Using tweezers can help when planting the stems.
Add any desired decor to your bowl and slowly fill the bowl with dechlorinated water.
You may want to use a turkey baster and pour the water over a plastic lid with holes so that you do not disturb the dirt that was placed.
If the water ends up being cloudy, then you will need to change the water halfway.
Once this is done, you can add in your new, healthy goldfish! Make sure that they have been quarantined first and are not sick.
Okay! Now that your goldfish tank or bowl is set up let’s talk about water conditioners…
Water Conditioners For The Goldfish Tank Water
Even if your goldfish tank or bowl is ready, you are still missing one crucial thing, and that is Water Conditioners.
But why do you need Water Conditioners?
Well, if you use water from your sink (aka tap water), the chloramines and chlorine in it can burn your goldfish.
And since you do not want that to happen, you need to invest in water conditioners.
Do not put your goldfish directly in the water! Treat the water first with a water conditioner to ensure a safe habitat for your new fish.
You need to use a conditioner that can cut down the toxicity of nitrates and ammonia in the water.
So after treating the water with a conditioner, can you put your goldfish in that water?
Nope! Not yet.
The water is still not ready for your new fish. If you place your fish in the water now, it can get seriously ill, and may even die.
Why? Because you need to cycle your tank first.
But why do you need to cycle the water?
That is because, this fishless cycle allows you to build up the good bacteria in the tank which helps convert toxic fish waste into non-toxic waste.
If you place your fish inside the tank first, it will get ill and die without the good bacteria in there to detoxify the waste.
But if you put the fish first in the tank, you cannot do this cycle, because it is too late.
In this case, you will need to do very frequent water changes to prevent illness, along with getting a filter that is a starter for bacteria culture.
This will speed up the good bacteria growth, and it needs to be done every other day for multiple weeks until the bacteria have grown enough.
Alright! Now it’s finally time to…
Put The Goldfish In The Tank!
Now that you have your tank all set up and ready to go, you can put your fish into the tank!
So can you dump the fish into the water from its old home, the bag?
No! Do not do this, because you will be introducing the murky, dirty water into your clean tank.
Then you will have to do a water change right then and there.
So, first, make sure you have clean hands, then open the bag and carefully scoop your fish out of the icky water.
Now put the goldfish in its new home, the aquarium!
At first, your goldfish might hide from you, which is entirely normal. It needs to get used to the new surroundings.
Your goldfish may act skittish and shy for a while, but it will eventually perk up and start coming out and swimming around more.
Once this happens, you now have a happy little goldfish in its new home.
Congrats for reaching this stage.
But your work is not over yet. You still need to feed your goldfish!
So, can you start feeding your goldfish right away?
No, not at all! Wait 24 hours before giving the first feed because your goldfish was just moved from one home to another.
You need to give some time to your goldfish for getting used to its new home before feeding it.
Okay, so let’s talk about the last step…
STEP 3: How To Feed A Goldfish?
Now that your goldfish is acclimated to its new home and you have waited 24 hours, it’s going to be very hungry.
So, it is now time to feed your goldfish!
Follow the guidelines given below to make sure that your goldfish eats healthy and is happy.
1. Feed Your Goldfish Healthy Fish Food
Make sure you are feeding your goldfish healthy fish foods for it to have a strong immune system, good colors, and a healthy bone structure.
There are a lot of goldfish food brands out there to choose from, so make sure that you read all the ingredients listed on the fish food package before picking one out.
Do not get anything that has wheat, corn, soy, or rice in it; as the first three ingredients.
Ideally, do not get any food that has any of those ingredients. This is because goldfish do not eat grains.
They cannot digest them because they are complex carbohydrates and these ingredients are just fillers for the food.
These ingredients can cause fatty liver disease for your fish!
Any ingredients like this can cause shorter lifespans for your fish, especially if the food is of low quality.
Fancy goldfish cannot handle grains at all and can end up with swim bladder problems.
Other than grains, try to avoid fish food that contains one of these:
- organs and
Instead, make sure you get a whole fish meal which is healthier for your goldfish to eat.
Especially look for the ones that specify for which fish the food is made for.
Avoid any foods that have a lot of supplements and any chemical additives.
If the food has supplements in it, the more they have, the less healthy the food is.
This is because these vitamins are not food-based; instead, they are synthetic.
The less amount of good nutrition your goldfish gets, the more likely it will end up having deficiencies.
This can cause a whole lot of other problems you will have to deal with.
Read these detailed guides to get an idea of what you should feed your goldfish:
- What Do Goldfish Eat? What To Feed (And Not Feed) Your Goldfish
- Can Goldfish Eat Tropical Fish Food? Is It Really Safe To Eat It?
- Can Goldfish Eat Chocolate? Is It Really Safe and Healthy?
- Can Goldfish Eat Rice? (Here’s A Definitive And In-Depth Answer)
2. Feed Your Fish Daily
You need to feed your fish daily, but only feed it enough food that it can eat within thirty seconds.
You need to regulate how much you are feeding your goldfish. Too much food can cause overfeeding.
This can lead to a lot of problems, including death.
Also keep in mind that if the food remains in the water for a longer time, then it will get dirty.
This will create waste in the water, which is unhealthy for the goldfish. So you will need to change the water more often.
Now that you have picked out your goldfish, your tank is all set up, and you know how to take care of a goldfish properly, it can now live a long and happy life in its new home. Congrats, you are now a new goldfish owner!
So one final tip…
If you have children, then make sure that you teach them the proper way to take care of the goldfish by letting them help you with feeding the fish and cleaning the tank.
Explain to them that they need to take care of the goldfish the right way.
Show them the little things that they can do to help you take care of the goldfish.
Happy Goldfish-Keeping! (I hope that’s a word!)
Oh! And before you go, if you found this guide useful, then please share it with your friends and family.