Golden Splendour: A Beginner's Guide to Keeping Goldfish
Today, we're going to delve into the world of one of the most iconic and beloved pets - the Goldfish. Contrary to popular belief, keeping Goldfish is more than just a bowl and some fish flakes. So, let's get you up to speed with all the basics.
Goldfish's Ideal Home:
Let's get one myth out of the way: goldfish bowls are out! They don't provide enough room or filtration for these active swimmers. A single goldfish requires at least 75-150 litres of water, and more space is needed for each additional goldfish.
Goldfish are cold-water fish and usually don't require a heater. They do appreciate plenty of swimming space and hiding spots, which can be provided with decor such as smooth rocks, driftwood, and live or artificial plants.
Goldfish can also live outside in ponds. Make sure it is covered as predators such as birds may eat them.
In terms of filtration the bigger the better. Goldfish are known to be very messy!
Ideal Water Parameters for Goldfish:
Goldfish are hardy but prefer the following conditions:
- Temperature: Room temperature is usually fine, ideally between 20-23 degrees Celsius.
- pH: Aim for neutral to slightly alkaline conditions, with a pH range of 7.0 to 7.5.
- Hardness: Goldfish can tolerate a wide range of hardness levels, but a general hardness (GH) between 5-12 dGH is typically suitable.
Remember, the key to happy goldfish is stable water conditions, achieved by regular testing and partial water changes.
Feeding Your Goldfish:
Goldfish are omnivores and will appreciate a varied diet. A high-quality goldfish pellet or flake food should make up the staple of their diet, supplemented with treats like fresh vegetables (peas, lettuce) and occasional live or frozen foods (daphnia, brine shrimp). We ours the Ultra Fresh Goldfish Ultra Colour.
Choosing Goldfish Tank Mates:
They're best kept with other goldfish, particularly of the same breed to ensure similar swimming speeds and habits. Avoid small, aggressive, or tropical fish, as goldfish require different water conditions and may become targets or compete poorly for food.
Plants for Goldfish:
Goldfish are known for their tendency to nibble on and uproot plants, so when choosing plants for a goldfish tank, you should opt for those that are hardy, fast-growing, and not easily damaged. Here are some good choices:
- Anubias: These plants are tough and have a bitter taste, which typically deters goldfish from munching on them.
- Java Fern: Another hardy plant, Java Fern doesn't taste very appealing to goldfish, which usually ensures its safety.
- Hornwort: This is a fast-growing plant that can usually stay ahead of any nibbling goldfish. It also doesn't need to be rooted, so it's not as vulnerable to goldfish that like to dig.
- Elodea: This plant is also fast-growing and can either float or be anchored in the substrate. While goldfish may nibble on it, healthy Elodea plants will often grow faster than the goldfish can eat them.
- Duckweed: This floating plant reproduces rapidly and can serve as a healthy snack for your goldfish. It can help absorb excess nutrients and provide some shade in the tank.
Remember, goldfish behaviour can vary, and some may be more prone to digging or eating plants than others. Even with these species, you'll want to keep an eye on your plants to ensure they're surviving well in your goldfish tank.
Choosing the right substrate for your goldfish tank is an important decision, as goldfish are known to sift through the substrate in search of food, and the wrong substrate can cause harm.
Sand is one of the best choices for goldfish. It is gentle on their bodies, allows them to exhibit natural foraging behavior, and they won't choke on it like they could with larger gravel. Goldfish waste also tends to sit on top of sand rather than sinking into it, which can make the tank easier to keep clean.
If you prefer to use gravel, choose a variety that has a smooth surface and is too large to be swallowed by your goldfish. Usually, pebbles that are about the size of a pea or slightly larger work well. Avoid using small, sharp gravel as it can injure the goldfish and possibly be swallowed, which could lead to digestive issues or even death.
Bare-bottom tanks are also an option for goldfish. They offer the easiest cleanup and eliminate the risk of your goldfish swallowing substrate. However, a bare-bottom tank won't support live plants and doesn't look as natural as a tank with substrate.
Regardless of the type of substrate you choose, be sure to keep it clean by regularly siphoning off waste and uneaten food. A clean substrate will contribute significantly to maintaining good water quality in your goldfish tank.