CARING FOR YOUR GOLDFISH
Selecting the Right Goldfish
Not every goldfish stays small. Comet goldfish, sarasa, shubunkin and koi are pond-dwelling fish, that quickly outgrow smaller environments. A goldfish, placed in too small of a container, will experience life-threatening health problems. The average comet, sarasa or shubunkin adult size is 18 – 25 cm (7 – 10 in).
Double-tailed of fantail varieties can be raised in small aquariums provided they are not overcrowded. There are numerous varieties to choose from. They usually have egg-shaped bodies with numerous different fin styles. Their colours range from red to orange, white or black, calico or any combination in one fish. Most fantail varieties rarely have a body length exceeding 10 – 13 cm (4 – 5 in). A Petland pet counsellor can assist you in selecting the best goldfish variety for you.
To provide a healthy, happy atmosphere for your goldfish, Petland recommends the following necessary equipment and accessories. We have listed them as the four basic needs: Environmental, Nutritional, Behavioural and Maintenance. When your goldfishes’ needs are properly met, your hobby will be an enjoyable one!
A Bowl – These containers are best suited for bettas, not goldfish. They can be used for temporary display, but not as a permanent home. The size and shape of a 3.8 litre (1 US gal.) bowl makes it difficult to house even one small goldfish. The small water surface area and lack of water circulation in these containers provide insufficient oxygen levels in the water for most goldfish. The first sign of insufficient oxygen levels in the water are the goldfish gasping at the surface of the water.
An Aquarium – A well-made aquarium is essential for supporting the weight of water. The greater surface area reduces the possibility of low oxygen levels. A 38 litre (10 US gal.) tank is capable of housing up to 3 fantail varieties. The larger the aquarium’s size, the easier it is to maintain and the more fish you can have.
Outdoor Ponds and Barrels – are pre-made starting at 120 litres (30 US gal.) or they can be designed to best suit your landscaping.
Aquarium Cover and Light Fixture – A well-fitting cover protects the goldfish from outside contaminants and helps to reduce temperature fluctuation and evaporation. Fluorescent light fixtures and compact fluorescent lamps create a brighter more natural appearance to any aquarium. They are also more energy efficient.
The Water – Typically, goldfish prefer a pH within the range of 7.0 – 7.5 for optimum colouration and proper bodily functions. Tap water is generally suitable for them; however, adding an aquarium water conditioner will neutralize chlorine and add health aids beneficial to fish.
Gravel – You need gravel to simulate a natural environment. Goldfish commonly root through the gravel for food. It will retain solid debris and provide anchorage for natural and artificial decorations.
Thermometer – As a general rule, goldfish can live quite well at room temperature. An aquarium thermometer is necessary to monitor the water temperature. While goldfish are quite tolerant of temperature extremes, they do not like sudden changes. It is also important to check the temperature when adding water to the aquarium. Keep the aquarium away from windows or heating and air-conditioning vents. The preferred water temperature is between 18°–21°C (65°–70°F). Although an aquarium heater is not required for most goldfish environments, it is beneficial for maintaining a constant temperature.
Goldfish Food – Goldfish require a specialized food. They have a short digestive tract, which limits their ability to digest certain foods. Their basic diet (staple goldfish food) is available in flakes or pellet shapes. The flakes are for smaller goldfish and the pellets are for larger ones. Their diet should be supplemented with spirulina algae-based foods for their antioxidant benefits and colour-enhancing ability.
Feeding Instructions – Goldfish should be offered food twice a day. Be very careful with feeding your goldfish. Offering too much food at one time, especially in a small environment, can cause the water to become cloudy and polluted. Offering small portions slowly during feeding will increase the food consumption by the fish and prevent uneaten food, which quickly spoils, from contaminating the water. If your goldfish eats spoiled food, they could become sick or disinterested at feeding time. As fish food decays in the bowl, it can create dangerously high levels of ammonia.
Compatibility – A very important fact to remember when selecting goldfish is how their behaviours differ from tropical fish. They prefer peaceful, open areas to swim in. Keeping them with active fish or in a crowded environment (common to tropical aquariums) can cause serious stress-related problems with goldfish. Egg-shaped goldfish with double tails should not be housed with single-tailed comets or koi. They swim more slowly and cannot compete for food or shelter.
Aquarium Decorating – Adequate decorations are required to provide security and a place to hide. Artificial plants and decorations with rounded edges are recommended. An aquarium background reduces the influence of outside light sources while also providing security for goldfish.
Goldfish produce waste on a daily basis. Keeping their aquarium clean is a must. The following are easy ways of keeping your aquarium clean.
Aquarium Filters – Without a filter, a goldfish aquarium will require manual maintenance two to three times per week. Aquarium filters serve to remove or recycle most of the waste produced by goldfish. Aquarium filters also provide water movement for better water quality and optimum fish health. Petland offers a wide variety of quiet operating filters. Most filters utilize convenient replacement cartridges to provide mechanical, chemical and biological processes to help keep your aquarium clean.
Gravel Cleaning Siphon – Gravel cleaners are like vacuums, they draw up solid fish waste and debris present in the gravel. Gravel cleaning your aquarium by removing 20 – 25% of the water and replacing it with tap water that has been treated with water conditioner, every three to four weeks, will reduce the accumulation of toxic waste.
Bacteria Supplement – An aquarium filter bacteria supplement boosts the biological filtration capability in new aquariums, as well as maintaining optimum filtration in existing aquariums.
A Fish Net – This is handy to have around to remove excess food or debris, or to transfer fish if the need arises. The soft netting is easy to manipulate without causing the fish any harm.
Algae Cleaners – These aid in the removal of unwanted algae growth that appears on your ornaments and aquarium glass. Algae cleaners are available with or without handles or on magnets to make it easier to clean off the algae.
Introducing New Fish into Your Aquarium
Travelling from one aquarium to another can be very stressful for fish. Extreme temperature changes (hot or cold) can adversely affect your fish’s health. Try to avoid exposing your new fish to these hot or cold conditions when taking them home.
During this period fish may be unable to produce or repair their slime coat. A fish’s slime coat is their natural protection against injury to skin, scales and parasitic infestations such as Ich (which can be present in established aquariums). To help minimize the stress on your fish and protect its slime coat, please consider the following:
Wrapping up your fish bag in paper or keep them inside your warm jacket. Go directly home to lessen the transport time.
When you arrive at home, float the sealed bag of fish in your aquarium for 10 – 15 minutes to allow the water temperature in the fish bag to adjust to the aquarium’s temperature.
While you are waiting, add new decorations or rearrange the decorations in your aquarium to create new hiding places for all your fish.
Use an aquarium fish net to transfer only the fish from the fish bag into your aquarium. Discard the water and the bag. Then add a bacterial supplement to boost the biological filtration in your aquarium, which will benefit all your fish.
To help reduce health problems, we recommend adding a full dose of water conditioner as a slime coat additive, and aquarium salt (if permitted) as an electrolyte booster.
Monitor your new arrivals, along with your other fish, for the first 48 hours. Look for signs of stress, such as loss of colour, clamped or frayed fins, unusual grey patches or white spots and a lack of appetite. Contact your local Petland store immediately if you have any concerns.
Cleanliness and Safety
All pets must be kept in a clean environment to avoid the spread of dirt and contaminants to yourself and others. Always keep your pet’s home clean, and wash your hands before and after handling your aquarium.
Aquarium or bowl
Staple goldfish food
Spirulina fish food
Plastic or silk plants
Rocks or artificial decorations
Gravel cleaning siphon
Please ask your pet counsellor what other items pertain to your particular pet’s needs.