Keeping Your Goldfish Healthy

Filed Under: General Care, Fish

Goldfish are the most common pet fish. They are easy to care for, and there are hundreds of breeds to choose from, although the orange comet fish is likely the one you will see at your local pet store. Goldfish are a wonderful pet for someone with limited space and time to dedicate to "playing" with a companion animal, but they still take work and effort to feed and house properly. Contrary to most people’s experiences, a goldfish that’s that cared for properly can live over 10 years. Take the time in the beginning to do things right for your fish, and he will live a long and healthy life.

Goldfish are one of the hardier species of small fish, and are quite tolerant of temperature changes. However, they do require the same things all pet fish require: clean, de-chlorinated water, a good filter and aeration system, and plenty of space to swim. A tiny "goldfish bowl" is not an acceptable aquarium, even for one small goldfish. You will need at least a 10 gallon tank, with a top that has mounts for a filter and aerator.

Clean your tank before adding the water, but avoid very strong chemicals and rinse well to remove any possible toxic residues. De-chlorinate your water by letting it sit openly for about a week. You could also use a mixture that will de-chlorinate your water chemically. Your tank should be placed out of direct sunlight, but should maintain a steady temperature. There are many in-tank thermometers you can purchase that attach to the side of the tank to keep an eye on any temperature fluctuations that may occur. Water turnover should be conducted at least every 10 days by replacing about 1/4 of the tank’s volume. A full cleaning should be done every 2 months, but observe the state of your aquarium every day when cleaning, and be sure to skim out any residue or foreign objects.

Caves and plants aren’t just aesthetically pleasing in your aquarium. Although your fish doesn’t have any predators to watch out for, real or plastic plants and toy caves provide little hiding spots that make your fish feel more secure in his environment. Don’t overwhelm the tank with these diversions, though, or your fish will have less room to swim.

Goldfish really only need to be fed once daily, because they will overeat if provided with too much food, and this can lead to numerous health problems. Just a "pinch" is plenty per feeding, and if the flakes are too big for a small fish, crumble them in between your thumb and forefinger. If your fish is healthy and hungry, he will swim up to the tank wall when he sees you, and immediately go after the food. If he doesn’t display these behaviors, your fish may be ill. Consult your veterinarian if you suspect any problems with your fish.

Topics: aquariums

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