Pet Care Guide: Goldfish

altGoldfish are fun pets to watch with their bright colours and lively nature.  Not only that, but they are also inexpensive and relatively easy to care for. 

One major advantage of goldfish as pets is that they give children who suffer from allergies to animal hair, the chance to have their own pet.  Goldfish can be kept in a bowl, tank or even outdoors in a pond, but for this guide we’ll assume you are looking at keeping them indoors. Goldfish in Bowls As goldfish can be very small when you first buy them, they might seem fine in a bowl to begin with, but be warned that they will grow and require a tank sooner or later.  It isn’t true that goldfish only grow to suit the size of container they’re kept in and they can quickly become stressed or unwell in too small a bowl.  As bowls are not usually suitable for filtration it is important to oxygenate the water in some other way.  This can be done by adding oxygen tablets periodically, which are available from pet shops.   Once the goldfish grow, however, it is highly recommended that you move them into a tank, or just start them in a tank to begin with.

Goldfish in Tanks

I really do believe that goldfish do better in tanks than bowls.  Because of their shape, there is more surface area which comes into contact with air in a tank and this is important.  An adult goldfish can easily be eight inches or more in lengths and they create a lot of waste meaning it’s highly important to keep their water clean and use a filter.  Fully grown goldfish really need at least 60 to 70 litres of water per fish in order to have enough room to move around and to stay healthy.  Please bear this in mind when deciding how many goldfish to buy.

General Maintenance

Goldfish are easy to maintain but should not be overfed as this can make them ill.  Pellet or flake food is ideal day to day and you can buy freeze dried treats for them in pet stores.  My fish is partial to the odd piece of cucumber as a treat, but if you add something like this and they don’t finish it, remember to remove it after a few hours as it can pollute the water.

Diseases

Unfortunately there are a number of diseases which goldfish can suffer from, including whitespot (literally white spots on the body), fungus (cotton wool like growth on the fish) and finrot (tatty fins).  The sooner these are treated the better.  These are some of the more common ailments but if you spot anything unusual about your fish you should contact a pet shop who will be able to advise on treatment.

Lifespan

Finally, be aware that properly cared for goldfish can live 12 or more years easily so they are definitely not just a pet for the short term.  My own goldfish (in the picture) has turned white in his old age and is now 20 years old and still going strong!