History and an overview of goldfish:
Goldfish is a freshwater species in the family of Cyprinidae of the order of Cypriniformes. It is a relatively small member of the carp family, which is native to Eastern Asia.
In the beginning, various carps were reared for food like most of the fishes by ancient Chinese. Goldfish was one of the common fishes eaten by ancient Chinese. In the wild, they were a dull grey or silver grey or olive green color.
The first orange-red goldfish was produced by natural mutation during the period of the Jin Dynasty (AD 265–420). By the 7th-8th century, goldfish became part of the ornamental ponds and water gardens.
During the 17th century, goldfish entered Europe through Portugal, and it first came to North America in the mid-1950s. Before we knew it became the most popular fish in America’s aquarium trade.
The lifespan of goldfish:
The longest goldfish, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, measures 18.7 inches (47.4 cms) from the nose to fin and belongs to Joris Gijsbers of the Netherlands. There are a few other goldfish measuring 16 inches (40.64 cms), 15 inches (38 cms), etc. in Europe and other parts of the world.
In general, they grow up to 12 to 13 inches (30.5 – 33cms) in an aquarium tank or a pond. Goldfish is not something that you are used to seeing tiny golden colored fish in a glass bowl. They belong to the carp family; can grow to their fullest potential with optimum water quality and space. Some carp can weigh as much as 50 kg.
The adaptability of goldfish:
The intelligence and the memory of goldfish:
Steps to how to take care, goldfish:
Choosing your goldfish:
Purchasing a healthy goldfish is the first big step, and will take you a long way into how to take care of goldfish; unless you have a long experience with fish keeping and goldfish to nurse an unhealthy fish back to a healthy fish.
While purchasing the goldfish, you would want to look for a fish:
- that swims actively in the tank without any floating or sinking problems.
- with a complete set of fins, or without any other genetic defects.
- that is effervescent, and always on the move and curious.
- The tank water in which the fish living is clean.
Besides the above points, the type of goldfish you want to choose makes a vast difference in the size of the tank to accommodate and the care routine.
The common goldfish, such as a comet, shubunkins, wakins, Jikin, and Watonai, are small when they are babies but can grow over 12 inches(30cms). These common varieties are more suitable in a pond or a large aquarium tank. However, they are hardy and need minimum care.
If you are tight on space, you can choose on the double finned or fancy goldfish kind. Some of the fancy goldfish are hardy and are adaptive, such as Tamasaba, Ryukins, Black moors.
Solitary confinement of the new goldfish is the first step to care for your goldfish:
Any new fish you bring home needs a solitary confinement period of 2 to 4 weeks. Though the pet store is supposed to quarantine each shipment, they don’t have space and can’t afford weeks of quarantine. Therefore, it is wise to keep your newly bought goldfish in a separate recycled tank.
The reasons are to destress the fish from transportation. And also quarantine them from developing any disease, treat and build their immune system before introducing them into your community tank.
Solitary confinement will prevent your new goldfish catch any disease from the other fish, as well as the spread of any disease to your existing community from them.
Aquarium supplies for your goldfish care:
While building a home for your goldfish, you want to remember their history and origin.
Choose the largest tank that you can afford because the bottom line is the spacious habitat equals healthier fish.
If you are setting up your first aquarium tank, then you want to purchase the following supplies to take good care of your goldfish.
The right filtration tank is the top on the list of equipment to provide a quality home and care for your goldfish. Filtration is not just for filtering out the suspended particles or debris from the water. Your aquarium filter houses beneficial bacterias/enzymes that are necessary to keep the desired water parameters. Beneficial bacteria or enzymes process the ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. This process is called the nitrogen cycle.
The level of ammonia and nitrite admissible in the aquarium tank is zero, while nitrate being a less hazardous element and is allowed to build to a certain level (>20 ppm)before you do the water change.
Though goldfish can live in cold water, their immune system can take a thrash as the cold water will stress out your goldfish; it is true more so with fancy goldfish or double-tailed goldfish. The delicate nature of the fancy goldfish has less tolerance level to disease and bacterial infection.
Goldfish immune system is at its best at the water temperature range of 68° to 74° F(20° to 23° C).
Most importantly, stable water temperature is essential in keeping the goldfish out of stress. A heater keeps the water temperature steady.
An Aquarium light:
Aquarium light helps in differentiating the day and night, which is essential for the fish and the other aqua lives to prosper. Visual effects are an added perk of aquarium light.
A test kit:
To ensure good quality of water, testing various parameters regularly is essential. The parameters include temperature, pH, dGH, dKH, dissolved oxygen, ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, etc.
Water changer and cleaner:
A good siphon vacuum cleaner for the water change and clean gravel and the tank is another essential supply in taking care of your goldfish.
When you need to scoop out leftover food and other solid wastes from the tank, you will need a net
Some more supplies that will provide an ideal home for your goldfish:
Some aquarists recommend bare bottom for the goldfish tank. Having a substrate such as gravel or pebble looks clean and provides the surface for beneficial bacteria growth. It also provides a surface for algae growth and the plants to take root, which can help in maintaining water parameters stable. Plants and algae help in dissolved oxygen levels through photosynthesis.
Having gravel or sand gives a natural riverbed feel and aesthetically appealing. It also provides something for the fish to forage.
Live plants can be the best decor for your aquarium tank. While using live plants, take caution in choosing hardy plants such as Anubias, Hortwort, java moss, java fern, etc. Goldfish are omnivores, and they love to consume plant matter.
Bubble walls help in increasing dissolved oxygen levels in the water. It also adds sparkle to the water. It is an excellent supplement to aerate the goldfish aquarium tank.
Conditioning the water – A goldfish care routine:
Acclitamize your goldfish to the aquarium:
Feeding or diet care for goldfish:
Diet form an important care routine in how to take care of your goldfish.
What you feed them, how do you feed them, how much do you feed them, and when do you feed your goldfish have a direct health consequence on their health and the water quality.
Goldfish are omnivores; hence, they need both animal matter as well as plant matter to keep them healthy. In nature, the goldfish diet consists of crustaceans such as shrimps, crabs, barnacles, etc., insects, algae, protozoa, and other plant matters.
They are opportunistic feeders; they will not stop eating their accord. That is why over-feeding will endanger their health. The selectively bred goldfish have a convoluted intestine tract. Over-feeding also promotes undesirable water quality as the goldfish produce more waste and fecal matter. Most time, it is due to incomplete protein digestion.
Goldfish food-specific feed consists of less protein and more carbohydrates compared to other fish food. It comes in both flakes as well as sinking pellets.
You can also feed them with blanched peas, lettuce, cabbage, and other leafy vegetables. Goldfish will benefit from live or frozen bloodworms, brine shrimps.
Variation is the key to a healthy and balanced diet for goldfish. You can feed with sinking pellets, floating granules, etc. as much as they can eat in 3 to 5 minutes for 2 to 3 times a day.
Duckweed is another good source of protein that contains a trace of minerals, vitamin K, vitamin P, and pigments such as carotene.
Duckweed, brine shrimps, bloodworms, etc. help bring out the bright orange/yellow-red color from your goldfish.
Signs that you are over-feeding your goldfish:
- excess waste
- leftover food
- dirty water
- unhealthy fish
Goldfish care routine:
It is just not enough to set up your tank and feeding them regularly on how to take care of goldfish. There is more to taking care of a goldfish than the initial setup and feeding.
All pets need maintenance, such as clearing the litter, taking out for a walk, occasional vet visits, etc.
Similarly, our goldfish need a routine water change. The filtration removes suspended particles and other solid wastes along with housing and propagating a colony of good bacterias/enzymes. A set of bacterial enzymes digest the ammonia produced by the fish wastes into nitrite, and another kind of bacterial enzyme turns this nitrite into nitrates.
Nitrates are less harmful and allowed to build in the water, up to 20 ppm. Over 50 ppm, it will be harming your goldfish.
A routine partial water change will keep the nitrates level under 20 ppm, which is the desirable level. You can perform this process with an aquarium siphon without bothering your goldfish.
You would want to test the water regularly for all the basic parameters that include nitrate along with pH, dGH, dKH, ammonia, nitrite, etc. If your nitrate level is higher than 20 ppm, you may not be changing the water as much as it requires.
You want to pay attention to how your goldfish swims, where they spend their time, how they look, etc. Isn’t the reason why you got your goldfish in the first place? Watching them can destress you and improve your mood and health.
When you spend your time watching them, it is easy to spot any unusual behavior or appearance. So, you will be able to attend to any issue at the early stage.
Goldfish Care and disease:
Generally, regular monitoring of your tank water with your test kits ensures the correct water parameters and the health of your goldfish. However, like us, they can also fall ill sometimes. When you see any sign of illnesses, the first thing you want to check is whether you have introduced any new decor or new species into their habitat.
Once you rule out that, the reason for their illness could be just a general one.
Some common illness that goldfish suffer include:
- White Spot disease
- Fin Rot disease
- Swim Bladder disease
- Lice and Worms
- Black Spot or Smudge
- Fish Pox or Carp Pox
You can avoid most of the diseases if you strictly follow the care routines, such as regular water change, testing the water parameters, and correcting them to the desired levels.
Quarantining the new species and treating them for any disease before introducing them to the goldfish tank. Taking care to clean up aptly any decor before putting it in the aquarium tank.
And feeding rightly will help you to take care of your goldfish healthy.
Tankmates for goldfish:
Finding good tank mates is a crucial phase when it comes to taking care of your goldfish. You might want to keep a pure goldfish aquarium with one type of goldfish, or you might want to mix a few different types of goldfish to add different perfective to your aquarium.
It is the simplest solution to find a tank mate for your goldfish to keep with other types of goldfish of a similar size.
Other tank mates can be schooling fish such as White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Harlequin Rasboras, adds more colors to your goldfish tank.
Shrimps such as Ghost shrimp, Red Cherry Shrimp, Amano shrimps, Bamboo Shrimps are valuable additions to the goldfish tank as they clean while goldfish dirty the tank. Shrimps can minimize the load on the filter. Just make sure to add enough hiding places in the tank, such as caves, tubes, some live plants, etc.
Platies and Bristlenose Plecos also make good tank mates to your goldfish.
Some large snails are also a great addition to your goldfish tank as they are good clean-up agents.
A detailed goldfish tankmates list.
How to take care of goldfish – A warp-up:
Goldfish make a perfect species for first-time owners. They are hardy and resilient and easy to maintain, and if properly taken care of, they can outlive your dogs and cats.
House them in a large tank of 20 to 30 gallons/fish depending on the type of goldfish, do a regular water change, run the filtration, weekly test for the water parameters, and correct the numbers if it has gone off the limit.
Feed them varieties of high-quality commercial food along with some home-cooked vegetables.
If you follow these care regimens, your fish can live to its optimal age and bring you joy and peace.
Don’t forget having a beautiful goldfish aquarium can help you with your moods, reduce your stress levels, and improve your health.