Pet Goldfish Care Sheet

Author: Kristy Walker   Date Posted: 22 March 2018 

GOLDFISH (Carassius Auratus)


Goldfish are a small member of the carp family and are native to East Asia. They can vary greatly in size, body shape and colour and are a common and well-loved family pet.


Your goldfish will get to know you if you feed them every day and will often come to the top of the tank or follow your hand when you approach.


With at least one friend, the right living environment and care, goldfish can be a fun and fulfilling pet even for a beginner!





What size tank do you need for a goldfish?


Goldfish can grow up to 25cm, so they need much more than just a fish bowl to live in! Common goldfish will need a 113L tank, and an additional 45L per additional fish. Due to their specific space and temperature requirements, it’s important to keep goldfish with the right kinds of fish. For beginners, it’s probably best to add another goldfish of the same type. If you would like a varied tank, make sure you keep in mind the differing requirements of temperature and tank size.


Common goldfish, particularly as they grow older, may be more suited to living in a pond to ensure they have adequate swimming space.


Your tank will need a filter and regular water changes to keep the water clean. You can also decorate your tank with live plants!



What kind of water do you need for a goldfish?


For best results, your goldfish tank should be cycled before bringing them home. Water cycling involves setting up your tank without any fish in it and monitoring the water until the ammonia and nitrate levels are undetectable. The ideal pH for your goldfish is 7.4. You can monitor and test your water conditions using a Freshwater Test Kit. 


Once your tank has successfully cycled, you can bring your fish home. Sit their bag on top of the tank for a minimum of 15 minutes. This allows them to adjust to any changes in water temperature.


Once your tank is established, you should do weekly partial water changes of 10-25% and use a gravel cleaner to remove any waste from the bottom of the tank. During each water change, a water conditioner should be added.



What temperature does a goldfish need to be in?


Your goldfish are freshwater fish who thrive in a water temperature of 20-24°C. A thermometer, heater and chiller are important additions to consider for your tank to keep your goldfish at their optimal temperature. However, they can tolerate a temperature range of 8-30°C.

Care should be taken to keep your goldfish in their ideal temperature range, as while goldfish are hardy, long term exposure to a non-ideal temperature can harm your fish.



What do goldfish eat?


Goldfish are an omnivorous fish,  and should be fed a goldfish-specific pellet or flake that contains less protein and more carbohydrates than tropical fish food. Live or frozen food (such as brine shrimp or mosquito larvae) is a great treat for your goldfish. Additionally, they can also have lettuce or peas (cooked, peeled and slightly mashed). Green vegetables can be good for your goldfish’s digestive system and help resolve constipation.


If you are feeding pellets, soak them before feeding so that they can’t expand in the digestive tract of your goldfish. Expanding pellets can cause blockage and constipation issues. Sinking pellets are also a good choice, as food stuck on the surface can cause your goldfish to ingest air, which can also cause constipation.




Can you put goldfish with other fish?


Goldfish are social fish and do well with at least one friend! The best companion for your common goldfish is another common goldfish. While not a typically aggressive fish, goldfish can be difficult to find compatible buddies for.


Any companions for your goldfish will need to be able to thrive in low temperatures. Size is also important, as your goldfish may grow quite large and eat smaller fish - goldfish eat a lot!


As fancy goldfish can be much slower, and with poorer vision, they are not recommended tank mates for your common goldfish. Not only will they possibly struggle at feeding time, their flowing fins are an attractive thing for other fish to nip at.


For more information on finding companions for your goldfish, please check our Aquarium Fish Compatibility Chart!



Decorating your fish tank


Live plants are an attractive addition to your tank, but be warned - your goldfish might decide to nibble on them! Ornaments and decorations, such as hiding places, should be checked carefully for any sharp edges and rinsed prior to putting in your tank.


Driftwood creations (driftwood with a live plant attached) can be added to your tank for a natural look. Your goldfish will enjoy the addition of driftwood, as they can use it to hide and even to eat!


Air pumps, while not necessary for all tanks, should be added if your tank water is very still or has a small surface area, or if your water temperature is high. Cool water contains more oxygen than warm water, and the air pump will provide additional oxygen to warmer water.




How long do goldfish live for?


When well cared for with room to grow and the right conditions, your goldfish can live anywhere from 5-10 years!



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