How should I keep and care for Goldfish?

14 / Feb / 2018

Goldfish (Carassius auratus) are the most popular of all ornamental fish and are known for their attractive bright colours. Goldfish originate from temperate climates and in the wild they live in cool streams, lakes, and ponds throughout Asia and parts of Eastern Europe. Today, there are a wide variety of goldfish available.

Goldfish are social and intelligent animals and are regularly seen interacting with each other and their human caregivers whom they can learn to recognise. Goldfish have a lifespan averaging about 10-15 years, with some varieties living up to 30 years when provided with proper care. Unfortunately, many goldfish do not reach their lifespan potential due to inadequate housing conditions. Housing needs to meet both their behavioural and physiological needs. The following information will help to improve goldfish longevity, health and welfare.

Purchasing a healthy goldfish

When purchasing a goldfish first check that the seller is responsible and that their aquariums are not overcrowded. Healthy fish display clear and bright body colouration and they hold their fins erect. Healthy fish are also alert and swim without undue effort.

Indicators of poor health include fish that sink or bob to the surface; fish that have lumps, bumps, wounds, clamped fins or a trail of excreta and fish that stay in a corner of the aquarium for a prolonged period of time. When choosing goldfish you will also need to consider how large the goldfish will become to ensure that they are provided with adequate space as they grow.

Aquarium size

Minimum tank volume is about 50L and with the following tank dimensions:

Length = 4 x adult body length
Width = 2 x adult body length
Height = 3 x adult body length

Filter capacity has an equally important role to play when setting up.
*Remember that the larger the tank and filter, the better it is for your goldfish.

You will also need to consider how large your fish will be when they reach adult size and the total number of fish you wish to keep. Certain types of goldfish may have increased space requirements, such as slimmer goldfish that are usually more active meaning aquarium size for these varieties needs to be larger and longer than generally recommended for their body size.

Traditional fish bowls are usually too small for goldfish and should be avoided. However, there are some new modern designs that incorporate filtration and lighting which can be good alternatives.

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How should I keep and care for Goldfish?