Goldfish are a fantastic starter pet that people of all ages are sure to enjoy. Their beauty has inspired and delighted many cultures for generations. But their popularity means that there are many common misconceptions about these fish. Fortunately, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way to make fishkeeping smooth and fun. Here are five things to know before getting a goldfish.
- "Goldfish bowls" are a bad idea. The myth that fish can live in bowls is sadly widespread. However, the vast majority of fish, including goldfish, do not survive long in bowls. Fish need filtered water, not to mention much more space than a bowl can provide. If you plan on keeping a goldfish, you're going to want a real fish tank.
- Be sure you have a big enough tank. Goldfish are related to carp, and as such they get very large very quickly. An acceptable minimum size tank for a goldfish is twenty gallons. Remember, the idea that fish "grow to fit the tank" is an unfortunate myth. What actually happens is that small tank sizes lead to poor sanity conditions. This stunts the growth of the fish and generally leads to an early death. For happy, healthy, and beautiful fish, always opt on the side of a larger tank.
- Goldfish don't need a heater. While many freshwater tropical fish need a heater, goldfish do better at room temperature. This makes them a fantastic choice for people who want a simple tank setup.
- Goldfish need special food. If you visit your local pet shop, you will probably see both food for tropical fish and food for goldfish. This is because the nutritional requirements for goldfish are different than those for tropical fish. Make sure to get the correct food to keep your goldfish looking and feeling great.
- Plan to keep up on your water changes. Goldfish tend to be messy fish, and that can lead to water quality going downhill fast. To cycle your tank, change about 25% of the water in the tank every other day for about a month. Once the water is cycled, you can scale down to a 25% change about once a week. This keeps the water clean without disrupting the fish.
Goldfish are beautiful creatures and you're sure to love adding one or more to your family. Armed with a little bit of knowledge, you can make sure you have your new pet for a long time to come. Happy fishkeeping!