Even non-aquarists will usually recognize a Goldfish and the Goldfish has a long history as pond fish in Asia. It is a freshwater fish that can be obtained in several variations. They all hail from the Gibal Carp that lives in China. The Chinese have engaged in selective breeding of the Gibal Carp during countless centuries and the result is the multitude of different Goldfish types that we can see today. Since the Goldfish originates from a carp that can survive in quite cold climates, the Goldfish will endure temperatures between 10 and 32 degrees Celsius (50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit).

The so called “Goldfish bowls” are actually highly unsuitable homes for Goldfish since these bowls are seldom large enough. The largest type of Goldfish can reach a maximum size of 30 centimeters (12 inches) and weigh 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds). A Goldfish will also require plenty of surface area in addition to sufficient amounts of water, especially if you intend to keep them in an aquarium without aeration. A large surface area will increase the amount of oxygen in the water and 30 square inches of surface area for every inch of Goldfish is considered a minimum. You can of course also install an airstone in your aquarium or purchase a mechanical filter pump that aerates the water.

When you keep your Goldfish in an aquarium that is large enough it will also be much easier to keep the water chemistry at suitable levels. With proper care your Goldfish can live for 30 years or more, but in a tiny bowl it is common for Goldfishes to succumb to illness and die within a year. If you have high quality tap water you can use this when filling your Goldfish aquarium, but you should add water preparation chemicals from your fish store as well. It is important that you let the water stand for at least one week in the aquarium before you add your Goldfish. When you perform water changes it is imperative that the water that you plan to add has the same temperature as the old water in the aquarium. Small and frequent water changes are better than one huge water change once in a while.

Decorating your Goldfish aquarium with a bottom layer of gravel since your Goldfish will feel more at ease when provided with a solid “floor”. The gravel can also be colonized by beneficial bacteria that perform biological filtration. If you have a friend with an established (and healthy!) aquarium you can add some grave from that aquarium, since gravel from an established aquarium is filled with suitable bacteria. You can also purchase bacteria from the fish store, a so called “Starter Kit”. If you purchase dyed gravel to decorate you aquarium with, it is important that you buy it from a reputable fish store since some stores still sell dyed gravel that releases harmful contaminants into the water and injures the Goldfish. The Goldfish is a hardy fish and can survive even when the filtration is poor. Adding a mechanical filter to the aquarium is still advisable since it will make it easier for you to keep the water chemistry within acceptable parameters. Some mechanical filters are equipped with carbon which will provide the aquarium with chemical filtration as well. As mentioned above, a mechanical filter will also help oxygenating the water since it provides a current.

Even with good mechanical, chemical and biological filtration you must perform regular water changes. A Goldfish produces quite a lot of waste products compared to other species. It is also common for beginner Goldfish keepers to over feed their pet, which will result in a lot of waste products (fish poo). Changing 15 percent of the water once a week is a good rule of thumb. When you add new water it is important that the new water and the old water have the same temperature. It can be a good idea to buy a test kit from the fish store, since this will make it possible for you to test the water quality. Three of the most important factors to test for are ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

It is common for Goldfish bowls to be very barren, but your Goldfish will feel less stressed if you decorate the aquarium with plants, rocks or some other form of aquarium decoration that creates hiding places for the fish. The Goldfish will do fine even without additional lighting, but the aquarist might appreciate it since aquarium light will bring out the color of the Goldfish and make it look more beautiful. When you add Goldfish to a new aquarium you should dim the lights to make the fish feel safer.

Just like any other fish, the Goldfish needs to be acclimatized to the environment when you move it from the fish store and home to your aquarium. Place the bag with the Goldfish at the surface of your aquarium and let it float for 15-30 minutes until the water in the bag has the same temperature as the water in the aquarium. Open the bag carefully and pour a cup of water from the aquarium into the bag. Wait 15 minutes before you repeat this procedure. When you have poured four or five cups of aquarium water into the bag (you must always wait 15 minutes between each refill) it is time to release the Goldfish into its new home. By carefully pouring small amounts of water into the bag over a period of time you give the Goldfish a chance to adjust it self to the new chemical conditions.

You can feed your Goldfish special Goldfish Food from the fish store. Goldfish have special dietary requirements and will for instance prefer more carbohydrates than many other fish species. If your Goldfish has not eaten all the food within 10 minutes, you are over feeding the fish. Decrease the servings until they are small enough for the fish to consume in 10 minutes. Excess food must be removed as soon as the feeding is over, since left over food will pollute the water. Feeding your Goldfish small servings two or three times a day is enough.

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