Goldfish: a rite of passage for all pet owners. Most of us have owned at least one at some point, whether as a first pet or a prize from the carnival.
We’re happy to see it swimming in its bowl the day we take it home — and then devastated seeing it belly-up within two weeks.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to keep this from happening for a while and keep them healthy and strong.
Here are some tips for keeping your goldfish alive for more than a blink of an eye:
Put a Filter in Their Tank
One of the most common mistakes people make when owning goldfish is leaving them in an unfiltered bowl that is too small for them.
Unlike some other fish, goldfish produce more waste than most other freshwater fish, which can quickly cause the build of nitrate in the tank. This affects the oxygen levels in the tank and kill the fish.
Not only will a filter help prevent this, but you also won’t have to change the water and clean the tank as often as you would without one.
With that in mind, you should also . . .
Keep Them in a Tank, Not a Small Bowl
Goldfish are just like any other fish. They need space to roam around.
While it is possible to keep them in a bowl without a filter, it should still be able to hold at least fifteen gallons (preferably twenty gallons, and then go up ten gallons for every other fish you add) and will need its water change weekly to keep the fish healthy.
A tank with a filter is advised because you won’t have to change the water as much (once or twice a month) and you can be sure that it offers the right amount of space.
Condition Their Water
While goldfish are a hearty fish, they do better in treated water rather than plain tap water.
After you fill their tank with water (tap water is fine, but bottled is better), pour in a solution (which can be bought from pet store) to achieve the proper ph balance for them to live in.
If you ever want to check the ph levels of their water you can use a ph water testing kit bought from the pet store.
Pick the Right Sized Gravel
The goldfish is a cousin of the carp fish, who are scavengers. That means that they will try to eat everything and anything in their tank.
If the gravel in their tank can fit in their mouth, there is a good chance that they will eat some. This obviously can cause digestive issues and can make your goldfish seriously sick or kill them.
To avoid this be sure to choose a gravel size that they cannot swallow, about pea-sized or bigger.
Do Not Overfeed!
This one is another big cause of premature death for goldfish.
If a goldfish eats too much it will cause it to create more waste, which in turn creates more nitrate and affects the oxygen levels in the bowl. The proteins in the processed foods can also cause problems with the fish’s organs if they are given too much.
The remedy to this is to feed them just a little bit of pellets or flakes two to three times a day.
If you ever feel like giving them a treat now and then you can give them some blood worms or bits of frozen (not cooked) shrimp.
If They Look Sick, Take Action
This is usually the case with goldfish from carnivals but can happen to fish from pet stores as well.
All goldfish should have clear eyes and swim around their tanks with interest. If the fish’s eyes look cloudy, or they have strange white or fuzzy spots on their scales, it’s a sign that there might be something wrong.
Most goldfish diseases are easy enough to google and, depending on the illness, can be fixed by either changing the tank’s water more often or stirring in a relatively cheap solution from PetSmart or Petco.
A Healthy Goldfish Is a Happy Goldfish!
Know about any other ways to keep your goldfish healthy? Leave them in the comments section below!