Most of us remember playing carnival games for goldfish and then bringing them home in a bag as a treasured prize. However, owning a fish is much more special than just winning a carnival prize. Goldfish can live for decades and grow to be quite large for a simple and common household carp. So how exactly should you care for you fish?
One of the biggest myths about goldfish is that they prefer and thrive in a bowl. It’s often too small, hard to clean, and doesn’t have enough surface space for proper oxygen exchange. However, this is not even close to being true. In fact, they thrive in large open spaces just like most animals. You want to stick with a general rule of thumb, 20 gallons for one fish and an additional 10 gallons for every additional fish. They love to eat plants, so it’s a good idea to put some plants like Java Fern and Cabomba for them to swim around and chew on. Also, rocks and woodwork (like a sunken ship) that provide hiding and resting places and a fluorescent light are a must.
Goldfish are no different from other fish, they need a filtration in their tank. They can produce a good amount of waste because they tend to eat a lot. They also like to root around the rocks and gravel which can stir up the waste buildup that settles at the bottom of the tank. A full sized canister or hang-on filter is perfect for their tank and should be cleaned at least once a month.
Not all fish foods are the same. These fish are actually omnivores and need a mix of both plants and animals in their diets. Also, they are continual feeders which means they spend their days foraging for food which means they need to be fed small frequent meals. Make sure to give them small amounts of dry food several times a day to prevent the fish from gorging themselves. Only feed them goldfish food and not tropical fish food. You can also add frozen vegetables, spinach, live plants, and other plant material like Spirulina flakes or pellets is very beneficial to goldfish and will help meet their dietary needs. Plus things like hard boiled egg yolk, earthworms, and brine shrimp can be added to supplement their animal based protein needs.
No matter how hard you try, your goldfish may end up traveling to the great big toilet bowl in the sky. Some goldfish, especially the ones you get at the carnival, have been bred in cramp quarters and may already be sickly when you get them. Check out this funny short video on Telling Your Kid the Goldfish Died.