Caring for Goldfish in 10 Steps – Fool Proof

The goldfish is one of the most popular freshwater fish around the world. Due to it's beautiful cosmetics and ease of care, it is really the ideal fish for any beginner aquarium owner. Most goldfish owners don't research goldfish care until it's too late. This fish also has one of the highest death rates because of this. We have all seen these fish at carnivals, circuses, and so forth. There is nothing better than winning a goldfish that cost someone less than a dollar.

1. Goldfish Are Messy Creatures

goldfish poopMost people think to just put their goldfish inside of a small fish bowl. What they don't know is that as soon as the fish starts laying feces, the water starts to rise with ammonia levels. With this fish being such a big time eater, it only makes sense that the food needs to exit the body eventually. Somewhat of a dirty topic but very important to know.

The most common reason why goldfish die is due to inadequate fish tank maintenance. So if you are planning on keeping your goldfish healthy, start with installing an aquarium water filter or being ready to do daily water changes on your fish bowl. Water clarity is a huge factor to keeping any fish healthy inside of a tank or aquarium.

2. Proper Nutrition with Different Foods

The common goldfish owner is going to assume that feeding their fish the same fish flakes is going to fine for its entire lifetime. This is wrong. Would you be fine eating the same thing every single day for the rest of your life?

Goldfish that have problems with constipation and such need a well rounded diet. Fiber is a very common lacking nutrient that goldfish don't get enough of when only fed flake foods. Feed your goldfish cut up pieces of vegetables and fruits for more fiber in their diet. You will find they absolutely love this and appreciate the well rounded diet.

3. Environment to Grow is Needed

bowl of goldfishWhat do you most commonly see goldfish in? A darn tiny fishbowl is what you see. How the heck can a fish grow when you put inside of a tiny fishbowl. Dot mean to get personal here but this one bugs me.

I would rather see the fish die peacefully then sit in a tiny bowl for 4 miserable years. Compare a human to the same perspective. Could you personally live an a small bedroom for your entire life? I didn't think so.

4. Small Fish Bowls = Death

I had to throw this in as number 10.. Just because the goldfish is so misunderstood. When your looking to buy your kid a 89 cent goldfish, buy a larger fish tank over a bowl. The 5 gallon aquariums are so much easier to handle and do anything with. The smaller the tank, the less room for oxygen there is once it starts living in it.

Every aquarium enthusiast is bothered by misinformed pet owners treating their pets in the wrong manner. To properly care for your goldfish you will have to have a medium sized container and some ambition to change its water on a routine schedule. These are awesome creatures.

common goldfish

5. Adaptable Water Temperatures

A lot of the goldfish organs and operating system runs around what temperature of water it is living in. It can live in a spectrum from 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The colder the water, the slower the fish's organs work. Digestion and everything behind it all slow down. They would rather live in warmer waters but can survive on low temps as well.

When these fish are living in very cold temperatures, their bodies actually almost shut down and need little to no food. Fish are cold blooded and will make changes to their living environment under most circumstances.

6. Goldfish are Omnivores

These guys will basically eat anything they can get their mouths on. Insects, lettuce, worms, and all of the above. In natural habitat outdoors, they get a much more variety of food then behind glass of an aquarium. They even feed on algae from time to time as well.

They are commonly fed fish flakes every day of their life due to lack of knowledge by their owners. Another great reason to give you props for reading this! I personally would take foods from our regular dinners and feed them to my goldfish. Rounded nutrition makes for a happier healthy fish that lives a long life.

7. Life Expectancy of 5 to 12 Years

We have all heard the saying "my goldfish died." The average goldfish dies under one year old because of poor maintenance by their owners. Fish bowls don't get cleaned enough. Flake food is the only food most aquarium goldfish see in the real world of humans.

What I'm getting at here is.. goldfish die because people don't know how to take proper care of them more or less. They are super messy so water changes need to occur steadily. Enough tank or bowl volume is needed for the fish to be happy. Then lastly, the fish needs a rounded food curriculum for proper nutrition.

8. They Get Lonely Too!

Everyone gets lonely by themselves and so do goldfish. This has to be taken with a grain of salt though because to be able to house two goldfish in one tank.. you need to have the room and space in water volume for it. There are equations that help to figure out the size of fish versus how many you can put in water amounts. It is roughly 1 inch of fish PER 1 gallon of water. Most people find that their fish bowls are not satisfactory to this equation.

I would say it should be 20 gallons minimum. Another huge misconception by most. Remember, all these misconceptions just add to the already high death rate of these fish. Learn from what you read and actually take part in it.

9. Feeding Competition

Speed and agility come into play when it comes to feeding for this species. Some breeds of goldfish are just unfortunate due to poor vision and large size. At the end of the day though, the faster fish will get the bite. Watching a school of goldfish will let you know exactly how competitive they become for their food.

Fact is, these fish will eat almost everything you give them and there is always going to be wars between the fish to eat. Even though they seem super hungry at all times when feeding, it is more or less competition and not hunger all the time. So don't worry if you think they are actually starving because of this.

10. Related to "Carp" Species

If you think of the characteristics of a carp species, they are almost identical to the goldfish. That makes sense because they are actually distant cousins in the fish species gene pool.

carp**The point this brings up is how large carp fish get and they are close cousins to our pet goldies... they do not belong in fish bowls.

In the sportsman world of fishing, carp fish are thought of as a "garbage" fish. They are more or less hated by fisherman because they lurk the bottoms eating anything in their path. That "anything" usually includes fish eggs of any other fish. So carp fish realistically kill thousands and thousands of other fish before they are born. In some areas, it is illegal to NOT kill carp fish when caught by fisherman.

Have Anything to Add?

Posted by Jenny P.
My son just got a goldfish and what I just read is telling me that I can't use a fish bowl. It doesn't make much sense to me though because the bowls you buy at the fish store are even called goldfish bowls. If these fish aren't meant for bowls then why do they have their own bowl names after them? I'm missing the logic here. Or maybe I misse something.

Reply from Matt M.
You are correct on the fact that they're called goldfish bowls but these fish are not meant for them. I heard they are in the works of getting that name changed as far as bowls go because its very misleading. Goldfish are actually part of the koi family and get up to a foot long. Does that make sense for a fish that large to be living in a fish bowl. I think what happens is that goldfish at a very young age are fine in a fishbowl until they grow some and that's where the owners don't upgrade.

Posted by Danny A.
We had a Ryukin species in a fish bowl for the longest time and he lived for around 2 years. I think he just grew out of the bowl and couldn't live there anymore. I was doing water changes on a daily basis and I still can't figure out what happened to him or why he died. If I could go back I would buy a bigger tank because you just take your fish for granted after that long and think its fine. Guess my lack of knowledge was the killer of my own pet fish. Now I feel guilty and want another one but feel like I'm just replacing my old one. Then that also makes me feel guilty.

Posted by Rachael W.
I heard in some countries they are banning the prize of goldfish at any type of carnival or festival. The mass death rate at which they are dying is a serious issue occurring. That's quite a subject of you think about it. That would have to mean that the goldfish is the fish with the highest death rate too you would think.

Reply from Pete B.
Well it must still be legal here in the United States because my 9 year old girl just brought home a fish won at our city carnival and now here I am looking up facts on this fish so it doesn't die and leave her devastated. It seems to be a pretty stupid idea to give these fourteen cent goldfish away as a prize at a fair. I agree they should ban this. I have enough on my plate of Caring for my kids and job let alone a fish now.

Reply from Tony E.
If you can't take care of a simple fish in a bowl, then you shouldn't ever buy a dog because they are a bit easier haha. I learned that if I bought a 30 gallon tank, everything seemed to be easier to care for. I was changing the bowl water so often that it was starting to be almost every single day.

Posted by Sarah B.
How long can a baby live inside of a bowl then? How long before a person has to do an upgrade. What size tanks should be the ones to upgrade? Could I start with a fish bowl and move to a 10 gallon and then up from there? I just need to know some factors on knowing when to upgrade in tank sizes.

Reply from Moderator
Its very tough to know when the right time is to move the fish to a larger environment because the young fish is most likely already on too small of a surrounding. If I were to guess though.. I would say a couple of months at max just because the fish are such rapid growing. The first two months have a lot of changes occurring in the fish's body. I wouldn't advise this route because most people intend on upgrading but never do. Things come up in life and before you know it.. It's already too late. But of this is the route you have to take, then I guess it will have to work for you.

Reply from Grant K.
Don't forget to change the water a lot either Sarah because in the fish bowl, the ammonia adds up faster then if it were a larger tank. I had the same plans on upgrading in sizes and it never happened just like the mod said. Time goes by fast and I didn't make the tank upgrade in time I guess. My kids were not happy with me to say the least.

Posted by Brianna E.
What size filter should I get for my 10 gallon setup? I just got a ten gallon tank and that's the largest my mom would let me get. Now I have the money save for a mechanical filter for my aquarium. What size should I get? I see the filters have a recommended tank gallon size. If my tank is ten does that mean that I get a ten gallon filter? Need help people.

Reply from Moderator
Go with a larger filter setup. If you can get the filter to cycle the tank a couple of times every hour.. that would be beat. For example, your tank is 10 gallons so if you bought a 40 gallon aquarium filter then your tank would cycle itself 4 separate times every hour. Which is a good ballpark to be in. The more cycles your tank for hourly, the better. The saying "bigger is better" does suite this case here as far as aquarium Setups for fish habitats.

Reply from Brianna E.
Thanks for the response. I looked at some 40 gallon Setups and they are a bit more money then what I ha saves up but I bought one. The filter runs amazing and I just say that your advice worked out great. Thanks again.