Goldfish: ( Carassius Auratus)
Size: 5-10 inches (For common breed)
Aquarium Size: 29-220 gallons, 200+gallon pond
Our beloved goldfish. Whether you won one by throwing ping pong balls into fish bowls at the county fair, were given a sickly one from an irresponsible owner, or found a nickel on the ground and used it to buy one yourself, I’m sure everybody who is reading this has had a goldfish at one point in his or her life.
Goldfish are often kept in small bowls as some sort of house decor, and they are often used to feed large cichlids such as oscars, red devils, and the like. But there is so much more behind those ridiculous eyes and that chubby mouth constantly begging for food.
To begin with, goldfish make awesome pets (I can hear the goldfish haters crying and whining already). They aren’t anywhere near the stupidest fish, and no, they don’t have a five second memory. Go to Youtube and search up some goldfish tricks. These fish learn to do certain “tricks” because they know that doing so will reward them with food. Try it yourself some day. Oh and there are so many colors of goldfish, as well as the dozens of varieties, from Black Moors to Comets to Shubunkins. This article will be mainly concerned with the common, “feeder” goldfish, however, because I like them more.
Before delving into more advanced stuff, there are a few things a responsible goldfish keeper must know. First of all, a fish bowl isn’t a very great home for a goldfish, or any fish for that matter. Sure, they can live in bowls. I have a friend who once kept about five or six goldfish in a small bowl, and some of them were only a few inches while one was at least seven inches. They lived there for many many years. But were they happy? No.
Goldfish grow quickly and eat a lot; consequently, they shit a lot. This means a powerful filter and frequent water changes will be necessary. This also means that goldfish aren’t suitable tankmates for fish who won’t grab food very quickly, including a lot of bottom dwelling catfish-the goldfish will slurp up their algae discs before they even wake up. Young goldfish can be purchased at a very low price. However, since these are intended as feeders, many of them will be malnourished and sick, so don’t hit yourself if your goldfish dies soon after purchase. Young goldfish can be started off in smaller aquariums, just be sure to provide a couple hides. Adult goldfish can live happily in a 29 gallon tank, but if possible, get a 55 gallon-that will give them plenty of room to swim. Goldfish can also live very happily in ponds; there are plenty of natural foods that grow in ponds that goldfish can munch on to enhance their colors.
Goldfish are coldwater fish, one of a couple reasons not to mix them with tropical fish. Although there is no temperature range written in stone for these fish, In my experience, temperatures of 65-73 degrees Fahrenheit have provided me with healthy and vigorous goldfish. Goldfish are very hardy, and can even survive in extremely cold water in which the top layer is frozen; they can also tolerate higher temperatures, however, goldfish are very active fish and require plenty of oxygen, and warmer water results in lower dissolved oxygen.
Now, onto diet. Goldfish will eat almost anything. Commercially prepared flakes, shrimp, bloodworms, plants, peas, guppies, blanched lettuce, algae discs you name it. A goldfish can live its whole life on flakes, but feeding them a more varied diet reduces the risk of constipation and malnutrition, and it makes your goldfish look healthier and more colorful. It is suggested to feed them flakes, peas with the shell removed, blanched lettuce or spinach, and other greens. They will also take meaty foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, blackworms and things of that nature, but those aren’t required. Goldfish can and will overindulge, so it is important not to overfood, or it will result in a lot of health problems. More goldfish probably die of overfeeding than underfeeding. Generally, don’t feed more than what your fish can consume in a minute or two. Young and growing goldfish should be fed twice a day, but of course, be careful not to feed in excessive amounts. Also, a warning about flakes-I know you love to flood the tank with them and watch your goldfish gobble them up. This inhalation of air bubbles and the expansion of flakes later on can lead to swim bladder problems, so especially after your goldfish has done some growing, it would be wise to pre-soak flakes and feed other foods to avoid tragedies.
Breeding goldfish is somewhat difficult, and it’s generally beyond the scope of this text *meaning I am too lazy to explain it in depth). It will be partially discussed; if you are serious about it, go find some information on the internet or find some good books. Conditioning goldfish (once you have a sexed pair of course) involves changing temperature and diet, and may require a cooler. Goldfish will gobble up their own eggs, so a substrate of large marbles, or a net can help prevent this while spawning. Goldfish fry are very small, and after losing their yolk sacks, will eat microscopic foods such as algae, paramecia, or microworms. If you choose to breed goldfish, then good luck to you.
Swim Bladder Disease: Unfortunately, goldfish are prone to swim bladder disease because A) They tend to gulp a lot of food off the surface of the water, and B) Many fancy varieties have compressed, unnatural digestive systems.
What to look out for? If your goldfish is wobbling, or has off balance swimming, then react immediately; the sooner you notice a problem, the greater your chances for curing it are. Unfortunately, swim bladder disease is rarely curable, and may prove fatal. However, if you remain a diligent fish keeper, you can reduce the chances of this misfortune. Always maintain good water quality.
1. Prevention: When you sprinkle flakes on the top of the tank, your goldfish gulps air while ingesting them, and furthermore, the flakes expand inside the fishs digestive tract, furthering the problem. I suggest you soak the flakes in water ahead of time, and then try to get them to sink down before the goldfish start gulping in air.
You can also feed many different foods, such as the ones mentioned previously in this article. Feed peas regularly.
2. Peas: Peas are great. You can buy them frozen or canned, just make sure they are thoroughly thawed, and make sure to take off the skin. Unless your goldfish is very large, you will want to cut up/mash the peas so that they can be eaten with great ease. Peas are great when fighting swim bladder disease, and help to prevent it as well.
3. Fighting it: Hopefully you have discovered swim bladder disease early on; you should always be paying frequent attention and giving care to your fish. If you are unable to do that, please don’t overload yourself by buying more fish. First and foremost, perform a 15-20% water change. Then, check the pH and the nitrate levels. The nitrates should read ZERO, and the pH should be close to neutral; goldfish do not like acidic water.
Make sure you fix any problems there, do not feed your fish for a couple days, and then start to feed peas, every day, in appropriate quantities. Do not feed flakes. AT ALL, EVER AGAIN. Do not feed corn or soy either, these will exacerbate the problem. Again, peas, peas, peas. You can also feed frozen or gel based foods to help mix things up, but these aren’t as helpful as peas are.
Again, the problem cannot always be determined. It may be a virus, a bacterium, or just problems with diet. It is also possible to inject a needle into the swim bladder to help relieve it, but don’t do this unless you really know what you are doing. I wish you the best of luck should this situation arise!