General Goldfish Advice by Iggy!

Iggy

Superstar Fish
Jun 25, 2003
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#1
Hi all! I am so glad we finally have a goldfish/coldwater topic forum that I thought I would write-up a general advice column about these awesome fishies.


General
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Goldfish are likely the first and most common fish variety sold for a few really simple reasons... they have high tolerance for variable water conditions.

Breed in captivity for centuries, goldfish have adapted to most water conditions, but they still need good fishkeeping practises to ensure they not only survive but flourish.

Goldfish can live for twenty years under proper conditions, a characteristic I love about keeping them because they really become pets and develop their own traits as they get older.

Size
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Most goldfish will grow to at least 6" in size, and some even larger (like 18" long). Yes, even the baby fantail you bought a few days ago is genetically pre-programmed to get that large, and your tank size will not change their genetic pre-disposition to grow to full sized.

So why do some goldfish stay small... well, mostly that has to do with environmental issues, like water quality, physical space, and food quality. Stick a goldfish in a bowl and it will always be subject to poor water conditions, which will stunt (deform) their growth, limit muscle-mass development (no room exercise), and generally shorten their life-span anywhere from 10 to 17 years.

Some rules of thumb say you need 10 to 20 gallons per goldfish. Fancies can get away with 10, comets need 20. Personally, I tend to limit fish quantity based on the tank dimensions of what I have (or am willing to buy). To really get the most out of your goldfish, your tank should be at least 33 gallons for 3 fancies, 50+ for 4 or 5 comets. Any less space will limit their growth early-on.

Equipment
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Heaters are not necessary, goldfish do well at room (or even below) temperature.
Filters... heavy mechanical (floss/sponge), at least enough capacity to filter twice your tanks water volume per hour. Goldfish produce a lot of waste, so get a filter that is easy to replace the floss every couple weeks.

Food
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Vegetarians, so the first ingredient should be vegetable-based. Par-broiled lettus, cucumber, zuchinni, even peas are a favourite treat for goldies. Flaked foods are fine, just don't overfeed goldfish. They always act hungry, so just regulate feeding twice a day.

Plants & Decorations
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Goldies eat most live plants, except for a few broad-leafed ferns.
Plastic plants are fine, and give goldies a sense of protection.
I prefer coarse gravel over sand for goldies, easier to clean-up the larger-sized waste they produce.
Any other decorations should have smooth edges, goldfish are large, powerful swimmers that can easily bump into sharp objects inside the tank if spooked.

About my Goldies
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I have been keeping coldwater fish for three years. My seven goldfish (see my signature), most have been with me since the beginning. They started off in a 10 gallon, then a 17 gallon, then a 40 gallon, then a 50 gallon, then a 80 gallon, and now live in a 180 gallon pond during summer, and a 220 gallon tank in the winter.

Tips
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Take a lot of time choosing your goldfish from the store before you buy them. Even feeders can be great fish, provided they are not already deformed or sick. Look for smooth, nicely proportioned bodies, without sunken bellies or deformaties like bent spines, deformed gills. Make sure they are swimming well and don't worry about color on young fish, they all change colors when they age.

Hope you find this helpful. Happy goldfishkeeping!
 

Last edited:

2e0raf

Large Fish
Feb 23, 2005
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Preston UK
#2
hi i have two goldies in a 10 gal with a heater just to regulate the temp and a filter that came with the 10 gal from new.

i have a few questions the golties are abt 3 i inheretd them from my nwphew who was keeping them in a 1.5 leter tank :eek: one of the goldies seems to swim at a 45 degree angle to the tank he seams quite happy in himself apart from the weird angle. also what other cold water fish can i keep in with them sommat samll that wont get eaten.

also my boss at work has two goldfish in a bowl. thy very rearly get cleaned somtimes it gets so ban you cannot see the fish for the filth. and one of the fish is compleatly white apart form the head and its tail i hate the way he keeps them :(
 

Iggy

Superstar Fish
Jun 25, 2003
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#3
2 Goldies in a 10 gallon is overstock. 1 goldfish in a 10 gallon is pushing it if you want the fish to live a normal life.

I have an idea... go to a garage sale, pick up a cheap 20 gallon tank, set it up for your 2 goldies, then give your 10 to your boss as a present. It will make you look good, give the goldies a nicer place to live, and the tank will actually be easier to clean with just small water changes once a week.
 

aatif

Small Fish
May 11, 2005
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#4
hey,
i want advice...tell me how to cure swim bladder in goldfish or atleast wht causes it ?
or else very soon i will stop keeping goldfish !!!
 

Aug 20, 2005
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Florida
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#9
wow izzy i think i just learnt learned have learnt.. whatever the correct word is.. about goldfish more here than anywhere i have read about them. and i'm proud to say i have 2 goldies in a 20 gallon tank, i was even afraid it was too small.. but i guess i'm good for now.. mmmm if they can really live up to 20 years i may just buy them a huge apartment tank... gotta give them some happiness in their long life. (knock on wood)

thanks :)
 

Oct 31, 2005
1
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0
north west England
#13
hey iggy, im rather new to the fish game, a beginner really, i hav 5 fish in a cold water tank, a common gold fish, black gold fish, shabunkin and a comet head, my tank if rather large and looks relative empty, but i was told to add fish over a long period of time and not all at once, can you please tell me what other fish would be suitable to add to my tank and mix with my current fish?
any advice would be most welcome, thank you.
 

Iggy

Superstar Fish
Jun 25, 2003
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#15
gettinjiggy,

If you can give me your tank dimensions (inches wide, deep, tall) or gallons, I can give you a better answer.

Remember, goldfish well kept can easily live 10 years, and they continue to grow, most will get at least 6 inches long - so they will eventuall 'fill-up' the tank.

What I suggest you do now is add some nice silk plants, they can really fill in the gaps and help produce a more natural behavior in your fish that can be a lot of fun to watch.
 

aurora

Small Fish
Oct 17, 2005
12
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0
Scotland (Glasgow).
#16
Help!

Iggy,
Please help. I dont know if I should be doing something to help my 10 year old fancy goldfish. He has been "not right" for about a month. Now he has scales sticking out, scales missing, he is on the bottom gasping , he isn't feeding or moving freely, he has a red lump under his mouth area. I can't watch him any more :-( My other fish have been, and still are, fine.
I think he is dying. Do I wait till the final end? It's awful. I don't think its fair to leave him like this. Please advise.
 

stooeygee

Small Fish
Aug 29, 2005
36
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Manchester , England
#17
it sounds like dropsy aurora , and I see you live in the uk, so will be very difficult to obtain any antibiotic foods.

Has the fish body swelled up too?
there are various causes for the fish to contract dropsy , high nitrates ...heart disease to name a couple but the most likey cause would be a bacterial infection causing organ failure.

In early stages you can treat the fish with a internal anti bacterial medication such as interpet number 9 ( i think ), waterlifes octozin http://www.atlantisaquatics.co.uk/acatalog/waterlife.htm or ring around some vets who deal with fish who can prescribe anti biotics ( baytril i think )
a
here is a link re:dropsy http://www.koivet.com/html/articles/articles_results.php?article_id=20&category=17&search_term=dropsy
unfortunately in advanced stages of dropsy the kindest option would be to euthanise the fish :(

I wish you good luck in what ever you decide to do.

stuey

ps can someone move this to the disease thread.
 

aurora

Small Fish
Oct 17, 2005
12
0
0
Scotland (Glasgow).
#18
Thanks for your advice. He is getting worse. I think he's beyond help and is dying an agonising death. I dont know what to do with him :-( His body hasn't swelled though.


stooeygee said:
it sounds like dropsy aurora , and I see you live in the uk, so will be very difficult to obtain any antibiotic foods.

Has the fish body swelled up too?
there are various causes for the fish to contract dropsy , high nitrates ...heart disease to name a couple but the most likey cause would be a bacterial infection causing organ failure.

In early stages you can treat the fish with a internal anti bacterial medication such as interpet number 9 ( i think ), waterlifes octozin http://www.atlantisaquatics.co.uk/acatalog/waterlife.htm or ring around some vets who deal with fish who can prescribe anti biotics ( baytril i think )
a
here is a link re:dropsy http://www.koivet.com/html/articles/articles_results.php?article_id=20&category=17&search_term=dropsy
unfortunately in advanced stages of dropsy the kindest option would be to euthanise the fish :(

I wish you good luck in what ever you decide to do.

stuey

ps can someone move this to the disease thread.
 

Iggy

Superstar Fish
Jun 25, 2003
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#19
Hi aurora..

Sorry to hear about your sick fish. I've lost quite a few fish to dropsy as well and it's totally disheartening :(

Dropys is more a symptom than a disease. What happens is that either a kidney or some other internal organ shuts down, the the body no longer processes fluid, so it stores up and swells in the abdomen.

I've never been able to save a fish from dropsy, even when I catch it early. Sooner or later they relapse and die.

Water conditions can be a cause, but not always. Certain species are more prone to dropsy (dwarf gouramies) and inbreeding can make it more likely.

Normally, I would say freeze a fish, but goldies are so tolerent of low temperatures it would be a terrible way to go.

A swift chop with a butchers knife would do it, but even I have a really hard time doing that.

Either way, time will take it's toll... I am truely sorry.