Care Guide for Fancy Goldfish – Housing, Feeding, and More
Fancy fish (Carassius auratus), are beautiful freshwater fish of the carp family. They come in many shapes, colors and other traits. Fancy goldfish are not like common goldfish which have short tails and slim bodies. These fish have long, flowing tails and egg-shaped bodies. This is something that requires special attention. This care sheet addresses some of the most common questions we receive about our beloved water piggies.
What size tank does Fancy Goldfish require?
Appropriate aquarium size can be a point of contention among goldfish owners, but in general, we recommend 20 gallons of water volume per goldfish, with at least 10 gallons added for every other goldfish. One goldfish will outgrow a 20-gallon aquarium in five to six years. This will mean that you will have to change the water frequently to keep the tank clean. Whereas if you house five or six goldfish in a 60- or 70-gallon aquarium, the tank maintenance schedule will be more manageable.
Bigger is always better when it comes to goldfish tanks, so give them as much room as possible.
You should also consider the dimensions of the tank. Goldfish will prefer a tank with more water area than a tank that is narrow and tall. Goldfish originated in China, where they were first introduced. They use large, wide bowls that have lots of surface area. This gives them more swimming space, and allows for more oxygen exchange. Bottom line: get the largest tank you can afford and make sure to regularly clean it.
Are Fancy Goldfish in Need of a Heater?
Cold water fish are goldfish because they can live at temperatures as low as 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit (10-21 degrees Celsius). This means that in a home with heating and air conditioning, there is no need to use a heater inside the aquarium because goldfish can live at room temperature. Many people live in mild climates and keep their goldfish year-round in outdoor ponds.
Although you might not require a heater for goldfish, it is important to filter the water. Goldfish are very picky and produce lots of waste. Common choices include hang-on-back filters and sponge filters that have gentle flow and are easy to maintenance. You should ensure the filter creates surface agitation that increases oxygenation for your fish.
What Should I Feed My Fancy Goldfish?
Fish that are fed low quality food tend to be more difficult to digest, so they will require more frequent water changes and get more dirty. If you feed a “cleaner” diet with frozen foods or duckweed, the aquarium requires less maintenance, and the fish display more vibrant coloration. We love to feed our goldfish frozen brine shrimps, high quality pellets and Repashy Gel Foods.
Bloating your goldfish can cause them to become overweight, so give them two small meals each day.
Overfeeding tends to be more of an issue than underfeeding, so make sure not to spoil your goldfish too much (even when they beg like they’re starving). A smaller meal twice per day is better than a big one once per day because goldfish can become bloated easily. There’s an Internet adage is that goldfish should never be given floating foods because they will swallow too much air and cause bloat, but we have regularly fed floating foods for more than a decade and never had problems with any of our fish.
Why Does My Goldfish Tank Have Cloudy Water?
There are many possible causes. The cloudiness could be caused by a bacterial bloom. This is when beneficial bacteria are rapidly reproducing due to increased fish waste. The best course of action is to patiently wait a week without making any drastic changes to the aquarium, and the bacteria cloud will eventually disappear on its own.
If the water is cloudy because of too much particulate floating in the water, consider doing a water change and cleaning the filter because a clogged-up filter can no longer effectively remove debris from the tank. We recommend getting easy-to-use water test strips and changing the water whenever the nitrates measure above 50 ppm. It is a good idea to change 30 to 50% of the water each time. Once the nitrates reach 50 ppm again you should monitor this and create a weekly or monthly schedule. You should know that fish will get larger and produce more waste. If you have the space, it is worth purchasing a larger tank or moving them to an outside pond.
To extend the time between water changes and provide greater enrichment for the fish, we like to use live aquarium plants as decor. We have an entire article on safe plants for goldfish, as they have a love for vegetables and will churn up substrate to search for food. This list mainly includes rhizome plants such as anubias, ferns, and rocks that can be attached so they are not easily removed.
Robust, easy-to-grow aquarium plants can help absorb nitrogen waste compounds and reduce your maintenance frequency.
Why Is My Goldfish Acting Weird? Is It Okay?
Goldfish are funny creatures that have their own unique personalities and idiosyncrasies, so what may be normal behavior for one fish may be quite abnormal for another fish. We recommend checking on your goldfish every day, whether they are active or lethargic, and that you keep them fed at least once per day.
You should look out for signs of ich, such as large wens that have grown over the eyes and white spots. Make sure everyone’s getting along and the fish aren’t breeding too aggressively with each other. Monitor the temperature, pH, and nitrates at least once a week (even during the holiday season), and you’ll have a successful tank.
Because of this stigma, goldfish keepers are often discouraged from buying them. Goldfish are fairly hardy compared to more sensitive species, but you should still treat them with the same care you would give any other fish (e.g., regularly gravel vacuum the aquarium, service the filter, and test the water quality). The main caveats to remember are that a) they like cooler temperatures and b) they get much larger than most other pet store fish and therefore require a larger sized tank.