Care Guide for Fancy Goldfish – Housing, Feeding, and More
Fancy goldfish (Carassius auratus) are beautiful, selectively bred freshwater fish from the carp family that come in many colors, shapes, and other traits. Unlike common goldfish with their single tails and streamlined physiques, fancy goldfish have flowy double tails and slow-moving, egg-shaped bodies that require special considerations. This care guide answers many of the questions we receive most often about 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 it clean. Whereas if you house five or six goldfish in a 60- or 70-gallon aquarium, the tank maintenance schedule will be more manageable.
When it comes to goldfish tanks and their needs, bigger is better. Give them as much space as you can.
In addition to water volume, consider the dimensions of the tank. Goldfish prefer a squatter tank with more water surface area (and not a tall, narrow tank). In China where goldfish were first developed, they often use giant, wide bowls with lots of surface area because it provides the fish more swimming space and more gas exchange for increased oxygen. Bottom line, get the largest tank possible and keep it clean.
Does Fancy Goldfish need a heater?
Because they can live in temperatures between 50-70degF (10-21 degC), goldfish are often called cold water fish. 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 who live in mild climates keep their fish in outdoor ponds all year.
You may not need to heat your fish, but filtration is essential as goldfish are extremely picky eaters that produce a lot waste. Common choices include hang-on-back filters and sponge filters that have gentle flow and are easy to maintenance. Whichever filter you pick, make sure it creates good surface agitation to increase oxygenation for your goldfish.
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. Our goldfish love Repashy gel foods, high-quality pellets and frozen brine shrimp.
Avoid overfeeding your fish. This can cause bloating.
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). Because goldfish can have bloating problems, it is best to give them smaller meals twice per day. An Internet saying states that floating foods should be avoided for goldfish, as they could swallow too many air and cause bloat. But we have fed floating foods to fish for over a decade.
Why is my Goldfish Tank Filled with Cloudy Water?
This could be due to several factors. If the tank is newly set up or you added a lot of new goldfish recently, the cloudiness could be a bacterial bloom as the beneficial bacteria is rapidly reproducing in response to an increase in 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.
You can clean the filter and do a water change if your water is cloudy due too much particulate. It is a good idea to get water test strips. We suggest changing the water when the nitrates reach 50 ppm. You can change 30% to 50% of your water at once, then monitor the time it takes for the nitrates levels to rise again to 50 ppm. Then, you can create a weekly, or monthly schedule, based on these results. Of course, as the fish get bigger, they will produce more waste, so it may be worth getting them a larger tank, moving them to an outdoor pond, or rehoming them to someone with more space.
To extend the time between water changes and provide greater enrichment for the fish, we like to use live aquarium plants as decor. An entire article is dedicated to safe aquarium plants for goldfish. Goldfish have a natural appetite for vegetables. Most of the plants are rhizome, such as anubias or ferns. They can be attached to rock and driftwood so they won’t fall apart.
Robust, easy-to-grow aquarium plants can help absorb nitrogen waste compounds and reduce your maintenance frequency.
Why Is My Goldfish Acting Weird? Is This 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.
If you notice any signs of ich such as a large, enlarged wen or white spots around the eyes, it may be a sign that something is wrong. 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.
There is a stigma surrounding goldfish keeping. Because beginners often purchase them, they will get the wrong advice and put them in a small container. Water changes can cause death. 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). There are two main points to keep in mind: a) they prefer cooler temperatures, and b) their size means they require a larger tank.