How to care for goldfish

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Goldfish can be divided into two categories- fancy goldfish such as fantails and orandas, which are the most suited to the indoor aquarium, and the larger commons and comets, which are suited much better to life in a pond. Each group requires different care, so I will look at each individually.

BUT FIRST (IMPORTANT!)...

There are many myths about keeping goldfish, a vast number used by shop workers, sellers on Ebay anfd many other people who should know better, but use them to con you into buying their product.

1. (And most importantly) A goldfish will not grow to its enviroment. This is called stunting, and has much the same effect as if you put a baby in a small box for ints entire life- would that end up with a normal, healthy, miniature adult? It is often accepted that its' body may stop growing, however the internal organs will not. This can lead to serious problems with deformaties and death. Whether that is true is irrelevent- all goldfish grow very large, and if they don't, there is something seriously wrong.

2. It is commonly accepted goldfish do not live very long, and many people feel a sense of acheivement if they keep a goldfish for five years. In reality, a goldfish should live for over 20 years- especially common goldfish.

3. Goldfish are very, very messy, in as much as they produce a huge amount of ammonia. They need filters, unless you are willing to do several 100% water changes per day, which if you are keeping them in the correct sized tank, is very awkward and difficult. An external filter is best, or several, but a large internal filter will do at a push.

 

Now, onto fancy goldfish. Fancy goldfish come in many different mutations, but the main ones are-

Fantails
Description

Egg shape body with long doubled or short tail fins.
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They are somewhat hardy fish and have the potential to reach 14”
The average life span is 12 years.
32-90 ºF

 

Black Moores
Description

A velvety black coloured fish with telescope eyes and an egg shaped body.
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They are somewhat hardy fish and have the potential to reach 10”
The average life span is 25 years.
32-82°F

Pearlscales
Description

Egg shaped goldfish but normally their mid region is much larger than most of the other egg shaped goldfish. The scales have a pearl raised appearance.
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They are not a hardy fish and have the potential to reach 10”
The average life span is 25 years.
32°F-82°F

The Oranda
Description

Egg shaped body with head growth (wen).
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The wen growth should be well developed. Fin length should be long and flowing.
Available in many colours.
They are fairly hardy fish and have the potential to reach 10”
The average life span is 25 years.

The Veiltail
Description

Long flowing fins that droops off the body. The fins look like a veil of a bride head dress. Body is an egged shaped and the colour of the fish comes in many colours.
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They are somewhat hardy fish and have the potential to reach 10”
The average life span is 16 years.
70 to 78 ºF

The Lionhead
Description

Egg shaped goldfish, but its back is pretty much in a straight line with head growth on it. No dorsal fin on this fish.
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They are somewhat hardy fish and have the potential to reach 8”
The average life span is 15 years.
70-74 ºF

The Ranchu
Description

Egg shaped goldfish, but its back is curved then you will see a tail tuck of 90 degrees with head or with out growth on it. No dorsal fin on this fish.
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They are a hardy fish and have the potential to reach 8”
The average life span is 15 years.
70-74 ºF

The Celestial
Description

Egg shaped goldfish, but its eyes are pointing up words to the sky. No dorsal fin on this fish
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They are somewhat hardy fish and have the potential to reach 10”
The average life span is 7 years.
78 to 80 ºF

The Bubble eye
Description

Egg shaped fish like the celestial with large, fluid-filled sacks under the eyes. These fish require special tanks with no sharp objects. No dorsal fin on this fish
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They are somewhat hardy fish and have the potential to reach 6”
The average life span is 10 years.
70-74 ºF
These “bubbles" are delicate and are easily damaged. They will repair themselves in time. Care should be given to tank decorations and other fish to prevent damage. Are best kept with other Bubble eye or Celestial

 

Since, as you can see, even the smallest fancy grows to over 6", a tank of over 36" long with external filtration, a heater (as fancy goldfish prefer the temperature slightly higher than common goldfish), a sand or large gravel substrate (to minimise damage from swallowing the substrate) and a diet of sinking goldfish pellets is minimum, with a stocking guideline of one goldfish for every 15 gallons of water.

 

Now, the larger goldfish.

The Common
Description

Slender in body shape with a short sleek tail fin.
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The common is an extremely hardy fish and has the potential to reach 24”.
The average life span is 30 years; however the oldest know goldfish was Tish who lived to the ripe old age of 42 (Guinness book of records).
32-90 ºF

The Comet
Description

Slender in body shape with a long single tail fin.
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Again a very hardy fish that has the potential to reach 22”.
The average life span is 20 years.
32-90 ºF

The Shubunkin
Description

Slender in body like the comets and commons, but should show in colour the violet, red, orange and yellow and with spots of black (calico colours). Also these colours should run into the fins too.
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The are two types of Shubunkin available, The Bristol and the London.
Yet another hardy fish that has the potential to reach 12”.
The average lifespan is 25 years.
32-90 ºF

Since these grow even larger, a pond is by far the best place for thesse massive fish. But in the aquarium, the same tank requirements as similar sized, similar mess level fish- oscars, for instance, so a minimum of 75g with large external filtration or , even better, a sump, pond fish food or sinking pellet food, no heater is required as the temperature range is lower, and a stocking level of one goldish for every 50 gallons of water.

So remember- a goldfish is a lifelong commitment, not a cheap pet to keep you or your children occupied until it dies from it's life in the small tank or bowl. None of the 'goldfish' tanks currently on the market are anywhere near big enough for goldfish, and even the manufactrers admit this (although conveniently leave the fact you will need to upgrade very soon from the instructions). All tanks of this sort are after your money, not giving a fig for the welfare of the fish.


 

 


 



 

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