Care Guide for Fancy Goldfish – Housing, Feeding, and More
Fancy goldfish (Carassius aurantus) are gorgeous, selectively bred freshwater fish that can be found in a variety of colors, shapes and other characteristics. Fancy goldfish are different from common goldfish, which have streamlined bodies and single tails. They also have flowing double tails. This care sheet answers some of the most frequently asked questions we get about these beloved water piggies.
What Size Tank Do Fancy Goldfish Need?
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.
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. A squatter tank that has more water surface is better for goldfish. This is in contrast to a narrow, tall tank. The first goldfish were developed in China. Large, wide bowls have a lot of surface area. Bottom line: get the largest tank you can afford and make sure to regularly clean it.
Do Fancy Goldfish Need a Heater?
Goldfish are known as cold water fish because they can live in temperatures of 50-70degF (10-21degC). 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 avid eaters and can produce a lot waste. There are two main options: sponge filters with gentle flow and easy maintenance. You should ensure the filter creates surface agitation that increases oxygenation for your fish.
What should I feed my Fancy Goldfish?
If you feed them lots of lower quality food, they tend to contain more indigestible materials, and therefore the tank will get dirty faster and require more water changes. 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 can be more problematic than underfeeding. Don’t let your fish get too hungry, even when they beg for it. It is better to feed your goldfish smaller meals twice daily than one large meal per day. Goldfish are susceptible to bloating. One Internet rule states that goldfish shouldn’t be given floating food because they may swallow too much air. We have fed floating foods to our fish for more than ten years and have never had any issues.
Why Does My Goldfish Tank Have Cloudy Water?
You could have several reasons. 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. It is a good idea to get water test strips. We suggest changing the water when the nitrates reach 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. Given that goldfish do have a taste for veggies and like to churn up the substrate while searching for food, we have an entire article covering the best plants that are safe for goldfish. Most of the plants are rhizome, such as anubias or ferns. They can be attached to rock and driftwood so that they cannot be removed.
Robust, easy-to-grow aquarium plants can help absorb nitrogen waste compounds and reduce your maintenance frequency.
Why is my Goldfish acting strange? 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. It is important to check on your fish at least once daily when they are fed. This will allow you to learn about their habits and which ones are more active.
Look for physical irregularities such as a large wen that has grown over the eyes or white spots that may indicate ich. Make sure everyone’s getting along and the fish aren’t breeding too aggressively with each other. You’ll be able to keep your tank healthy by monitoring the temperature, pH, nitrates, and other factors at least once per week, even during holidays.
There’s a bit of a stigma around goldfish keeping because beginners will buy them, get the wrong advice, put them in a small bowl, and never do water changes… resulting in dying fish. 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.