Fancy Goldfish Care Facts
By: Hillary Mahon
The fancy goldfish has been misrepresented over the years, people believing that they need little or no care and can thrive in a bowl. In reality, however, the goldfish has just as many needs as any tropical fish; good water quality, temperature, good filtration, and good food. It is important to understand the needs of your goldfish in order to keep it happy and healthy.
The pH for your goldfish should be be between 7.0 and 7.6, and never below 6.8. While they can handle a small amount of ammonia and nitrite better than most fish, this is not recommended and will stress your fish unnecessarily; both should be at 0ppm.
Goldfish are not tropical fish, and so they should not be given the same water temperatures as tropical fish. They are a colder water species, and no best in temperatures around 65F – 70F. Room temperature is generally fine, hoever, if temperaturs get below 55F, your fish will slow down, stop eating, and begin to hibernate.
The proper filtration is viatl for any fish. For goldfish, it’s better to get a filter at least one size up from what is recommended for your tank size. Your tank should allow for no less than ten gallons per fish. Goldfish are heavy waste producers that need a strong filter and regular maintenance to keep their water clean. Be careful the water flow from the filter doesn’t impair their swimming or pull them into the filter. A weekly water change of at least 35% is important, larger changes will be needed when they are bigger.
When feeding your goldfish, it is very important that you use food especially made for them, include a varied diet, and be careful not to over feed. The digestive tract of a fancy goldfish has been slightly compromised by the distinctive shapes of their body and so they need simpler foods, they also have different needs than other fish.
Offering a varied diet does two things for your fish; first it ensures that your fish isn’t missing any nutrient or vitamin requirements, and secondly, incase a brand you use is no longer manufactured it is easier to adjust your fish to something new.
Goldfish are messy eaters and produce a lot of waste; they usually accept food every time you offer it, leading them to be overfed. One way to combat this is to feed them only what they can eat in a few minutes, twice a day. Another method is to feed them pellet foods, these float or sink to the bottom allowing your goldfish ot eat them as they sink and search for them later in the day. Goldfish are naturally a bottom feeder and will spend most of the day searching for any uneaten food.
Some healthy food snacks include frozen bloodworms (defrosted), garlic enriched pellets, and de-shelled peas. The bloodworms supply some of the insect foods they would recieve in nature. Garlic is an immune system booster as well as an appetite enhancer, but only a small amount should be given at a time, about once a week. Grean peas with the individual shells removed should be given at least once a week to keep the intestinal tract clean. They supply the vegetable matter that is commonly lacking in an aquarium, always feed what your goldfish will eat in a few minutes otherwise the peas will foul the water sooner.
While breeding goldfish isn’t common in the average aquarium, it isn’t too hard either. As long as all your water parameters are correct, inducing them to spawn is a difference in water temperature. Slowly lower the water temperature a few degrees for a week or two, then slowly raise it back to where it was; having foliage will also help.
Males can be sexed by looking at their operculum and pectoral fin rays. When ready to spawn, a rash will appear (looking like sugar grains) and cover most of the gill cover and front fins, sometimes extending to cover part of the face and even the ventral fin rays. Close observation is needed to notice these bumps as they may lose their white coloring, and disappear from the gill plate altogether, leaving only clear bumps on the front fin rays. Make sure you don’t confuse this with disease, or vice versa. Females of the common goldfish will appear slightly rounded, however, with the fancy varieties; this is not a reliable way to determine the sex of your goldfish.
Hatching the fry will take a couple of days depending on water temperature, make sure that there is constant water circulation. I suggest a small box or sponge filter; as a power filter may suck them up. An easy way is to place the eggs in a seperate tank to protect them from being eaten. Raising the fry is a big of a challenge, and requires green water (suspended algae in water) and live plants for the first week or two. After this time, they should start eating fry food. Be sure to give them ample growing room and very clean water to prevent stunted growth.