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How to Care for a Fantail Goldfish

Three Parts:Creating the Right EnvironmentFeeding Your GoldfishAvoiding Common Pitfalls

Fantail goldfish are among the easiest goldfish for beginners. If you're interested in owning a goldfish for the first time, fantails do not require extensive care. Provide your fantail with a large tank with a proper filtration system. From there, feed the fish high quality food. Make sure you keep up with regular tank maintenance and manage conflict between multiple goldfish. With a little hard work, you can keep your fantail goldfish healthy and happy.

Part 1
Creating the Right Environment

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    Pick the right size tank. It's very important your fantail goldfish has a big enough tank. You should get a tank over a bowl, as bowls get dirty too fast. This can cause sickness and even death. Make sure you get a large tank at your local pet shop.[1]
    • You will need at least 10 to 20 gallons per fish. Bigger is usually better, if you have the space and money. Fish with bigger tanks will be happier and live longer. Opt for the largest tank you can afford and fit in your home.
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    Keep the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Fantail goldfish are fairly hardy, so if the water falls a little out of this range, they will usually be okay. However, strive to keep the water between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the best temperature rate for the health of your fish.[2]
    • You can use a thermometer to monitor water temperature. Room temperature should usually be in the 70 to 80 degree range, but may be warmer or colder depending on your region.
    • In general, the temperature may get a little warmer or colder than ideal, but most fantail goldfish can survive this. Just make sure not to let the water get under 60 degrees or into the triple digits.
    • However, if you live in a region where temperatures drop overnight, a heater is a good idea. If room temperature can get into the low 60's and even 50's, buy a heater at your local pet store and install it in your tank. Set the heater somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees.[3]
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    Install a filter. A filtration system is an important aspect of any fish tank, including a tank for your fantails. Buy a filter from your local pet shop designed to be used in a goldfish tank. Avoid filters that cause a lot of current in your tank, as this is bad for your goldfish. Goldfish do not do well in tanks with heavy currents.[4]
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    Clean the tank each week. Once a week, remove and replace 10%-15% of the water in the tank. There is no need to remove your fish during a 10 to 15% water change. When you clean the tank, simply scoop out about 10 to 15% of the water and replace it with dechlorinated tap water.[5]
    • In addition to replacing the water, do some basic cleaning. Scrape any algae growing at the bottom of the tank. You can get an algae scraper at a local pet store to do this.
    • When replacing water in the tank, make sure the water is close to the tank's temperature. The easiest way to add new water is to place dechlorinated tap water in a bucket, and gradually siphon the new water from the bucket to the tank. You can use tubing, which you can purchase at a pet store or online, to siphon the water.
    • To dechlorinate water, you will need to purchase chemical neutralizers online or at your pet store. You will have to refer to your dechlorinator's label for specific instructions, but for the most part you'll add a drop or two of the dechlorinator to a gallon of water. Most dechlorinators work in a minute or two.

Part 2
Feeding Your Goldfish

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    Choose a high quality food. You can find food for your fantails at a local pet shop. Pellets or flakes are usually the staple of a goldfish's diet, and should contain the nutrients your pet needs to thrive.[6]
    • In general, pellets may be better than flakes for goldfish. Flakes tend to crumble in the water, making them difficult to eat. Pellets may be more expensive, but they also may be better for your goldfish's overall health.
    • Check the labels when choosing a fish food. Make sure the food contains both protein and fat. In general, the higher percentages of protein and fat, the better.
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    Supplement your fish's diet with high fiber vegetables. Goldfish are omnivores, meaning they need both meat and vegetables. In addition to feeding your fantails a high quality fish food, give them high fiber veggies. This will help with their overall health.[7]
    • Get some tender aquarium plants for your fish tank. Place these plants in your tank so your goldfish can snack on plants from time to time.
    • Elodea works well as a snack for goldfish. While goldfish will eat things like pellets and flakes quickly, they will take longer to consume vegetables. This is normal. Do not worry if a plant is not completely eaten for a week or so.
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    Refrain from overfeeding. As goldfish eat fast, people often accidentally overfeed them. It should not take your goldfish longer than 2 minutes to eat a serving of pellets or flakes. If your goldfish takes longer than this to finish its food, you're overfeeding it.[8]
    • You can refer to the pellet or flake package to get a sense of how much food your goldfish needs each day. Adjust the levels as necessary, depending on your fish's appetite.
    • If there is food leftover after two minutes have passed, reduce the amount you're feeding your fish. Goldfish may beg for food after being fed, but they generally get by on small servings.
    • Having plants in the tank can help the goldfish manage hunger between feedings.
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    Establish a feeding schedule. Feed your goldfish around the same time each day. This will help you remember to feed your fish every day. When feeding your fish, remember that they only need a small amount of pellets or flakes. If the goldfish is still looking for food after finishing its pellets, you can add some plants to the tank. Do not overfeed the fish pellets or flakes.[9]

Part 3
Avoiding Common Pitfalls

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    Avoid overcrowding. Remember, you need 10 to 20 gallons of water per fish. If you add a new fantail goldfish to your tank, you will need to increase the tank size accordingly. If your fish feel overcrowded, they may become aggressive and fight with one another.[10]
  2. 2
    Consider a separator if the fish become territorial. Even in a properly sized tank, some goldfish are simply more territorial than others. If one fish seems to be consistently chasing another, invest in a tank separator to manage conflict.[11]
    • You can buy a tank divider at a pet store. Install it in your tank so your fish cannot get to one another.
    • You can also buy a new tank altogether to correct this problem.
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    Watch for uneaten food at the bottom of the tank. Uneaten food at the bottom of the tank can be a problem. Not only does this indicate you're overfeeding your fish, this could cause tank contamination. If you notice un-eaten food during a routine water change, remove it from the bottom of the tank. In the future, cut back on how much you're feeding your fish.[12]
  4. 4
    Keep the tank temperature stable. Fantail fish can survive in a variety of temperatures. However, sharp increases or decreases in tank temperature can shock your fish's system. Take steps to assure the tank temperature remains relatively stable.[13]
    • Do not place a goldfish tank near a window. The air from outside can cause the tank temperature to rise or drop quickly.
    • Keep the tank in an area of your home where the temperature is stable. Watch for areas of the home prone to drafts, or that get warmer or colder during certain times of the day.
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    Watch for signs of illness. You should also quarantine any fish that appear unhealthy. This not only prevents the spread of disease, but allows you to closely monitor the sick fish and treat the illness without harming the other fish, plants, and invertebrates in your tank with medicines and chemicals. Signs of illness can include:[14]
    • Bloated body
    • Listlessness
    • White spots on the body
    • Rapid breathing
    • Bulging eyes
    • Hiding in the corner


  • Comets will often chase little fantails around. It's not recommended to keep them together, keep fantails with fantails.


  • Wash your hands before and after cleaning the tank, and don't let any soap or other chemicals get into the water! Never wash the tank or anything that will go in the tank with any kind of soap.
  • Always check any decorations or fake plants you put in the tank for sharp or jagged edges.

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Categories: Goldfish