How to Choose and Raise a Healthy Gold Fish

You've decided on getting a goldfish? Great! Owning a pet goldfish can be a rewarding experience for fish keepers young and old alike. Use the tips in this article to determine which fish is right for you and how to keep it healthy.


  1. Image titled Choose and Raise a Healthy Gold Fish Step 1
    Get your tank. Contrary to popular belief, goldfish do not thrive in small bowls. A good rule is for every inch of fish = five gallons of water. That means if you plan on getting two common goldfish, your first tank should be at least ten gallons. Notice how that said "first" tank. When kept in healthy conditions, goldfish can grow to be anywhere from five to ten inches long, even if they are half an inch when you buy them. They also live up to twenty years, sometimes longer. Purchase the largest tank you can afford. If you don't buy a large aquarium in the beginning, you will have to continue purchasing larger tanks throughout the fish's lifetime. All tanks should have gravel/sand, a filter, and plastic or (preferably) live plants.
  2. Image titled Choose and Raise a Healthy Gold Fish Step 2
    Know what type of of goldfish you want. When most new fish keepers think of the word goldfish, the image that pops into their head is the little common orange fish you win at the fair. But there are many varieties of fish out there; Comets, Fantails, Black Moors, Pearlscales, Orandas, and hundreds more, ranging in price from thirteen cents to two-hundred dollars. Do some research to pick one that is suitable for your tank.
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    Buy from a breeder or an aquarium store. Try not to buy them from pet stores. Aquarium stores often have fish in better condition and are more knowledgeable about fish care. Fancier fish may have to be purchased from a fish breeder and can often be shipped to you. Resist the urge to save some cash and buy a thirteen cent feeder fish. These fish are often unhealthy and of poor quality, and it only supports the industry.
  4. Image titled Choose and Raise a Healthy Gold Fish Step 4
    Look at the tank where the fish are kept. Is it relatively clean and free of waste? If a thermometer is visible, is the water between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit? Do other fish in the tank look ill? The living conditions of a fish have a big impact on a fish's health, so choose from a clean tank.
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    Observe and choose a fish. Does it have white spots, or ich on it's body? Are it's eyes abnormally swollen? Does it have ripped fins? If it floating upside down, darting around or swimming lethargically? If the answer to any of these is yes, do not choose that fish." Look for taught, clean fins and shiny scales. A fish should be swimming upright at a relaxed pace.


  • Treat the water and Cycle your tank before introducing your fish.
  • If you are serious about the health of your fish, attempt to find a vet that treats fish and take it in to be looked at.
  • Don't pick a fish that has been living in a tank with sick fish.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, keep the fish in a tank less that ten gallons for long periods of time.
  • Goldfish cannot live entirely off of fish flakes. Feed them the flakes as well as live food and vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce, and peas. You may also try your hand at making gel food for your fish.
  • Buy appropriate fish food, a gravel cleaner, and a net as well.


  • Don't overcrowd a tank.
  • Test the pH of your tank regularly.
  • If you notice your fish developing any abnormalities, take immediate action by quarantining that fish and finding the appropriate treatment.
  • Quarantine your fish for a week before adding it to a tank that already has fish, to avoid passing on illness.
  • If your fish is larger don't keep in in a tank with smaller shrimp unless you want them to be a snack for your fish.
  • Only keep goldfish with other goldfish of the same variety.

Things You'll Need

  • Net
  • Gravel/Sand
  • Tank- Ten gallons and up with a filter
  • Gravel cleaning hose
  • Liquid water treatment and/or aquarium salt
  • Plastic/live plants
  • Fish food
  • Bucket (for tank cleaning)
  • (optional) Medications in case of disease (can be bought at specialty fish stores)

Article Info

Categories: Goldfish