How to Create and Maintain a Goldfish Aquarium

If you're interested in jumping into the marvelous hobby of fish-keeping, this is the article for you. If you've already begun, please read on for some helpful tips and advice you may have not heard of before. This article will focus on the care and keeping of fancy goldfish, but may be used as a general guideline for most other fish as well.


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    Do Your Homework! Before you can care for any kind of fish, you will need to do some research. This can be done through the Internet, books, or fish experts that are willing to hand over some advice to beginners. On the Internet, you can find loads of information on fancy goldfish and their needs, as well as advice from professionals or goldfish breeders who have published tips and tricks for confused amateurs. Books are truly the key to success in just about any hobby you wish to do well in. Most goldfish manuals and guides are written by experienced hobbyists and breeders who know well what they're talking about.
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    Purchase the Necessities! Go to your local pet store or search online for the best deals and keep an eye out for sales.
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    Look up a detailed list of what you will need but here are the keys to caring for goldfish. *A Tank, obviously. The standard rule of thumb for fancy goldfish is 20 gallons (75.7 L) for the first fish, and 10 gallons (37.9 L) for each additional fish. When they're young, and with excellent filtration and frequent water changes, you can often get by with 10 gallons (37.9 L) per fish. But keep in mind, you may have to upgrade your tank in a year or a couple years as they grow older and larger. * A filter is a necessity.
    • For goldfish, who produce massive amounts of waste when compared to the average tropical fish, a filter with a Gallons Per Hour (G.P.H.) rate of 10x the tank's water volume or more is needed. For example, a 20 gallon (75.7 L) goldfish aquarium will need a filter with a 200 G.P.H. rate. A 30 gallon (113.6 L) tank will need 300 G.P.H. A 40 will need 400 G.P.H., simple as that. Of course, more than that is awesome, the more filtration the better.
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    • The two filters recommended for your aquarium would be a standard power filter that hangs on the back of the tank (HOB) or a canister filter which usually sits below the aquarium. Canister filters are very expensive but are an excellent source of filtration if you can spare the money. But no need to worry, HOB filters are fantastic, readily available, fairly inexpensive, and easy to maintain! It has a fairly large media basket where you have three levels of filtration. A foam block to catch debris, either carbon to help keep the water clear or more foam or filter floss for more stopping of the debris, and finally the magnificent ceramic rings. These pellets are small but due to the many crevices each one has approximately 100 sq. ft of surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow! Basically water is sucked into the filter and the beneficial bacteria converts highly toxic ammonia to less toxic nitrite to nitrate which is only toxic in large amounts. While other aquarium filters have only carbon which has very little space for B.B.'s to grow, and which is disposed of about once a month - that means your tossing your cycle!
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    • With an Aqua-clear, you only need to replace one section at a time, meaning you will always have your cycle. The foam needs only to be replaced every couple of month or so; the ceramic rings lasting almost forever!
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    Now add your hood and light, food, live or artificial plants, water conditioner, test kits, air pump and air stone for oxygenation of the water etc. Please don't use gravel, it makes water changes harder and makes it easier to not notice and miss bits of debris. A bare-bottom tank is usually a cleaner tank.
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    Change Water! Despite what you may have heard, small and infrequent water changes are not the way to go unless you have delicate tropical species that produce far less waste. With goldfish, you will want to perform frequent and large water changes. I would recommend a 20-25% water change once a week. With inadequate filtration or when cycling, you may need to do a 80% water change, but never exceed that amount unless in an emergency. Toxic chemicals build up in a goldfish tank quickly and need to be removed often. Don't wait a whole month between water changes. This may work with tropicals, but not with goldfish. Unlike may people think, massive water changes won't rid your tank of all the beneficial bacteria. The B.B.'s are on your filter media, in the gravel bed (if you have one), on the plants, etc. and not in the water.


  • Goldfish produce an absurd amount of waste compared to other fish. For this reason, some consider them to be harder to care for and their tank to be harder to maintain.
  • Goldfish can live for quite a long time. 10 years or more is common for those who properly care for their fish and provide them a spacious environment to grow as they would naturally. Goldfish will become "stunted" (stop growing, basically) if not provided the necessary space. Some scientists believe this to be very painful for the fish.

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Categories: Goldfish