It is not uncommon for a goldfish to live for 10 years.. did you know that? But yet these fish almost always die within the first couple months of people caring for them. There are misconceptions of what a goldfish needs to live happily.
This is a guide to help beginner fish owners boost the lives of their Goldfish. I have listed the top 10 factors that play the biggest role in how long a goldfish will live for. Note: Image Source: Pet Smart
1. Aquarium & Tank Size
Most people don’t know that Goldfish need a lot of aquarium space. These fish are very big eaters and they can grow to a foot long! The main reason that aquarium size is number one on the list is because it usually amounts to how much clean water is available. Fish need clear water in order to breath and when they lay waste in these “small” tanks, it DEPRIVES THE OXYGEN of the water and stops the fish from breathing. The more water available for the fish to live in, the more oxygen becomes readily available for the fish. In order to obtain more oxygen in small fish tanks, a person must manually do water changes frequently.
2. Water Clarity & Cleanliness
The idea of water clarity goes right along with tank size too. The smaller the tank you have, the easier the water gets polluted because there is less of it. Any aquarium that is under 20 gallons in size will need almost daily water changes with an average sized goldfish. That is a strong fact I just stated. Goldfish are almost always put in goldfish bowls and that’s why their death rate is so high. It’s a sad thing but goldfish need clean water to live healthy lives. If you have a goldfish and the tank isn’t 20 gallons or more, then COUNT ON DOING WATER CHANGES frequently.
3. Feeding Schedule
Over feeding fish is an ultimate killer for aquarists. When you over feed the fish, the uneaten food lays in the bottom and starts to decay with bacteria. Once the decay starts is when your clean water starts to get polluted with ammonia and waste. It’s an evil process of build up. If your tank has gravel, its almost impossible to see it.
Sometimes it is advised for beginners not to use gravel so you can see if uneaten food lays on the bottom. This way you know if your feeding your fish too much and to back off the amount less. Long story short, over feeding your fish actually starves the water of oxygen in which they use to breath.
4. Water Changes
Your fish tank is going to consume waste from fish feces and uneaten food. Without getting too scientific, your water is going to start getting gross and full of bacteria. This is why routine water changes are a necessity. There is no need to change all if the water at once but instead only change 30-40% of it. Siphon vacuums work great for cleaning the tank without having to carry the tank anywhere. It involves a bucket and the siphon hose. I highly encourage the use of them because of how easy they make cleaning an aquarium.
5. Treating New Water
Water that comes straight out of your faucet and into your fish tank needs to e treated with conditioner. Chlorine and other chemicals can be harmful to the fish. The water conditioner makes the water safe for your fish to breath through. You can also let water sit for 24 hours and wait out the dechlorination process. With water changes, using a conditioner is so much easier then the waiting process.
6. Food Diversity
Everyone gets sick of eating the same thing over and over. Your goldfish is no exception. Flake food is what most people feed these guys on an everyday routine. If I ate the same thing everyday… I would be deeply depressed.
Find your goldfish some worms and insects or cut up small pieces of fruits and vegetables. Goldfish eat almost anything they can fit in their mouth in the natural living habitat. Just make sure not to over feed them too much and just have the uneaten food sit in the water making decay and ammonia levels.
7. Loneliness & Friends
Just like everyone else, goldfish get lonely too. There are lots of “cold” water fish that can be tank mates or roommates with them. I would advise having more goldfish with your goldfish just because they get along so well together. There are lots of invertebrates too that can be added to your goldfish tank too. Crabs and shrimp make up most of that category. Things to be aware of are how fast the goldfish swim that you pair together and how aggressive other fish might be towards your goldfish.
8. Forgot About
It’s easy to be in love with your new and exciting pet. But 2 years down the road, your goldfish is going to be old news then. It’s important to keep up with the fish even though its not as exciting as the fish was right when you got it.
9. Aerator & Oxygen
The amount of oxygen that is in your aquarium water is a big deal for your goldfish to stay alive. A safe route to go is by adding a aerator machine. It works by inserting air bubbles into the water through an air stone. A true sign that your fish is low on oxygen levels is by seeing the fish gasping at the water surface. When the fish is at the surface gasping for air is when you really need to hurry to get your aerator setup. I always run one with my fish just so I know the oxygen levels are always there. Better to be safe then sorry.
10. Environment Growth
Goldfish can grow up to a foot long and its quite easy for them to need more space to grow. If you started with your goldfish in a 10 gallon tank, it might be time to upgrade your growing fish to a 30 gallon. It’s a tough process of upgrading in size, but for a large goldfish it is almost a necessity. A goldfish will only grow as large as the tank lets it but it may need some more room to swim around and live a healthy lifestyle.