FISH CARE

GOLDFISH CARE


Of all of the species of fish available to the new aquarium hobbyist, the goldfish is responsible for more people taking part in this wonderful hobby than any other. People have loved goldfish for hundreds of years.

It is absolutely a wrong belief that goldfish do okay in bowls and other smaller aquariums. In fact, goldfish should never be kept in bowls for several reasons. First, in such small cramped quarters they will be stunted and develop deformities such as a curved spine. Secondly, goldfish are cool water fish. This means that they need much higher oxygen content than tropical fish. The level of oxygen present in a bowl is just not enough for them. Goldfish are also very messy eaters. They require a filter system that can keep up with their hearty appetites and the resulting waste products.

Goldfish need big Tank! The minimum size aquarium for an adult goldfish is at least a fifty-five gallon tank. I know what you are thinking, a fifty-five gallon tank for this little fish? But trust me, if cared for properly, that little fish will grow very large and live for twenty years or so. If you want a couple of goldfish and you can get little ones, say an inch or so, then by all means put them in a smaller aquarium, such as a ten gallon tank. However, be prepared to move them to a bigger tank in a couple of months. My best advice is to buy the biggest tank you can for your new pet, this way you don't have to keep buying bigger tanks as he grows. A goldfish can reach well over a foot long and weigh as much as six pounds!

CARE
Taking care of a goldfish is very easy, but does require a little attention. Since they produce a lot of waste, something must be done to keep the water clean. Always keep this in mind; just because the water is clear doesn't mean that it is clean. A goldfish tank should be equipped with a filter of some sort.

The most important element to successful goldfish keeping is doing partial water changes. That is you take out some old water and replace it with new water on a regular basis. The minimum amount you should change is 30 to 50 %. This should be done weekly. If you follow this rule then you will reduce to almost nothing any possibility of your fish becoming sick or dying. Water changes are the key! When changing water other routine maintenance should be performed. One of these is cleaning the gravel.

Aquarium Decoration
Setting up and aquarium decoration is always a lot of fun. For goldfish use fine gravel for the bottom. You want fine gravel because a goldfish is constantly digging around in it looking for food. He will actually take mouthfuls of it and twirl it around in his mouth, hoping to find some hidden morsels, before spitting the sand back out. If the gravel is too big or made of sharp material then there is a distinct possibility of the fish hurting his mouth, which could result in some serious problems. I would leave out real plants in your goldfish tank. This is because goldfish are primarily vegetarians. They would consider a well planted home their own private salad bar, and they just love a fresh salad! Your beautiful planted aquarium will be reduced to a barren wasteland in very short order. There are plastic plants on the market that look so real you have to look twice to make sure that they are plastic. These work perfectly for the goldfish tank as they look real but the fish will not eat them.

You can also add rocks and wood, or even castles and skeletons, if that is what you and your fish like. Just make sure that you buy these objects in a pet store, because you never know what chemicals or other toxins are hiding in wood, rocks, gravel, etc. It is far safer to spend some money at a pet shop for these items: this way you will be assured that they will be safe for your fish.

FOOD
Goldfish are rather pig-like when it comes to feeding time. They will eat anything and everything. Bear in mind that these animals need a low portion of protein in the diet; thus many foods offered to them are not really suitable. Goldfish love vegetables. Pop the pea from its skin and watch how Goldie loves it! They also like green beans, pieces of apple, etc. This is all very good for them. High protein foods such as worms, beef heart, insects and other such foods will eventually cause bloat. This disease is caused by protein rich foods. This rotting material produces gases, which cause the animal to swell. This will eventually kill your fish. Every couple of weeks, offer them some high protein foods, such as worms, as a treat.

GOLDFISH HEALTH PROBLEMS

Goldfish are very resistant to disease if kept properly. If the water is changed often and they are fed a good quality diet they will live a long healthy life. A common problem among fancy goldfish (the ones with the short round bodies,) is in their swim bladder. If this occurs, your fish will have real problems keeping steady in the water since he will be unable to swim. Sadly, most of the time this problem cannot be helped as it is caused by a deformity in the fish. While another problem that pops up, mostly in the spring, results from the little white pimples that goldfish develop all over their heads and gills. Many a goldfish lover has seen this and rushed right out to buy medicine to kill the so-called parasites. Unfortunately, the medications have killed far more fish than any diseases would have. The spots are on the males only; every spring when the water warms up, breeding becomes their obsession and with this change the males develop the pimples. This is completely natural. If you see this on your fish, then be glad because it shows he is healthy!

BREEDING

Breeding is relatively simple in ponds, but can also be done in aquariums if the tank is large enough. In the spring the males will get very active, and the females will get very plump. The female lays her eggs in no particular place and are scatterers. The eggs usually fall into plants for safety. The male fertilizes the eggs as they leave the female. The eggs will hatch in five days and the little babies will be up swimming around a week or so later, looking for a meal. If they were born in a pond then they will be able to find food on their own. If you bred them in a tank then you will have to feed them. With excellent care your baby goldfish should be around an inch long in a couple of months.

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