If you have a pet goldfish, you probably know that they usually don’t live very long. Although they are small fish, they can live for many years if you give them proper care. Here’s how to care for your goldfish so it will live for decades:
- Get a proper fish tank setup. Although your goldfish is small, it will do best in a larger tank. Do not buy a small bowl. Ten gallons per fish is the minimum if you want you fish to live a long and happy life. Get a proper aquarium, with a filter. Goldfish are known for producing a lot of waste, so the filter will cut down on the necessary water changes to keep the tank clean. Most goldfish end up succumbing to the ammonia in the tank, produced through their own waste. However, you don’t need a heater on the tank; goldfish are not tropical fish.
- Set up the tank before getting the fish. Many fish won at carnivals or bought on a whim die an early death because they are placed in fish tanks that are not ready for them. Set up your tank at least a few days before getting the fish to make sure the equipment functions correctly and allow the temperature time to stabilize.
- Clean the tank often. Having a filter on the tank does not mean you never have to clean it. Never change the whole tank. Do frequent partial water changes (about 20 percent) instead. Most people go far too long without changing out the water; some of the water should be changed out every week. Do not remove the fish to change out some of the water, because this will stress them out.
- Don’t overfeed. Feed the right food to your goldfish. Don’t just feed the generic “fish flakes”; there is special food formulated specifically for goldfish. Your fish only needs a pinch of food; keep in mind that their stomach is only about as large as their eyes. Many people neglect their goldfish’s Vitamin C needs; you can add a fresh orange wedge to the water to help your fish get the Vitamin C it needs. Be sure to remove the wedge after 2 hours.
- Don’t add other fish to the tank. It is okay to add other goldfish, but don’t add any other types of fish. They can crowd the tank and stress your goldfish out, and some will even physically fight. If you do decide to add another goldfish, keep it in a separate quarantine tank for the first week to make sure it is healthy before adding it to your established tank.
Mistakes can be made by even the most well-meaning goldfish owners. Many goldfish die from neglect when their tank grows too dirty. When given proper care, goldfish can live for a decade or more. In fact, there are several recorded instances of goldfish that have survived for forty years or more.