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Fish - Goldfish

Goldfish are one of the most common domesticated fish in the world. Goldfish are extremely easy to care for, which has made them one of the most popular fish to see in aquariums and ponds alike. Goldfish are a member of the carp family. There are many different Goldfish breeds. Each breed will vary in size, body shape, eye configuration and color.  Selective breeding over centuries has produced the goldfish that we know today with its golden color. Goldfish that are domesticated pets are very different than goldfish in the wild.  Goldfish are a great beginner pet, as they do not require very much care and are fairly inexpensive to keep.

Food

Goldfish mainly eat live plants in the wild which can be difficult to reproduce in captivity. There are a only a few aquarium species that can survive around goldfish including Cryptocoryne and Anubias. These plants require special care to that they are not uprooted. Goldfish food has less protein and more carbohydrates than other fish food, and is sold in either flake or pellet form. In order to further supplement your fish’s diet you can use shelled peas (i.e. with the shell removed), bloodworms and green leafy vegetables.  Goldfish are opportunistic feeders and do not stop eating if there is food available. Overfeeding can be detrimental to your goldfish’s health because the excess food can block their intestines. When there is extra food available, your goldfish will produce more waste due to incomplete digestion of protein. If you notice feces trailing from the fish’s cloaca you may be over-feeding him.

Care and Handling for Your Pet

Goldfish are classified as cold-water fish. They can live in unheated aquariums set at a comfortable temperature. It is important to keep the temperature consistent and comfortable, as rapid changes could result in shock and death. Care must be taken when you are adding clean water to ensure it is at the same temperature as the existing water. The best temperature for your goldfish is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Goldfish also breed in higher temperatures, and will lay eggs that will hatch within 48-72 hours. Goldfish have very good vision, and in time may begin to recognize you. This will be shown by the goldfish swimming to you, rather than away. This means that the goldfish has stopped viewing you as a threat and now will even seek you out for food. Goldfish live well with other goldfish as they are friendly and rarely show aggression.

Goldfish do not like to be handled or petted because it can endanger their health. Goldfish have a protective coat made of slime that can be wiped off if touched. This coat is important to keep the goldfish’s skin protected from infection, bacteria, and parasites. Many people believe that goldfish only live a couple of years, but this is mainly due to poor care. Goldfish produce a lot of waste including feces. Goldfish also produce waste through their gills. The waste produced by the gills release harmful chemicals. These chemicals can turn toxic so it is vital to clean your fish’s tank regularly. If the tank is not cleaned or is cleaned improperly, the toxins can kill your goldfish prematurely. Many goldfish live 10 years, or longer, if they have the right care.

Goldfish are one of the easiest pets to care for once you have the right living space created for them.  A common goldfish should have at least 20 gallons of water. You will also have to make sure that there is a proper water surface which will determine how much oxygen diffuses and dissolves into the water. A general rule is to have at least one square foot. You can also use a pump, filter or fountain that will create active aeration. You should also make sure that your goldfish will have some access to light, because if left in the dark they will gradually change color to a grayish tone.

Accessories

Goldfish are very easy to care for and do not require many accessories. That being said, it is very important to make sure that the products that you do purchase to care for your goldfish are the right ones that will not cause harm or stress to your new pet. Although many goldfish will come in a glass bowl this is not a suitable living environment and should be replaced as soon as you have transferred your fish from pet store to your home. Your goldfish needs at least a 20 gallon tank filled with room-temperature water. You can decorate your goldfish’s aquarium with colored pebbles and a few live plants. Make sure to check with the pet store that the plants you have selected are not going to harm the goldfish. Many people will use plastic plants, but these plants can damage your new fish’s skin, so they should be avoided. You can purchase pellet or flake fish food, just be very cautious to not over feed as this can cause health problems. You will also require a filter or water pump to make sure that the water is diffused with oxygen. There are also many other decorative additions you can purchase for your fish’s new home including sunken castles, stones, and even other goldfish.

Now that you have your new goldfish it is time to let him get to know you. Do not try to force this process because that may harm your efforts in the long run, instead let your fish get to know you through feeding times. Goldfish have a memory span of at least three months which should be enough time for your fish to recognize and become familiar with you. Within time you may also be able to train your fish tricks or to respond to different colors of light. Make sure that you do keep a routine because fish anticipate and look forward to feedings provided they occur at the same time every day.