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The golden rules of gold fish care

By Peta Boyce

Updated: August 5th, 2019

There is more to fish care than just water and food. See how to master it properly here.

Gold fish make great pets – they are carefree and generally easy to maintain. They don’t talk back and all they really expect is some food and pet care in return. Life is not much easier than that of a gold fish.

As one of the first domesticated aquarium fish, these guys are now more common in pet shops than a pie is to a smoko truck.

People often underestimate the attention needed for their proper care, which is generally pretty easy if you get the fundamentals right.

Here’s the golden rules of gold fish care

1. Tank size

Aside from a common misconception these fish are not happy kept in small bowls. The surface area is restricted by the curved glass resulting in less oxygen for the fish and nowhere to house a filter.

Gold fish

An 80-litre fish tank is the ideal size for a single fish. Increase the tank size by 35 litres for every additional fish.

Gold fish grow to impressive sizes and produce a lot of waste material. A tank with the appropriate quantity of water will ensure they flourish and remain healthy.

2. Filtration

Fish produce both mechanical and biological waste from their intake of food and the fossicking around in their tank. You need to have a good quality filter to maintain their water quality. A submersible or cannister filter designed for the tank size are both suitable for gold fish tanks. Clean the filter at least once a month to maintain its working condition.

3. Water maintenance

Regular water changes are required for every fish tank. For gold fish it is recommended to do a 25% water change every week. These changes get rid of waste materials, ammonia, nitrates, phosphorous, and provides regular fresh, nutrient-rich water.

4. Items to include in the fish tank

Gold fish tanks should include a substrate like fish tank gravel on the bottom. Include rocks, drift wood or somewhere for your fish friends to take shelter and rest.

Your fish tank must have a lid and a fish tank light. A heater is not a necessity for gold fish although will help to keep your fish comfortable in the cooler weather.

If you include live plants in the tank choose a hearty option like Java Fern as gold fish are hard on live plants.

5. Gold fish food

It is important to provide your gold fish with a proper diet of fish food. They will eat both animal and vegetable matter and spend most of their day in search of a snack. You can buy specialised gold fish food from the pet shops.

Feed your fish twice a day but do not overfeed them. Brine shrimp is also a favoured treat for gold fish.

A good rule of thumb is to feed your fish as much food as they will consume in 2 minutes.

If provided with the right pet care, gold fish are a hearty, colourful and interactive pet for family members of all ages. They can live to see 20 years and will become a cherished member of your household.

Have a house with pets? Hire an Airtasker for quality pet sitting next time you go away.


Peta B

With a witty sense of humour, and an obsession for detail and nitty-gritty, Peta loves flexing her talents as a copywriter, marketer and event manager. She's put together some pretty impressive corporate shindigs in her time and now works across a variety of assignments as a freelancer, between being a full-time Mum.

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