Owning a Pet Goldfish: Everything You Need to Know

pet goldfish

Are you considering a pet goldfish? They’re often the first pets for many young people because they’re inexpensive and easy to care for, but they still help to illustrate the responsibilities associated with adopting a pet.  The biggest question is how to keep to goldfish alive. I hope some of the tips below will hep.

The goldfish was first domesticated in China over one thousand years ago. It is one of the most popularly kept fish as pets. A goldfish can survive in both a cold water aquarium indoors and a fresh water pond outside.

Goldfish Ponds

Some pet goldfish are kept in outdoor ponds all year long, even in areas with harsh winters. During the cold season, their system will slow down and as long as the pond does not freeze solid, they will warm up in the spring. To keep a pet goldfish happy in an outdoor pond it must have:
1. moving water or a filtration system
2. plants to maintain the ecosystem and provide food
3. enough depth to not freeze solid during cold winter months, and
4. enough area and shade to not overheat during hot summer months

Goldfish are a relatively inexpensive fish to keep in an outdoor pond but they may fall prey to predators. Birds and other wild animals have been known to steal fish from outdoor ponds that are not well protected. Goldfish in an outdoor pond will help decrease the mosquito population in your backyard.

Fresh Water Aquariums

Goldfish are a cold water fish and don’t require a heater on their aquarium. They will be fine as long as their water is maintained at a constant ambient temperature between 50 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they are a “dirty” fish, so they do require a filtration system or regular cleanings of their water as well as a form of aeration. They produce a large amount of waste in the water from both their feces and gills.

Life Span of a Pet Goldfish

In captivity, pet goldfish usually live only a few years. This is due to unclean living conditions or poor care. When experiencing proper care, goldfish have the ability to live up to ten years. Part of the reason goldfish live shorter lives when in captivity is because most people don’t realize the care that a goldfish requires. The practice of keeping a goldfish in a bowl on the counter is the cause of death for many fish. In fact, in some countries, keeping a goldfish in a fish bowl is considered cruelty to animals. As is the practice of giving them as prizes in plastic bags to minors.

While it may be believed the goldfish are easy to care for, low maintenance pets, they require regular water maintenance, cleaning, and checking. They are not just a pet you can plop in a bowl and feed with a pinch of food every day. Everyone seems to have a story about a carnival fish that survived years on their countertop, but in truth, fish of any kind require a lot more care.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


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