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 GUIDELINES FOR GOLDFISH CARE

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Diana
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PostSubject: GUIDELINES FOR GOLDFISH CARE   Fri Dec 21, 2007 9:37 am

We have probably all seen (or even had) goldfish in small bowls, just holding a couple of litres of water and little else, indeed in the past this was the most common way these fish were kept.

Fortunately, things have changes, and more and more it is being recognised that goldfish need considerably more than the old fashioned goldfish bowl. These fish are hardy little things, and if cared for properly can live for 10 years or more, so thought needs to be given to how you can care for them longterm.

So what exactly do you need if you are going to look after these lovely little fish properly?

AQUARIUM

To properly look after your goldfish you will need a decent sized aquarium, providing at least 45litres for the first fish, then 35 litres for each subsequent fish. It is also important that they have an aquarium with a decent surfact area to enable adequate oxygenation, so aim for at least 30sq inches of surface area for every inch of fish length. REMEMBER when doing your calculations that your fish will grow!! Take this into account when choosing your tank and get one that will be suitable for your fish when it is an adult size.

While the fish are small this may seem an excessive amount of room for a single fish, but goldies grow big and need to have plenty of swimming space. A decent sized aquarium will give you a happy and healthy fish.

It is ALWAYS adviseable to have an aquarium with a hood on, to prevent the fish jumping out of the tank.

SUBSTRATE

Gravel is the best substrate for goldfish - and a normal 'pea gravel' with smooth pieces of approx 1/8" diameter would be ideal. It is too big for the fish to swallow, but small enough for them to rummage about in. Goldies can spend hours searching in the gravel for bits of food so a smooth gravel enables them to do thisd without getting hurt.

All gravel should be washed thoroughly before being added to your tank, when the water is running clear, it is ready to use.

TANK DECOR

Recent scientific studies have shown that far from being stupid creature with a memory span of a few seconds, goldies can differentiate between colours, shapes and sounds. They also have the ability to recognise different people, and owners may find that they will swim towards some people while hiding from others. One study showed that a goldfish recognised its owners voice, while it ignored the voices of other family members. This was more remarkable given that the goldfish was completely blind!

Over time goldfish will come to recognise their owners, and will often 'beg' for food from them, and some owners find that with a little time and patience it is possible to feed their fish by hand.

These characteristics make goldfish a very popular fish to own and careful owners will want to give their goldies a tank that is both interesting for their fish, as well as providing some places for the fish to hide in when they feel threatened. Plants, suitable wood or ornaments can all acheive this. Make sure that ornaments do not have sharp or rough surfaces - goldies are curious and can scratch their skin on sharp edges.


WATER QUALITY AND TEMPERATURE

As with all fish, your goldfish needs to be kept in clean water if it is not to fall prey to illness or disease. A weekly water testing regime to keep a check on whether Ammonia and Nitrites are present (see Fishless Cysling stickie for information on how to prepare for your fish), and weekly water changes will help you keep your fishtank clean.

All water should be de-chlorinated before it is added to the tank.

Although goldfish are categorised as coldwater fish, care does need to be taken when adding new water to the tank. Some people do recommend the use of a heater set to a low temperature to avoid the fish getting shocked by changes in water temperature, and it is advisable that new water be brought up to the temperature of the tankwater. The recommended temperatures for a goldie tank is 18-23c, although it has to be stressed that these are only guidelines, and goldies can withstand some variety in temperature.


FILTER

Goldfish are very 'mucky' fish - they produce a lot of waste. They do not have stomachs, and so all food they eat takes only a few minutes to digest their food and excrete waste at the other end! This waste will build up in the water and produce ammonia levels which are toxic to your fish. To help minimise this danger a filter is recommended for every Goldfish tank (remember to cycle the tank before adding your fish - see Fishless Cycle stickie).

FEEDING

Goldfish like their food, and will eat whenever the opportunity arises, whether they need it or not! They can easily become overfed unless certain guidelines are followed.

Goldfish should only be fed as much as they can eat in 2 minutes, once or twice a day. Remember, they have no stomachs so any excess protein just comes out the other end. Over feeding just means that more waste is being produced and going in their tank water - not nice for them to be swimming in!

You can feed your goldies -
Goldfish fish flakes
Goldfish food pellets
Peas - blanched and skinned
Green leafy vegetables - blanched
Orange segments
Cucumber - sliced
Bloodworms
Brine Shrimp



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