I have just inherited a goldfish. Now what?

I just inherited a goldfish from the family I work for. I am a nanny and their three year-old recieved it at her pre-school gradutation thingy. They didn’t want it, so I offered to take it, in hopes of giving it a better life than living in a extra vase, which is what it is living in now.

I, however, know absolutely nothing about caring for a goldfish. What type of food should I give it and how often? Pellets or flakes? Should I spring for a full blown tank with filter or will a normal goldfish bowl be okay. How often should I clean the bowl/tank? Pretty much any goldfish advice will be appriciated. Thanks in advance.

Please take this with a minor grain of salt; I’m still a novice, but I’ll give you insight.

I’ve had goldfish for 2 years. I’m not that good at it (dad helps when I’m away at college, he used to have tons of tropical) but I did remember thinking I could get away without a filter.

I have a 10 gallon tank, and the first problem was when we first got the tank, there was nothing in it but water. The fish didn’t move. So we added a pump? that just pushed the water around, plus lots of rocks. Better. Then it was dirty, so we got a filter.

We had one dirty fish. When he passed on after a year or so, the tank instantly got clearer. He was sick though, near the end. Obviously sick.

Food? Hm. It varies. We had one the size of big bertha, so big that when it opened its mouth you could see clear down its thoart. He liked pellets that floated, liking to eat off the top.

The other one likes flakes, and prefers them underground and moving (hence the filter & pump’s handiness). Since they are flakes I just pinch them together and put them underneath the surface.

Every two-three days I add water, or it gets too loud, because the filter waterfall has further to fall and the pump is pumping slightly above water. Adding water keeps the tank water fresh with oxygen, which is important. Depending on how dirty your fish is, you’d change the filter every 5 or 7 days. Sometimes Dad cleans them throughly a few times and reuses them.

Check your fish food’s container to see a guide to how much you should feed them. Try to keep the walls clean, get a rod with a scratching pad or what not, or the buildup gets harder to get rid of later (scrapping).

Hope this helps, but don’t follow me my advice word for word. You might find other stuff helps better.


Here is a good page for basic goldfish care.

The thing to remember about fish keeping, in general, is that they live in their own toilet. That means you have to do regular maintenence to the water and tank to keep them alive.

Once you have decided to accept the commitment, goldfish can make great pets. They can see out of the tank just like you can see in and they will come to recognize you if you spend time with them. Plus, they will help to you live longer. Studies have shown that watching fish swim in a tank brings on the relaxation response and lowers stress.

Have fun!

Great party piece. Get everybody’s attention, reach in and grab the sucker, throw head back, drop into mouth. Swallowing is optional, but recommended, as the required loud belch is difficult to achieve with Goldy in your mouth.

Hey, wait a minute, you’re not a guy … fuggedaboudit.

I’m no fish expert but I’ve owned a number of goldfish over the years. Usually just one or two at a time, however. Here’s what I operate by:

Goldfish don’t need a formal “tank” with aeration, filtration, etc. They can do just fine in a goldfish bowl (wonder where that name came from :wink: ) or other receptacle - even a vase. A smallish goldfish can easily live in a one gallon bowl.

Put those small stones (made for aquariums) in the bottom. I’ve always wanted to use those round glass beads used for flower arranging, but they’re more expensive, so I’ve stuck with the gravel.

A plant can make it nice, but also isn’t necessary. I do try to put a rock or big shell or something in the bowl to make it more interesting for them and to swim around/hang out near.

I’ve always used flake food - the goldfish I’ve had haven’t taken to the pellets too well. Get goldfish food, not betta or tropical fish food. Don’t over feed. Feed twice a day. Feed “only as much as they can eat in about 5 minutes” the food can always says.

Don’t clean the bowl too often - really. When it starts getting green is fine. You can change about 1/3 of the water in the bowl every week or so (see more on this below) rather than have to change the whole thing.

The biggest thing to NOT do is shock them with rapid water temperature changes. Always let the “new” water sit in a separate container for a while near the tank/bowl to equalize the temp with the existing water. If you don’t add those dechlorinization/demetalization drops, let the “new” water sit at least overnight to let the chlorine evaporate or whatever it does.

Don’t ever use soap or glass cleaner on the tank/bowl. No matter how much you rinse, you probably won’t get it all - bad for the fish! Usually I rub the pebbles on the sides of the bowl when cleaning/changing the water to abrade away the gunk and this works fine.

So, when it’s time to change the water, I usually let a large pot of water sit out overnight next to the fishbowl (the “new” water). Then I pour the “old” water out of the bowl and down the sink - pouring or having scooped the fish into some small container for the duration of the process - a glass or bowl works just fine. I’ll rinse the bowl and the gravel multiple times with tap water - until it runs clear - using the gravel as a cleaning agent as described above. Last rinse is with water approximately room temperature. Pour out all the tap water, pour in a little “new” water and swish around then pour it out too (to “rinse out” all the tap water). Fill tank/bowl with “new” water. Add fish back in. DONE! I did this just this morning for my 2 fish and it took about 10 minutes total (set the “new” water out the day before).

I’m sure someone will be along to tell me what I’m doing wrong. But my goldfish seem to live longer than anyone’s, so it can’t be that bad.

Have fun and congratulations with your new pet!

Lord, lord, lord…

don’t keep goldfish in a goldfish bowl. they do get pretty big, and just think how cramped and boring it gets in there.

try to live in your closet for years without leaving, it would suck

use a ten gallon tank for one fish, with a filter…i prefer a hang over the side style power filter (the ones that look like a waterfall)

change 1/4 of the water every week…and make sure the water you put back in is the same temperature as the water you took out. (as not to kill them)

for feeding, i feed mine 2 times a day, and once a week don’t feed them at all, so their digestive systems can empty.

well, that’s all the knowledge i have to get you started, if i think of something else i shall post it

Well, since you mentioned it :wink:

Beneficial bacteria live on the gravel which converts the ammonia from fish waste which is very stressful, into nitrite which is less stressful, and then into nitrate which is even less stressful. Partial water changes are the only way to get the nitrate out of the water in this type of setup.

By using chorinated tapwater to rinse the gravel, you are killing the bacteria which will lead to a build up of ammonia until the bacteria can replenish their numbers.

I tend to agree with Sandlegs though, that even for a goldfish, a cheap 10 gallon aquarium with an undergravel filter and airstone is better.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I will get a tank with filter as soon as I get my next paycheck. Any ideas where I can find them for nice and cheap? I am but a poor college student after all. Are used tanks okay? If so, any ideas where I could get one?

:eek: And I thank god every day if this is the kind of stuff you have to do when for the possesion of a Y chromosome. Yikes!

The Walmart here has them - complete setups ranging from plastic 2 gallon tanks to 10 gallon glass tanks - and I think they’re pretty cheap.

Hey, not only “no problem”, but thanks!

P.S. The two goldfish I have now do live in a proper tank with gravel, aeration, etc. So you all can relax about my poor fish! :wink:

OT - If you’re anywhere near the Orange County part of CA, I’ve got a 10 gallon tank I’m trying to get rid of for free. E-mail me.

Other than what’s already been mentioned, be prepared that a goldfish that is properly taken care of can live for more than a decade.

If you have to buy an aquarium, especially used, don’t pay more than $1.00-$2.00 per gallon… IOW the tank it’s self is only worth $10-$20, closer to 10… and of course anything down to $0 is even better (just make sure it doesn’t leak OR that you have a tube of silicone). Bigger tanks that have heavier glass will cost a bit more, but the actual tank should be pretty cheap.

Ack! Chuckles (temporary name until I think of something better) has a long string thing hanging from his stomach. My sister say it’s just waste, but I want to check with all y’all to make sure, this is normal right? Please say yes, I have gotten attatched to the little guy and it looks really funky… :frowning:

Thanks for the offer. Unfortunately, I am up by San Francisco. It’s okay though, turns out my dad has a tank he isn’t using and he is giving it to me for free.