10 Easy Steps Goldfish Keeping

 10 Easy STEPS Goldfish Keeping made simple

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The theory is simple, by recreating their ancestor’s natural environment, the cold and fast moving rivers of China, our goldfish will thrive in an aquarium or pond. Learn everything you can about goldfish keeping

Centuries ago, and still today, the Chinese displayed their goldfish in glass bowls much to the delight of their guests, but the goldfish were quickly returned to their ponds after the party was over. This could very well have started the ‘goldfish in a bowl’ tradition, and with dire consequences. Follow 10 Easy Steps to create the perfect ecosystem for your goldfish, and they will live up to their full potential in growth and life expectancy

Goldfish Care

Equipment and Supplies needed; Goldfish container; water pump & sponge; Water treatment; Freshwater tub; Gravel vacuum or python; Natural pea gravel; Goldfish food; Parameters test kit and thermometer

Goldfish are delicate creatures. Their environment is a complex ecosystem that must be perfectly balanced. The tiny goldfish you bring home will double in size within a few short weeks, and by the end of the first year could easily measure 2″ in length; averaging 1” per year. If their growth is not stunted by close quarters they’ll keep growing for most of their life which averages 16 years, and some live for much longer, growing much larger

Goldfish information

Goldfish need room to grow. The water they live in should be filtered and oxygenated. Even a large aquarium is not a natural environment for goldfish. They are more at home in shallow water that has plenty of surface area with plenty of surface activity, such as water fountains and falls. Compromises must be made if these creatures are to be housed successfully in our homes

10 easy steps goldfish keeping

Goldfish keeping

10 easy steps goldfish keeping

10 Easy Steps Goldfish Keeping

House your goldfish in a fancy aquarium, a flower pot or even a rubber tub. The most important factors in choosing a container is that it is large enough, strong enough to hold water and free of contaminants, having more surface area and less depth. Some goldfish are sensitive to water pressure

 Minimum stocking level
2.5 gallons of water per 1” of body length

If you have an indoor goldfish house, locate it a place that doesn’t receive too much sunlight; a room that stays cool year round. The top should be open and exposed to fresh air

Use aquarium safe decorations and natural gravel. Make sure plants are nontoxic and free of infection
10 Easy Steps to Goldfish Keeping

Goldfish make waste, which plays a big role in helping Mother Nature create a healthy ecosystem for them to live in. Ammonia, a deadly toxin, is created from waste. When ammonia is present, and the environment is right, beneficial bacteria form to feed on the toxin, converting it into nitrite

Nitrites attract another type of friendly bacteria that convert the toxin into nitrates. Once these bugs build large enough colonies to convert the entire bio load your goldfish produce, the cycle will be complete. Beneficial bacteria live in our pumps and filters, so handle with care

Nitrates, the third and final toxin in the cycle are not as dangerous in lesser amounts. The waste your goldfish produce encourages the production of beneficial bacteria or friendly bugs

Algae, a plant that offers a nutritious food source for goldfish forms when nitrates are present, feeding on the toxin, keeping levels at bay

10 Easy Steps to Goldfish Keeping

          Step 3

Every goldfish house should have a thin layer of natural pea sized gravel. Gravel offers a place for waste and uneaten food a place to settle, keeping the water free of floating debris. Being bottom dwellers, goldfish enjoy pecking through it

Natural gravel and sea shells combined help to support the mineral levels of the water in your goldfish house, creating a more natural environment, working with Mother Nature

Avoid the use of painted pet shop gravel, marbles or sand

Use a gravel vacuum to remove the debris from the bottom of your goldfish tank. A gravel vacuum is a short hose with a wide mouth on the end of it

Place the mouth of the vacuum at the bottom of your tank using a suction device attached to the centre portion of the hose; squeeze repetitively

A motorized pump (python) may also be used for simplifying the procedure, or you may choose to siphon with your mouth to get the action going

If you have a pond pump, and your fish are in an aquarium that sits higher than the old tank water bucket, hold the nozzle over the jets to get the action going

Have a bucket handy for the old tank water to spill into, and be careful not to suck small fish into the mouth of the vacuum

Very gently, rake the mouth of the vacuum through the gravel pulling it backwards. When you have completed the task, gently lift the mouth upwards as you remove it from tank allowing the dirty water to drain into the bucket
Practice makes perfect

10 Easy Steps to Goldfish Keeping

          Step 4

Tap water is recommended as a freshwater source for goldfish. It contains the important minerals necessary to support life. Referred to as total hardness, these minerals are mostly made up of magnesium, calcium and carbonate minerals. Goldfish need these minerals for good health, but too high of a content can injure them. If water is referred to as soft, such as bottled water, it contains little or no minerals, and may not support life

City tap water is regularly treated with chlorine and chloramines which may retard formation of beneficial bacteria, and can be harmful for goldfish. These disinfectants must be converted by water treatment to make water safe for fish

Do you know what supersaturated gases are? SSG are concentrated amount of oxygen created from pressure and found in our tap. Only a real pond pump can eliminate these gases or manually working the water over to remove the tiny bubbles

10 Easy Steps to Goldfish Keeping

          Step 5

Our cities add disinfectants to our tap water, such as chlorine; dangerous to goldfish and beneficial bacteria alike. Water treatment is also used to convert ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to a safe form by bonding to the elements. The toxins can still be measured because they are still present, only in a different form

Never add water treatment directly to your goldfish house water; premix in freshwater first

Ammonia chips; Zeolites or lava rock, carbon and charcoal is not recommended for use in a cycled tank or pond
Use water treatment when cycling a tank or pond, or to make fresh tap water safe for goldfish

10 Easy Steps to Goldfish Keeping

          Step 6

The environment goldfish live in must be rich in oxygen if the ecosystem is to be a healthy one. Oxygen is pulled from the air at the surface of water by method of diffusion, but only if the surface is agitated, the body of water free and carbonate mineral levels are healthy. The most common things that fills a body of water, keeping oxygen from entering are carbon dioxide, a gas created from waste, supersaturated gases, concentrated amount of oxygen created from pressure in tap water, green water algae, and bad bacteria. All of these things take up valuable space in the water, but they are easily eliminated with the right kind of water movement

To be oxygenated, water must have a healthy pH, which is a combined reading for KH and O2

120 ppm is the goal for carbonate mineral (KH)
KH gives water the ability to support oxygen

Proper water movement clears the water of gases allowing oxygen to enter from the surface, but only if it’s exposed to fresh air

10 Easy Steps to goldfish keeping

          Step 7

No goldfish house is complete without a real pond pump included in the set up. Pond pumps house the friendly bacteria that create the nitrogen cycle, and unlike top loading filters, they sit on the floor where waste accumulates. This makes for a stronger colony of friendly bacteria, because waste is their food source

Pond pumps oxygenate water by creating the right kind of action; pulling water from the bottom, pushing it to the surface where gases are expelled

Some pond pumps come with sponges, but some of the smaller ones do not. An aquarium safe sponge can be wrapped around the pump’s intake and bound with a rubber band. The sponge acts as a filtering system for free floating debris, but also keeps the motor running smoothly. Use old tank water to rinse out sponges weekly
It is important that the tank water is moving through these sponges sufficiently to clear floating debris. Do not rinse the pumps unless mechanics slow, and then try unplugging it for an instant.

Rated by ‘gallons per hour’ 100 GPH (minimum) is required for every10 gallons of water your goldfish house supports. The smaller the surface area compared to the size of the body of water, the deeper the water, the more surface action needed

To distribute beneficial bacteria as well as the surface action, two or even three pumps may be necessary in larger goldfish houses

Most goldfish love playing in the jets of pond pumps

10 Easy Steps to goldfish keeping

        Step 8

Perform weekly partial water changes, replacing only a percentage of old tank water with freshwater. Partial water changes accomplish much more than assuring the production of friendly bugs; it allows the goldfish to remain in the safety of their home

Filtering systems cannot reduce the levels of toxins produced. Any trace of ammonia or nitrite in tank water indicates there are little, if any friendly bugs in your tank; your fish are at risk of being poisoned by the toxins. Products designed to absorb ammonia, keeping the cycle from forming do not perform well, and place the fish at risk

Uncycled tank;
exchange 20% to 40% (depending on stocking levels) daily for the next 6 weeks; slowly over another 2 weeks reduce the amount of exchange until you are changing out 20% to 30% biweekly
Use water treatment that converts ammonia &nitrite

Cycled tank; exchange 20% to 40% of tank water (depending on stocking levels) biweekly. It’s beneficial to perform several smaller changes throughout the week which keeps nitrates consistently lower and water value higher. Use enough water treatment for amount exchanged only

Always return fresh water gradually to reduce the risk of shock

An overstocked tank requires increased amounts of partial water changes to keep nitrate levels low and water value high

Using your freshwater tub; match the amount or percentage of old tank water you are going to remove with your freshwater source
2. Premix water treatment (treatment should eliminate ammonia, nitrite, chlorine and chloramines) in freshwater bucket; using enough to treat size of entire tank
3. Old tank water should be removed by vacuuming the bottom of the tank. Check under plants and decorations by lifting gently and vacuuming beneath
4. Remove and replace 10% of goldfish house water every 30 minutes to reduce the risk of shock

Never use detergents or cleaning agents on goldfish house or equipment

10 Easy Steps to goldfish keeping

         Step 9

There is much more to water quality than performing water changes to keep nitrate levels low. The tap water you use may or may not contain the proper mineral value goldfish need to be healthy

Goldfish cannot tolerate any reading whatsoever for ammonia or nitrite, however, they can tolerate low nitrate levels of 10 to 20 ppm being the end result of the toxin conversion. If there are no nitrate readings in your goldfish house, it’s not cycled

Normal readings in a cycled tank or pond
The 1st toxin to form in the nitrogen cycle

The 2nd toxin to form in the nitrogen cycle

Nitrates….consistent levels of 10 to 20 ppm preferred
The 3rd and final toxin to form in the nitrogen cycle

Temperature….64 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit
Goldfish are cold blooded and become dormant in lower temperatures, breathing less oxygen, eating less or nothing at all. Goldfish enter dormancy at 64f, reaching a full state at 44f. This marvelous attribute comes in handy during times of stress

Beneficial bacteria thrive in the very same conditions as goldfish

The higher side of the comfort zone is preferred for the following parameters

pH (potential of hydrogen) 7.4 to 8.4 ppm
A combined measurement of carbonate mineral and oxygen
KH (carbonate mineral) close to or around 120 ppm
Gives water the ability to support oxygen; a measurement of how base of acid water is
GH (general hardness) 200 to 400 ppm
A measurement that consists mostly of (two parts) magnesium and (one part) calcium

Some test kits measure by dH (degrees of hardness) but more commonly ppm (parts per million) or (milligrams) is used. One measure (drop) of dH equals 17.8 ppm

10 Easy Steps to goldfish keeping

           Step 10

In their natural environment, goldfish nibble and graze throughout the day, eating small amounts of food as they come across it, such as algae, plants, fish eggs, small fish, insect larvae, bugs and worms

Goldfish have no stomach to speak of. The food they eat is digested quickly, leaving their system within a few hours

Feed a variety of vegetables such as blanched spinach or their favorite, frozen peas; cook until soft and remove the shells before feeding. Veggies should be a part of every goldfish’s diet; combined with gel food, sinking pellets, brine shrimp and fewer flakes will support good nutrition

Goldfish will gorge when given the opportunity which may lead to serious digestive issues

Feed a varied diet of vegetables and proteins; feed on a schedule, and feed consistently; a minimum of four to five times a day, so the friendly bugs in your tank or pond will produce small amounts of nitrates consistently. This consistent production of nitrates allows for consistent parameters

Feed less more often

With hands that are clean and well rinsed; feed what the goldfish will consume in 2 to 3 minutes, 4 times a day, or 3 to 4 minutes three times a day, and be consistent about it. When you feed your goldfish you’re also feeding your beneficial bacteria

When you feed your goldfish hold the food beneath the water’s surface until it has moistened enough to sink. This will keep them from gulping air as they gobble their food; which may contribute to digestive disorders

Do not feed floating pellets

Soak sinking pellets in fish water for 10 minutes before feeding to soften. Spread food in a sweeping motion so your fish have to work for their supper

Never feed your goldfish breads, meats, dairy products, or canned food that contains sodium or other additives

 Read the full version
10 Steps to Goldfish Koi Keeping

All rights reserved copyright 2007

Author: Brenda Rand


By Venus

Master goldfish keeper