Goldfish breathe, but how do they do it?
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Goldfish breathe, although they don’t have lungs. They take water into the mouth, and expel it out the gills. Oxygen is absorbed from the water as it passes over an organ called the rake. The O2 is absorbed directly into the blood stream during this process. Just like humans, the blood of a goldfish needs to be rich in oxygen, so the water they live in must be the same
Goldfish and Koi require heavily oxygenated water, but achieving this goal in a goldfish house is no easy task. In a natural body of water, the surface is exposed to fresh, moving air. Oxygen is pulled from the air by movement of the air, called method of diffusion. The same rippling effect of the surface pulls carbon dioxide from the body of water, clearing it so that oxygen may enter
Oxygenating tank or pond water
Goldfish create more waste than any other fish. Where there’s waste, there’s carbon dioxide. This gas hangs heavily on the bottom where the waste settles, filling the body of water. Co2 fills the water, keeping oxygen from entering
How goldfish breathe
Only a pond pump creates the right kind of action to free the body of water so that oxygen can enter. These pumps sit freely on the bottom of a tank or pond. They push water to the surface where this gas is expelled clearing the body of water. Along with Co2, green water algae, supersaturated gases and bad bacteria can also take up space in water. A simple pond pump will assure none of the above ever become an issue
How does water support oxygen?
It takes more than a pond pump to make certain water is properly oxygenated. Carbonate is a mineral that gives water the ability to support oxygen. The comfort zone for goldfish is 120 to 140 ppm. The pH levels in your tank will be healthy if the water is moving properly and the carbonate levels are in this comfort zone. Oxygen and carbonate mineral make up the value of pH
Goldfish gill function
If your fish’s gills aren’t functioning well, they could be slowly suffocating. Signs of oxygen deprivation are gasping at the surface or hanging around the top of the tank or pond. Reddening around the gills, bleeding eye or bulging eyes, overworking of the gills and mouth are all symptoms of oxygen deprivation
How goldfish breathe
Listed below are issues that could result in loss or lack of oxygen in the blood stream
1. High nitrite and or nitrate levels which deprive the blood of oxygen
2. Ammonia burns the gills internally causing inflammation and damage to the tissue
3. Parasites have been known to infect the gills inside and out causing inflammation and damage to the tissue
4. A stone or a hard morsel of food can get caught in the throat, keeping the fish from taking in water through the mouth; obstructing gill function
5. Fungus can also build around the gills, but this is only seen in tanks or pond with poor water quality and low oxygen levels
6. Genetic abnormality or injury
How goldfish breathe?
If you suspect your goldfish is being deprived of oxygen; test (KH) carbonate. Test pH levels. Check for parasites and fungus. Check for something lodged in the throat. Check for parasites or injury to the gills. Read about oxygenating water
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Author: Brenda Rand