Cold water fish make ideal pets, as they are very easy to look after. The most common type, goldfish, originate from China and have been kept as pets longer than any other fish. There are over 300 varieties, but the most common varieties are comets, fantails, orandas, lionheads, shubunkins and black moors. Although they can all be mixed together in the same bowl, tank or pond they need to be of a similar size and be compatible for water temperatures and feeding habitats. Goldfish can live from any where between 20-25 years although the longest living goldfish was recorded at a ripe old age of 43 years. Although they are relatively easy pets to look after they are still a commitment and will require a high standard of general care throughout their life. Ensure that you can take on the responsibility before you commit.
A healthy goldfish should be active and able to swim through the water easily. They should be bright eyed and shiny. Its scales should cover its body evenly without any cuts or growths, if a goldfish gasps at the surface of the tank or swims in a peculiar way, then don’t buy it. The first signs of distress in a goldfish are usually sluggish movement and drooping fins.
Goldfish can live in special fish bowls, aquariums, tanks or garden ponds. There are a great variety of aquariums, ponds, equipment and accessories available. What ever you choose, it is important that you follow the manufacturers advice and instructions on the installation and maintenance of their equipment. Your local Jollyes will advise you on the number of goldfish you should keep in your chosen set up.
Your indoor aquarium will need to be set up at least one week before introducing your goldfish to allow the water and filtration system to mature. There are plenty of great designs and sizes to choose from. Place your aquarium on a specially designed stand or on a strong rigid flat surface that will support the weight. Remember that a full tank is heavy so do not move it once full. Ensure to position the tank away from windows, as sunlight will encourage algae growth.
Thoroughly rinse your tank with clean water. Place your filtration system in the tank before filling the tank; filtration systems are always recommended. Spread some thoroughly washed gravel across the base of the tank. Place any ornaments, rocks and plastic or real plants to the bottom of the tank to add interest but ensure they have been washed before doing so. Slowly fill the tank with tap water that has been made safe with a suitable chlorine remover. Remember tap water is generally very cold Jollyes, only the best for you and your pets and should be left to stand for several hours to allow it to reach room temperature before you add any goldfish.
Turn off the tank light, as this will help to reduce stress, ensure that the water is at an appropriate temperature. Float the unopened bag in the top of the tank for at least 15 minutes to even out any temperature differences and to avoid shocking the goldfish. Open the bag and allow the tank water to enter it before gently releasing your fish into the tank. After a few hours turn the tank light on.
Always use conditioned water, which has been treated to remove chlorine. If your tank has a filter ensure to regularly remove about a quarter of the water and replace it with a fresh supply. When necessary do a complete change. For systems without a filter, change half the water every week and a complete water change once a month. Ensure that the water you are introducing is at the same temperature as that in the tank or bowl.
Aquarium or tank fish will have to be fed everyday with special fish food. Ensure to read the instructions carefully to deter from over-feeding, as goldfish do not require a large amount of food. The most common cause of health problems with goldfish is water pollution caused by over feeding, particularly in bowls or tanks with no filter.
Handle your goldfish as little as possible to minimise unnecessary stress. Always use a net to catch your fish. Gently corner them and then catch them quickly.
Common illnesses for goldfish are fungal infections of the skin, parasites and constipation. Infection caused by lost scales, split fins and wounds can be treated with one of many treatments available. Your local Jollyes will be happy to advise you on the many fish remedies available should your goldfish become unwell.