A goldfish’s 10th birthday is something they rarely get to celebrate. For many others, this isn’t even half way through their lifetimes! The world record holder for oldest goldfish lived to be 43! How can you ensure your goldfish lives a long and happy life, possibly surpassing this milestone birthday?
If you’re thinking, ‘why would I want my fish to live this long?’ get a plant.
Before you get your goldfish, do your research.
Hopefully, you didn’t just decide one day, ‘I’m going to go out today and get a puppy/kitten/horse/snake.’ You thought it over, did some basic research and stocked up before bringing your pet home. I bet you even looked up the nearest veterinary hospital and emergency hospital just in case. You gold star owners put these phone numbers up on the fridge and already booked an initial appointment.
You can do the exact same thing for fish! Do you want X variety of goldfish? How much room do they need? What do they eat? Who do they get along with? Do you only have room for X-gallon(s) tank? How many goldfish can you fit? What should they eat? When are you doing to do your maintenance? Do you need to hire someone or make it a chore for your child?
Review our checklist and make sure everything is ready for your new fish. (Again, if you don’t plan on 10 years, buy the plant.) And make sure you figure out your best veterinary contact for your fish! (Yes, we exist – you’re reading our blog.) If you are having a hard time finding a vet in your area, check out these other solutions.
Buy your fish from a ‘trustworthy’ source.
Since we’ve been in the pet fish business for awhile now, we know there are many levels of pet fish store reputability. Many stores turn fish over so fast, they many not be aware that your fish is sick when they sell it to you. Some promise safe quarantine practices that aren’t up to standard. There are some great pet fish stores out there, and some that we are scared to go into. Here are a few ways to spot a safe fish store:
- No dead fish in the tanks. If you see any dead or sick fish in ANY tank in the store, find another store. Many tanks share water and equipment.
- Fish are bright and alert. Most fish in pet stores should be swimming around, interacting with each other. If any fish are sitting listlessly in a corner, unless they are a sucker fish, find another store.
- Staff is upfront and don’t offer any “crazy promises.” They can tell you when the fish came in and where they are from. If they are captive bred or wild caught. They should be able to give you information on who gets along well and who needs space. If they calculate your fishload to 1″ of fish per gallon, find another store or hand over our article.
You know what’s actually the safest option these days? Buying fish online. In doing so, you limit the amount of transport and various facilities they come in contact with.
NEVER support a public event giving goldfish away as prizes. This has been banned in many states. It is cruel to torture fish in this manner.
If you are starting a brand new tank, congratulations! This is already your hospital or quarantine tank. These first 4-6 weeks are critical to your fish’s survival. If they didn’t “look sick” at the store, this is the time they will start to show clinical signs. The stress of moving fish depresses their immune system, allowing bacteria and parasites to flourish. Keep a close eye on your fish and your nitrogen cycle as your tank goes through New Tank Syndrome. Be ready to call the vet if you start to notice anything amiss. Or maybe you already scheduled their first exam! (Gold star!)
What goes in, also comes out.
Goldfish are not the most efficient feed to mass converters, so they make a big mess of their tanks compared to other fish. Most of their growth comes down to the amount of protein in their diet. The higher the protein, the more growth. Goldfish, like their other carp cousins, have an almost exponential growth capability. Many “wild-caught” goldfish have been over 16″ long! Never, EVER release your pet fish into the wild. Many species have become national nuisances from those people abandoning their pets. However, you can expect your goldfish to grow VERY large. Remember our friend, Silverado?
This cutie needed a 100-gallon tank FOR HIMSELF! And if you think, well, I just won’t feed him/her so much protein to keep them small, you may be stunting your fish without realizing it. Here is our guide to goldfish food. Our you can just buy the one we recommend to most of our clients.
And with all that food, comes a lot of waste. Be sure you have your regular cleaning schedule up on your calendar and treat it as a sacred event. Don’t know the right way to clean your tank? Check out our step by step video. And don’t be fooled by all those fancy over-the-counter additives! There is only ONE product you ACTUALLY need.