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5 Common Misconceptions About Goldfish

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Jessica is an experienced pet mom with dogs, cats, rats, fish, axolotls, a gecko, chickens, and ducks.

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Goldfish are one of the most misunderstood pets out there. They are given away at fairs and carnivals, and they are portrayed as an easy pet to take care of.

While they are not the most difficult pets to take care of, they do have specific needs just like any animal. The oldest goldfish on record lived to age 43, although the lifespan for most common goldfish is 15 years. This shows how concerning it is that many people's fish are dying in a matter of months. It seems that most people genuinely don't understand what they need to thrive.

Although there are things that are out of our control like parasites and diseases that fish may have had before they came into our care, there are still many circumstances where a goldfish's life can be extended just by providing proper husbandry.

1. Goldfish Can Live in Bowls

Goldfish are often shown living in bowls on TV, so it's no wonder that many people don't think twice about putting them in a tiny bowl.

In reality, the rule of thumb for how big a goldfish's tank should be is 20 gallons for the first goldfish, and then 10 gallons per each additional fish. This may seem like a big aquarium for one or two little goldfish, but they can grow to be pretty large, and they create a lot of waste.

Having a big enough tank helps to make sure that the tank doesn't become overloaded with ammonia. I also just like knowing that I am giving my animals the best life that I can. A goldfish is going to be much happier with room to swim around than it would be in a tiny bowl.

The below video does a great job of explaining the nitrogen cycle.

2. They Don't Have Specific Water Requirements

This point kind of ties in with the point above, but goldfish have specific water requirements just like any other fish.

  • They do not need a heater, and their water temperature should be from 62-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • They also thrive when the pH of their water is between 7.0 and 7.4.
  • An airstone will also help to make sure that they are getting proper oxygen levels.

As with any aquarium animal, it is a good idea to test their water with a testing kit to make sure that the water quality is safe.

3. Goldfish Have Short Lifespans

Although it is not common, there are several instances of goldfish living past 40 years. Different sources list the goldfish lifespan as either 15 or 20 years.

Of course, many goldfish die much earlier than this. The most common reasons for a short lifespan are sickness and parasites in the fish's early life or poor water quality and care.

There isn't anything you can do about the conditions a goldfish lived in before it came into your care, but you may be able to extend its life by providing proper water quality and feeding it a high-quality diet.

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4. They Don't Need Filters

This is another reason not to keep a goldfish in a bowl. They actually really need filters. They produce a lot of waste for the size they are and leaving all that waste on the ground can mess up your aquarium cycle, which can be dangerous for the fish.

It is recommended to have a filter in your goldfish tank and do weekly 10 percent water changes.

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5. Goldfish Are Low-Maintenance Pets

As you can see, goldfish take a bit more work than we are made to think. They need to live in a large clean tank, have their water changed frequently, and be fed appropriate amounts of the proper foods.

They still might be seen as low maintenance compared to other advanced fish species such as Flowerhorns, but no aquatic pet is going to be maintenance-free. If you do your research and take proper care of your goldfish you will get the joy of watching your pet grow, as well as a companion for years to come.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Jess H