How to take care of your pet gold fish
A goldfish is definitely low-maintenance pet and therefore having one often comes with the misconception that it doesn’t require as much care as it rightly should get. This has, over the years, brought about the short-lived existence of goldfish among owners.
This can be attributed to ignorance on proper maintenance procedures, assumptions or just neglect on the part of owners; and this should not be so.
On the contrary, goldfish pets should be treated with such golden care as any other bigger pet gets because nature has awarded them that golden position and they therefore should rightly be accorded that preciousness.
Below, I have highlighted techniques, procedures and importance of each to ensure that your goldfish gets the proper care it deserves.
1. Choose Proper Bowl Size for adequate oxygen and light
Every time a first time owner, or one without proper knowledge, thinks of a goldfish, the first image that comes to mind is the usual round, small bowl often seen in cartoons.
This is not surprising as the small size of a gold fish is usually misconstrued for tiny habitats. On the contrary, the goldfish actually requires a bowl of not less than 12 gallons of space! (which is approximately 70 litres).
If you insist on using a small bowl, you only end up creating an unhealthy environment for survival because there will be a high concentration of waste materials such as ammonia and low availability of oxygen which leads to shortened lifespan.
It is also worthy to note that a wide, transparent bowl is more convenient than a long bowl; this is to allow enough atmospheric oxygen diffuse into the water taking advantage of the wide surface area and enough light for optimum metabolism of the fish’s system.
2. Avoid unnecessary additions
It is natural for goldfish owners to want to adorn the fish’s habitat by adding external materials to complement the colour of the goldfish. It is important to know that just like humans can choke, fishes can do also.
Avoid very tiny materials that can easily get into openings such the gill slits, mouth and even the eyes.
An often ignored material is gravel. Gravel is an important addition of a goldfish’s habitat to try to create the most natural habitat for it.
Sadly, when very tiny gravel, it can choke the fish. Also, do not forget to rinse selected gravel properly to minimize dirt.
3. Clean the tank regularly and carefully
A tank that has become cloudy and has a significant change in water colour is a bad sign of for the health of your fish. It is necessary to clean the tank regularly, at least once every week, and ensure that the water is changed almost daily.
Keep in mind that they cannot survive in nylon and polythene bags for long in case you decide to provide temporary habitat for them while changing the water.
It is even best to leave the goldfish in the tank if you can change the water carefully and quickly as frequent unnecessary change in habitat can shorten the life span. You may also employ the help of water filters to keep the water healthier for living.
4. Check water temperature and oxygen level occasionally
The temperature of the water should be regulated as much as possible to provide an almost perfect natural environment and this can be done with a thermometer.
Bear in mind that the water temperature is very delicate as it can affect even their feeding and reproductive patterns. Note that the best temperatures vary around 23 degrees Celsius. They best lay eggs around 20 to 24 degrees Celsius and would normally not eat at a temperature less than 15 degrees Celsius.
The oxygen level is equally as important. If it is noticed that your goldfish is concentrating efforts to remain around the top, chances are that oxygen level is low. In such situation, reduce the temperature of the water as a decrease in temperature creates an increase in oxygen level and vice versa.
5. Choose proper feeds and avoid overfeeding
Every living organism requires balanced diet to grow healthy. The goldfish is an omnivore and therefore can feed on both plants and animals, however, they survive more on herbivores and shouldn’t be given only animal feeds else they die.
Goldfish feeds come in various forms such as wafers, pellets, flakes and sticks. The best form is a mix in the several available types to achieve a balance. They also blood worms, shrimps, Cyclops, mosquito larva, Mysis and Daphnia. Owners should avoid overfeeding because excess of food in bowls could lead to cloudiness of water and unhealthy water.
6. Look out for common diseases associated with goldfishes
As much as you might want to doubt, goldfishes do fall sick. Common sicknesses include constipation, swim bladder disease, ich and ammonia poisoning. When any of these occurs, take care not to pick up the fish as doing this destroys the protective layer that helps it maintain a healthy body.
In case of constipation whose symptom is floating on its sides on top of the water, feed it with pees and more greens; for swim bladder disease which causes the fish to be unable to stay upright, treat it with the same cure for constipation but be sure to inform your pet store for proper medication.
Ich which causes white spots on the body of the fish can be cured by adding little salt to the water while ammonia poisoning can be dealt with through regular change of water.