The Complete Goldfish Care Guide

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A Brief History Of The Goldfish

~Identification And Breed History~

Types Of Goldfish - The Goldie Identification Guide


*Image courtesy of Josie*Paolillo*


Goldfish And Substrate

*Image by Mark P*

~Plants and Decorations~

Keeping a Planted Goldfish Tank


*Image courtesy of Shannon*


There aren’t many critters that can accompany a large goldfish. Fancy type goldfish will be bullied by the larger single-tailed goldfish, and can not compete for food. Any tropical fish will not be compatible with goldies due to their high temperature needs. Most tropical fish like their water between 76°F and 82°F, whereas goldfish are cold-water, and require temps below 72°F. Shrimp and snails are commonly housed with goldfish, but there is a very high chance of an adult goldie snacking on them.

Dojo/weather loaches have the same temperature requirements as goldfish. They make excellent tankmates because they cruise along the bottom of the tank, rarely bothering the goldfish. These loaches thrive in large, planted tanks. Some small cold-water fish such as white cloud mountain minnows and zebra danios can tolerate chilly water temps, making them a good tankmate. Usually they can out swim a hungry goldie, but its possible for an adult to swallow one from time to time. Goldfish also thrive in each other’s company. Just be sure you are able to provide a large enough tank for more than one goldie.

~Tank Necessities~

Goldfish are extremely hardy creatures. They can tolerate a huge range of pH, and are not affected as easily by toxins. However, this does not mean they do not require any less care than other fish. Not only do they grow big, but goldfish produce a ton of waste. A powerful filter is necessary not only to remove waste, but add oxygen to the water.

A heater is not necessary due to goldfish’s cold water requirements. Warmer water is unhealthy for goldfish, and lacks oxygen. It can also affect their growth rate.

Goldfish thrive in clean water. In an established aquarium, you can safely conduct a 90% partial water change without shocking a goldie. It is extremely important to be doing water changes weekly.


It’s very important to feed your goldfish the right foods, as they are very prone to bloat and swim bladder issues. High quality goldfish flakes and/or pellets should be a staple for your goldie. However, any dried foods should always be soaked in tank water prior to feeding. This allows the food to absorb water, and helps them sink. Flakes and pellets expand when in contact with water. Inside a fish’s stomach, it can lead to severe bloat. Goldfish also have a bad habit of gulping in air when trying to eat floating foods. This leads to a build up of air in the intestines, and is very difficult to remove. A build up of air can put pressure on a fish’s swim bladder. This makes it difficult for a fish to control swimming. Sinking foods discourage gulping in air, and the goldfish will spend time foraging through the substrate.

Vegetables should also be a high portion of a Goldie’s diet. You can feed veggies like leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, cucumber and peas. Lettuce, spinach, and kale can be fed after just being rinsed. Crunchy broccoli, carrots, and peas much be blanched or steamed as well as chopped into small, bite-sized pieces. Goldfish love the soft center of peas, and its best to pop them out of their shell. Algae wafers and meats like bloodworms are also very nutritious for goldfish. Again, make sure you soak the wafers before feeding!

Personally, I think goldfish jello is the best choice of food. It combines all of the essential nutrients needed for your fish to be healthy and happy. It also stays solid for a while, so you can plop it in the tank without the risk of it rotting quickly. Here’s a great recipe on how to make it:


*Buzz, one of my two beautiful, rescued comets*


For years, goldfish have been mistreated and misunderstood. They are kept in tiny tanks, lack filtration, and housed with inappropriate tank mates. Although they are extremely hardy fish, the lack of care makes it rare to see goldfish live past three years. With the proper care, common, comet, and shubunkin goldfish can live over 10 years! They have a great personality, and are full of character. My goldfish will eat from my hand, follow my finger, and will even splash water if they feel ignored! They are wonderful pets, and deserve to be treated with love and respect. If you follow these steps, your goldfish will bring you years of joy, laughter, and love.

Top Image by Alasse

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment or give me a


  • KMAC5: Very well done! I found this a great blog with many interesting facts and advice, somebody like me who has no experience with goldfish and a limited knowledge about them can really learn a lot, great job.
  • ethanFish: Great blog! I have never known that much about goldies but this blog is very informative!
  • Joni: What a Wonderful Blog! Thank you for such a well written and easy to understand piece. I will keep this in my Top Blogs to refer new goldfish owners to read. Very nice.
  • jrawm: If only this was written on every petsmart bag every time someone bought a "feeder"
  • KK Fishies: Thanks everyone!
    It took me a while to write this, but I’m glad I did. I feel that bettas and goldfish are the most abused and misunderstood fish out there. The way some goldfish are housed makes me extremely upset. I hope that this blog will help to educate new goldfish owners on the correct way to care for them, and hopefully save some lives. :)
  • ethanFish: I completely agree with that KK fishies. It is crazy how some pet stores who should be the most educated on fish still sell mini fish bowls!
  • Vale: Thanks KK Fishies, great blog! I think you covered everything a goldfish owner should know :)
  • FreshFishy: Lovely blog. I have fond memories of my grandfather’s goldfish pond he had in his backyard. Probably why I love fish so much now. I moved further north though and live in a subtropical climate these days, so I couldn’t keep a goldie as my tank temps stay warm. I feel sad for all the goldies I see for sale in my local pet shops :(
  • RealConfused: Thanks so much for this Great information. Revived my interest. I had one for four years, had I known all of this he may have lived longer.
  • Andtheivy: Wonderful blog, truly interesting read and it was great to have a real in-depth guide to goldfish! Thanks :)
  • Eve2379: Be careful when making fish jello though! Make sure to mix all the ingredients well and cut into bite size pieces! I almost lost my goldfish last week because I did not mix the ingredients carefully enough and too much gelatin got into one spot so the water didn’t dissolve it and my fish choked on it for 9 hours until I got a hold of it with tweezers and pulled it out of his throat.
  • Eve2379: Very good and well detailed blog!
  • lea: this is great! thank you
  • Shannon: Great blog, I wish I could have a super large tank for some of the Shubunkin’s. I just love the ones that have some blue on them!!
  • KK Fishies: Thank you for the kind words. :) And thank you for the warning Eve! Thats very scary!
  • Jamie: Hi i bought a 126 l tank off somebody online i did not think the water was sutable for the fish to live in so i did a full water change i have 8 malawis in there but it has been going for 3 days i used filter boast also quick start also bio tapsafe for the water i am doing a melafix treatment just incase the fish have any problems as one of them have a small looks like a saw on its side i did a 10 percent water change on them today after 3 days to try help get rid of the ammonia i have so e results from the first water change on the 2 nd of this month ammonia 0.25 nitrite 2.00 natrate is 80 also p.h is 7.4 could you just give me sum advice and am i doing everything right if not can you tell me best way thanks
  • Vale: Hi Jamie,
    Try asking your question in the forum rather than as a blog comment!
  • Josie*paolillo: Great blog, glad to see my pic is being put into use :)
  • KK Fishies: Thanks Josie! Your goldies are just so cute, I HAD to use their picture! :)
  • Josie*paolillo: They are cute aren’t they :D even though my pictures are terrible :( I MUST get a proper camera soon.
  • fish owner: Great blog
  • Valerie Barber: Thanks for this very informative and well presented information. One of the best articles I’ve read and certainly the most helpful. I just inherited two adult and a couple hundred very young comets...SO BEAUTIFUL...and they have already shown me tremendous personality and responsiveness. I want to give them the best life possible. With your good guidance I know they will thrive. One of the adults has a enormous tail longer than her/his body flowing like a scarf out behind. I have yet to find a picture of a comet that is as elaborate...I had no idea they could become so elegant! Thanks so much.
    Big Island Hawaii.
  • April Overmier: new at this. I got my daughter a 10 gal tank for a goldfish she won at the fair. I have filter..air stone..heater..well my husband also got her 2 more small gold fish. Theyve been fine. Weve had the one Goldilocks for almost 4 months and I just seen she looks like she has a few bruises on her left side. Were freaking out..the pH strips showed 8.4 alkaline. I bought Jungle complete water care kit.I don’t know if I should use this or I keep fish in tank..I dont know what to do. .please help.
  • KK F.: Hi April,
    You will get a lot of answers to your question if you post it on the forum by clicking the big "Ask a question" button. Or, you can talk to a member directly by becoming a member here and using the PM system. :)
    If you would take the time to read this article, it should answer most of your questions:
    To cover your specific point about the "bruise", this could be an actual bruise caused by trauma, or it could be ammonia burns. With that many goldfish in such a small volume of water, a build up of toxins is almost inevitable. But, if you can post a picture of your fish on the forum, we can better diagnose the issue.
    Daily 50-70% water changes will help the goldfish feel more comfortable in the time being, but will need a larger tank as soon as you can. A heater is also not necessary, as it strips oxygen from the water and can cause more stress on the goldfish.
    Clean water is the best thing for the fish. Don’t add any unnecessary chemicals of medications to the water, as this can cause more harm than good.
    I sincerely hope your goldfish recovers quickly! They’re such wonderful fish to keep, and when kept properly, you’ll truly be able to see what amazing personalities they have. :)
  • April Overmier: Thank you for ur swift response. Ur so knowledgeable. Ok so when I do the water change, do I use bottled water room temperature? Ive only used bottled water, never tap. Taking care of fish is confusing...
  • KK F.: You can use bottled water, but I prefer to use tap water treated with Seachem Prime. Prime is an excellent product to use, as it removes all the harmful chemicals from tap water, and takes toxic ammonia and converts it to a less harmful substance for 48 hours after use. This "bound" ammonia will not damage fish, and helps them feel more comfortable until ammonia levels are lowered. Other dechlorinators don’t do this, which is what makes Prime so great.
    Do you have a test kit that measures for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? If not, I would highly recommend you invest in an API freshwater master test kit. It’s by far the most accurate and cost efficient home test kit out there. It will greatly help you in monitoring the toxin levels in the tank. A healthy tank should have 0 ammonia and nitrite, and nitrate less than 20.
    If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. :) Keep us updated on how your goldfish are doing! I promise that in time, it gets easier. It’s like a second nature for me now! :)
  • gladys: I liked reading your post. ๐Ÿ˜Š. I have a fancy gold fish name kramer. He is in a 36 gallon tank and he is been woth me for 3 wks, In the begining he appeared to be very active during the day. In the past few days I noticed he is more active in the evening or when the lightvin the tank is off. I’ve also noticed that he hides behind some of the artificial plants. When is feeding time (pellets) is as if he cant see them, I mean they are going down, he tries to get them as if he cant see them. His diet consist on pellets, peas, blood warms and greens. He seems to sit at the bottom of the dank with his back to the front. I seem to recall that in the pet shop he was more active. I think he was beautiful!! I was talking to him and he was all happy...I fell in love with him...beautiful and with personality. But now he likes to hide a lot ????I cant realy enjoy looking at him cause he is hiding๐Ÿ˜ฃ. He also had company at the pet shop. Any thoughts or suggestions. I would surely appreciate anything you have to offer. Thank you so much. Waiting to hear from you. By the way any suggestions on making my tank look beautiful and relaxing to look at?
  • M T: Can u please help. I have an 11 yr old feeder fish that I’ve had in the same tank all these years (only about 3 gallons). No filter. I never realized he needed more, as I thought he would keep growing to his environment. through a friend I just learned he isn’t being cared for as well as I thought. Will it be safe to move him to a new tank? And if so what size, just 5 gallon? I don’t want to shock him more with too big? What about cycling, filter? I have four furry pets as well at the time, and understand their care much better. Please help. Thanks!
  • Yvey: Hi,
    I have 2 Oranda fantails for 3 years now , my beautiful bright red Oranda with a big wen is called Pavarotti as he has a big belly and very funny .
    My other Oranda is a little more delicate she is white with a little orange wen ,and I call her "Angel ".. They both have the most beautiful tails , and like you mentioned they can be hand fed and touched , they have beautiful personalities and very funny to watch my little friends are like puppies when they see you in the morning their little tails wag .
    I absolutely adore them , and I agree these little creatures should be loved and respected .
  • Bizhan Blessing: I really liked reading that.
    Very informational..... Thank you so much for taking the time to type it all out,format it,post it.
    But that’s how I got to read it.
    Loved it...
  • julie cream: This is a great blog!! Very informational.๐Ÿ˜
  • Jonathan jones: Hi i have a raised pond 228 gallons. How many gold fish could i keep.
  • bubbles123: Hey Jonathan, 228 gallons isnt a very big pond, if you are looking into keeping single tailed goldfish, you could fit about 3-4 full grown ones in there. Ps, if you start a thread here it’ll be much easier and more people will give you answers. Registraion is free and easy :)
  • Goldfish Luver: Great blog and your goldfish is beautiful!! Buzz.. Cute name too!! Awesome blog.
  • Shean: I have a fish tank of 7 foot long 2 ft wide and 2.5 ft tall which is comes to about 260 gallons ( 987 liters). I wonder I many big comet fish I can have. I have few large comets in my pond. length about 12-15 inch. How many of them I can have in my new fish tank?
    Thank you
  • Fishobsessed.: Hi Shean, I personally would not put a Comet or Comets into the tank as they can grow longer than the width you have available. You could have a really cool Fancy Goldfish tank though :-) I have some in a 7 foot long by 20 inch wide by 2 foot 3 tank, about 700 litres.
  • gigii553: They are extremely hardy i have a friend who has a turtle and she feeds him feeder goldfish. He for aome reason did not eat two of them and they are still living in the tank! There is just enough water for her turtle and they are huge its crazy. Idk what she is planning on doing with them but it is nuts that they are living in there.
  • alliah: Where can I find a cheap 20 or 25 gallon fish tank for my two comet single tailed goldfish...
  • Alliah: ....I really would like them to live long bit I need a tank I don’t have one because I won then at the fair does anyone know where I can get a 20 or 25 gallon fish tank?
    A cheap one that is still usable n good but no 100 dollars
  • Maria Hemming: Hi
    Can we put a Goldfish - Shubunkin in with normal Goldfish
    in a large pond etc.
    Regards Maria
  • Sarah: My fish all look sick i dont know what to do i have 11 goldfish in a 40-50gallon tank, they stay at the top or the bottom they always wanna eat but i cut them dwn i feed 1 time a day flakes i wish i could post a pic one of them sucks in so much air she stays upside down
  • Guest: Different varieties of goldfish are still Carassius auratus, not different species.
    Their carp ancestors (probably Prussian carp) never had barbels to lose.
    That bit about the internal organs growing too large for the skin ... I don’t even know where to start.
    On one hand you talk about stunted fish inevitably suffering gruesome deaths, and on the other you say a stunted fish can be a healthy fish.
  • KK F.: Ironic that this comment popped up, I was actually just going through and critiquing this myself. I am not ashamed to say that this is an old, outdated post. It is currently going through major changes as we speak. Please be patient. :)
  • Scarlett: I have a Black Moor Goldfish and an Albino Clawed Frog. they are great tank mates and don’t bother each other at all.
    I’ve had the frog for years and was looking for a fish that he wouldn’t attempt to eat. I thought a goldfish would be good because I knew they get big. best decision, Sampson (the goldfish) has been Preston’s (the frog) tank mate almost longer than any other fish :)
  • Fox: I found ur web page and i do have a lot of questiobs to help my goldgishes have a happy , healthy life. My red cap is okay..but irange color patches just started to show.
  • Ashwin Dutt: How to know whether contains chlorine or chloramine water?
  • Rosie: Lovely info and it has developed and deepened my relationship with my two housemates! I searched info cos they needed help but now I know that I needed help to help them. For sure Dotty Pi and Wodelia Rainbow will have much better lives thanks to you!
  • Rosie: Lovely info and it has developed and deepened my relationship with my two housemates! I searched info cos they needed help but now I know that I needed help to help them. For sure Dotty Pi and Wodelia Rainbow will have much better lives thanks to you!
  • Ron & Marilyn: We have a Fancy Goldfish, her name is Goldie Locks . Unfortunately, she’s been laying on her side on the bottom of the Aquarium,for s month. We’ve tried everything, water changes, medication, like Pima fix etc..She still Eats though. We are at a loss . please Help.How do we Heal Her.Our Goldie Locks.??? :( :(
  • Fishgirl18: Now I am going to sneak outside at dinner and put my veggies in the goldfish pond! haha Great blog, VERY informative!
  • G: Thanks for your blog. My goldfish are outgrowing my tank! The tank gets dirty within days. I was wondering if it is kinder to put them in a pond? I am unsure whether this is safe and if they would survive. Could you advise me please. G
  • Sparkey2143: Could we get the general recommendations on the tank sizes for different types of goldfish? I know it’s on here in different places but if this is the comprehensive guide I think it should probably have its own little section. Great blog, thank you so much :)
  • KK F.: Hi Sparkey, thank you for input. I’m still working on getting this guide organized, so any suggestions you have will be appreciated. :)
    If you click on the link for "Types of Goldfish", you’ll see recommended tank sizes for the breed groupings. Generally, 75 gallons for singletailed goldfish, and 40 gallons for all fancy breeds. Would you like to see this information more accessible in other parts of the blog?
  • Texas Grandmother: Really appreciated your comments. Back in 2000, we bought a townhouse with a pond/waterfall in the back yard. We decided to put some goldfish (12) in it to entertain our grandchildren. We actually expected the fish to die (like they do in a "bowl") and to be replacing the fish on a regular basis.
    Surprise, surprise, the only ones that died were eaten by a raccoon and some babies by the big fish. Resulting in our partially covering the pond so the fish had somewhere to hide if, or when the raccoon showed up again. Some were replaced due to attrition, but some of these fish are 15+ years old!
    I do 1/2 water changes when needed and feed them once a day with a combo of
    color enhancing & regular floating pellets. Obviously, our system worked. I have tried to add veggies, but they eat the water plants before they have a chance to grow. I’ll try the peas, lettuce, etc. again and see what happens.
  • Colours a changing: One of my goldies changed colour from the red,orange color that they mainly come in to a pure white after about a year and a half after I acquired IT...What I’ve learnt over the years is that the goldfish is part of the COY family of fish,,am I correct or is my fish wired and accomplished a rare accurency.Or is this the norm for the all famous Goldfish..I’m very curious as when I acquired them the pet shop called them comet fish,Please tell,is this normal,or is this not...CRAZY FISH Magicians.........
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