Not every kid might be able to have a dog or a cat as a pet. A fish can be a best friend and a good pet too! Goldfish, in particular, can make great pets because they are hardy and are pretty inexpensive. “Feeder” gold fish cost just cents per fish. Or, you might even win one at the fair!
Learning about goldfish
Even though gold fish are inexpensive, they are not disposable! These are live animals and deserve the same care and consideration as other pets.
National Geographic says that gold fish are descendants of carp and originate in China. There are hundreds of varieties of goldfish found around the globe. In fact, koi are cousins of the traditional aquarium gold fish.
Despite their name, goldfish come in a variety of colors. They are usually yellow, gold and red. Wild gold fish are almost exclusively olive green or dark gray.
Gold fish are one of the most common aquarium fish and also have some of the longest lives. The oldest recorded living gold fish reached the age of 49. They come in different sizes, but the average aquarium gold fish grows to between four and seven inches.
Caring for goldfish
These fish may come home in plastic bags or small bowls, but they are best cared for in traditional aquariums. Gold fish are omnivores that do well with a healthy diet made up of pellets, vegetables, algae, and flakes.
These fish tend to produce a lot of ammonia waste, so if they are kept in a bowl, the water will need to be changed quite frequently and the bowl should be large.
Many aquarium experts say a tank that’s between 10 and 20 gallons is ideal for a gold fish. A big tank will keep your gold fish healthy and comfortable and allow it to grow. They like relatively low water temperatures. (That’s different from tropical fish, who like warmer water).
Goldfish are typically best kept alone or with other goldfish. Also, some fish will try to eat smaller fish.
If you choose a bowl for your goldfish instead of a standard tank, you should follow the rule that the greater the amount of surface area, the more oxygen in the water. So you should choose a wide fish bowl over a tall narrow one. In addition, the water will need to be changed every few days, and 50 to 75 percent of the water in the bowl should be replaced with fresh water.
A clean tank is really important to the health of gold fish. It’s great to have a filter to keep the water clean, and an air pump to help get more oxygen into the water. It’s also important to use a dechlorinator product to remove chlorine and other chemicals from tap water.
A gold fish can be a great pet, but remember that it’s a living animal and needs the care only you can give!