An aquarium with fancy goldfish in the home is a very pleasant feature and one that is as attractive as a collection of tropical or marine fishes. It would be foolhardy to say that goldfish are easier to keep than other species of fishes, however. Although very resistant to adverse conditions, such as higher levels of pollution and low oxygen levels, it is not to be believed that because they resist better it is OK for goldfish to be kept in such an environment. As with other species, they also need good water maintenance, regular feeding and proper dissolved oxygen levels.
The basic needs to provide a decent home for your fish are very simple:
– an aquarium of large enough capacity to be able to house your future population of goldfish, leaving enough water volume so as not to overload the burden on your maintenance equipment, i.e. filter and means of oxygenation, to the point where its efficiency level will drop off rapidly at short intervals, especially when you decide to introduce extra fish or when you are not there;
– correct feeding and the regular maintenance that is appropriate to your particular aquarium and its accompanying equipment;
– regular interest in reading books and magazines on the subject of keeping fish – a source of finding the answers to those unanswered questions that will inevitably arrive during your adventure into the world of goldfish keeping.
It is very difficult to maintain an aquarium of 100 1 or less. Goldfish are quite large, and are heavy eaters and oxygen burners, so they will produce large quantities of dissolved and solid waste products. It is advisable to opt for an aquarium of 150 1 or, even better, 200 1 or more.
You will need to install your aquarium on a support, either a ready-made aquarium stand or some type of furniture, or a sturdy cupboard, situated at a point as far away as possible from the nearest window, door or radiator. This will help to reduce the likelihood of the growth of algae on the aquarium glass and also possible rapid water temperature changes due to penetrating sunlight, draughts or heat from a radiator. The cupboard will not only help to blend in the aquarium with the rest of your furniture, but can also serve as a place to house a filter and any other external equipment, together with such items as your air pump, cleaning material, food, nets, medicaments, books and magazines, etc. Before installing the aquarium you should check that your aquarium support is horizontal. To avoid the risk of the bottom glass cracking under the pressure of the water, the aquarium should be placed on a thin sheet of polystyrene. Also, to avoid seeing the wallpaper or any trailing pipes or wires from various accessories through the glass, the back glass of the aquarium can be painted on the outside or covered before its final installation. Ideally, use one of the readily available plastic backings that are printed with decorative photographs of plants or rocks etc. This will add more relief to the overall presentation of the inside of the aquarium.
Adding gravel to the aquarium is not only for decoration, it also provides a substrate for any plants. Before adding this, however, it is advisable to clean it thoroughly with hot water. Do not use any cleaning agents, as these could leave behind toxic residues even after a thorough rinsing. About 6 to 8 cm of gravel will be enough and this should be higher at the back of the aquarium to allow easy cleaning of any solid waste that will tend to collect at the front. However, goldfish will forage continuously and more often than not flatten out any hills or dales that you have created with your gravel. Finally, to add water to your aquarium, direct the water on to an upturned plate so as not to disturb its floor or any plants that you may have planted beforehand. Any other decoration can also be added, such as bog wood or rocks and slate, but be sure that none of the objects will injure the goldfish and that they are not toxic.
A number of gravels and sands can be used as a substrate, and to decorate the bottom of your aquarium. These must be kept clean by vacuuming when excess dirt accumulates on the surface. Failing to do this will provoke unwanted pollution that will over-burden your filter system and might harm your goldfish.