Goldfish Care Guide (for Beginners)

Want to learn how to take care of a goldfish?

You’ve come to the right place.

This is THE best guide to goldfish care 101 on the planet.

If you’re an overwhelmed beginner wanting someone to show you the ropes, you’ll love this guide.

Now you can start building a healthy goldfish community despite having:

Zero pet sitting jobs.

Zero goldfish-savvy connections.

Zero experience keeping fish.

I’m going to walk you through the basic steps you need to take to save your new goldfish from total disaster.

9 Steps to Goldfish Care for a Healthy, Long-Lived Fish

1. Choosing your New Goldfish

I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

The funnest part of goldfish keeping is getting new fish!


You’ll want to pick out a fish that you not only fall in love with at first sight, but is healthy to start with.

Unless you have solid nursing skills it takes to revive a sick fish (which is definitely NOT an easy thing to do), I recommend getting off on the best foot possible  by purchasing a fish that isn’t obviously unwell.

(Note: if you already have purchased your goldfish, then you are already in knee-deep and you can skip this step and move on to the next point.) 

If you’re shopping at your local pet store, you’ll want to look for fish that meets the following criteria:

  • Swims around actively and normally (no floating or sinking problems)
  • Looks perky and is constantly on the move, trying to find something to munch on
  • Doesn’t have severe genetic defects like a collapsed mouth, bent back or missing anal fins
  • Isn’t in the same tank with sick or dead fish that can transmit disease
  • Isn’t living in dirty water conditions (that could lead to infection)
  • Doesn’t show obvious signs of illness (bloody looking fins, white spots, red marks, etc.)

But here’s something else to be aware of…

The kind of goldfish you get can make a HUGE difference in the size of tank you will need in order to let it grow to its full potential.

Slim-bodied goldfish like Commons, Comets and Shubunkins may start out small (they are usually sold as very young fish), but can grow to be around a foot long.  This is why they are commonly kept in ponds.

So if you’re tight on space, a fancy goldfish is probably a better fit for you.

(Fancy goldfish are the kinds with two tails and a shorter body, and they don’t get nearly as big so they don’t require quite as much room).

Fantails and Black moors are some of the hardier fancies and are great beginner fish.

Once you have chosen your new finned friend, it’s time to take it home and do some quarantine!

2. Quarantining to Rest & Treat Your Fish


Regardless of where you bought your fish from, all fish need to be quarantined.  Quarantining is when you put the fish in a separate tank (preferably cycled) for a time before introducing them to your main tank.

Why exactly would you want to do that?

Two reasons:

  1. Quarantine is giving your new fish a period of time to “rest up” in a separate area before being introduced to your other fish. (If you don’t have any other fish already, you don’t have to do this in a separate tank).  That way they don’t catch anything from your existing fish while they are stressed after shipping.  Their immune systems will be really low right now, making them prone to illness.
  2. Quarantine allows you to treat for all the common goldfish diseases your fish might have to help prevent them from coming down sick later. (If your supplier has already fully quarantined their fish – and I mean FULLY, including using microscopy techniques, then you don’t have to treat for all the diseases.)

This is crazy:

Nearly all pet store goldfish are already sick or are on the verge of sickness.

The pet stores can’t afford to quarantine each shipment of fish for weeks and treat them for the host of diseases they are carrying before offering them for sale.  So all they do is ship ’em in and ship ’em out.

They may look good now, but they have been passed through many stations and very stressed by the time they’ve arrived at their final destination. By the time they get home, they’re all but spent and are harboring a host of pathogens invisible to the naked eye.

These pathogens may not cause any problems to begin with – but as they multiply to out-of-control levels, the fish eventually succumbs.

That’s why it’s so common to hear,

“My goldfish are ALWAYS DYING!”

To recap, if you get your fish from a pet store, you are going to need to treat your new fish for disease yourself. And if you already have fish, you are going to need a separate tank to do this in so your new fish doesn’t contaminate the others.  Do otherwise at your own risk.

Read More: How to Quarantine New Fish Properly

3. Getting Your First-Time Aquarium Supplies

How you set up your aquarium will have a HUGE impact on your success as a goldfish keeper.

You’re probably wondering:

“Can I keep my goldfish in a bowl?”

Sorry, but bowls are out of the question. You can read why here. (Don’t worry, I’ll wait.)goldfish-bowlAre you back? Great!

The bottom line?

A good tip when choosing a goldfish tank is to get the biggest tank you can afford.

A bigger tank = healthier fish.

Healthier fish = happier owner.

How big?

That depends on the goldfish – and how many you want to keep.

There are two main kinds of goldfish: single-tailed (like Commons, Comets and Shubunkins) and fancy.

Slender, single-tailed goldfish varieties grow so large that they need 40 gallons for the first fish, 20 for each additional one.

Wait, what?!

I know, it’s hard to believe they can start off so small and end up so huge.


Fancy goldfish (the ones with short bodies and double tails) can reach 6 to 8 inches, so 10 to 20 gallons per fish is the rule of thumb.  Their size makes them much better suited to indoor aquariums.

But you’ll need more than a tank to have a thriving goldfish…

  • Filters provide a place for beneficial bacteria to grow on that keep your water quality in good shape for longer.  The beneficial bacteria are what help to keep your water safe. You will still need to perform water changes even if you have a filter though.
  • For water changes, you will need a siphon. The kind that connects to the sink are great for tanks above 20 gallons and will save you lots of back pain from hauling buckets.  No matter how great your filter is, you will always have to do some level of water changes.
  • A heater keeps the temperature steady, preventing changes that can stress your fish.  Especially recommended for fancy goldfish. (Read more on why goldfish do need a heater.)
  • An aquarium light will keep your fish and plants thriving (as well as show them off).

There are also some other things that can make your tank a better home for your fish (after all, the more interesting you make their environment the better):

  • A sand substrate is a much safer alternative to regular pea gravel (NEVER use aquarium pea gravel with goldfish – it is a choking hazard for them). Sand gives something for the fish to forage in and makes the tank look nice without adding the risk of choking. If you want to use gravel, read what kind is best and how to set it up properly here: Goldfish Gravel
  • Bubble walls are also nice for increasing oxygen and adding some sparkle to the back of your tank.  They require an air pump and airline tubing to work.  Certain kinds of filters do not oxygenate the water much, so supplementing with an airstone can be very beneficial.
  • Live plants for goldfish beautify your tank and provide safe hiding places for your fish (many decorations can be dangerous to goldfish as they can leach contaminants in the water and goldfish can get stuck in them).  Be sure to get plants that are goldfish-friendly or you will have just purchased a very expensive salad for your fish!

How do you set this all up?

You can learn everything you need to have for a fully functional aquarium in this guide to setting up a goldfish tank.

It will get you off to a fantastic start!

Now that you know about properly setting up your aquarium, give yourself a high-five (and move on to step 4).

4. Adding the Right Water Conditioners

So you have everything set up and running now.

Placed your tank?  Check.

Hooked up filter?  Check.

Added water to tank?  Check.


You’re not ready to add your new fish yet.

Your water (if it is from the tap) contains chlorine and chloromines, which will burn your fish alive.

This has to be removed using a water conditioner.  I like Prime because it also cuts the toxicity of ammonia and nitrite for 48 hours, two parameters that are very prevalent in new aquariums.

But even once you add your water conditioner, there’s still something else you need to know…

A Word of Caution:

At this point in the process, many people will wait 20 minutes (or 24 hours, depending on what the pet store employee has told them) and then put goldfish in. Who wants to wait, right? But within a week or so, their fish is seriously ill – maybe even dead.

This is because they did not cycle the tank first… … or they did not do enough water changes to compensate for the lack of an established filter.

Let me explain:

Goldfish produce waste which quickly becomes toxic to them. Only two things can detoxify or remove it: water changes or a colony of good bacteria.  Beneficial bacteria can help convert this waste into non-toxic forms through a process called the Nitrogen Cycle.

Something called a ‘fishless cycle’ is done before adding any fish to build up a colony of good bacteria.

If you have fish already, it’s too late to go through this process. Expect to be doing very frequent water changes and supplement with a beneficial filter starter bacteria culture (this speeds up the process) at least every other day for a few weeks until the colony gets established in your filter.  (But an established filter won’t ever do ALL the work for you – it just cuts it down some.)

Now that  you know your water will be safe for your new pet, it’s time to add fish!

5. Acclimate Your Goldfish to their Aquarium

Now that you’ve got your beautiful new goldfish, here’s how you introduce him, her or them into the tank.

Float the bag in the water for 20 minutes to match the temperature.

Open the bag. (Please DON’T dump the yucky water from the bag into the tank.)

Using clean hands, gently scoop up the fish and transfer it into the aquarium.

There you go!

It’s common for new fish to hide at the bottom for a bit as they adjust to their new surroundings.

They might just be a little skittish for a time. But they’ll perk up after a bit.

If your fish have recently been shipped, you’ll want to make sure you don’t feed for 24 hours.  Once you start feeding, feed very sparingly to avoid causing water quality problems.

Which brings us to the next point…

6. Properly Feeding your New Pet

Feeding your goldfish is a SUPER important aspect of goldfish care.


First (and most obviously), goldfish need food at regular intervals to survive.

But more importantly, how much you feed affects your water quality and your fish directly.

A healthy diet = a healthy fish.

But the problem is that there is a lot of confusing information out there on exactly what is the proper way to feed.

Which is why I put together a complete guide on goldfish food.

Then you’ll know exactly what and how to feed your fish, setting you up for success.


Overfeeding is a serious killer of goldfish.  And it’s hard because goldfish love to eat… and eat…

But I address how to deal with this in the most safe way possible, while ensuring your fish doesn’t feel bored or hungry all the time.

Some goldfish foods are just a bad idea no matter what.

Take commercial flakes, for example.

As soon as they hit the water, flakes start leaching their ingredients, which can lead to water quality issues.

The fish also end up ingesting a lot of air as they eat them – but the main problem is the low quality ingredients they contain.

The result?

… A goldfish floating around from constipation.

Get a high quality goldfish food instead. (Hint: cheaper is rarely better.)

Pellets or gel food provides all of the nutrients goldfish need, AND they are digestible.

The best ones have lots of protein, fat, and very little fiber. The sinking kind of pellets are ideal.

But here’s the catcher:

No matter what you buy, processed foods (which are very rich) can’t make up a complete goldfish diet.

It would be like a person eating a cheeseburger every meal!

He’d be sick and overweight.

Fibrous veggies should actually make up the majority of their meals.

That’s why lettuce, spinach and kale are great ways to go.

So check out the feeding guide and then come back to read step number 7!

7. Routinely Caring for Goldfish: Water Changes for a Healthy Fish

Wouldn’t it be great if goldfish keeping was a one-time, “set-it-and-forget-it” thing?

Well, the truth is that there’s more to it than setting up a tank, adding fish and putting some food in every so often.

See, just like cats need their litter boxes changed…

… goldfish need their water changed.

On a regular basis.

This is because the filter converts poisons in the water into a somewhat safer substance (nitrate), but it can’t totally get rid of that substance.

That substance will just build up and build up until it starts harming your goldfish.

The solution?

Replacing a percentage of your tank’s water with fresh, clean water regularly.

You can do this with an aquarium siphon.

Now, exactly how much and how often depends on your stocking densities in your tank, the amount you feed and your water test results (if your nitrate levels are over 30, you might not be changing enough water often enough).

Last but not least:

Keeping an eye on your fish is important to make sure that there are no weird things going on with them.

Pay attention to how they are swimming, where they are spending their time in the tank, and how they look.

Fortunately, watching your goldfish is fun and enjoyable! (That’s why we keep them, after all.)

Whenever you notice a change in appearance or behavior, do a water change.

A day shouldn’t go by where you don’t check on them, because sometimes a lot can change in a short period of time.

Read More: How to Change Goldfish Water

8. Testing Your Water for the Critical Parameters

Regularly testing your tank’s water is a big part of taking care of your fish, ensuring that their environment stays safe for them.

Poor water quality is a HUGE killer of aquarium fish, but the problem is that the water may look just fine.  It doesn’t have to look cloudy or gross to be extremely toxic to your fish.

That’s why we use test kits.

Test kits are the only way to know what’s going on with your water.

After you add fish, your water quality changes over time.  By testing the water periodically, you can ensure that nothing gets out of control before it is too late.

It is recommended to test your water every single week in an established aquarium (one that has been set up longer than 1 month).

The biggest levels to check are ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, KH and GH levels to make sure they are within recommended ranges.

In fact:

It’s a good idea to check your pH every day.  That’s because the pH can suddenly dip without warning (called a pH crash), leaving your entire tank wiped out.

I use a pH and ammonia alert combo pack in my tank to keep an eye on things without having to test the water daily (a pain).  All I have to do is look at it when I feed the fish.

9. Identifying and Treating Disease Problems

Goldfish are living creatures, and sometimes they can get sick.

It can happen because of their environmental conditions being less than optimal.

It can happen if you added a new fish without quarantining them, infecting the others.

It can even happen for no explained reason (often because the fish brought something in with it to start).

I get it:

Dealing with disease is something most fish keepers have to face at some point.

Even though it’s not fun, sometimes it’s a part of the package.

But good news:

The sooner you catch something, the better the chances are that you will be able to help turn things around.  Being able to recognize when something is different about your fish QUICKLY can make or break its prognosis.

Check out our article on goldfish disease for more information on abnormal symptoms so you know what to look for.

Now it’s Up to You…

It would be great if there was an autopilot setting for taking care of a goldfish.

That way you could just set everything up, kick back and relax.

But when it comes to pet ownership, you’re totally at the wheel.

Your care (or lack of care) will determine – in a large part – whether they live or die.

The bottom line?

They NEED you.

Their lives are in your hands.

You are the one who determines how clean their water is, how crowded they are, if they have enough food, and what to do when they are sick.

So, you have some responsibilities to tend to if you want your goldfish to thrive.

If you want to become a great goldfish owner, the next step I recommend is getting yourself a good solid goldfish book.

(This was the best advice I was ever given when first starting out!)

The right one will cover all the aspects of goldfish care for advanced an beginning goldfish keepers alike.

Thanks for reading this care sheet, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below if you want to drop me a line.

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  1. daniel November 18, 2015 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    how do I lower ammonia levels without buying anything

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish November 18, 2015 at 11:59 pm - Reply

      Good question, Daniel! It’s actually pretty easy and cheap: water changes 😉 You’ll need water conditioner for the tap, but it doesn’t take anything else from you except your time and labor. 😀

  2. Robert V December 12, 2015 at 1:55 am - Reply

    Hi I want to say thank you for the information a lot of it was very helpful. I have a question it might be dumb but I’m learning haha my question is when it comes to water current What GPH should I have it? I have all 6 of my 60 gallons at 150GPH is that good if I may ask. Thank you in advance. And another thing that just came to mind I have 6, 60 gallons and each one of them have about 6 comet goldfish is that safe or should I get more tanks haha. I have so much because I hate to see goldfish in a cramped box at the store just wait I g to get sick and die So I go out an buy them before putting them in a tank I have a 120gallon I put them in to make sure they have no illnesses

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish December 12, 2015 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Robert =) For fancy goldfish less GPH is really better, I don’t usually go by that when choosing a filter, personally I go by the size recommendation of the filter maker and aim for a bit smaller GPH than they say. The current can blow them around too much if you have double GPH, which some people recommend. As far as the tank size, comets get pretty large so they really need 40 gallons apiece. Honestly they are best suited for ponds but, if you have the space, you can keep them inside.

  3. Lyndsy December 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    Why 90% water change? That seems a bit much… as ammonia and nitrite and nitrate can stay at zero in proper sized tank and proper sized filter with 25-30% water change weekly….

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish December 12, 2015 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      In my opinion the more fresh water you give them the better. It encourages growth and optimal health. After all, in nature they have hundreds of times the water they get in captivity. But to each their own, as long as the fish is healthy and the parameters are good that’s what matters. =)

  4. Bevaun January 3, 2016 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    This was great! I love orandas and really would like to purchase some from a breeder rather than a pet store but all I can ever find is big orandas that I cant afford due mainly to the cost of shipping. Any thoughts on ways to help with this in my area? Arent there any breeders in Indiana?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish January 3, 2016 at 10:41 pm - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it, Bevaun =) How many are you looking for? We’ve currently got some beautiful Orandas directly from breeders with free shipping in our store. If you don’t see anything like what you are looking for I can probably hook you up 😉

  5. Cindy January 12, 2016 at 2:36 am - Reply

    I have a 55 gallon freshwater tank with 7 Shubunkins and 4 trapdoor snails. I have a 50 gallon and 10 gallon bio-wheel power filter. Is this tank big enough for these fish and do I have enough pumps for them?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish January 12, 2016 at 4:48 am - Reply

      Hi Cindy! For 7 Shubbies, I’d try to aim for a larger tank if possible. They start out small but the recommended guidelines are 40 gallons per single-tail. 7 fish X 40 gallons per fish = 280 gallons, which is pretty big, but slim bodied goldfish get pretty large and need the space to thrive. A pond might be a good way to go, if that’s possible for you. If not you might consider trying to cut back the number of fish you have. It’s always better to have fewer goldfish but healthy ones than a lot of sick ones suffering from bad water, which is pretty hard to avoid with your current setup. If your tank was stocked at even 2 or 3 fish with very heavy filtration that would prove a challenge but you would be more likely to succeed. Hope that makes sense and glad to hear you care enough about your fish to want to do the right thing! 🙂

  6. Tyler Hosman February 2, 2016 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Hi, I am 11 and my goldfish Gilbert (he is a comet fish) has lived for 2 years in a goldfish bowl but now I bought him a standard 10 gallon fish tank. I got Gilbert from a carnival fair( shocker that he\\\’s stayed alive all this time). My sister got a new fish from the pet store so her fish was in with my fish in the brand new tank. Gilbert has been moving slow and has cloudy eyes so we took him out and put him back in the goldfish bowl, will this solve the problem? Can I put him back in the tank later? Is it possible my sister\\\’s fish brought a sickness from the pet store? My water conditioner is Aqua Safe plus, my filter is the brand grreat choice and it is a 10/20 gallon internal power filter, Is this enough or should I put another filter on the other end of the tank? Also my filter has a flow rate of 90 GPH. Before I inserted the new plants and rocks I ran them in hot, good or bad ? Please help me I don\\\’t want my fish to die because he has lived so long that he has grown close to my heart. Any tank tips? Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. P.S. I feed him flake food problem ?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish February 3, 2016 at 4:59 am - Reply

      Hey Tyler! It is possible your sister’s fish brought a sickness in, but it’s more likely that Gilbert’s tank got overloaded with having another fish in there and the water got dirty (dirty water can still be clear). When that happens goldfish start feeling and looking bad. My advice would be not to put him back in a bowl, because he definitely needs more space. If you can, get another tank large enough to hold Gilbert by himself. Because he is a comet goldfish he can get to be over a foot long if he gets the right care from you, so the bigger the better – 40 gallons is best. Be sure to change the water every day until he recovers. The filter on your 10 gallon is fine, as long as the tank gets its regular water changes.

      As far as flake food goes, it’s not my first choice because its hard to know how much you are actually feeding. Pellets are easier to keep track of in my opinion.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  7. Tyler Hosman February 3, 2016 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    thank you

  8. Denver February 13, 2016 at 1:05 am - Reply

    Are you kidding me? Heaters will kill a goldfish!!! And all fish need filters there is no no or maybe. DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS WEBSITE IT WAS PROBALY MADE BY A MAD 10 YEAR OLD!!!

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish February 13, 2016 at 4:32 am - Reply

      Those with experience using heaters for goldfish (including myself) understand that they do not kill goldfish when kept in the temperature range described. In fact, goldfish have been able to survive in water as hot as 90 degrees F in the summer outdoors.

      As far as filters go… you could keep a goldfish without a filter by compensating with water changes. As I said before they have been kept without them for thousands of years in captivity and it has been done. However it is no recommended for the average keeper.

      Oh, and I can assure you that I am not a mad 10 year old, Denver. 🙂

  9. abdul February 26, 2016 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Does water conditioner kills good bacteria in the tank?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish February 28, 2016 at 4:37 am - Reply

      Hey abdul! No, that’s what chlorine does. Water conditioner removes chlorine and other chemicals that would kill good bacteria.

  10. tiffydo May 15, 2016 at 12:31 am - Reply

    One of my comets are from the state fair. I wasn’t expecting to win it so I instantly freaked out not knowing how to care for it. Four years later he grew big and pretty from my binge research on goldfish. The other fish I won died after three years, my family members knew I was extremely upset and bought me four more from the pet store. One died after our cat got too interested and pulled him out. The other three are healthy fishies. One year and counting with them. Although I’m very lucky they didn’t die off.

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish May 15, 2016 at 11:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing your fish keeping story, tiffydo! Congrats on reaching your 1 year anniversary of being an excellent goldfish keeper.

  11. Rachel June 27, 2016 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this. It’s nice to have something simple and plainly written. I had tropical fish when I was younger but of course never knew anything about their care other than feeding them. I got excited about goldfish though when I won one at a canival but of course I did the typical thing of sticking it in a bowl thinking that was the right way.

    I’m very interested in getting a fish for my son (well we’ll probably share as he’s only little) but very much a beginner at it all.

    • Rachel June 27, 2016 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      Also just out of curiosity (because I’m thinking of starting small) is it better to get more than one goldfish do they get lonely? although I love the iconography of a goldfish I just wonder if it would be kinder to start with smaller fish that we could get a pair or more of. I just thought of my mother’s Guinea pigs and how they recommend to buy them in pairs I don’t see why fish couldn’t also get lonely.

      • Rachel June 27, 2016 at 4:07 pm - Reply

        Cold water fish I mean unless the heater costs are negligible I don’t know if I want to move to tropical fish though I do like the idea of a betta I used to love watching the one we had in our tropical tank

        • Pure Goldfish
          Pure Goldfish June 28, 2016 at 4:10 am - Reply

          You can find heaters fairly inexpensively online and at pet stores, it costs more to run them than it does to buy them. Do goldfish get lonely… they are schooling fish and do seem to appreciate the company, if you have adequate room. 🙂

        • maddykristine12 August 16, 2016 at 5:23 am - Reply

          I got my 300 watt heater for up to 99 gallons on amazon for $24, where as a pet store a heater for a 15 gallon was $45. Look on Amazon! They have good quality stuff for cheaper than pet stores.

  12. Mandy July 24, 2016 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I’ve had my Black Moor Winston in a 5 gallon as he’s still quite small (1.5 inches), but am upgrading him to 10 gallons tomorrow. He keeps tearing his fins because the filter is too strong for his current digs. Unfortunately the lid I need is backordered, will he be okay for a bit without a lid? I want to get those fins healed up asap. Thanks!

    P.S. I use the API master test kit and check his water every few days and everything is good. I also spot clean poo with a turkey baster every day and do a partial water change every other day. Deep gravel vacuuming happens once a week to 50% of the aquarium. I alternate which side I vacuum so I don’t kill the bacterial colony. Despite his tears he seems like a happy, healthy and very active fish who loves his pellets but may love sweet peas and moss balls more. 🙂

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish July 25, 2016 at 4:20 am - Reply

      Yeah he won’t need a lid. Good that you are giving him a bigger tank. I’m concerned though because the filter shouldn’t cause tears even if it is strong. That sounds like an issue with water quality.

    • yelkcarb August 14, 2016 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Mandy. I just wanted to ask how long you’ve had your Black Moor in a the 5Gallon as I’m thinking of getting one. Hope Winstons well 😉

  13. Bob August 3, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    That’s a well crafted guide, easy to understand.
    I will send it to my grandson, he’s been asking about having a goldfish tank.
    He’s clever but that would be his first tank, so I’d like him understand before what it means to care for a pet.
    Thanks, Bob

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish August 4, 2016 at 3:22 am - Reply

      Thank you for your positive feedback, Bob! I hope your grandson finds it helpful. 🙂

  14. Ryan August 6, 2016 at 4:08 am - Reply

    Firstly thanks for the great guide!
    I’ve been thinking about getting an external filter with a UV light. Does having a UV filter reduce the amount of water changes required?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish August 6, 2016 at 4:27 am - Reply

      Thank you Ryan! No, UV is only for suspended bacteria, not for waste. I would save the money 🙂

  15. maddykristine12 August 16, 2016 at 5:19 am - Reply

    Where could I find a water siphon? I have a 75 gallon that i do bi weekly 50% change with a bucket on… but i cant seem to find siphon anywhere.

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish August 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      You can check here.

  16. Deruu Sonamm August 25, 2016 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    hello.. i loved reading your guide lines on goldfish keeping for beginners. My question is, if i plan to do everyday water change can i skip the nitrogen cycle in my fish tank which is 2. 5 gallon most probably before adding a goldfish??? i dont plan on getting filter system and a siphon.

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish August 26, 2016 at 5:00 am - Reply

      Hi Deruu! Happy to hear you liked it! 😀 A 2.5 gallon won’t ever cycle, because goldfish are too messy for them. They are better suited for betta fish. But, if you decide on getting a tank at least 10 gallons for one fancy goldfish, you will be off to a much better start (especially if you follow the methods outlined in the book for goldfish keeping). Hope this helps!

  17. Courtney September 7, 2016 at 4:32 am - Reply

    I have had 4 comet goldfish in my backyard pond for about a year now. I’m not for sure on the gallons but I would guess it’s about 200+. I originally had about 8 in there but only 4 survived the winter last year. I was hoping for an outdoor guide or a possible heater recommendation to help them survive this winter.

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish September 8, 2016 at 3:29 am - Reply

      Thanks for your suggestion, Courtney, I plan on writing one up when I have the time 🙂

  18. Flamingo September 19, 2016 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    if you do keep your fish in the water and it is a white goldfish is that ok or do we absolutely have to change to a tank?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish September 21, 2016 at 4:36 am - Reply

      Yeah absolutely have to 😉

  19. alison October 16, 2016 at 8:42 am - Reply

    I have a single tail goldfish who is now over 12 years old and about 10 inches. He is in a 107 litre bio orb tank. 2weeks ago I stupidly emptied the whole tank out and got rid of all the media etc. He was okay for a week and the started acting strangely-darting about erratically, sitting on the bottom fin down etc. I took a water test and saw nitrates were high etc so did water changes to get it down.
    I am now doing about 25 percent changes a day and I believe the water is having a bacterial bloom as its cloudy. Could someone advise on feeding at this time-is it safe to change the sponge in the filter yet- should I continue with water changes. I have read so much that my head is spinning-thank you (I do not want to put him in a pond as has been suggested)

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish October 16, 2016 at 10:31 pm - Reply

      I wouldn’t feed at this time. Sponges shouldn’t be changed, only rinsed.

  20. Sy November 4, 2016 at 5:37 am - Reply

    Hello, I will buy a goldfish in the near future but can’t decide of what kind of goldfish for a beginner like me. I really want a goldfish with really beautiful floaty fins like the veiltail…I was thinking of getting a veiltail but I heard they’re rare and not really a beginner fish….:( help?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish November 5, 2016 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Some orandas have really long fins 🙂

  21. Ren November 11, 2016 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Hi! Is it required to add water conditioner whenever I change the water? And also how long should the fishless cycle take? Is 2-3 weeks ok?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish November 13, 2016 at 1:00 am - Reply

      Yes, you need water conditioner each time. Fishless cycling usually takes 3-4 weeks.

  22. lexi November 27, 2016 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    I’m doing a science fair project about how peas can cure swim bladders disease in gold fish. Got some advice on how to house it and wear to find a fish with the disease?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish November 27, 2016 at 11:45 pm - Reply

      Peas can help ease constipation (which results in the swim bladder being impacted, and can cause buoyancy trouble, sometimes called swim bladder disease), but actual SBD is sometimes very complicated and in some cases not diet-related. The trouble is more common among fancy goldfish rather than common fair fish. A fish floating upside-down is the telltale sign of constipation. It will need a tank and the setup described in the article 🙂

  23. Lily December 3, 2016 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    My goldfish, who has lost his coloring, which I have had for 8 years, has been living in a 5 gallon tank for most of his life. I have never used a filter in his water, and I’m wondering if I could put a filter in after all of these years. Would that hurt the fish or harm him?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish December 4, 2016 at 3:09 am - Reply

      It would only help, but would need to cycle first.

  24. loulou December 4, 2016 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    great article, very helpful. my brother wants a goldfish but my family is concerned how much it will cost. my friend owns three fish in a five gallon tank but they are very happy. do you have any pointers for what the minimum size of a goldfish tank is? thank you for all, GO GOLDFISH!

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish December 4, 2016 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Goldfish are way cheaper than most pets but they do require some investment for their well-being. For tank size info, please check out this article 🙂

  25. oreo December 31, 2016 at 2:50 am - Reply

    i have a 10 gallon tank and had 1 black telescope goldfish in it. unfortunately he got sick and the pet store offered to take him back to try and save him. hopefully he lives 🙂 i recently bought a 30 gallon tank and was planning to put 2 black telescope goldfish in it after the holiday break (after i cycle the tank for 1+ weeks). I still have the 10 gallon tank and was planning to use it as my hospital tank. when i am quarantining my fish should i separate them into the 2 different tanks of can i put them into the main tank and quarantine them together. i have would buy them form a pet store ( a store i trust and have had fish from them last for 11+ years) and they would be coming from the same tank. hopefully that wasn’t too confusing 🙂

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish January 5, 2017 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      I hope he recovers soon! 🙂

    • oreo January 6, 2017 at 2:43 am - Reply

      should i quarantine them in 2 separate tanks?? knowing the situation above

      • Pure Goldfish
        Pure Goldfish January 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm - Reply

        I would separate them 🙂

  26. natasha January 8, 2017 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Wow,great info there,thanks. Its my desire to network with my fellow natural aquaristics.

  27. Mary January 17, 2017 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    My son won 2 goldfish at the rodeo and they told him to use bottled water when he cleans the tank. His Grandma just got him a small tank for now.

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish January 22, 2017 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      Goldfish do much better in tanks 🙂

  28. oreo March 5, 2017 at 4:09 am - Reply


    I have 2 questions:

    1 – should I cycle my tank with my driftwood and live plants or without them?

    2 – should the hospital tank be cycled too? If so, would this mean my hospital tank would always need to be running?

    Thanks so much 🙂

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish March 7, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

      1 – Either or

      2 – Yes

  29. Mary March 7, 2017 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    I have had goldfish in an outside pond for about three years now. They seem healthy but I noticed there are some bumps on two of them. We filter the water and change as needed. Is this common in older goldfish?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish March 7, 2017 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      It might be tumors.

  30. itah April 4, 2017 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Hi!..i have a 12 gallon tank i guess with about 15 goldfish..when changing water,leaving the 10% of it,do i have to add a water conditioner in the 90% water i will be adding?..thank you!

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish April 16, 2017 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      Too many fish :O But yes, you want to add conditioner to the 90% water.

  31. sonia kukreja April 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Hi, yesterday i bought 8 gold fishes and one black fish for cemented fish tank. But after 10 mins all gold fish died. We again cleaned the tank and bought new fishes. But again my fishes are dying one by one. My fish tank is lying in my balcony. Could you please suggest where we are going wrong.

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish April 16, 2017 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      Did you treat the water first?

  32. Cheyenne May 19, 2017 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    I’m about to get a goldfish from a friend! She’s moving away and can’t take him with her. She’s owned him for 4 or 5 years, and i was wondering: When I get him home, is it a good idea to add some of his existing tank water (or, say, a decor piece from his old tank) to the new tank to help with the bacterial situation? I don’t have time to do a full cycling of the tank (I have about three days before he’s gonna move in) and I want to make sure I can make the most of the time I have! You said not to dump the water from the transport baggie into the tank, but I was wondering if it was a good idea to make an exception in this scenario? Thanks in advance for your help, I’ve learned a lot of important info from you!

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish May 20, 2017 at 4:40 pm - Reply

      Use the his old filter media. The water doesn’t have any good bacteria in it. Glad you’ve found the site helpful 🙂

  33. Danielle May 28, 2017 at 4:17 am - Reply

    My tank has one shubunkin and one comet. I have gravel in there, but I’m wondering if it would be better for my fishy babies to remove the gravel. I’m new at this and want to do what’s best for them.

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish May 29, 2017 at 10:23 pm - Reply

      Yes remove the gravel 🙂

  34. Kate Nickeson June 19, 2017 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Hi i have 2 bubble eyed goldfish and one of his bubbles got sucked into the filter and popped, what can I do to hopefully ease some of his pain?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish June 24, 2017 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Answered you on the Bubble Eye article 🙂

  35. Kate Nickeson June 19, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Hi i have 2 bubble eyed goldfish and the other one is twitching and jerking around… Otherwise he’s active and normal.. What should I do

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish June 24, 2017 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Test for ammonia right away.

  36. Mae August 12, 2017 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Hi, so I just bought my first fish from Walmart, and he’s a goldfish. I didn’t know any of this before, and he’s in a bowl. I won’t be able to afford a tank for a little while, I don’t want him to die too early, how long do I have to buy that tank?

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish August 12, 2017 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      I’d definitely recommend as soon as possible, and also you will want to make sure that you don’t run into New Tank Syndrome which is common with new setups.

  37. Mur September 1, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    Hello! Thank you so much for your advices! I would like to ask a question. I have 5 adult orandas and 2 baby orandas. Sometimes one of the small orandas keep tickling the adult orandas. What does that mean? Is it a danger for the adults? Do I have to worry about it?
    Thank you for taking your time.

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish September 2, 2017 at 11:49 pm - Reply

      The babies shouldn’t cause any real problems 🙂

  38. Elizabeth September 5, 2017 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I have just bought a new tank and filter for my goldfish. I am kind of confused on the whole tank cycling process, since one person just said to let the new tank and it’s filter run for a week and then put my goldfish in the new tank.
    Just want to make sure my goldfish won’t get sick.

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish September 9, 2017 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      Yeah what they told you won’t work to cycle the tank. You have to add ammonia over the course of several weeks until you get nitrates.

  39. Sarjona September 16, 2017 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    We just got a fish from a park fair and a family selling it. My guess is that it was in a small container for about 5 hours…? And now we might leave it there for an hour or so. Should we try to get it or ASAP or can it stay there a little longer? Is this a sustainable source? Do you have any suggestions about what to do next?

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish September 24, 2017 at 11:32 pm - Reply

      Hey Sarjona, sorry for the late reply. I hope you have a good size tank to put it in, or a pond 🙂

  40. Will December 5, 2017 at 2:22 am - Reply

    I just got my first goldfish ever. Are Orandas good for beginners?

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish December 31, 2017 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      Orandas are more challenging than fantails but not as challenging as, say a bubble eye. Medium level I’d say 🙂

  41. Chuck January 6, 2018 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    My comet goldfish has lots of bumps in a clump and I don\\\\\\\’t know if it is a tumor or lymphocystis. It has had this for about 10 months so far and lives with 3 others in a 50 gallon tank.

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish January 7, 2018 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      What color are they?

  42. Chuck January 8, 2018 at 4:23 am - Reply

    White and they are on the side of his body but it spread a different cluster on it’s dorsal fin.

    Rating: 5
  43. Chuck January 8, 2018 at 4:25 am - Reply

    I accidentally put 50 gallon I ment 10 gallon.

    Rating: 5
  44. Jess January 24, 2018 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    My daughter pestered me for a goldfish and I caved and got her a feeder fish. Seems goldfish get the short end of the stick when it comes to commonly known needs! I am glad I got her a 10 gallon tank but it sounds like it’s just a nursery LOL. Bottom line is thank you for the information. We’re going to be better able to take care of her fish because of it.

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish January 28, 2018 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you are doing the research needed to take the best care possible of your fish, Jess 🙂

  45. Ant February 12, 2018 at 3:11 am - Reply

    I have 3 comet fish in my daughters 10 gallon tank. Can they stay there for life or so I have to go bigger? I don’t use a heater because I feel they grow faster in warm water. Is this true? I used to have African cichlids in a 55 g tank. I had them breeding with several water changes and warm water. I thought your article was very informative except I don’t recommend heaters for goldfish that are in small tanks. What your thoughts. Thanks for the info!

    Rating: 4
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish February 17, 2018 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      Happy to hear you liked the article! They will definitely need a bigger tank. It is true that heat speeds up growth which can be undesirable if you are waiting to upgrade.

  46. Lena February 24, 2018 at 12:32 am - Reply

    I just got three comets (I believe they are, anyways, they were part of an experiment at my school and I was allowed to take a few home) and I am feeling woefully unprepared for much of this. I will be able to clean the tank often, and food with be no problem, but I only have a fairly large glass bowl. I am not going to be able to spend much money on them as I already raise over one hundred and fifty rabbits plus forty or so cavies (guinea pigs), so a new tank isn’t an option. I’ve all ready put some salt in with them to help with quarantine. I’m thinking that they will be alright for the four weeks or so that it will take to quarantine them, then I will be moving them into a water trough outside. I’m not sure if they’ll survive, based on what I’ve read, but I’m hopeful. Anyways, any suggestions on what to do would be helpful!

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish February 25, 2018 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      Lots of water changes and minimal feeding 🙂

  47. Solowayne March 24, 2018 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Always amazing info to be found on this blog. Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 4
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish March 25, 2018 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      Thank you very much Solowayne ^_^

  48. DaVina Patterson April 4, 2018 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    I’ve got a telescope goldfish named OE, (about for one eye) She has been floating upside down for about 2 weeks and none of the fish keepers I’ve spoke to really have no idea of what to do. They keep suggesting things but none of them have worked. (Go figure) She also has red, clamped find. I’ve got her in a salt water quarantine tank n she’s been there 2 weeks. Also I’ve purchased this stuff called Artemis n The fishkeepers. (A vitamin supplement) I’ve used all of them and nothing seems to work. I absolutely LOVE my OE and don’t want to lose her. PLEASE HELP ME CURE MY LIL OE!!!!! And I do,do lots of water changes. Thank you. D

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish April 8, 2018 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      This sounds like it could be an internal infection of some kind. Have you tested the water?

  49. DaVina Patterson April 4, 2018 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    Also I’ve got her in a 30 gallon tank by herself n she has a Fluval filter system. The one with the foam, carbon, and bio filters. What am I doing wrong?

    Rating: 5
  50. James May 4, 2018 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    I have two common goldfish in one tank and there about 3 and a half inches long ( including the tail ) and I don\’t have a filter, but I clean the tank out once a week, is that enough??

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish May 6, 2018 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      Depends on the size of the tank, and your feeding regimen 🙂

  51. James May 5, 2018 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    How much water would 1 fantail calico goldfish need??

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish May 6, 2018 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      At least 10 gallons 🙂

      • zach May 29, 2018 at 3:57 pm - Reply

        can a fantail and fancy ranchu live in a 29 gallon together happily.

        Rating: 5
        • Pure Goldfish
          Pure Goldfish June 3, 2018 at 10:32 pm - Reply

          Sure, as long as one isn’t too big 🙂

  52. Inez De La Mer August 1, 2018 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Hello! I really enjoyed reading as i am hoping to get a goldfish soon (doing my research). Just wondering, what would be a suitable goldfish to get if I want to keep him/her in a tank? And what are the best ways to obtain them in Australia?

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish August 5, 2018 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      There are lots of varieties to choose from, it just depends on what you like and how much space you are willing to provide. I don’t live in Australia so I’m not familiar with the local pet stores, but you may be able to find sellers online. 🙂

  53. Friedrich September 27, 2018 at 9:18 am - Reply

    First off, many thanks for this great guide! Guess my fish’ environmental conditions are not optimal at the moment, need to improve on that!

    Rating: 5
  54. Eddie Brand November 6, 2018 at 9:55 am - Reply

    When looking to get goldfish, it is essential to look for signs that the fish are healthy.

    Rating: 5
  55. Alexis December 9, 2018 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    What is the best tank I can get for a fancy gold fish? Preferably filter included

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish December 9, 2018 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      I really like the Seaclear acrylic aquarium line, have 2 of them myself and love how they look and how strong they are. You could use whatever filter works best for your needs.

  56. Amber December 15, 2018 at 3:25 am - Reply

    We currently have a common fantail goldfish in an 80 gallon tank. We moved him from a 29 gallon tank in May of this year, so that we could hopefully find a friend for him. He is a little over 7 years old and probably 10-ish inches long…how do I find a good friend for him and how do I safely make the introduction when he has been an only fish for his entire life, excepting of course his time in whatever condition he was kept before he was given to my daughter by someone who had won him as a prize at a fair booth and didn’t want him.

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish December 15, 2018 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      The key is to quarantine thoroughly and ideally get your fish from a good supplier. Breeders are usually a good way to go.

  57. Fran December 15, 2018 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    I had 3 goldfish in a 50 gallon tank on my patio. Had a bad algae problem (cloudy water). When I put in an algecide recommended by the pond store, all three fish died, even though I put in very little, I thought. Previous treatments did not affect the fishies. When I went to empty the tank for the winter: there were 7 small fish in it! (Clearly some piscine hanky-panky went on in there!) I brought the baby fish into the house in a 10-gallon tank, which I now know is too small. They have some water lettuce and small river pebbles. Over the last few months, some of them have died, most recently the biggest one, about 2″ long, the night after I cleaned the tank and replaced half the water. I use water from a Pur water pitcher. I have 3 left, all about 1 – 1 1/2″ long. How can I keep the rest of them alive and in good shape? I have just ordered different food for them from Amazon, that you recommended.

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish December 15, 2018 at 11:33 pm - Reply

      Water pitcher water could have affected pH or mineral content. If your tap water is decent (pH of around 7.4 and over 100 KH & GH) I would dechloronate that with Prime. And if you want it to be even better you can use carbon in your filter. Test the water daily to ensure it stays in the recommended ranges, clean frequently and don’t overfeed 🙂

  58. Bill January 28, 2019 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    What kinds of goldfish are compatible with each other?

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish January 29, 2019 at 12:37 am - Reply

      Fancies do well with most other fancies. The exceptions are the very delicate breeds (i.e. bubble eye, celestial eye) with more nippy ones like Ryukin. Slim-bodied fish like commons, comets, shubunkins, even koi all do well together but not with fancy goldfish because they are too strong and eat all the food. Hope this helps 🙂

  59. Galle February 4, 2019 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    awesome guide!!

    Rating: 5
  60. Nik March 20, 2019 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    What do you think about keeping fancies in slightly warmer waters as long as I provide extra oxygenation? Just to share my thought process: goldfish need a lot of oxygen, warmer water means less oxygen so it\’s best to keep the water cooler, adding lots of oxygen to warmer water should combat the loss…right?

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish March 21, 2019 at 4:34 pm - Reply

      You’ve got it 🙂

  61. Cora March 25, 2019 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    I bought 2 comet goldfish yesterday and they are in their new tank looking happy, but one of them I got is all white. It doesn’t seem sick behavior-wise. I assumed it didn’t have enough light or food (not a strong swimmer so maybe other fish got to food first back at Walmart). I named the white one rice and they are very happy but should I be doing something more special to try to help rice be less dull white? Should they be separated?

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish March 26, 2019 at 12:06 am - Reply

      Could just be its normal color 🙂 I have an all-white goldfish too.

  62. lisa nielsen April 16, 2019 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    I have 4 “carnie” fish – aka fair common goldies…I have had them for eight months-40 gal tank for almost three months. One is being bullied by sometimes all 3-mostly the biggest. He is medium size does not show any signs of being sick…he tries to hide by they still go after him. I take him out to rest but that seem overkill…help my guy…luey

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish April 17, 2019 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      Sounds like breeding behavior, you may need to separate if it gets too rowdy

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