Do Goldfish Need a Filter?
The truth is, goldfish need to have a filter, and you need to have one for your own sake as well.
Goldfish produce toxins (through their waste and respiration) that accumulate in the aquarium and can cause all kinds of major problems.
The purpose of a filter is to supply a multi-pronged approach to get rid of the nasty toxins and keep your goldfish safe using a combination of mechanical, biological and sometimes chemical filtration.
Theoretically, goldfish could live without a filter on one condition:
Huge daily water changes.
Those would effectively remove the toxins and keep the water safe for our finned friends.
But it isn’t practical for most people to be doing this for their aquariums! We have things to do besides carrying buckets all the time and paying a massive water bill.
Filtration stands in the gap between a dirty tank and going crazy with water changes.
It’s the missing link!
Read More: Do Goldfish Need a Filter?
What kind of Filtration is Best for Goldfish?
“Think of your goldfish filter as a mini sewage treatment plant.” – Goldfish keeper
There are 3 things to consider when it comes to picking out the best filter specifically for your goldfish.
Common filter options like hang on back filters and canister filters hold less media.
That’s why everyone is always hyping having a high volume of water flowing through them, because without it there isn’t enough oxygen to keep the bacteria alive.
But guess what?
While athletic breeds like Common and Comet goldfish don’t mind current, fancy goldfish don’t like a strong current in the water.
Their fins are longer and catch the water current, blowing them around the tank or causing them to struggle to stay in place.
Sometimes they give up the fight and hang in a corner or sit at the bottom. This STRESSES the fish which weakens their immune system.
And what does a low immune system lead to…?
Many filters are designed in such a way that they require frequent cleaning to stay clear of debris.
If debris is allowed to build up in a filter, in certain conditions it can become incredibly toxic.
Mulm (white gunky gross buildup) and sludge (brown gunky gross buildup) stress the immune system as they become loaded with bad bacteria, leading to sick fish.
Filtration is more than just trapping particles of fish poop or having clear water (though those are nice of course).
Filtration is about completely eliminating ammonia (the #1 killer of aquarium fish in the world) and nitrite, turning it into the much safer nitrATE.
To get rid of ammonia you need beneficial bacteria that consume it and turn it into a far less harmful substance. A good filter has got to have lots of room for beneficial bacteria to grow – or it they can’t do their job.
Let’s face it:
The majority of filters on the market today are way too small to be effective for our “messy goldies.”
They just lead to a false sense of security for the hobbyist.
So choose one of the high performing brands above for best results.
What kind of filtration you choose depends on your lifestyle, the kind of fish you own, and the needs of your aquarium as a whole.
There is definitely a trade-off with the more discreet filtration systems being not as efficient or safe for the fish, and the more powerful ones being more expensive or visible.
My advice has been and always will be put the fish first, then worry about looks afterward.
What is best for your pets?
In the end, a healthy, well-filtered aquarium will support healthy, happy goldfish and save you extra work.
What Do You Think?
Do you wonder if your goldfish have enough filtration to balance out your water changes?
Have a question about how a certain filter works, or a preference for your tank?
Then please do leave your comment below.