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The Myth of the Easy Care Goldfish

Updated on November 23, 2009

Many people regard goldfish as being easy care pets. Nothing could be further from the truth however. If you're truly looking for an 'easy care' pet, I recommend a cat. Cats will need food, water and vet visits to get their shots and aside from some worming and flea treatments, they will pretty much look after themselves. Fish, on the other hand, any fish, will require that you carefully tend their environment. At the beginning, you may need to spend an hour or more a day working on your fish tank. After a couple of months, that will drop back to a couple of hours per week, assuming you don't try to breed your fish, or fall in love with them and end up with multiple tanks.

Inexperienced fish keepers and parents of children who think that pet fish would be a good idea may not realize that the average life span of a pet fish is not a few months. Goldfish, the most often abused type of pet fish can naturally live for 15 to 25 years. In home tanks, they often die within months. This is because they are not properly looked after.

In order to properly keep a fish such as a goldfish, you will need a minimum of a 15 gallon tank. You will also need a filter, water conditioner, a water testing kit and appropriate food. Goldfish are among the messiest of all the fish, and although they are regarded as being 'easy' they are actually often more difficult to keep than tropical fish. Goldfish require more space and filtration than most tropical fish.

The little bowls that are sold as gold fish bowls are not suitable for gold fish. In fact, in Europe it is actually illegal to sell little bowls as goldfish bowls because they provide such a cruel death.

Why are they so cruel? Because goldfish, if given clean water and proper conditions will grow up to 13 inches in length. Goldfish bowls don't have nearly enough room for them to attain that kind of size.

Goldfish are really often best kept in outdoor ponds. These outdoor ponds provide the space and natural bacteria that will keep fish healthy. If you insist on keeping goldfish indoors in a tank, make sure that it is large enough, and make sure that it is cycled. A cycled tank contains bacteria in the filter which convert the fishes wastes to less harmful ones. A fish with no filter will quickly die of ammonia poisoning, caused by the wastes it excretes. Read up on cycling a fish tank before you get your goldfish and be prepared to spend serious time ensuring that their tank conditions are correct, and you will have an interesting and very large pet for many years, perhaps even for life!


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