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Why Comets are better than Goldfish

Updated on December 24, 2011

 For ages, Goldfish have been the first fish purchased for young children.  They are lovely.  Graceful.  A splash of orange in a bowl to amaze wide-eyed youngsters.  The problem is, Goldfish don't always live for very long unless you have an efficiently working aquarium.  Goldfish emit ammonia in their urine and it clouds up tanks.  Unless your child (or you) plan on cleaning the fish bowl a lot, then a better choice would be to purchase a little comet.

Comets are orange or multi-colored little fish that look like goldfish but with elongated bodies.  The nice thing is their price.  Usually under 20 cents per fish.  They start out little but they grow quickly and become very large in size. 

I like to purchase comets for my classroom each fall.  I typically get about 6 of them for the classroom aquarium.  By the end of the school year, my aquarium is filled with large fish and lots of color.  When I first get a comet, it is small and it is difficult to tell what color it will be when it begins to age.  Orange and white comets can turn either color or maintain both.  Their fins also can flow out to something similar to that of a goldfish or their fins can stay in a V shape as they age.  Like Goldfish, Comets are very friendly and like human interaction.  It is a common occurrence for me to put my hand in the tank and have the fish come up and "kiss" me on the hand.  They also enjoy fresh scraps of raw or cooked meat and dead bugs.

Comets, while also capable of clouding up bowls and tanks, are easy to maintain and if they die off early while a child is learning care of their fish, it's not like you're losing a fortune.  Goldfish can cost up to $5.00 or more for decorative ones and the loss of one can add up financially. 

In setting up a bowl, I would recommend 1-2 comets to begin with.  Make sure you have small aquarium stones at the bottom.  Purchase a living plant to put in the bowl from a pet shop.  This will keep balance in the bowl.  Buy dried shrimp and mix with Goldfish flake food for extra protein for the fish.  Feed one time daily and only enough that can be consumed in five minutes.  When changing the water, add chlorine removing drops, and make sure the water is temperate and not too hot or too cold.  Comets thrive in warmer water but can withstand cool temperatures.  Clean the tank when debris on the bottom begins to collect.

If setting up an aquarium, you can get more than 2 fish.  Make sure the comets come from the same tank and are familiar with each other.  Have your aquarium ready for a day or so before bringing the fish home.  I keep the temperature in my tank around 85 degrees.  Place the bag in the water to allow the fish to acclimate to the new temperature.  Place living plants in the rocks at the bottom of the aquarium.  Feed the same food; a mix of dried shrimp and Goldfish food.  I often buy algae eating fish to put in my aquarium too.  One Plecko usually does the trick.  My filtration system in the aquarium uses filters that I can throw away when they dirty.  I also place an air stone in the tank to keep water circulating.

As I stated, for buying fish for the first time, Comets make the best choice.  Price, beauty and ease of care provide both parents and children a positive experience for the first fish.


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    • ljrc1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Cole 

      3 years ago from Michigan


      A large vase may hold them temporarily until you get a tank but if you have 4 goldfish, I would suggest a tank of no less than 10 gallons. Goldfish emit quite a bit of ammonia in their urine so you will need to change the water frequently, the smaller the tank. The goldfish will grow quickly and like to eat small amounts 2x a day (morn/night). I would suggest getting a filter of some kind to help keep the water clear and also a "bubble" maker which can put oxygen into the tank. You can keep them in a large container if you want but they will need space to swim or else they won't live long. Use drops to purify your tap water (pet store sells this) and also do a 1/2 tank water change weekly. Water should be lukewarm; not cold. Good luck.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      PLEASE HELP!!!There were some boys at my school who had 4 llttie goldfish in a bag from petsmart and they were going to throw them away because they had no way to care for them. So I took them but I'm not quite sure how to care for them. The largest fish is an inch long. I don't have an aquarium and my mom doesn't want to buy one. On my way home today, i'm going to buy aquarium rocks and some rock caves. I have a large vase thing in my kitchen that's just there for décor and I was thinking of keeping them in there. How big of a bowl should i have for them? How often do i feed them? How often do i clean the bowl? Please help me. I want them to be ok. thanks

    • ljrc1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Cole 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I disagree with not putting a heater in the tank. Even pet stores have the water heated in the fish tanks. While goldfish can adapt to colder temperatures, my comets have thrived in water that is warm rather than cold; being insulting only makes your comment invalid too me. Comets are related to both goldfish and koi. They are not however actual goldfish and any pet store will tell you so. The price will as well. I have been raising comets for 20 years now and my fish have lived for 10 years or more. I would think that my successes with these fish would make my hub substantial in providing information to new fish owners. As far as acclimating any fish, it is important to introduce a couple at a time so as not to throw the balance of the tank off. People often lose fish by buying too many for it puts the nitrates and phosphate levels at a level that can kill the fish. With buying any animal, just make sure that you buy from a reputable shop, research the species and know about proper filtration to keep your tank environment healthy.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      comets ARE goldfish. they do not need to be familiar with each other if getting more than one, they are a peaceful fish. they make friends with everyone. comets thrive in cooler water, but can withstand warmer water. in fact, it is advisable NOT to set up a heater in a goldfish aquarium, because they are a coldwater fish. 85 degrees is 5 degrees above the safe zone for these fish, technically. also, bigger goldfish will munch on live plants, so it would be good to research which ones don't taste good to them, like the water onion. otherwise, your plants may become uprooted or eaten over time.

      they are much hardier and much cheaper than a fancy goldfish, though, so they are an excellent first pet.

      this reminds me of the time i took my son to a preschool class and the teacher read a book about "the country of africa."


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