How to Setup a Goldfish Aquarium
If you want upgrade your goldfish bowl into a suitable goldfish tank or you are buying your first tank setup, in order to provide a proper home for your fish you will need to obtain the following goldfish supplies from your local pet store.
Depending on how many fish you want to buy you will need 10 to 20 gallons per fish if you want them to thrive and grow to their full potential. You can get away with buying a 10 gallon aquarium and add two or three small goldfish but realize that you will eventually need a larger goldfish tank as they will out grow their tank. If this is what you choose to do, you will also need to perform water changes more often to keep ammonia level and goldfish waste to a minimum. If you want to have more fish in your 10 gallon fish tank, you should consider buying a different breed of fish that don’t produce as much waste and don’t fully grow too large.
Goldfish love to dig around and scavenge for food at the bottom of their tank. having a substrate of rocks, gravel or sand is not mandatory but it will make the tank look nicer and make your goldfish happier. If you do buy a substrate buy small rounded gravel so your goldfish are able to move it around in their search for food. Sand is a bad idea because the constant digging will throw sand particles into the water and make your goldfish aquarium cloudy and appear dirty. Rounded rocks are ok but your goldfish won’t be able to help clean rotting food particles from the bottom of your fish tank. Always remember to rinse and clean any thing you place into your goldfish aquarium, including your fish tank gravel substrate; using warm water only, no soap or cleaners.
Most people don’t have access to water other than tap water and even if you use a water filter system, chlorine can still get through. Bottled water is usually clean of chlorine but the cost and negative environmental factors don’t make it an ideal solution. To be safe you should buy a bottle of dechlorinator and add it anytime you do a water change to your tank. If you plan in advance, you can fill a bucket with tap water, let it sit a day or two and allow the chlorine to evaporate. The bucket that you use for water changes should only be used as your fish tank water change bucket.
Goldfish Cleaning Supplies
An aquarium siphon, algae scrubber and water conditioner are supplies that will make your routine goldfish aquarium maintenance much easier as well as making it easier on your goldfish. What ever you choose to use to clean your tank, make sure the supplies are clean and only used for cleaning your goldfish tank.Get a Siphon
Decorative Aquarium Ornaments
Your goldfish like places to hide and will feel more comfortable in an aquarium that has a few of these ornaments. You should choose fake or live aquatic plants, or ornaments that you can buy at your local pet store. If you choose to add other objects, make sure they are cleaned thoroughly, don’t contain any substances that will leach into the water that will kill your goldfish, or sharp edges that your goldfish can get hurt on. If there is any doubt about what your ornament is made out of, don’t put it in your goldfish aquarium.
Aquarium Hood Cover
Goldfish have been known to jump out of their tanks and if you are not there at the time to save them, well, they die. An aquarium hood will cover will ensure that if they jump out of the water, they will stay in the tank and very much alive. I wouldn’t be too concerned about your goldfish knocking itself out on the hood cover and then falling back into the water and drowning. I’m not a scientist but I’m not sure it works like that.
A Lower Maintenance Tank Layout
An aquarium light is something you should consider for several reasons. The fist reason is so you can see and display your goldfish. The other reason is if you have live aquatic plants that require light. Goldfish will nibble on live aquatic plants, making it important that the plants can grow faster than the goldfish can eat them. If light is required, buy a light otherwise the aquatic plants will never amount to much.
If you own a smaller tank with several goldfish, a mechanical filter is almost a must unless you are okay with changing your aquarium water almost daily. To learn about mechanical filter options, read more of our articles on
Steps for a Proper Setup
- Obtain all the aquarium supplies listed in this article before buying any goldfish.
- Rinse the aquarium and all the supplies with warm water to remove any dirt and debris, especially the substrate and decorations.
- Find a good location for the tank that is away from air vents and windows that get direct sunlight but near an electrical outlet.
- Place the empty aquarium on its stand and ensure it is level so there is no potential to be knocked or tipped over.
- Carefully add a 1/4 inch to 2 inches of rinsed gravel substrate into the bottom of the tank. If the filtration is under gravel type, add that first.
- Prepare the aquarium hood cover and if necessary, cut or pop out any needed openings so the filters and heater can be placed where you want them.
- Add the aquarium decorations and any plants. Live aquatics plants have specific needs so visit our section on aquatic plants before going further.
- Slowly begin to fill the tank with room temperature water (around 68-72f*) from the kitchen or bathroom faucet. Avoid disturbing the substrate by pouring the water against the side of the tank or a sturdy decoration.
- Once the water level is about 1-2 inches from the top of the tank, stop filling and add the appropriate amount of water conditioner/dechlorinator.
- Attach filters and heaters. Set the heater to 70*f. Do not plug in or turn on either until they are both submerged to their proper depths.
- Replace or adjust any decoration or plants that might have moved during the filling process.
- Test the water parameters for water temperature and pH before adding any goldfish.
- It is recommended to allow a tank to cycle before adding any goldfish but if you intend to introduce a new goldfish at this time, you should consider adding beneficial bacteria to help cycle the tank.
- Once the goldfish are added, observe them to ensure they are responding well to their new home. It will likely take a day of two for them to venture out to explore and or eat.