How to Take Care of a Goldfish

How to Take Care of a Goldfish

This the complete pet goldfish care guide for every beginner and novice owner. Here you can get information on: setting up a tank, how to perform routine maintenance, feeding tips, treating sick fish, tank accessories, decorations, aquatic plants and more. With proper aquarium maintenance, a goldfish can live a long and happy life.

Caring for a Fair Goldfish

Goldfish Identification Guide
goldfish care guide
Learn how to take care of a goldfish in a:

Goldfish BowlIn our fish bowl section, you can find a good amount of information for beginners on how to get started. Read about: caring for a goldfish in a bowl that you might have won at a fair, Learn about the anatomy of your new pet, or, find a few fun facts.

Goldfish AquariumFor those of you with a freshwater fish tank, our aquarium section is full of resources on how to maintain a proper tank, running tests on the water parameters, diagnosing and treating a fish for an illness and you can get information on all the different types of breeds that are available.

Goldfish PondIf you’re considering building a garden pond, our section on ponds will help answer all your questions. Find info on: setup basics; maintenance through the seasons; dealing with the weather and outdoor temperatures; learning how to care for aquatic pond plants and marginals.

black moor goldfish

Won a New Goldfish from a Carnival Fair

Update:It’s important to note that not all fairs treat their fish improperly. A lot of them provide large tanks full of cool oxygenated water. Some even provide winners with a ticket to be redeemed when they decide to head home. This keeps the fish from being trapped in a small plastic bag for an excessive amount of time.

What is the Game

The goldfish game is a carnival game where you try to throw a coin or ping pong ball into a small bowl. In these bowls live cramped fish. If you land the ball or coin into one of the bowls, you win that fish inside. A living creature kept in this way often lives a miserable life which also tends to be a short one.

Carnival Games, Rides and Fun
Carnival Goldfish Game

A Bad Reputation

Many animal organizations and goldfish lovers have declared this game to be cruel and unusual punishment for the poor little fish. Some fairs and carnivals have discontinued the game and allegedly, some states have even banned the game. Considering a goldfish needs an abundant amount of well circulated and well oxygenated water, plus a 10-20 gallon tank to live and thrive, it’s no surprise a lot of people are against this game.However, the game is still a popular carnival game at fairs today. People who disapprove shouldn’t blame the parents and they certainly can’t blame the children who want to win a new pet; I mean, who doesn’t want to win a goldfish? Parents might at first be hesitant to let their children try to win one but then figure it’s a good lesson in responsibility. They think, how hard can it be to take care of? Unfortunately proper goldfish care is not as easy as they might think.

Advice for Winners

You can blame this way of thinking on the iconic image of a goldfish in a small round bowl. This bowls is small and looks very manageable but in reality, it can be a death trap if a water change is not performed daily.All is not lost though, with some care advice for beginners and little bit of knowledge, will give it more than a fighting chance. If a new pet owner is willing to do what ever it takes to care for it, it can live for five to ten years and grow up to 12 inches (30cm).

Won a Goldfish at a Fair

How to Care for a Fair Goldfish

This beginners guide covers the basics on proper care. It’s a guide for anyone who just bought their first goldfish from a pet store, for the lucky winner who won one at a carnival or for those caught off guard by receiving one as a gift. Additional tips for first time owners can be found in the Beginner Goldfish Bowl section of this site. For novice goldfish owners seeking more advanced goldfish care tips, please see the articles posted in the Pond and Aquarium sections.

Good Bacteria

Ideally, before bringing any fish home, it’s recommended to first setup an aquarium and let it run for a few weeks. This allows the tank to cycle and avoid what is called new tank syndrome. By running filters for several weeks prior to introducing your new pet, it allows sufficient time for important beneficial bacteria to become established. This bacteria converts harmful ammonia produced by your fish into nitrates which are less harmful. If this bacteria is not present, the fish can get ammonia poisoning and die. Those that don’t have this luxury, beneficial bacteria can be purchased at most pet stores.

Ammonia Levels

It’s important to frequently test the tank water to check for elevated ammonia levels and to check the pH levels. On that same note, the water should be free of chlorine and chloramine. It’s vital to use a water dechlorinator to remove these contaminants. An aquarium with clean water with optimal parameters is the best way to prevent fish from getting sick or dying. There are inexpensive test kits available at most pet stores or online.

How to take care of a fair goldfish

Water Changes

Routine tank maintenance is another great way to prevent them from getting sick. When a test kit show the water parameters are off, it usually means an aquarium water change is in order. It could also mean it’s time to clean an aquarium.

Feeding Time

Feeding the appropriate amount of food will cut down on cleaning. By only feeding small meals, 3-5 flakes per goldfish, it ensure all the food is eaten which cuts down on the rotting material and fish waste. Overfeeding can be a cause for concern. It can lead to problems with the digestive tract and even worse, it can kill a goldfish. Constipation often is a direct result of overfeeding. In extreme cases of overfeeding, a goldfish will gorge until it’s insides bursts.

Submit A Story, Photo or Video

If you have a story, video or photo of your experience with the goldfish game at a fair, contact us. To be objective and honest, we want to hear about both the good and the bad so we can give praise to the carnivals that are caring for their goldfish properly and also to put the bad ones on notice.

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221 comments on “How to Take Care of a Goldfish

  1. I was wondering if anyone knew what may have happened to my daughters goldfish? She was what appeared to be perfectly fine when we went to bed swimming eating playing with the other one and by morning she was floating at the top. I’m at a loss on this and my little girl is heartbroken. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you

    • A lot of times, this can be the result of high ammonia levels. Goldfish produce waste and it can build up to toxic levels. If you don’t change the water, the goldfish can die. I would buy an inexpensive ammonia test kit and see what levels your tank is at.

  2. I have a small feeder goldfish , he swims, looks like he breathing kinda hard,, he will swim and then when he stops he goes onto his side,,what’s wrong is he dying,, he came from a pond

    • It’s hard to tell but what I recommend is doing a water change and also get into the habit of testing your water for ammonia, ph and nitrates. Poor water quality can lead to symptoms like this. It could also be a swim bladder issues. It could be either hereditary or a digestive issue. See this post on swim bladder problems.

  3. I’ve had one of those black goldfish with the bug eyes now for over a year now and is quite big! here lately it has been floating around on it’s side or belly up .is this normal? Can anyone help me with this problem or is this what they do with age?

    • This can be due to constipation and over eating or a swim bladder condition. First try feeding the fish less and then try greens like peas. if it’s a swim bladder disease, there might not be much you can do. Try adding some aquarium salt to relieve some pressure.

  4. every time i put fish n my tank they die the next day do i need to clean the tank every time one die or just take the dead fish out n put another one n the same water if one die should i clean the tank n put new water n

    • If the goldfish was sick and died from an illness, bacteria or fungus, you need to change the water. If the dead goldfish has been in the water for a long time, you should probably do a water change. There are a lot of reasons why your fish die, one of which is water quality. Consider getting a test kit to test for ammonia and ph. make sure you have a filter and gravel for good bacteria to grow in (see how to cycle a fish tank). this bacteria actually cleans the water. A bubbler/filter, live plants or a tank with a large surface area can help increase oxygen in the water. goldfish need lots of oxygen.

  5. I have bought two gold fish,”feeder fish” over 6 months ago for our new 10g tank. We have water filter, rocks, and six live plants. We were told the fish wouldn’t survive the new tank but they have. One fish, orange in color, has not grown at all. The other,white with one orange spot, has tripled in size. The white one was in the same “feeder” tank . Why do you think we have such a huge difference?

    • I assume they are all the same breed of goldfish, in that they look the same other than their size and colors. Some goldfish are just more aggressive eaters and will grow larger faster. Make sure your smaller fish gets it’s fair share of food. About your tank size and how people said they would live long. For the most part, they are right bt there are always exceptions. A new tank usually needs to be cycled in order for it to be ready for fish. It often takes two to three weeks for beneficial bacteria to grow. Also a 10 gallon tank will start to become to small when your fish get bigger. As the get bigger they will produce more waste and ammonia. this ammonia needs to be removed in the way of water changes. If you want to slow their growth, cut back on the feeding. don’t overfeed them thought either if you want them to grow. Overfeeding can lead to health problems and possible death from complications.

  6. i just bought 7 goldfish but the next day when i woke up 5 of them are dead! and now as im watching 2 that are left 1 already died. any ideas of why there all dieing time by time???

  7. I’m trying to breed my gold fish and take better care of them. I’m having a really hard time picking males from females. Plus i don’t have a job at the moment so I’m working on a low not 0 buget any ideas?

  8. This morning I’ve just bought two pairs of goldfish babies,a few hours after I took them home which is afternoon,2 of the 4 babies died(I put them together in a small tank because they’re very small,am I wrong?),then just now,which is evening in my place,another one died…Does this has anything thing to do with the place I got the fish?I bought them from the marketplace but not a pet shop…

    • It’s not the easiest thing to do but try looking at this post on breeding goldfish for some help. Females are usually more round than males so that might help if you have a common type of goldfish but not so easy to determine if you have a fancy breed.

  9. What does it mean if your fish won’t move very much? I just bought one today but it’s not as energetic as it was when I got it at 12 something. I already lost a betta. I don’t need to lose a goldfish too. 🙁

    • New goldfish need a bit of time to adjust to their tanks to feel comfortable. I would get an ammonia test kit and test the water. If the ammonia levels are high, you should change the water. New fish tanks need time to grow bacteria that helps control ammonia levels so if you haven’t let the tank sit for awhile with water in it before getting a fish, these bacteria won’t exist yet. see this post on new tank syndrome

  10. I have a small fish tank with a baby goldfish in it that won’t move very much anymore. I just bought it today. What does it mean when they won’t move much anymore?

  11. I bought a small tank & electric filter & have 4 fish 2 gold 2 loach,1 weather & 1 sucking.i now realise that i broke my own golden rule of not having birds in cages or fish in tanks its cruel.i want to know if i wait until the end of april when the weather picks up & i let them have their freedom will they survive in one of the large park lakes.

  12. i have one aquarium.
    in water tank have 10 golden fish but in one golden fish was dead. i m unhappy…soo what i will do for another golden fish save life…….i give food two times per day…..soo reply me solution….what i will do…..

    • I’m not sure what size tank you have but ten goldfish in a tank can get a bit crowded. You will need to perform partial water changes often to remove ammonia from the water. Additionally, if you see leftover food in the tank after feeding, remove it so it doesn’t dirty the water further.

  13. I have just gotten a new common goldfish yesterday, but today he lays in one area of the bowl, does not eat, gasps for air, and oftentimes will let his head rise a little closer to the surface. I have read your article about low oxygen levels and moved my goldfish to a very wide bowl, gave him live plants, and blow bubbles in his bowl 10 min every hour, and have done this all of today. He is not recovering. What do I do now?

    • It could also be a problem with your water quality (high nitrates)? You should do a partial water change and use dechlorinator drops to remove the chlorine from your tap water. Buying some inexpensive water test can help you out a lot. These include tests for ammonia, ph, and nitrates. Ammonia is the most common issue though.

    • Sorry to hear that about your fish. There was likely something off in terms of the water quality. Next time try to cycle the tank first to avoid new tank syndrome or at least change the water often and use water conditioner.

    • There are a lot of good lights out there and but it depends on the size of your tank and what hood cover you have. Not all hood covers will use the same light bulbs. Find a low intensity fluorescent tube light (not too bright) that will recreate the lighting that would be found in a goldfish’s natural environment. Here is a good rule to use in finding the right light: 0.25/1 watts per litre/gallon to 0.5/2 (divide the wattage by the tank size) keep it on a 12 on 12 off cycle to create day and night. You can buy a timer to automatically do this for you.

  14. HI
    I have a goldfish and he is about 2-3 years old. He is not eating much and he just floats around at times. Also, he is becoming jittering and swimming and moving all over the place really fast. What should i do?

    • I would test the water for ammonia, ph, nitrates and nitrites and see if something in your tank water is off. Make sure you have good oxygen exchange in the way of filters and surface area on the surface. If you have a small bowl or little tank, you might consider upgrading to a 10 gallon tank. If you see any discoloration or something that doesn’t appear to be normal on your goldfish, take a look at my post on goldfish diseases to see if it might be sick. A goldfish that is lethargic and not eating can be due to a sickness or simply due to living in cold water temps (50-60s). Then again nothing might be wrong with your goldfish either. best of luck 🙂

    • A hiding goldfish might not mean it’s sick. I might just mean that it is stressed or afraid. Give it some time to get comfortable and see if that helps. If that doesn’t, tell me what symptoms it is showing so I can help in diagnosing it.

    • This can be several things. It might just be that it ate too much food which has thrown its balance off. It could also be a swim bladder infection or worse, dropsy. First test your water and then do a water change. To treat an over fed goldfish, try not feeding it for several days. If that doesn’t work, try feeding it some green vegetable matter like peas. This will help the digestive tract. to treat the others, look for the treatments on the list of goldfish diseases post

  15. hey im looking at getting fish and i have found these rules:

    1. flakes feed pellet’s or flakes, are best as the pellets have to be soaked in a bowl for 5 mins because otherwise they will swell up inside your fish causing them to get constipation or die. Steamed vegitables are fine if soft also don’t feed hot and no food with gluton or lactose.
    2. Never touch fish or put hands in tank unless wering special aquarium gloves.
    3. Don’t put too many fish in one tank and also don’t use any decorations apart from ones from pet shops because of the risk of infection. Don’t put anymore foodin that would take all the fish around 5 mins to consume and feed a max of times per day.
    4. Don’t put algae eating fish in with gold fish as they will eat the protective layer and cause infection.
    5. It is not nesacery to decorate the tanks… it just looks nicer.
    6. The filter must be left running 24/7.
    7. Clean once every 1-3 weeks depending on the water color in the tank.
    8. Stick to rules if you don’t infections and death.
    is there anything else i need to know as im a first time buyer of fish

    many thanks

    james maple,11,uk

    • It looks like you have done some good research on goldfish care. You have a pretty good list so far. In addition to those, I would suggest getting a aquarium water test kit to test your water. If levels are off, you know it’s time for a water change. I also think decorations not only look nice but they keep your goldfish feeling safe and secure; especially if it can hide in or around them when it gets stressed. Good luck with become a goldfish owner.

  16. Hi
    I hVW great goldfish he is around 2 years old, Ilast week I replaced the gravel and replaced water used the proper drops for the water and rinsed the gravel before, since then the fish has been very lethargic and just sit in the bottom of the tank and does not want to eat, Im very concerned, please advise.

    • You might have changed the water parameters too much. You should only rinse your gravel using the old tank water. If you rinse the gravel using warm tap water from the sink, you can kill all the beneficial bacteria living in it. This bacteria helps keep the tank healthy. Perhaps next time, only do a partial water change and leave some of the old water in the tank. It might help to invest in a gravel/ water siphon that sucks the dirt and debris out of the water and gravel. It makes cleaning the water easier.

  17. I really want to get my Brother a comet goldfish for Christmas. I see that they are .27 at my local Petsmart. Are they a good fish? I Don’t want to bring it home to have it die. for .27 Thats what I’m expecting. If that might happen, what kind of Goldfish would you reccomend? Also can I get everything I need for the fish for under $30?(tank, rocks, etc.)

    • If you are thinking about spending around $30, you will likely be buying a tank that is less than 5 gallons. In that type of tank, you should only keep one small goldfish in it. I just looked on Amazon and found a few starter kits that have everything you need to have a fully functional goldfish tank (l searched “goldfish tank”). You can get a 3 gallon starter tank with rocks, filters, bubblers, hood and fake plants for around $35-40. There might be other options for less but avoid getting a bowl for a goldfish.

      Those .27 goldfish are typically not the most healthy to start out with. You should spend at least a $1.00 on your goldfish; avoid buying one of those poor little guys from the feeder tank. The aquarium with 100s of goldfish cramped in it. You can also consider getting a betta fish or some small guppies as an alternative to goldfish.

  18. I’m looking to get a Goldfish, and I’m curious to what kind i should get. I have a 5 gallon tank with a whisper filter. Could a Goldfish survive in there if I get a smaller one and upgrade to say a 10 gallon tank when it starts to grow big? Please give me some advice!

    • Common goldfish produce a bit more waste than the fancy types of goldfish and they grow larger too. I would suggest getting a fancy goldfish like a fantail, veiltail or perhaps a black moor. Upgrading to a larger tank will be a good idea when it grows to a few inches or so.

  19. I currently have one, one inch Fantailed Gold fish named clicky in a 5 gallon tank. I do have a filter that I got a few months back. He seemed ok without the filter but when I put the filter in he seemed happier. The thing is the top of his head is turning a black color. Is this normal? What should I do? Please help!

    • Black on a goldfish can be a sign of ammonia burns or some other type of infection. Check the water and see how the ammonia levels are doing. Change the water if the ammonia is too high. When you clean the filter, just rinse in old tank water. don’t clean it well since it can kill the beneficial bacteria living in the filter material. This bacteria helps control the ammonia levels.

  20. well do u want to know what i think .,.,., i think fish smell and they dirty like other people that take care of them and i just want to say u people that have them good luck cuz i cant keep em alive only some gold fish sometimes tropical(frsh) water fish like zebra danios, silver dollars, guppies, not angel fish. or plecos/, micci mouse tails, black moore, coi, and i think thats it thanks for listening byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy :{ luv justin smith

  21. Dear Sir,

    I am having a 50 liter Tank with 3 fantail goldfish (2inches length) with 2 moor for last 3 Months.
    Suddenly first the moors now one fantail died because of some skin problem. I noticed scales were coming out showing red skins around the belly, then suddenly overnight their tails became shorter and broken like some one has nipped the tail.

    Please advice

    • It sounds like it could be either goldfish fin rot or another type of bacterial infection. It could also be a parasite infection. Try adding some aquarium salt and buy a broad spectrum anti bacterial treatment to treat multiple ailments. I’d also do a water change right away. Take a photo of your sick fish and show the fish expert at the pet store and they might be able to narrow it down.

  22. Thanks for the suggestion. They came around. I guess hunger prevailed. They are eating the flakes… it took about 3 days. I guess it was just the shock of the new enviroment. They have plenty of plants and rocks, I just needed to be patient. Thanks again.

  23. I have a goldfish table on my back patio. It is an upside-down, 1/2 dome shape with a base, and a glass table top that sits on 1 inch rubber stoppers. It holds 80 gallons of water.

    When I lived in Albuquerque, NM., I bought the .27 cent goldfish from PetSmart. I treated the water with a tap water conditioner and all 12 goldfish lived for over 9 months… Until I gave them away on my move to Panama City, FL.

    Now in Florida, I purchased the same .27 cent goldfish. I Did the same treatment, but all of the goldfish died within 1 week. I noticed that they would not eat the TetraFin Goldfish Crisps that I was feeding them. The bowl became algae-filled quickly, after all fish died. Much quicker than it had between cleanings in Albuquerque. So I purchased some algae control solution. I cleaned the bowl, treated the water with algae control and tap water conditioner. I purchased 5 more .27 cent goldfish and released them after acclamating them to the water for 1 & 1/2 hours. Now they will not eat the same food that served me so well in Albuquerque. They swim to it and ignore it.

    I noticed that PetSmart had some white, rock-like mass on the bottom of their tank that numerous goldfish were seemingly eating. Is this food? Could these florida goldfish not know how to eat flakes? Or, does the water here kill their appetite? Help.

    • Hmm? that’s pretty odd that they won’t eat the food. Sometimes they need a bit of time to feel comfortable enough to eat but eventually they start eating. Yeah those blocks contain food and that could be an option if they don’t eat anything else. I have found they can make the water a bit cloudy in smaller tanks but it might not be a problem in your 80 gallon tank. It could just be that they are not use to being fed flakes. But don’t stress about it, goldfish can go a long time without eating. I’d just try buying a few different types to see what they like. You might also try adding some aquatic plants that they can nibble on; it might make the tank look even cooler while giving them something to eat.

    • typically fair goldfish are not all that healthy to begin with. They never really have a chance if they have been with the fair for a long times. If you do manage to keep one alive, you have beaten the odds. With great care though, they can survive and go on to live a long and happy life.

  24. when a gold fishes back tail goes black what does it mean has it got a disease or some thing like that could you tell me as all my fish has died

    • It can be a sign of fin rot or ammonia burns. I’d test the water for ammonia and if the levels are high, a water change is in order. In fact, i would do a water change either way.

  25. my fish keep dying out the blue, they have filter, water has been treated and fed once a day. they were fine all day and now dead?!?!?! what is my wife doing wrong?!?

    • It sounds like something in the water is off. It could be high levels of ammonia if you haven’t change the water in awhile or it could have been due to a rapid change in pH if they died right after you changed the water. Furthermore, you can kill your goldfish if you add too much water treatment. Buy some cheep test for ammonia and ph and try to make the new water is close to the old in regards to temperature and ph. Additionally, there are things you can buy to help lower or raise the pH if needed. Usually the ph of tap water is ok though.

  26. morning, we bought three goldfishes some weeks ago and kept them in a bowl . today after three weeks or so one of them died . also the water gets dirty very often . and their is some thin thread like substance which i suppose is the excreted substance . how should i further avoid the death of the remaining two goldfish ? xoxo

    • You need to change the water daily if you have several goldfish in a bowl and use a dechlorinator. The ammonia levels excreted by your goldfish are probably always too high. high levels of ammonia can kill goldfish. If you can afford it, you should try to upgrade your tank size and get a small filter. What ever you do, don’t replace the dead goldfish with a new one.

  27. I have no filter and I have had 2 goldfish for 10 years. One died 2 days ago, and I am not sure if I should get a new one with the remaining one so old. Would it upset him?

    • Hmm? I’m not sure it would be a problem but I don’t know the personality of your goldfish. Goldfish usually do enjoy company so it might be a good idea to get another on.

  28. we bought gold fishj yesterday,we kept it in bowl ,we dechlorinated water ,fed fish two times and today morning it was dead we felt so bad..
    planning to buy new one plz guide us

  29. Hi, do my goldfish need to have a pump or filter in the tank? I know people who have a fish with no filter or pump and the fish has lived for years happily..but other websites say I need to have a pump or filter. Please reply asap many thanks.

    • It depends on how large your tank is and how big your goldfish is. If your fish is not large, you might be able to get away with not having a filter. You probably should because it will help keep the water cleaner for longer and require you to have to clean the tank less often. A filter helps to clean the water because it is a place for beneficial bacteria to grow. This bacteria take the goldfish waste (ammonia) and turns it into less harmful things. (nitrites, nitrates). Another place this bacteria grows is in your gravel. So i suppose if you have a good amount of gravel and you test the water regularly for ammonia levels, you might be able to get away with out having a filter.

  30. I got five goldfish at a party. I bought a 1.5 gallon tank and put them in there. 2 already died. Can u please give me a reason why my fish died? Thank You!

    • Hi, I think your problem is that you have too many goldfish and there is probably a large amount of ammonia in the water. goldfish produce ammonia naturally and if it doesn’t have a large volume of water to dissipate in, the levels can build to toxic levels. You should buy an ammonia test kit and see if that is the case. Additionally, you should probably change a good portion of the water daily. don’t forget to add a dechlorinator if you use tap water.

  31. OK, so I got a goldfish yesterday and today his water is kinda murky(and it wasn’t an hour or two ago) and he is at the top a lot gulping air do i need to change the water or something? Im really conserned and could use the info asap.

    • Change the water and make sure the water temperature is around 68-70*f (room temperature). Add a dechlorinator to remove the chlorine from your tap water or use bottled water. get test kits to check the ammonia levels and ph. the directions on the kit will let you know what is ideal.

    • You can use tap water but make sure the ph is similar to what the water is in the goldfish’s current water. You should add a dechlorinator to remove the chlorine from the water.

  32. You have to feed goldfish 4-5 times a day not once or twice, They have NO STOMACHS and need to eat more then once a day to live. If you feed them once or twice a day they will die!!

    • Jessica,

      You are only partly correct. Yes they don’t have stomachs and If you have the time, you should feed your goldfish 4-5 times a day but if you do, they must be very small meals; only a three flakes or so. However, if you only feed your goldfish twice a day, they will not die, they will be perfectly fine. Goldfish are cold-blooded and they have slower metabolisms then you or I. Did you know a goldfish can probably go without eating for a week to two weeks or more without eating and it wouldn’t die. It’s better to underfeed your goldfish than overfeed it. Overfeeding can lead to digestive problems and other complications.

  33. Hi, I got two goldfish today its my first ever fish I’ve had and I was just wondering do they stay still but still breath and how much should you feed them a day??? Thanks bye

    • yeah, if you see their gills flapping a bit, they are breathing. They don’t need to be moving in order to breathe and they might breathe every second. You should feed your goldfish two to four meals a day but make them very small meals. Just a few flakes at a time; if your goldfish still has food after about a minute after putting it in, then you overfed them. It’s healthier to underfeed as opposed to overfeed.

  34. i did everything for my goldfish i left it in the bag for 30 min to get used to the tank water but went i took it out it was happy and free but later i was dead on the first day. lucky me i have another one

    • make sure you get a water dechlorinator and don’t shock them with a fast change in water temperature or in ph. you can buy some water test kits to help you make sure your water is optimal. Get one for ammonia since that is usually the most common problem.

  35. Hi! I want to know how many times to feed my goldfish. I have two. The shopkeeper told me to give 8 granules once a day. Is it enough?

    • It’s enough but I’d instead feed your goldfish twice a day if not three or four times but smaller meals. 8 granules a day is good but you can spread it out throughout the day.

  36. I jus won my daughters a goldfish at a fair n I 4get how 2 put it in the water, do I let it in the closed bag all nite in the aquarium to get used to the water or do I open the bag n let in or do I go ahead n let it out the bag??? I kno when we were kids ya let them in the bag in the bowl so they can get used 2 the water. Please let me kno on here because I cnt get into my email.

    • You are half right; Yes, let the goldfish sit a bit in the bag of water but only for 30 min to an hour. This will let water in the bag match the water in the tank. When you put the goldfish into its new home, I would add the bag water to it as well. This will mix the two waters’ chemistry and will be less of a shock on the goldfish. You should invest in getting a dechlorinator to remove the chlorine from the tap water you use. Remember to change the water a few times a week if it’s a small bowl. hope this helped 🙂

  37. Hi, we just got a goldfish today and we’ve only got the bowl for it. We used tap water and put in some water conditioner.
    Should that be enough, my sister did the research and she says it is but the fish keeps stopping at the bottom of the tank. Then swimming off really fast
    We also just put stones in from the store, not “special pet store ones”.
    This is our first fish so I’m probably just over analysing it

    • Yeah, give it a few days to get used to its new home. I’m sure it will be fine. Make sure to change the water often if you have a small goldfish bowl.

  38. I have 2 goldfish – our older one, about 4 inches long, is hanging out in the corner of the tank. I think it may be laying eggs. Anyone know what to do??

  39. Hi, my fish just lies at the bottom of the bowl, seldomly moving, with his top fin down. Can anyone tell me what’s wrong? I cleaned the tank, changed the filter, etc., I just don’t get it…

    • Changing the water is for sure is the right thing to do and it sounds like you have water circulation with your filter which is good too. When you do change the water, make sure the water is similar to what you had in it before. When you change the water and it’s too far off from what your goldfish is familiar with, it can put them into shock. I would test the water for ph and nitrates. There might be something wrong with your water but it’s difficult to determine. Does your goldfish have any other symptoms that might show that it has an illness?

  40. Hi,
    I have some question about my goldfish. they have some white spot on the skin and the tail was tear out. They looked sick very serious. I dont know how to treat them.

    • sounds like it might be fin rot or another type of infection, read this post on goldfish fin rot and see if that sounds like what your goldfish has. I would go to the pet store and pick up some medication to help treat it. Ask the fish expert and they will get you what you need.

  41. I LOVE THIS SITE! Thank you so much for all of the tips and also everything that I learned! I have one question, what happens when my golfish just keeps hitting the side of the bowl with his head over and over again. Can fish get concusions?

    • Goldfish can go a few weeks without eating. I’d change the water and monitor it’s behavior for a few more days. If it’s just not eating, that’s ok. If it’s lethargic and sitting in one spot, it might be sick. see the goldfish illness section of this site for more info. in goldfish aquarium

  42. my goldfish is turning white, ripped his tail, and was acting nuts, now hes acting lethargic does anybody know why

    • Test the water to see if the ammonia and nitrates levels are normal. If they are high, do a partial water change. I’d also get a slime coat protector to help your goldfish’s tail to heal. The whiteness can be a bacterial or fungus infection. You can take a picture of it and go to the pet store to see what the fish expert would recommend. I’d probably get a broad spectrum anti bacterial or fungus medication.

  43. I just got a few small goldfish today they are not the tiny super cheap ones but the slightly fancier ones. I have a 55 gallon tank set up for the past few days i put the stuff in to make the water ok and have had the filter on (hang on the side one) i dont have many plants or decorations in the tank but my fish dont do anything they are just laying in the corner. Is this normal? this is my first time with goldfish any pointers? oh and i’ve fed them twice they eat then lay back down i have the filter off now is because i thought it might be to much water movement for them but they are still just sitting there. the temp is 70 degrees f.

    • My guess is that they just need to get used to their new home. sometime fancy goldfish have trouble swimming in fast currents but it sounds like you might have a Ryukin or a Fantail Goldfish. These guys are still pretty strong swimmers when compared to other fancy types of goldfish. I would add more plants, rocks, driftwood or decorations so they have a place to hide. They will feel more comfortable and soon be swimming around.

    • Sometimes a goldfish will lose it’s color or change colors as it ages. It might not be any illness at all. If it looks and acts healthy, it’s shouldn’t be a concern.

  44. Can anyone tell me why my goldfish is now turned white??? Is it sick??? We have a small 5 gallon tank with a air filter & gravel in the bottom

    • You should test the water to see if the ammonia levels are high, it could be ammonia burns. It could also be some other goldfish illness like goldfish ich. Change the water, and give it a broad spectrum anti bacterial medication.

  45. My fish seem to hang at the bottom of my tank and does’nt move before I got the tank he was in a regular bowl and I use tap water. Since I change him and now I add drop’s to the water it seem not as active what is wrong?

    • A tank is much better than a bowl and it’s good to use the dechlorinator drops. If you just switched your goldfish into a new tank, it might just need some time to get used to its new home.
      I would suggest adding a live aquatic plant, a small filter or gravel to allow beneficial bacteria to grow inside it. This bacteria helps remove toxic ammonia waste from the water.

      • Most snails like warmer water than what the goldfish like to be in. but I suppose there are a few exceptions. I’m not familiar with sucker fish so I’m not sure what the pouch is. I think the best way to keep the algae down is to buy live aquatic plants to use up all the nitrates in the water. Also, some algae is good and will make the tank healthier.


    • Sometimes goldfish change color as they get older. I have seen this happen with a black moor goldfish that turned a brownish color. If your goldfish’s color is not due to a bacterial infection or white spots from goldfish itch, I think it will be just fine. (White spots on a goldfish caused by an infection is the result of a goldfish’s immune system trying to fight off the infection.)

    • you should feed your goldfish very small meals (2-5 flakes) three to four times a day. Obviously though, it’s not easy to be able to feed your goldfish four times a day…you can get away with feeding it once or twice a day and the goldfish will still be very happy. In the case, Only feed your goldfish as much as it can eat in a minute; after that, you probably fed it too much.

  47. Thank you for advice on leaving light on and adding sucker fish. My goldfish has suddenly developed blood red lines in his fins and at the sockets of his front fins, he has also become a little lethargic, What can I do.

  48. i hav a pair of oranda gold fishes n my tank. They seem 2 be keep on bubbling on surface. Wich luk like saliva . Is dis any problem 2 it ?

    • Sometimes if there isn’t enough oxygen in the water, goldfish will hang out at the surface and appear to take breaths of air. This could be the cause of the bubbles. Make sure there is enough oxygen in your tank. Add a filter that helps agitates the surface, keep the water temperature cool, and try to buy a few live aquatic plants; these will increase oxygen levels.

  49. Our Family goldfish is now 11 years old and approximately 10 inches long, I have always switched his light off at night but his tank needs constantly cleaning. I have just introduced 2 very tiny sucker fish and noticed if we keep the light on the tank stays much cleaner. Will keeping the light on constantly upset the fish?

    • I’m not entirely sure the science behind this one? I don’t think leaving the light on will be too damaging to the goldfish granted it has a place to hid in to avoid the light. If you are concerned you can try using a lower intensity light.

      Just know that the sucker fish will produce ammonia too and that you might actually need to change the water even more frequently now. Some algae is healthy for the tank.To remove algae, i would suggest getting live aquatic plants and also make sure not to over feed your goldfish, resulting in extra waste.

  50. I just got a new goldfish, and whenever I feed him his flakes, and inhales it, and a few seconds later, he spits it out. does this mean he does not like his food? if so, what food would you recommend?

    • Yeah that probably means your goldfish is not interested in your current goldfish food. take a look at my post on goldfish diet and try some of the other food options. good luck with your goldfish 🙂

  51. I have read many things on keeping this goldfish alive 4 my kids but I’m just needing some straight forward advice on how to take care of it and make sure it stays alive. I just brought it home from a fair and don’t want it to go into shock because of a new environment. Please help.

    • The most common mistake is to use straight tap water that contains chlorine to fill your tank. You need to go buy some inexpensive dechlorinator drops to remove the toxic chlorine. You also need to buy an ammonia test kit and perform water changes when the ammonia levels get too high. Goldfish produce (give off) ammonia which is also toxic to them. Also try to get a tank/bowl that is big in size. the smaller the bowl, the more often you will need to change the water.

  52. I just won a small goldfish at a fair for my daughter and I don’t have the slightest idea of how to make sure the thing survives. Pleas help if u have any suggestions.

    • I recommend you read all the beginner goldfish care articles in the goldfish bowl section. You can read about choosing a goldfish bowl, changing the water, feeding and other basics needed to get started. This is a good opportunity to teach a bit of responsibility to your daughter. Good luck with your new goldfish.

  53. Hello about 2 weeks ago i got a shubunkin, recently i have noticed his gills are red. It may have been like that when i got him but i cant remember. It is a really bright red. He ocassionally sticks his mouth out of the water but no more than usual. The amonia nitrite/nitrate etc… Are fine. All i would like to know is what it is and how to cure it.

    Thanks very much.

  54. i don’t know what to do . my goldfish is about 20 years old she is so ill i have tried lots of treatments nothing is working . how she is still alive i don’t know , she as not eaten anything for days . she looks so ill. she has red patches and her fins are red . i have tried many treatments . i think it is her age and ther nothing i can do .

    • Wow! another visitor had a goldfish that is 12 years old but 20 is even more impressive. If you kept it alive for that long i probably couldn’t give you any advice you have not tried. I would change the water and try a broad spectrum medication to treat several illnesses. You might be right though, your goldfish has lived a really long time.

  55. Ok 1 of my goldfish is floating sideways around the tank but it’s twitching what should I do? Is it dead

    • Your goldfish could have a swim bladder problem or its condition could be due to poor water conditions. You might need to test the water and perform a water change.

  56. my old gold fish is laying on the bottom of the tank and wont get up not even for food. he is 12 yrs old. any advice.

    • Since your goldfish has lived for 12 years, I imagine you know how to properly care for your goldfish. I would suggest testing the water for nitrates or other water parameters. It couldn’t hurt to do a water change too.

  57. Hi, I have just got a 10 gallon goldfish tank and its going through its fishless cycle but for some reason the water keeps going cloudy, it started its cycle on friday and today (monday) i’ve already had to change the water but now it is even cloudier. What do I do?

    • Did you rinse the gravel before you placed it into the tank? It could be rock dust that is making your tank cloudy and it can take a day or two to let it all settle. What else is in your tank?…I assume when you first put the water in that it’s not cloudy to begin with correct?

  58. I have a goldfish (witch i love) he is about two inches and i have kept him in several tankes/bowls. A bowl as long as it is a small enough breed can work BUT you Have to have a filter!!!! Dont let it sit there in the same uncirculated water or un-changed water the water needs changing at least every 10 days. sooner is better but not too often. Hope this helped.
    Good luck.

  59. Hi. I’m thinking of getting goldfish and i only have a 10 gallon tank. How many small goldfish would you reccommend me getting.

    • A fully grown goldfish typically needs 10 gallons however if the goldfish are small ones you could probably put in two to three and perhaps four if you decide to get the fancy goldfish breeds (the fancier breeds don’t grow as big as the common breeds). Eventually as they grow you will have to upgrade to a larger tank or change the water much more frequently to remove all the ammonia and waste from the water. If you don’t have a filter, I would recommend one since goldfish need plenty of oxygenated water and more importantly, they make a great place for beneficial bacteria to grow in. see this post: goldfish ammonia poisoning

  60. i had one goldfish that i won from a fair and it was a year old when we went to buy two more gold fish but recently after adding these two fish my other fish got an illness which i think was tail rot but im not to sure what it was,so i took him out and put him in a sepeate bowl he has now died. so i cleaned the fish tank which has a filter, that had the other fish in and then added the fish back in but now one of my other fish have got the same symptoms but the other one seems to be fine. what shall i do? because i have cleaned out the fish tank really well and it still became ill so please can you help asap

    • You will likely need to buy some medications in addition to cleaning your tank. The infection can be inside your goldfish and no amount of cleaning of the water will cure these types of goldfish illnesses. Read this post on goldfish fin rot to see if this helps at all.

  61. I just got a gold fish, which i’ve never had great luck with. i put him in distilled water 2 days ago and the water is already quite cloudy. also he doesn’t seem overly interested in food. what does this mean?(he’s just a little fish in a bowl.

    • I was not sure if distilled water was good for fish or not but it sounds like if you use distilled water, you need to add water supplements. Bottled water might work better but that can get expensive. Tap water with dechlorinator drops (to remove the chlorine) is the best solution. I’m not sure what’s in the tap water in countries other the the USA though.

      How large is your tank? If you have a small tank, the water will get dirty fast and require you to clean it more often. Try adding some live plants and a gravel bottom and a few places for your goldfish to hide if you don’t have any yet. A filter of course would be the best way to keep the water clean. For starters, read this post on new tank syndrome. Best of luck

  62. I love goldfish but I always kill them… I got two on thursday night and one died last night and the other doesnt look too good.. I changed the water yesterday, maybe I shocked them?? Any ideas on how to NOT kill them?!

    • When you change the water you need to make sure the new water is as close to the old water in the tank as possible. This means water temperature and ph. ( you can buy a cheap thermometer to test the temperature and a ph test kit can help you figure out if your tap water safe. Plus if you use tap water you need to buy a dechlorinator to remove the chlorine from the tap water. You can always leave some of the old water in the tank to make the water change less stressful. See this post on water changes and this one on new tank syndrome. Hope this helps.

  63. i am having a pair of oranda gold fish and i guess they suffering from swim bladder please recommend me what should i do make them alright …. u can mail me also .. plz m waiting for your reply

  64. i bought 9 goldfish. then, when i checked them the next day, 2 of them died. what do you think could be the reason? how often do i need to change the water? and how many times will i feed the gold fish?

    • I think you perhaps have too many goldfish in your tank. For a fully grown goldfish you need 10 gallons but I’ll assume you have little ones. You probably need at least a 20 gallon tank to keep nine little goldfish; and that’s on the small size of tank for that amount. Goldfish produce a lot of waste including ammonia which can kill them if it builds up to high levels. I would recommend that you change the the water frequently. You can do 50%-75% water changes using tap water with similar water temp and ph. You will also need to buy a dechlorinator to remove the chlorine from your tap water. Another reason for limiting the amount of goldfish is because they need a lot of oxygen to survive. If you have too many goldfish, they use up all the oxygen quickly. You can add live plants or a filter to agitate the water surface to help increase oxygen levels; cooler water has more oxygen in it too.

  65. My daughter got 6 goldfish from her grandfather and within 3 days 5 out of 6 died and the water was changed and they were fed once a day what did we do wrong ? Any tips ?

    • Sorry for the late response. A lot of things could have gone wrong with this scenario. For one, these might have been feeder goldfish which don’t have the best immune systems although I once owned a feeder goldfish for years. Usually they don’t live long though. The next thing that could have gone wrong was that you didn’t change the water often enough or didn’t preform proper water changes. If you didn’t change the water often, the six goldfish were likely to produce a lot of ammonia which can kill the goldfish. If it was the later and you didn’t use a dechlorinator to remove the chlorine and chlorimine from the tap water or if the new water’s temperature or ph was not similar to the old tank water, all these could kill a goldfish. Hope your surviving goldfish is doing well.

    • A goldfish in a bowl will likely only live one or two years and that’s if you change the water regularly. In that time, the goldfish will likely outgrow the small bowl or stop growing altogether. For a comparison, in the wild a goldfish can live over ten years.

  66. I got a new fish yesterday and he was swimming around just fine at the pet store. I noticed when I got him home he was resting at the bottom of the bowl. I fed him this morning and when i came back to check on him he was dead. I checked the pH of his water and the temperature and they were both fine. Any ideas on how to keep the next one alive longer than a day?

    • I recommend that you transfer the goldfish slowly, and mix the water in the bag with your aquarium or bowl. If your aquarium is new and has not had a chance to cycle, when put your goldfish in it, ammonia can build up quickly because the tank lacks the beneficial bacteria needed to remove ammonia. Also Did you buy a dechlorinator? You need to remove chlorine from water.

  67. My boyfriend and I have decided to get fish. I want to make sure that the fish stay healthy and live a long life. what can i do to help this happen?

    • A good start to keeping a healthy goldfish is to read up on all the goldfish care tips in Goldfish Care Basics. If you have yet to buy your new goldfish, take a look at New Tank Syndrome.

  68. So, my sister and i just bought a fish. Last night they were eating this white stuff was at the top of the tank and they kept going up there. Then, we noticed white stuff was coming out of their gills. We’re planning on getting new fish sometime soon.
    Any advice?

    • The white stuff could be the result of a infection, it could be a type of rot, fungus or parasite or even the goldfish’s slime coat falling off due to an infection. Take a look at this post on bacterial gill disease to see if it helps. I would recommend going to the pet store to buy a treatment that treats a wide range of infections. Also do a water change and test the pH. See Goldfish water pH for more information.

  69. I just got a goldfish and was wondering if it is ok to leave him in a beta bowl? And how often do I need to change the water to keep the fish happy?

  70. So my boyfriend and I just bought our first fish tank, and we bought some gold fish, but sadly they all dead right away, so we bought another one, and so now we have 1 left, what can we do, so that they dont continue to die???

    • First make sure the water temperature in your tank is close to the same temp of the pet store fish tank before you add your goldfish to your new tank – Make sure the ph is similar; buy a test kit and ph adjuster; if you nee to adjust the ph, change it slowly. Most likely the ph is not the problem though – You need to make sure you remove all the chlorine from the water so buy dechlorinator drops – But the most important thing is to check the ammonia levels. High levels will kill the goldfish. Ammonia is produced by goldfish and rotting waste so don’t overstock with too many goldfish and either let the tank cycle by running the filter for about two weeks before adding any goldfish. This allows time for beneficial bacteria to grow which helps remove ammonia. You can also buy bacteria from the pet store.

  71. I won a fish at an amusement park and once I got home I put it in my old fish tank and the next the morning when I woke up I went to go check up on the fish (2 fish) and they were both dead! I don’t know what I did wrong! I had a fish before!

    • He probably died from shock. It’s important to try to match the water conditions with the water from where the goldfish came. This includes, temperature and ph. You can buy a ph test kit and a ph adjuster to help get that right. also it’s important to have a cycled tank before you place a goldfish in a new tank. you can let the filter run for a week or two to help build up beneficial bacteria. This helps eliminate ammonia in the water which is produced by the goldfish. too much ammonia and the goldfish can die. Next time I would mix the water you have in the bag with the new tank water as well; it makes the change from tank to tank easier on the goldfish.

  72. I going to get my goldfish from school, but my teacher isn’t very good at taking care of it. Would the fish that I get from her be healthy enough to survive in it’s new environment, and how can I make it more stronger and able to survive? Thanks!

    • I recommend you keep some of the water from your teachers fish tank and use it in your tank. You can buy a stress coat protector to make it stronger. You can ask the pet store for some. A few other notes. Goldfish are messy and you need to clean the water often. they like water that is cool around 70f. so don’t put it in a heated tank. best of luck.

    • It certainly helps but if you can’t have one, make sure to keep the water cool (70*F 21*C). cold water has more oxygen than warm water does. Also if your bowl is like a bubble shape, don’t fill it to the top; fill it to where there will be the most surface area. That’s usually about 3/4 full. More surface area is more important than more water.

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