TANK CLEANING & MAINTENANCE

A good heavy-duty filter will do most of the heavy lifting for you. The types which hang on the back of the tank and produce a waterfall effect are simple and effective. They are usually labeled according to the quantity of water they are meant to treat. If your tank holds 60 gallons of water, for example, choose one with a range of 60-80 or 65-90 or something of that sort. Avoid one where the top of the range is the size of your tank. A filter meant for 40-60 gallon range will not keep a goldfish tank clean enough, especially in temperatures over 74F/24C.

Replace roughly a quarter of the water each week, using the siphon to remove water from the bottom of the tank. This will double as a “vacuum cleaner” to pull debris off of the gravel. Pour in water that has been sitting at room temperature for at least 24 hours. The sitting allows the water to stabilize its temperature. It allows the chlorine and similar chemicals which are often found in tap-water to evaporate. Chlorine isn’t any better for a fish’s gills than it is for your lungs.

The bright green algae that often grow on the walls of the tank are harmless. If you don’t like the look of the stuff, simply scrape it off with the algae scraper. You’ll see little sheets or films of algae forming while you scrape. Usually, these will be gobbled up by the fish.

HOME ENVIRONMENT

A canopied goldfish tank is appropriate for any home except for one in which many airborne chemicals are used: chemistry experiments and some air fresheners can poison the fish. When choosing a tank, remember that water is heavy. If the aquarium will be placed on an upper floor, or if you live in a high-rise building, find out whether the floor can withstand the weight of the tank, the water, the stand, and the gravel before you come home to several dead fish, water-damage, broken floor-boards, and perhaps a hole in the ceiling of the room below.

TRAINING

There is rarely any training needed for a goldfish. Some of them will learn to “mouth” at a safe item held near the water surface, and most of them will come to the front of the tank to greet you once they have settled in.

WHERE TO NEXT?

Are goldfish right for you? Do you have room for a large fish tank and a floor that can handle the weight? If you have decided on these brightly-coloured coldwater critters, the next step is to set up a tank and let it settle for a week or two. While it is settling, hop onto a few goldfish fanciers’ forums online and check out the local pond and aquarium shops to choose which fish you want.

*This treatment is a common remedy used by pond keepers and aquarists in Nova Scotia, Canada. It does not seem to be well-known elsewhere, although strained peas are often suggested for the same purpose.