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Setting up an appropriate home for your goldfish involves a lot more than simply buying a tank and filling it with tap water. In order to give your fish a long and happy life, you will need a tank that is big enough and that has all the necessary equipment in terms of filtration, lighting and easy access for feeding.
There are plenty of tanks to choose from. Some are made from glass and some are made from acrylic. They also come in many shapes, sizes and designs and make an attractive feature in your living room or office. However, the most important thing is to make sure that it meets your goldfish’s welfare requirements. To get you started, here is our guide to getting the best goldfish tank.
This is a five-gallon aquarium that has a curved glass front with rounded corners to give a fantastic view of the fish from all parts of the lounge. The kit is easy to assemble and maintain and includes a three-stage filtration unit that is cleverly hidden in the back wall of the tank. Within the filter unit, there is a pump that has an adjustable flow, a Rite-Size Z Cartridge and bio-foam.
Within the aquarium, there are two types of LED lights. The bright white light creates an underwater shimmering effect that is very like sunlight streaming down from the surface on a bright day. The blue light is energy-efficient and looks like the relaxing glow of moonlight. The three-way switch allows you to turn the lights off or select a lighting mode. The kit comes complete with a base and a canopy that slides to the back of the aquarium so that you can feed the fish easily.
A compact three-gallon cube tank made from clear plastic that will fit into a limited space in a kitchen or an office. It is sleek and seamless and gives an uninterrupted view of the fish and their environment. It comes complete with a Tetra 3i filter with an air pump and LED light. The aquarium is suitable for small tropical fish and goldfish.
The clear top canopy has a feeding hole and the aquarium comes with a comprehensive set-up guide. There is a black pedestal base.
This goldfish tank with filter has a curved distinctive look to provide a stylish home for your fish. It has a powerful three-stage filtration unit that has an oversized mechanical, chemical and biological filtration system to give the aquarium the most clear water possible.
It comes with a brilliant LED light which can be customized using a remote control to incorporate red, blue, green and white light to show off your fish perfectly. There are also fun special effects such as faded cloud cover and lightning bolts.
15-gallon nano glass aquarium
Three-stage filtration unit
LED lights in multiple colors with special effects
A 15-gallon, rectangular fish tank kit that includes the aquarium itself, the reflector and a 15-inch electrical light fixture. It is made out of acrylic so it is lightweight and very clear as well as being safe and resistant to chipping.
Included in the kit are the aquarium itself, the reflector and the light fixture. It is suitable for salt or freshwater fish and comes in three possible colors.
This circular two-gallon aquarium is made out of one piece of molded plastic so you can stop worrying about its durability and leaks. With the kit is included a power filter which purifies the water. The filter cartridge is capable of removing colors, heavy metals, odors and toxins.
The fish tank is also supplied with LED lights that displays seven colors to brightly light up your fish in many colors. There is a timer that you can preset so the lights come on at a particular time of day.
A sleek modern aquarium with a black base and cover. It is suitable for fresh and saltwater environments. It comes with vibrant LED lights that can be operated via the integrated 24-hour timer that can be set to a bright white light, a sparkling blue light and a color enhancing LED light.
There is also an automatic cycle that replicates the natural day and night lighting that your fish would experience in the wild. It is a compact design with curved and molded walls. The filtration system is easy to set up and customizable. It has a submersible pump that has a quiet operation and dual intakes. The return nozzle is adjustable.
The MarineLand aquarium kit contains everything you need to get started with your fish. The aquarium itself has a capacity of three gallons and is made from curved glass. It also includes an advanced filtration system which has a pump with an adjustable flow and mechanical filtration with a floss screen that will remove dirt. There is also a carbon filter to remove odors and impurities and a biological filter to remove bacteria, ammonia and nitrate.
There is an LED lighting system that has both bright white and blue settings. The glass canopy at the top provides easy access because it slides back over the filter. It also helps to maintain the temperature and stops the fish from leaping out.
Things to Look for When Buying a Goldfish Aquarium
Here’s what to look out for when buying goldfish aquarium:
Is the tank big enough for the number of goldfish that you are planning to keep? This is important for the welfare of your fish. You also need to think about where you will keep the tank in your home and if you have a surface that is strong enough to support a tank that is full of water.
You have the choice of acrylic or glass. Acrylic is lighter and less likely to chip but it is prone to scratching and can discolor.
Tanks are available in a wide variety of shapes. Pick one that suits the space that you have available in your home and that allows easy access for cleaning.
Some aquariums are supplied with lights that can be in a variety of colors and which can be set using a timer to daylight and night-time effects.
Filtration is vital for keeping the water safe for your fish to swim in and for preventing the buildup of waste, dirt and toxins.
Access. A lid that allows you easy access for cleaning and feeding is preferable.
Goldfish Tanks Vs Goldfish Bowls
Many decades ago, goldfish bowls were the traditional containers for keeping a pet goldfish in your home. These days they are far less popular. There are convincing arguments for why you should keep a goldfish in a tank in preference to a bowl.
Surface-to-air ratio. This gives an indication of how much water is exposed to the air in relation to the total water volume. When the ratio is higher, more air can dissolve in the water and is available to the fish. Goldfish bowls curve in at the top and therefore have a small surface-to-air ratio. Tanks have a larger cross-section and a larger surface-to-air ratio and therefore the water contains more oxygen which is great for the fish.
Temperature regulation. Many pet fish are tropical and require a carefully controlled temperature to thrive. A bowl is too small to fit a heater so the temperature of the water is uncontrolled. It will fluctuate with the room temperature and that can be a very wide range over a 24-hour period. In general, fish do not like large changes in temperature.
No filtration. Bowls are not large enough to accommodate a filtration system. Filtration is essential to remove waste from the fish themselves and toxins from the water. Without filtration, levels of harmful substances can build up to dangerous levels.
Too small. Even the largest bowls do not provide enough area for fish to swim around comfortably. There will be nowhere for the fish to hide away when they feel threatened which is a natural instinct. Remember that goldfish grow! The common goldfish can grow up to 10 inches and the fancy goldfish can reach up to eight inches so a bowl is simply not big enough.
They have no lids. The obvious problem here is that fish can leap out. However, there is also a danger that toxins and objects can fall into the bowl and harm the fish. Other domestic pets can also gain access to the fish with ease.
They are hard work. Goldfish bowl care is tricky because they have no filtration system, it takes a lot of work to keep a goldfish bowl clean. A fish bowl that contains less than ten gallons will probably need all of the water to be changed every other day and a thorough clean to prevent it from becoming toxic. In contrast, well-filtered tanks usually require a weekly clean and a 10 to 15 percent water change. Cleaning the bowl and changing the water every other day is hard work for you and disruptive for the fish.
Other experts claim that some types of fish can do well in bowls but only in those that have a capacity of at least five gallons. Some examples that you could investigate are Betta fish, Small Goldfish, Wild-type Guppies. If the bowl has a capacity of over 10 gallons, you may also want to look at Regal White Cloud Minnows, Blind Cave Tetras, Salt and Pepper Corydoras and Zebra Danios.
Glass Vs Acrylic: Which Aquarium Is Best For You?
On the face of it, these two materials are similar in that they are both clear and they are both strong enough to hold fairly large volumes of water. However, when you find out more about them there are some major differences when they are used in a fish tank for goldfish.
Cost. Glass aquariums are cheaper because they are more popular and more companies manufacture them. Therefore, if you are on a tight budget, glass may be the best option for you. The only exceptions to this rule are the really huge aquariums that have a volume of more than 150 gallons.
Resistance to scratching. Acrylic is far more prone to scratching than glass. This is likely to be a bigger issue for you if you have children who will be constantly touching the tank. However, just brushing past it can be enough to cause a mark. It can also be scratched by fish with sharp teeth or snail shells. You will need to use a special acrylic-safe algae scrubber when cleaning but you still run the risk of getting a small stone or some sand stuck in it and causing a lot of damage! For this reason, acrylic tanks age quickly and lose their attractive appearance. Restoration is possible using an acrylic polishing kit but that requires complete draining of the aquarium and then reinstatement which is time-consuming for you and causes distress to your fish.
Weight. Acrylic aquariums can be 10 times lighter than glass ones. This makes them easier to get home from the store and to move around your home. Also, a large glass aquarium full of water is a very heavy object and you will need to consider which part of your home is structurally strong enough to withstand the weight.
Shape. Glass is a hard material and it is easier to mold acrylic into shape. Therefore, you tend to find glass aquariums in standard square and rectangular shapes but acrylic aquariums can be in a less regular shape which many people find appealing. Acrylic does not bend light in the same way as glass and so the fish do not appear distorted from outside the tank.
Resistance to impacts. If something falls against the aquarium or if you are too vigorous when cleaning it, a glass tank is more likely to chip or shatter than an acrylic one.
UV damage. A new acrylic aquarium will be just as clear as glass but over time, UV light will wear down the acrylic and it will become yellow and brittle. It is possible to get UV-resistant aquariums but even these will eventually change color. Glass, on the other hand, does not suffer from this problem.
DIY. If you are going to construct your own aquarium, acrylic is the best material for you. It is much easier to cut and drill into than glass and is far less likely to shatter.
Goldfish Tank Setup
Once you have cleaned and positioned your new goldfish tank, here are the steps you need to take for a goldfish tank setup.
Rinse your substrate (which can be sand or gravel) in a clean bucket and then place it in the bottom of the tank. You will need 10 to 20 pounds of substrate for a 10 gallon.
Place a saucer on the gravel and tip water gradually onto the saucer. It will prevent the substrate from being disturbed. Add a treatment de-chlorinator to the water following the instructions.
Install the filter, making sure that the inlet and outlet tubes are not kinked. External filters usually need to be full of water before you attach the power supply.
Install the lights and heater if required.
Add plants and decorations.
Leave the tank for a few days for the nitrogen cycle to build up. This involves special bacteria colonizing the biological filter.
Add the fish by floating the bag for 15 minutes and then cutting it open.
Other Equipment You Will Need For Your New Goldfish Aquarium
As well as your aquarium kit, you will need to buy substrate for the bottom of the tank, water treatment, plants and the correct cleaning materials. You also need sufficient cartridges for your filters and a fish net. Don’t forget the fish food!
Goldfish Tanks FAQ:
Q: How many goldfish can I have in a tank?
A: This very much depends on how big your goldfish aquarium is! If you are going to keep Fancy Goldfish, you need a tank that has a volume of at least 20 gallons for one goldfish. Then you need to add another 10 gallons on to the volume for each extra fish that you want to keep. If you want to keep a Common Goldfish, you need a tank of at least 30 gallons and add an extra 12 gallons for each fish.
If you intend keeping small community fish like tetras or rainbowfish, a useful rule is that you need a gallon of water for every inch of fish that you are keeping. So, if you are keeping three fish that are each an inch long, you will need three gallons of water and a small fish tank may be sufficient.
Q: How long do goldfish live in a tank?
A: Most goldfish live for five to 10 years in a home aquarium which is a lot less than the 25 years that they can live in the wild. However, you can prolong the life of a goldfish by looking after them properly. They need to be fed every few days, their water should be changed two to three times a month and they like plenty of room and cooler temperatures.
Q: Can goldfish live in tap water?
A: No, they can’t. It is never safe to place your goldfish in untreated tap water. The water that comes out of your tap contains chlorine or chloramine which is invisible to the naked eye but which can kill a goldfish overnight. It can also contain heavy metals such as zinc, lead or copper which can damage the gills and other sensitive fish organs. You can buy water treatments which will make tap water safe.
Q: Can goldfish live with other fish?
A: Fish that like the same water temperature as goldfish can share a tank with them but they need to be of a particular species. Some fish that can successfully share a tank with goldfish are: other goldfish (although big goldfish will eat small ones); White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Rosy Barbs, Rubbernose and Bristlenose Plecos and Zebra Danios.
Our Top Pick
A five-gallon home aquarium with rounded that is easy to assemble and maintain. It has a three-stage filtration unit in the back wall with an adjustable flow pump and filters.
There are two types of LED lights which create a shimmering or a moonlight effect. The three-way allows you to select the lighting mode. Within the kit is a base and canopy that slides back for easy access.