Goldfish are interesting pets. They will eventually recognize their owner and can even be handfed.

Goldfish are cold water fish, members of the Cyprinid family of cold water fish. They are actually carp and were farmed in China over 1,000 years ago and used for food.

Goldfish come in many forms and colors and the exotics are still imported from China. The goldfish we keep as pets have 7 fins. Colors can be gold, black, multicolor, blue. They can have different physical characteristics such as less fins, granular skin and bulbous eyes.

Koi, cousin of the goldfish, are larger and need to be kept in ponds.

Here are some tips on keeping your goldfish healthy.

First, the habitat must be kept clean. Fish excrete ammonia which is invisible and can be deadly to the fish if the tank or bowl is not cleaned regularly. It’s best to do partial water changes as sometimes a complete change cn shock the fish. If you use tap water that is chlorinated, purchase a dechlorinator. If that is not accessible, you can boil tap water, let it cool and stir it before adding to the tank. If the tank needs cleaning, put the fish with its water in a bowl. When cleaning is accomplished, place the fish and some of the same water back in the tank.

The number of goldfish you have will determine tank size. A 10 gallon glass tank can house 3 medium size adult goldfish.

Having a glass tank (aquarium) has advantages. You can design your own underwater scene. You can add a pump to produce bubbles, lighting, river sand, colored pebbles (less than 4mm), rocks, cave-like fixtures, suitable plants which can be real or plastic and fun fixtures to please you. Please don’t overload, leave room for the fish to swim.

Your tank must have a filter and there are many types to choose from. Discuss wih your supplier which is the best for your tank.

The best food for your goldfish is commercial food which contains the proper balance of vitamins and minerals. As a treat, you can offer your fish veggies such as lettuce and spinach, whole wheat bread or fish meat. Never feed meat or chicken as fish cannot digest the fats in them. Please don’t overfeed, follow label instructions.

If you are going on vacation, clean the cage as you usually do. If you have someone babysitting your fish, give exact instructions on feeding and ask them to stick to your regimen as overfeeding can kill the fish. Check to see if automatic feeders are available in your area.

Remember that owning a pet, goldfish included, is a responsibility. And as an extra added attraction, fish watching has been known to be very calming.

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