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The underrated Goldfish

By Tim Gautrey


Scientific Name Carassius auratus

Common Names Goldfish, various other names

Size 1” to 36” dependant on environment

pH 6 - 8

Temperature 4°C - 28°C, I have known them to be quite happy in much cooler waters.

Water Hardness dGH 4 - 18

Lifespan 5 - 20 years

Origin China

Temperament Peaceful. Will tolerate most fish of similar size.

Breeding Difficult to breed in an aquarium, as they need temperature changes to trigger sporning. They breed in the spring, when the water warms after a long period of cold. This is very difficult to imitate in aquaria.

Tank Anything from 1 gallon upwards

Compatibility Will get on well with almost any fish large enough not to be considered as food!

Diet Almost any foods, flake, frozen, fresh and live.


Other information

Goldfish are some of the most underrated fish on the planet. Originally from China, the Chinese have bred them for centuries. They are the most adaptable and hardy fish to ever come into the aquarium.

They have a unique ability to grow according to their conditions. You will never find a large goldfish in a small tank, unless it was put in there at that size. The fish will only grow as large as its environment will allow.

It can withstand the worst water conditions of any fish and still survive. I have known of goldfish that have lived in a 1 gallon bowl, with no aeration or filtering with infrequent water changes and still thrived! I would never recommend that anyone lets one live like this, but they are able to withstand horrendous conditions.

The selection of breeds is vast. There are hundreds of different varieties of goldfish, from the basic long bodied fish to the fancy fan-tail, with its dumpy body and beautiful three finned tail, to the bubble-eyes and so on.

I read an article recently that stated that goldfish are not suitable for aquaria! What a strange statement, since nearly every child that has ever had fish started with a goldfish. I do think that they have been exploited and places like fairgrounds should not be allowed to give them out as prizes, but this is down to the government legislators, not me.

I am the proud owner of several goldfish at the moment, and they are the best tank cleaners you could have. Always hungry, always scavenging, always active. They dig among the gravel in the bottom, getting the smallest pieces of waste food, small snails, plant roots, and anything else that could be remotely edible.

Didn’t I mention plants? Oops! NEVER PUT LIVE PLANTS in an aquarium containing goldfish! They love to eat the roots of plants, and then the leaves as a last resort. Only plastic or silk plants have ever survived in any of my aquariums with goldfish!

My fish have been living at 27°C for the last 12 months now, since I wanted to keep tropicals with them. I have been told that they don’t like it at that temperature and that it is too warm for them, but I have not seen any ill effects neither have I lost any. One thing I have noticed is that they are susceptible to fin-rot in cold water, but at this temperature they have no problem at all!

At present, they are swimming with Angels, rainbow sharks, bala Sharks, Mollies, Clown loaches, plecs and Cories. It is fun to watch them all interacting together. The clowns try to school with them, them mollies love to swim around them, the sharks just compete with them for food, and everyone gets on swimmingly!

Recommended reading about Goldfish

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