I’ve always been fascinated by fish, and have been a big betta lover for years. I always have at least one of the beauties in my home. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I started looking at goldfish. And it was all an accident that got me hooked.
My daughter came home with a small, “feeder” goldfish. She named it Precious. Precious died the next day.
It was quite an experience, and not one I was sure how she’d handle (she’s only six), but she actually handled it well and was ready for another fish. Unfortunately, no persuasion on my part – or the very kind and friendly pet store owner’s – could dissuade her against getting another feeder fish. So I went for two and kept my fingers crossed.
Precious (number 2) lived two days, while Sweetheart made it for a whopping five.
Okay, so by this time I was seriously considering the idea that I may be a fish murderer. Surely even feeder fish should live more than a day or two? Instead of allowing my daughter to head straight back to the pet store, I made her wait while I did research. While I never did find anything useful on the lifespan of feeder goldfish, I did find something much more positive:
Those beautiful fan-tailed fancy goldfish can live 20 years or longer.
Wow! Definitely a great place to start, I thought, and dragged the kid along to the pet store with the firm instructions that we were not going to get more of the “baby” goldfish as she calls them. Instead, she would take her time and look at all of the fish available.
This is where another accident came in. I realized that as much as I’m fascinated by fish, my daughter is an absolute magnet. Somewhere along the line of her six years she’s picked up enough information to identify a number of fish. When she told me “That’s a clownfish, mom!”, I wasn’t too surprised. She’s seen Nemo. But she went on from there to point out Angel fish, guppies, and then ask about some of the strangest creatures I’ve ever seen (don’t ask me their names, please, I’ve forgotten). So, not only were we going to have to seriously consider some good fish, but it could turn into a learning experience for my child.
Red Fancy Goldfish – Care and Feeding
The accident theme continues … my daughter wanted a Black Moore goldfish. Still not convinced that I hadn’t somehow caused the poor Preciouses and Sweatheart to perish, I wasn’t about to pay twenty bucks on another goldfish. But I did like his fan tail, and still remembered well my lessons perusing the Internet. With only a little persuasion, I convinced my daughter to go with a Red Fancy Goldfish, only six bucks and just as pretty.
Back at home with the newly christened Goldie, I returned to my research. Fancy goldfish, I learned, include several varieties: Orandas, Fantails, Telescopes, and Black Moores. Their scientific name (for those interested) is Carassius auratus.
What makes these fish so perfect as a starter fish in a family home is that they do great with cool water aquariums. This means that, while the filtered aquariums always make for a healthier fish, fancy goldfish will do great in the standard goldfish bowl. What else is needed for healthy fancy goldfish? Less than 1/4 gravel (if your aquarium is 4″ high, you want less than 1″ of gravel on the bottom). That’s about it. You don’t want a heater in your aquarium because goldfish thrive in cool water – 35 to 75 degrees F.
One of the things that startled me is how often the fish is hungry. Really hungry. Hungry enough that it will eat the fish food in under two minutes (I timed it because I was so shocked at how fast it is) at least twice a day.
Fish experts say that smaller Fancy Goldfish, less than 3″ long, should be fed a floating flake food like TetraFin at least twice a day. Fancy Goldfish longer than 3″ need fed floating pellet foods, which are usually easier to find in fish-selling pet stores than anywhere else. The only thing to keep your eye out for is to ensure that the food container is labeled for Goldfish specifically, not for Tropical Fish in general. If you’ve got the stomach for it, I’ve been told that feeding a few live black worms (2 or 3) every other day is the biggest treat a goldfish can get … but I’ll leave that for you to try.
My next big shocker came when I placed two new fish with the Fancy Goldfish. In my experience, goldfish always seemed pretty tame … not very aggressive. However, after placing two silver tipped tetras in the tank, I discovered that Fancy Goldfish are pretty aggressive. It didn’t harm the tetras, but chased them around for a while before deciding they could all be friends and now it’s pretty peaceful in the tank again. Fancy Goldfish will do best with other Fancy Goldfish, though – Orandas, Fantails, Telescopes, and Black Moores. They will often torment Bubble Eyes and Celestials (also goldfish), so it’s better to not place these in the same tank.
Further up the food chain, Pond Comets, Shubunkins, and Koi are more aggressive than the Fancy Goldfish and will torment them in turn. They will also bully their way into eating most of the food, leaving the goldfish with little, so again, it’s best to keep them separate.