Freshwater Aquariums.Goldfish Bowls
By Shirlie Sharpe, About.com Guide
Goldfish bowls are a staple at department stores as well as most pet
shops. Ask anyone who had a goldfish as a kid and odds are they kept
it in a goldfish bowl. Google Goldfish bowl photos or Goldfish bowl
shopping, and you’ll find thousands of them in a variety of shapes. So
Goldfish bowls must be the ideal home for a goldfish, right? Wrong.
Goldfish bowls are far too small for even a single Goldfish. Although
the Goldfish you buy at the store looks small, it's only a matter of
time before it outgrows the Goldfish bowl. If properly cared for even
a small Goldfish will grow to a half foot in length, and many will
grow larger than that.
Furthermore, Goldfish bowls are too small to accommodate a filtration
system, or equipment to circulate and aerate the water. As a result,
the water will quickly become depleted of oxygen, and build up toxins
that are dangerous to the fish.
Too Much Waste
Goldfish produce more waste than similarly sized fish, which presents
a huge challenge in a Goldfish bowl. With no filter or beneficial
bacterial colonies1, the only way to remove waste and its by-products
is to constantly change the water.
Although water changes2 are good, performing them daily is stressful
for the fish. Most owners tire of the constant work and go longer and
longer between water changes. If the fish appears healthy, the owner
may let water changes slide for weeks or months.
Under such circumstances it is likely the fish will soon die from
ammonia3 or nitrite poisoning4. Even if the fish doesn’t die, it will
become more susceptible to disease. No Goldfish kept in a Goldfish
bowl lives a long healthy life. Some tough Goldfish may survive in
such circumstances for a few years, but that is not a normal lifespan5
for a Goldfish.
What Goldfish Need
Goldfish should be kept in a tank that is equipped with a filter6. The
tank should be large enough to accommodate an adult Goldfish which can
be anywhere from a half a foot to well over a foot in length. Steer
clear of mini aquariums7, even if they show a photo of Goldfish8 on
the front. It’s marketing, and not a true endorsement of the tank.
The smallest size tank to consider for a Goldfish is twenty gallons.
If you want to keep several, you’ll need a larger tank. Filtration is
a must, and should be rated at a minimum of four times the tank size
in gallons, per hour. For example, a twenty gallon tank should have a
filter with a minimum capacity of 80 gph. In this case more is better,
so don’t hesitate to get a more powerful filter.
A heater is not needed, but it’s wise to equip the tank with a
thermometer so you can monitor the temperature. As water temperature
rises, the amount of dissolved oxygen drops, which can harm your
Goldfish. Live plants9 help remove wastes, so if possible, decorate
your tank with live rather than artificial plants.
With a proper size tank, good filtration and care, your Goldfish can
live for decades. Do them a favor and just so no to the Goldfish bowl.
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