Fish are Friends, not Decorations

 Dear Ellie,

I have a small goldfish that I keep in a large Mason jar, with pebbles at the bottom and a small green plastic plant. I feed it goldfish flakes and clean the water every week. Lately I’ve noticed its usual gold body is changing colour and it often sits close to the surface of the jar. Do you think my goldfish is OK?

Something Fishy

Dear Something Fishy,

Your goldfish is not OK. Firstly, no fish should be kept in something as small as a jar – even if it’s a “large” jar. Secondly, fish need oxygen, a fact that might surprise humans! Thirdly, fish can experience depression  and it sounds as though your fish is depressed. Your goldfish is most likely unhappy, and you will need to make some changes to its lifestyle.

Goldfish need room to move – and grow
The minimum tank size for one goldfish is 30L; a jar is not a suitable home for a fish. Goldfish need room to stretch their fins and wiggle their tails! It is important not to overcrowd your tank with too many fish, or expect your goldfish to live in a tiny space.

While some humans believe goldfish can live in a bowl without a filter, this is not considered a good quality of life for your finned friend. A simple filter will help keep the water clean for your goldfish.

Water Quality
Keeping tank water clean can be a tricky business, but there are some good habits to have. Change about one third of the tank water each week. Do this by removing a third of the water, and then mixing the replacement water in a clean container with treatments (see our staff to speak about your specific needs). Carefully add the replacement water to the tank, and voila! Tank water – even for a goldfish – involves a delicate balance of chemicals. If you’re not sure about the water quality in your tank, you can purchase a water testing kit and discuss your needs with our staff in-store.

Your goldfish might look stylish in that large Mason jar, but it is probably depressed and going to live a considerably shorter life. Humans often don’t realise that goldfish can live for 10-15 years when they have a good home maintained by their human.

We have starter kits for goldfish available in-store that give you everything you need to set up a good home for your goldfish, starting with the fundamentals: a good-sized tank and a filter. Remember: fish are friends, and they are more than something decorative in the corner of your home.

If your fish’s home needs refurbishment or replacement, come and visit our staff in-store.