If you’ve ever owned a pet goldfish, you probably remember its distinctive shape as it grew from a small fry into a full-grown adult or so you thought. It may be hard to see now, but over time, your once vibrant little friend transformed into something vaguely resembling an oversized crustacean. A goldfish has no real facial features, except for two large eyes on either side of its head.
The rest of its body is basically just bone and cartilage, which means it can’t grow larger without increasing its skull size. So when a new owner buys one, he or she typically expects the fish to look more or less the same throughout its life. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that most goldfish have their noses poking up through the top of the water at strange angles.
This makes them appear silly (or comical), but they aren’t actually being harmed by it. In fact, many keepers believe that having a goldfish’s nose poking out of the water helps maintain good health. In addition, the angle that your goldfish’s head sits at seems to matter quite a bit. If you buy a goldfish online, you might receive a package showing a picture of what appears to be a normal-sized goldfish.
However, when you open the box, you’ll find that the fish doesn’t have its head upright and looking forward. Instead, its face points upward, making it appear to have a tiny snout. Goldfish kept in this position tend to swim sideways instead of straight ahead, and some owners even claim that it affects how brightly they glow under bright lights. Some argue that these “snouted” goldfish should only be kept in containers shaped like regular goldfish bowls because the sideways swimming could make them sick.
What’s Wrong With Keeping Your Goldfish Like This?
Let’s get back to the main argument against keeping goldfish with their faces pointed down namely, that it causes undue stress on the animals’ bodies. Many experts disagree, saying that because the fish are living in shallow water and have plenty of room to move around, the angled positions are perfectly safe.
Some people choose to raise their goldfish at an angle anyway, believing that it keeps them safer. That’s true, but it’s also worth noting that since the fish are already vulnerable to predators, they need all the help they can get. Keeping them in a vertical position would allow them to escape easily, which isn’t ideal. To combat this problem, they sometimes use special filters to prevent flying insects from landing near their mouths.
As far as sideways swimming goes, some keepers speculate that it’s caused by too much food being given to the fish. Since the goldfish don’t have teeth, they can’t consume the excess food directly. Instead, they swallow a lot of air while trying to break it down, which causes them to become bloated.
When they try to expel the air, they push themselves back through the surface of the water and end up spinning around aimlessly. Other experts suggest that sideways swimming occurs naturally due to a lack of proper exercise. Either way, though, sideways swimming isn’t considered harmful.
One final reason for not keeping your goldfish horizontally is that it prevents them from getting enough oxygen. Although the water is fairly shallow, it still takes about 20 minutes for the blood to travel from the gills to the brain, meaning that the fish have been deprived of oxygen during that time. This is especially important considering that different kinds of goldfish require different levels of oxygen.
For example, dwarf goldfish need higher amounts than other varieties, so keeping them vertically may deprive them of enough oxygen. Luckily, though, there are artificial methods available to increase their oxygen intake.
Now that we’ve addressed the pros and cons of keeping goldfish with their faces pointed down, let’s talk about some ways that you can protect their well-being. Read on to learn how to properly care for your goldfish.
You can purchase specially designed devices called “dumbbells,” which serve as a kind of cage for your goldfish. These dumbbells contain multiple compartments that each fit a single goldfish. As long as you feed them correctly and change their water regularly, they won’t be able to escape. Dumbbells are popular among hobbyists who want to keep several goldfish together, but they’re also used by professional aquarium keepers.
Keeping Your Goldfish Healthy
So, do you need to reconsider your goldfish-keeping method after learning about the pros and cons? Not necessarily. There are plenty of things you can do to ensure your goldfish’s happiness and safety. For starters, you should never put your goldfish in a bowl that has perforations or holes, since that will cause the water level to drop quickly.
You should also avoid putting your goldfish in a bowl with a narrow opening doing so will restrict their movement. Additionally, you shouldn’t leave your goldfish unattended, so be sure to supervise someone who knows how to handle pets before you give away your beloved goldfish.
Aquarium keepers often recommend using a variety of filtration systems to reduce the amount of waste in your goldfish’s environment. One such system is known as an AquaClear filter, which contains carbon granules that attract and absorb organic compounds. Another alternative is a biofilter, which uses activated charcoal to sop up impurities.
Finally, you can always opt for a standard external biological filter if you’re concerned about introducing chemicals into your tank. Regardless of which type you go with, however, all types of filters must be cleaned thoroughly every few months.
Breeding Goldfish: The Pros and Cons of Breeding Goldfish
When you first buy a pair of goldfish, it’s easy to think of them as individuals who will remain friends forever. After all, they were likely purchased together and have similar personalities. But goldfish breeding involves taking one fish and splitting him or her apart to create offspring. While this sounds simple enough, it’s also fraught with difficulty and controversy.
How exactly does one breed goldfish?
It turns out that goldfish breeding requires a certain set of conditions, including appropriate lighting, temperature control, adequate nutrition, and cleanliness. Without them, spawning wouldn’t occur. Most importantly, though, you need to provide sufficient space within the tank for mating. Once that happens, the female goldfish releases eggs into the water, where males fertilize them. Then, the females release the newly formed embryos into the next generation.
But before you rush off to pick up a pair of goldfish, consider the following facts: Each egg only produces between 300 and 500 baby goldfish. And although male goldfish generally live longer than female goldfish, they die relatively young. Males reach sexual maturity at about 2 years old, whereas mature females usually stick around until 6 to 8 years old. In general, a female goldfish lives three times longer than a male.
Also, since the goldfish are bottom dwellers, they tend to congregate around dirt and debris. Therefore, when you remove the male and place him in a separate container, the remaining female will begin to develop feelings for him. She could then attempt to mate with him repeatedly, causing behavioral problems and potentially resulting in disease transmission.
Although breeding goldfish can be fun, it can also be difficult. And depending upon whether you plan to show your fish or sell them, you may have to decide whether it’s worth the effort. On the next page, you’ll learn more about breeding goldfish.
If you want to save money, you can purchase inexpensive goldfish starter kits that include everything you need to get started. You’ll just have to wait a couple of weeks for the fish to arrive.
Many aquarium enthusiasts enjoy seeing their goldfish exhibit unique characteristics and colors. Whether you’re interested in raising your own specific color combination or simply want to breed big fish for bigger tanks, you’ll need to understand the nuances of goldfish breeding.
First, you’ll need to select a suitable location for your breeding operation. Keepers commonly use glass tanks, plastic fish bowls, or terracotta pots to house their goldfish. Generally speaking, goldfish prefer warmer temperatures, so you should try to maintain a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius). Ideally, you’d want to keep the water free of bacteria, parasites, and organic pollutants.
Once you’ve got the right location selected, you’ll also need to determine the best possible lighting scheme. Like most aquatic organisms, goldfish thrive in environments that feature lots of natural light. Unfortunately, human beings don’t emit enough light to sustain healthy growth. Furthermore, fluorescent bulbs can produce high heat, which can damage your goldfish’s delicate fins. Try to utilize metal halide lamps or sunlight whenever possible. Alternatively, you can purchase specialized lighting fixtures that mimic daylight.