If you’re attracted to goldfish, you’re not alone. They’re one of the most popular aquarium fish in the world.
There are over 200 varieties of goldfish, thanks to hundreds of years of careful selective breeding in China and Japan.
Goldfish are the subject of children’s books, movies, advertising campaigns, and more!
Goldfish were also used at carnivals and fairs in the famous “goldfish toss” game. If you threw a coin or ping pong ball into a tiny goldfish bowl, you won the fish.
Many people thought goldfish were indestructible. You don’t see many goldfish toss games any longer, but the myth that goldfish are “hard to kill” lives on.
Many first-time aquarists chose goldfish because they were told they’re really tough and don’t need a lot of care. People thought goldfish actually liked living in a tiny bowl.
The truth is goldfish are not hard to care for, but they’ll thrive only in the right type of environment.
In this article
Do Goldfish Need an Aquarium?
If you want your goldfish to stay healthy, develop beautiful fins and live a long life, an aquarium is the way to go.
Goldfish can live ten years and longer if given the right care.
They are naturally curious. They enjoy a leisurely swim they explore their surroundings. The fish like to swim through the plants and pick at the gravel.
Goldfish feel uncomfortable when kept in a tiny fishbowl.
It’s unhealthy too — goldfish release a lot of solid waste and harmful ammonia into the water.
An aquarium is designed to detoxify these wastes, keeping the water quality in top shape. Unfortunately, goldfish bowls quickly develop poor water quality, leading to stress and disease problems.
Goldfish Need Room to Swim
Goldfish don’t like to be packed into tight spaces. This is especially true with the fancy types. Bubble eyes and lionheads are beautiful but a bit delicate.
An aquarium gives them space to swim and avoid bumping into each other. Even a small scratch can lead to infection.
While goldfish tend to be gentle, they can become aggressive if kept in a small bowl or mini aquarium.
Goldfish will nip tankmates if they feel cramped. An aquarium gives the fish room to live.
Goldfish Need Clean Water
Unlike a stagnant fish bowl, a goldfish aquarium has a powerful filtration system to keep the water clean.
Goldfish produce more solid waste than tropical fish, so filtration is important. A clean aquarium looks better and keeps your goldfish healthy.
Goldfish Keep Growing
Aquarium shops often stock small, immature goldfish. It’s normal to find a tankful of tiny 3-inch goldfish fish on display.
To the novice, it may seem like these fish could live in a bowl or tiny aquarium.
The truth is goldfish grow quickly. Fancy varieties can grow to the size of an orange!
A comet goldfish will eventually grow to over 10-inches long (25 cm).
Those crowded pet store tanks are just for selling fish and require daily water changes.
You can keep one or two small goldfish in a 10-gallon aquarium but be ready to move them to a larger tank as they grow.
A 20 to 55-gallon aquarium has proven to be the ideal size when keeping multiple goldfish.
Do Goldfish Need To Be in Pairs?
A goldfish can be kept alone or with other goldfish.
It’s best to keep the fancy varieties with their own kind.
Caring for Your Goldfish Aquarium
Goldfish require clean, well-oxygenated water. An aquarium filter will provide filtration and water movement.
Since goldfish tend to make quite a bit of solid waste, you’ll need to lightly siphon the gravel every three to four weeks.
Can I keep tropical fish with goldfish?
In most cases, no. Goldfish prefer cooler water (65-75F/18-24C), while tropical fish thrive in warmer water.
Tropical species are often curious about goldfish and will nip their fins or chase them.
Do I need a special goldfish aquarium?
There are no goldfish-specific aquariums. You can use the same gravel, lighting, and filtration with goldfish as with tropical tanks.
When it comes to setting up a goldfish aquarium, you can choose from a complete kit, a combo kit that comes with a light, or design the tank from the ground up.
Here are several options for setting up your goldfish aquarium.
Recommended Goldfish Tanks
1. Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit
This small aquarium is ideal for two or three small goldfish, and it is perfect for an apartment or child’s room.
The Tetra 20-Gallon Aquarium kit comes with an energy-efficient LED light. The aquarium also has a lid to reduce evaporation.
The kit includes a Whisper aquarium filter that is matched to the aquarium. This power filter will keep the water clear and free of colors and odors.
The Tetra 20-Gallon Glass Aquarium kit also comes with a Tetra HT 20 heater to stabilize the water temperature.
The kit also comes with a sample AquaSafe tap water conditioner, TetraMin fish food, TetraCare brochure, digital thermometer, and a 4-inch fish net.
2. SeaClear 20-gallon Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set
Acrylic aquariums are lighter than glass tanks. Unlike glass aquariums that are sealed with silicone, acrylic is “welded” together for a seamless display.
This 20-gallon tank has an opening cut into the top for feeding and maintenance.
A fluorescent light fixture is included. You’ll have to provide your own 24” T-18 bulb.
An acrylic-safe algae scraper is required for cleaning the tank. This is a nice set-up for a beginner or if you do not have room for a larger goldfish aquarium.
3. Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit
Tetra’s 55-gallon kit builds on the same qualities as the 20-gallon kit.
It includes a large, Whisper hang-on-back power filter. The Whisper power filter uses two filter cartridges, which help keep the water free of debris and discoloration.
An adjustable 200-watt heater is a bonus and allows you to set a cooler temperature for your goldfish.
The kit comes with a plastic lid and LED lighting. Also included are samples of fish food, a water conditioner, plastic plants, and a net.
The matching Majesty aquarium stand is recommended with this tank. The stand is constructed for a perfect fit and is strong enough to support this large aquarium.
4. Fluval Accent Glass Aquarium
The Fluval 25-gallon aquarium uses the Simpletec internal filtration system. The water pump and filtration system sit inside the tank.
A built-in drain hose and the valve are routed into your aquarium stand. When it comes time to make a water change, just flip open the valve and capture the water in a bucket.
This makes it easy to change the water, but you’ll still need to use a gravel siphon to clean debris from the gravel.
The aquarium comes with an LED light, a cover for the top of the tank, and a pre-set heater.
The heater’s temperature is set for tropical fish. Goldfish prefer cooler water, between 65-72F. You’ll probably want to swap out the pre-set heater with an adjustable model.
This attractive aquarium looks good in any room in the house. You’ll be able to keep several small goldfish in The Fluval Accent aquarium.
5. Landen 32 Gallon Rimless Aquarium
The Landen 32-gallon aquarium is an ideal tank for creating a customized goldfish tank.
Made with thick, low-iron glass, your goldfish’s colors will really pop. The rimless design has a sleek look.
The box shape will shimmer like a jewel with a LED aquarium light suspended over the top.
The glass panels use traditional butt joints and clear silicone.
The aquarium comes with a black leveling matt that is placed under the tank. It is well-constructed and can be drilled if that is your design plan.
This tank is larger than the previous models reviewed and will give your goldfish more room to grow.
6. SeaClear 40-gallon Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set
The SeaClear combo kit is based on a 40-gallon rectangular acrylic aquarium. It has similar characteristics to the SeaClear 20-gallon combo kit.
It is lighter than glass, weighing only 20-pounds. The aquarium uses no silicone sealant on the edges.
The kit includes a 24-inch light. You’ll need to provide a fluorescent bulb.
The top of the aquarium has an opening for working inside the tank.
A canister filter is recommended, especially when keeping goldfish.
The 36-inch-wide aquarium provides plenty of viewing area and makes it easy for goldfish to swim back and forth.
7. AquaMaxx Long Low-Iron Rimless Aquarium
The Aquamax 22-gallon long aquarium is a beautiful tank for goldfish. The long design allows fish to glide back and forth.
The aquarium does not come with a filter. A small canister filter below the tank or a HOB will do the job.
The rimless design has no black plastic edge to detract from the tank’s workmanship.
A LED fixture hung above the aquarium will really bring out the beauty of the aquarium and enhance our viewing pleasure.
The low-iron glass is crystal-clear, with none of the greenish tints of regular glass.
This is the perfect tank for the living room. Add several small goldfish, and you’ll have a wonderful goldfish display aquarium.
There are a lot of options when it comes to selecting an aquarium for goldfish.
If you’re comfortable assembling the tank from individual components, the Landen 32-gallon rimless aquarium is a great starting point. The thick, high-quality glass and fine workmanship are a great investment.
The Tetra 20-gallon and Fluval 25-gallon kits are good starter tanks. A smaller aquarium kit is fine for keeping a few juvenile goldfish but be aware the fish will eventually outgrow the tank.
The Tetra 55-gallon aquarium kit provides plenty of room for your goldfish and includes an excellent power filter for keeping the water clean and clear.
If you have questions or comments, please leave them below.