What Are The Best Temperatures For Goldfish?
Temperatures for goldfish are a surprisingly complex issue. Goldfish are technically cold-water fish. However, just because goldfish can survive a wide range of temperatures does not mean they are healthy or happy at those temperatures.
Goldfish in the wild, so to speak, can survive temperature ranges of forty to one hundred six degrees. The extremes will kill goldfish if the exposure lasts for long.
The optimum temperature range is sixty-eight to seventy-five degrees. Some breeds prefer slightly warmer temperatures.
Sudden changes of temperatures can be fatal, even within the ranges given above. While the classic method to deal with this is to spend twenty minutes or so of slow immersion time to equalize the temperatures. For extreme situations such as purchasing a goldfish in a store at seventy degrees to place in a pond when the outdoors temperature is forty, it may take days or weeks of careful preparation to avoid a high chance of death.
There are a wide variety of heaters and thermostats available for aquariums. A thermometer which can be read easily while walking past the aquarium is helpful to spot trends out of the safe zones, and you can easily find more reliable, sensitive and expensive equipment. These heaters all work on the same principles, with electricity pushed through a resistor, producing heat. This tends to take a surprising amount of electricity. There are times when it makes sense to have more, cheaper elements and times when fewer, more expensive elements are a better option.
Goldfish enjoy live vegetation. They tend to pull plants out of the bottom of the aquarium, so plants must be capable of withstanding these stresses. Some breeds of goldfish are vulnerable to sharp edges due to long, flowing fins or fleshy parts which obscure vision. Care must thus be taken to ensure the correct mix of plants and fish, and even artificial plants.
Goldfish, with a need for high oxygen content, work better in tanks with lots of surface area. Thus long, wide tanks are good, deep is not as useful. This is because the greater surface area is important in allowing the oxygen from the atmosphere to migrate into the water in the aquarium.
Good water quality is critical to goldfish health. Lightly salting the aquarium, a teaspoon of kosher or sea salt for each five gallons is optimum, though other salts can be used. Water must be cleaned regularly, lest the waste products from the fish poison themselves with high nitrogen content or a bacterial infection. When feeding goldfish, remove uneaten food after a couple of minutes to avoid bacterial growth. Because of this need for high water quality and room to exercise, the traditional goldfish in a fishbowl is a poor plan which will greatly shorten the life of the fish.
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