One of the first fish that many beginners purchase when starting with freshwater aquariums are goldfish. Their cute awkwardness has captured the hearts of many kids and adults alike but, these fish are not easy to care for as they are often pictured (bowl+water+goldfish!).
Goldfish care is tangled with myths that cause confusion among beginner aquarists and cause many goldfish to die too soon. Today I'm going to discuss four common goldfish myths that I'd like to put a stop to!
Myth: Goldfish can live in bowls
Fact: Buying a fish bowl and adding water does not qualify as a "home" for a goldfish. Goldfish put out lots of waste due to having a stomach that cannot absorb proteins. So, these proteins are released into the water, and can reach toxic levels fast. You will need an aquarium with a filter to be successful with goldfish!
Myth: A small tank is okay for goldfish
Fact: goldfish do "grow to the size of their tank" because goldfish release a growth inhibiting chemical in certain environmental conditions (like being in a small tank) to prevent them from outgrowing their home. However, goldfish produce so much waste that this chemical would be diluted in a small tank by water changes, and rendered ineffective. By the way, only goldfish "grow to the size of their tank", not other fish! I have heard people tell me they can house a shark in a 150 gallon tank cause it will not outgrow it! This isn't true!
Myth: Goldfish do not live very long, a few years at the most.
Fact: Many times in a pet store I have heard employees explain mysterious goldfish deaths by "they just don't live very long" followed by "you can just get another one here." This is not true, in fact goldfish can live up to 20 years! Many only live to 7 or 8 years due to being kept in smaller tanks. Treating any living thing as "disposable" or "replaceable" is reprehensible!
Myth: goldfish have short memory spans
Fact: Goldfish have memory spans that last up to three months, and they can actually be trained to do tricks! You can even purchase books on how to train your goldfish by using the same methods used to train dolphins.
Goldfish are great fish and make excellent additions to any tank. With these myths debunked then maybe the next goldfish you purchase can benefit from this and possibly learn a few tricks!