When we moved into our current apartment, over 7 years ago, I made the ~5 hour trek to our new home with a host of pets, including a fully stocked aquarium. Over the years we slowly lost our aquarium's inhabitants until I was finally able to take the tank down and put it into storage. I miss having an aquarium. I've been tempted more than once to get my old tank out of storage, but so far my more responsible side has won out. Someday I'm sure I'll set it up again, but not until we own our own home. Moving with aquatic pets isn't something I'm keen on doing again anytime soon. Fish are often seen as cheap, low maintenance, even disposable pets but those of us who have shared our lives with them know they are quite the opposite.
Goldfish, in particular, have always been a popular type of aquatic pet. They come in over 100 different verities. Collectively, they are the most common type of fish kept as pets. They are often inexpensive, hardy, and adaptable; traits that make them desirable as pets. However, contrary to popular belief, goldfish are generally not a good species for first time fish owners.
They are messy, and require strong filtration, and large tanks or ponds to thrive in captivity. Goldfish are a cold water species and can also be aggressive, making them a poor choice to keep in tropical aquariums. The warmer temperatures that tropical fish thrive in are not ideal for goldfish. Commonly kept smaller species of tropical fish such as Neon Tetras, for example, will be at risk of becoming lunch if housed with goldfish. Goldfish are beautiful, charismatic fish that can be wonderful additions to your home, but like with any pet, it's important to make sure you can properly care for these fish before you make one a part of your family.
One of the most common types of goldfish in the United States, the Comet Goldfish, can reach sizes of between 14 and 18 inches long. To properly house a fish of that size, you would need at least a 55 gallon tank, or ideally a large outdoor pond. Comet Goldfish are often sold very cheaply in pet stores as feeder fish. It's not uncommon for fish sold as feeder fish to be sick or infested with parasites. They are not usually kept in very good conditions in stores. If you do luck out and get a healthy fish, and are able to provide it with a large aquarium or pond and the proper temperatures and diet, a Comet Goldfish can live between 15 and 20 years or longer! The Guinness Book of World Record states that the longest lived goldfish lived to be 43 years old.
Most types of fancy goldfish don't reach the large sizes that Comet and Common Goldfish can. However, water temperature and filtration are always factors you have to take into account, no matter what size fish you have. Although goldfish themselves are often inexpensive, the costs of providing them with a properly sized aquarium, complete with a high quality filtration system, can quickly get expensive.
Goldfish can make great pets if you are willing to put the time and effort into providing for them properly. An often underestimated fish, most goldfish are more intelligent than people give them credit for and can even learn to recognize their care takes. Even though they are often recommended for beginners, their size and housing requirements make them more suitable for experienced fish keepers. If you have your heart set on a goldfish, make sure to do plenty of research before hand. Take care of them properly, and these beautiful fish can potentially be with you for 15 years or more!