Would a Goldfish be a Good Pet for Me?
Goldfish are more than just a hobby. They are pets. And as with any pet, there are some things to consider before rushing to the pet store and impulsively buying one. Responsible “potential owners” will do their homework to see if the animal they are considering would be a good choice to get. If you haven’t yet bought a goldfish but are thinking about buying one, good job for coming to this article before making a purchase!
Pets are a lot of fun. They provide companionship, entertainment and enjoyment. You would be surprised at how attached you can get to them, and how quickly! A pet provides something to care for, something to love.
Pets are also responsibilities. They take work. They take attention. They take time and care and sometimes demand more than you think they should. That is because they need you! It’s easy to get excited and caught up in dreaming about what you think the perfect pet would be, but sometimes reality is different than our imaginations. That is why it is a good idea to know what you are getting into before making a decision. Pets can cause heartache and regret when things aren’t a good fit. Because goldfish can live quite a long time (over 40 years!), they are a commitment.
To understand if a goldfish would make a good pet for you, here are 5 helpful questions to ask yourself before purchasing one.
#1: How Much Space Can You Provide Your Goldfish With?
Contrary to popular opinion, goldfish cannot live in bowls. They need way more space than most people realize, and need to have a comfortably sized tank to be healthy and happy and grow properly. If you are not planning on having an outdoor pond, you will need to get a tank that holds at least 20 gallons of water for one goldfish because of how large they get and how much ammonia (toxic waste) they produce.
You will also need to find a spot in your house or apartment that has enough space to place this tank. It needs to be a place that can tolerate a water spill, because even the most meticulous aquarists still have accidents. It needs to be located near an electrical outlet to support your tank’s equipment. Ideally, it should have a nearby source of natural light and be out of the way from highly trafficked areas to avoid getting bumped.
#2: How Much Money Are You Willing To Invest in Your Pet Goldfish?
The cost of tank supplies, food and equipment can add up, let alone the cost of buying the fish itself in the first place! Depending on where you buy these things, you can rack up a bill that could blow you out of the water if you haven’t prepared.
Assuming you are going to get all of your fish supplies new, some simple math will calculate about how much money you will spend:
- 20 gallon tank (new) – $42
- Tank Stand – $85
- Hood & Light – $35
- Filter – $40
- Substrate – $10
- Food – $10
- Water test kit (liquid) – $30
- Siphon – $12
- Net – $5
- Fish (chain store) – $6
It is not at all improbable to say then that you will spend at least $275 on your goldfish hobby. Obviously prices will vary depending on where you get these things and can be greatly reduced by purchasing previously owned equipment. Of course, there are always risks when cutting corners, such as a leaky tank or introducing parasites if you don’t properly disinfect.
#3: How Much Time and Effort are you Willing to Devote to Taking Care of a Goldfish?
There is a measure of work that is required in order to keep your goldfish healthy and alive. Weekly water changes are necessary to maintain clean water, and every night your goldfish must be fed their dinner. While these are the two main responsibilities that you will take on with your goldfish, there are always other things involved too – such as checking on their physical condition to make sure they are well and observing their behavior, making sure they are not picking on each other.
#4: What Will You Do if Your Goldfish Encounters Illness?
It is a good idea to have a plan if one day you wake up and your goldfish is sick. If you want to help your fish recover if or when that happens, you will need to be educated enough (at least in the basics of goldfish disease) to diagnose and treat a sick goldfish. I recommend browsing around through the helpful articles on this website to get an understanding of common goldfish diseases and ailments so you will be prepared.
#5: Are You Willing to Research Proper Goldfish Care and Implement what you Learn?
Here is the most important commitment a goldfish owner must make if they want their fish to thrive. There is a lot more to owning a goldfish than most people realize! Research is the key when it comes to success with any pet. If you are too busy to do the homework needed to understand how to care for a goldfish, you are too busy to own a goldfish in the first place!