Buying a goldfish aquarium that is large enough and designed to house the number of goldfish you plan to keep is the first step to raising healthy fish that thrive. The type of aquarium you choose can determine whether your goldfish flourish or just barely survive.
What Size Is Appropriate for a Goldfish Aquarium?
Get 20 gallons (75 liters) at the very minimum and only if you’re keeping one or two goldfish.
We’ll get to why in a minute, but you don’t want an aquarium smaller than that. Depending on how many goldfish you plan to keep, chances are you’ll want a tank much, much larger.
Yes, we understand. Goldfish aquarium is expensive. But on the flip side, your goldfish won’t have to breathe through murky water. Assuming the aquarium is properly maintained, of course. And it’s much easier to keep the water crystal clear in a large goldfish aquarium.
No matter which way you look at it, a small aquarium equates to much more work, frequent water changes, and stressed out goldfish.
In addition to those 20 gallons, you’ll need to add 10 gallons (40 liters) of water for each additional goldfish you buy (if they’re fancy). If you’re keeping slim-bodied goldfish (like commons, comets, or shubunkins), you’ll need even more space – 30 gallons for each additional fish.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the one-inch-of-fish-per-gallon rule. But goldfish aren’t like tropical fish, so this rule just doesn’t apply.
Buy the Biggest Goldfish Aquarium You Can Afford!
There are a number of reasons for this. Let’s look at a few.
- Goldfish are very bulky. Because of their odd body shape, they need much more oxygen than slim-bodied, more streamlined fish of the same length. Yes, the one-inch rule might work while your goldfish are young. But as your goldfish grow (and grow quickly), so does their body. Before you know it, your goldfish are quadruple the weight they were previously. And because they’re so heavy, they’ll need even more oxygen. If your tank doesn’t have a lot of space with a wide surface area, you may find your goldfish gasping for breath near the water line. Goldfish bowls are especially harmful because bowls usually have a very tiny surface area with no room for a filtration system.
- A large tank gives your goldfish plenty of room to grow to their full potential. In a small 5-gallon aquarium, your goldfish will still grow. But growth will become stunted, and your goldfish won’t be able to develop properly. In such an environment, goldfish usually don’t last any more than a couple of years.
- Water changes can be very stressful in a small goldfish tank. Goldfish prefer water that maintains a constant temperature. A small aquarium just can’t hold enough water mass. The water will take on whatever temperature the room is, heating up or cooling down much faster than a larger goldfish tank with more water mass (more water allows for slower temperature changes).
- Goldfish excrete tons of waste. More waste than most other fish species because of their heavy bodies. So every day that you let your goldfish tank sit, the water quality is getting worse and worse. When you change the water, you’re bringing the water quality back up to its original state. Because larger goldfish aquarium has more water mass, the quality of the water decreases slower. Wastes are less concentrated. That’s why you won’t have to do as many routine water changes (or take out more water per change) to keep conditions healthy in a large aquarium. If you’re late to change the water for whatever reason, your goldfish can quickly become sick.
- The bigger the tank, the less crowded it will be. Overcrowded tanks can cause serious health issues. Water quality worsens at a much faster rate as more waste dissolves and the water becomes more concentrated with harmful toxins. Fish also get more aggressive when they’re overcrowded. So not only are your goldfish stressed out from the poor water quality, but they’re now faced with aggressive tank mates. If they don’t suffer from a few bloody scrapes or torn fins first, a fungal infection is bound to rear its ugly head later.
- Your goldfish aquarium will fall short. We all have an idea of how we envision our goldfish aquarium to look like once everything is all set up and running properly. Some fish hobbyists might want to go all out, landscaping the aquarium with all sorts of live plants, pieces of driftwood, and gorgeous waterfall ornaments. Others might want a more simplistic look – a few plastic plants and maybe a treasure cave in the center with holes for hiding. Whatever you envision your goldfish aquarium to look like, chances are that you won’t be able to achieve the same look with a small aquarium. You’ll want to go much larger, and for some, this may even exceed the 20-gallon requirement.
- You’ll probably want to keep more than one goldfish. Two goldfish can’t thrive in a tank less than 20 gallons. And depending on the type of goldfish you’re keeping, you may need even more space than that. Besides, goldfish are social creatures and prefer the company. So consider how many goldfish (and which goldfish types) you want to keep before buying your goldfish aquarium.
Even with a large aquarium, you still don’t want to max your tank to capacity. Your goldfish will be a lot happier with a few gallons of extra space.
Long or Wide Aquarium?
Aquariums come in many different shapes and dimensions.
The shape you choose should be carefully considered, since not all of them offer your goldfish the same benefits. Avoid equilateral hexagons, pentagons, and cylinders. These aquariums are usually too deep, and they don’t have a wide surface area like rectangle or bowfront aquariums.
Stay away from long, deep tanks. Goldfish are oxygen hogs and need the extra surface area in wide, horizontal setups. A wide surface area (the space at the top of the aquarium where water meets air) is crucial to keep oxygen levels up and carbon dioxide out. Long aquariums are also harder to work with, since you’ll have to reach far to move around ornaments or plants.
Besides, goldfish are much happier swimming across distances than they are swimming deep.
Acrylic or Glass Aquarium?
Whether you buy an acrylic or glass aquarium is up to you. Both options have their benefits and disadvantages. Neither one is perfect.
Acrylic Goldfish Aquarium
- Acrylic aquariums are lightweight. In fact, if you take both a glass and acrylic aquarium of the same size and shape, the acrylic tank will be noticeably lighter. That’s because acrylic material is less than half the weight of glass. So you can move much larger acrylic tanks with less effort (and the floor and aquarium stand can more easily handle the weight).
- Acrylic aquariums are very durable. You don’t have to worry about major leaks from cracks or breaks. If there is some sort of collision (your kids are playing ball near the goldfish tank), the aquarium will just bend a little, depending on the force of impact. And since acrylic tanks are bonded rather than seamed together, they hold up better over the long term.
- Acrylic aquariums retain more heat. As you know, fluctuating water temperatures will stress out your goldfish. So by retaining more heat, the tank is able to keep the water temperature more constant.
- The sides of acrylic aquariums are spotless. They don’t have seams or silicone filled corners like glass tanks do (not only can seams take away from the visual appeal, but your goldfish tank can also leak if a seam gets damaged).
- Acrylic aquariums offer a clear, realistic view. The view isn’t as distorted as it is with glass. There’s also no green tint in acrylic material, as there is in some glass aquariums.
- Acrylic aquariums have more design options. You don’t have to stick with a plain rectangle-shaped tank. Enhance the beauty of your goldfish tank with a flat back hexagonor bowfront aquarium.
- Acrylic aquariums can scratch if you’re not too careful. But scratches can also be easily removed. A scratch is also much better than a crack (and potential leak).
- Acrylic aquariums can be a bit pricey. Often, you’ll find the same sized glass aquarium at a cheaper price.
Glass Goldfish Aquarium
- Glass doesn’t scratch. But it can break. And then you’re faced with a massive leak.
- Glass aquariums can hold their shape, even if unsupported.If you don’t support the whole acrylic aquarium on a stand, the material can bend over time.
- Glass aquariums maintain the same clarity for years. If you buy an acrylic aquarium made without UV stabilizers, it can yellow or cloud as it ages. Always check to make sure the brand you buy uses this technology before going acrylic.
- Glass aquariums are heavy. Many people recommend acrylic for goldfish tanks larger than 300 gallons, because by that point, glass just becomes too ridiculously heavy to lift (and you’ll need special equipment to even carry the empty aquarium past your front door). The extra weight is also a strain on your aquarium stand and floor.
- Glass aquariums have seams on the corners. Seams can often be damaged while scraping algae off the sides of the aquarium. And if a seam does get damaged, you may have a serious leak on your hands.
- While still clear, glass can have a green tint. This is from the iron in the glass. The more iron the glass has, the greener the tint. And so thicker glass aquariums usually have a greener tint than thinner ones.
- Glass design options are limited. You’ll usually only find glass aquariums in the traditional rectangle shape. But since these aquariums are rectangular, surface area is maximized to provide your fish with better aerated water.
The goldfish aquarium you choose is up to you. Either an acrylic or glass aquarium will do. But remember: Always buy the biggest goldfish aquarium you can afford. Make sure it’s wide (from left to right) and not long (top to bottom). Goldfish need the space to thrive. The more surface area your aquarium has, the better aerated the water will be.
Goldfish Aquarium Top 7 Table
Goldfish Aquarium Top 7 Product Details
Aqueon 20 Gallon Goldfish Aquarium Starter Kit with LED Lighting
Raiting: 3.9 out of 5 stars
Customer satisfaction: 71%
Size: 20 Gallon
Dimensions: 24.2 x 12.5 x 19.5 inches
Kit Includes: 20H glass aquarium, low profile LED full hood, Quiet Flow LED Pro Power Filter with medium cartridge, 100W preset heater, premium fish food, water conditioner, fish net, thermometer, setup guide
LED boxed fish tank kit offer a complete habitat with LED lighting to bring the goldfish aquarium to life. The energy saving low-profile hood features cool white LEDs for total illumination, a convenient feeding door in the front and breakout sections in the back for popular accessories. Complete with high-quality components needed for a healthy aquatic environment including a heater, Quiet Flow LED Pro power filtration, fish food, water conditioner, fish net and a thermometer. A complete guide is also included to walk you through the process of proper aquarium set-up. The new Aqueon Quiet Flow LED Pro filter will make maintenance super easy. The patent pending LED on the top of the filter will start flashing when it's time to change the cartridge - no more guessing! In addition, the enhanced five-stage filtration and included ammonia specialty filter pad will help keep your aquarium water clean and your fish healthy.
Aquarium is made in the USA. Fish, gravel and décor are sold separately.
JBJ 20 Gallon White Cubey Goldfish Aquarium
Raiting: New Product!
Size: 20 Gallon
Dimensions: 18.26 x 16.25 x 18.7 inches
Kit Includes: high clarity glass, controllable integrated LED lighting and 3-stage filtration
The JBJ 20 Gallon White Cubey Aquarium features high clarity glass, controllable integrated LED lighting and filtration. This clean looking tank is appropriate for reef tanks with soft corals or for fish-only systems.
LIGHTING: 20 watt integrated LED light. Using the touch controls on the front of the aquarium you can dim the light (7 levels of brightness) and change between six different color settings (all blue, all red, all white and three combinations).
3-STAGE FILTRATION: mechanical sponges, ceramic rings and activated carbon.
264 gph, 16 watt pump. Low iron high clarity glass.
Aqueon 26 Gallon Deluxe LED Bow Front Goldfish Aquarium Kit
Raiting: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Size: 26 Gallon
Dimensions: 14D x 24W x 20H inches
Kit Includes: Bow Glass Aquarium, Deluxe LED Full Hood, Day White LED Lamp, QuietFlow Power Filter, Filter Cartridge, Submersible Preset Heater, Premium Fish Food Sample, Water Conditioner Sample, Fish Net, Thermometer, Set-up Guide
Equipped with a curved front glass panel and black silicone seals, Aqueon Deluxe LED Bow Front Aquarium Kit Black 26 Gallon has an added unique aesthetic that make this a non-traditional aquarium. An LED strip light is included with a day white lamp that has an open slot for an additional lamp. Curved front glass panel provides a dramatic viewing area. Low profile LED full hood for high light output. Qty 1 Day White LED energy efficient lamp is included, with a slot for a second LED lamp of your choice. Contemporary black silicone seals.
Fusion Peninsula Innovative Marine 20 Gallon Glass NUVO Goldfish Aquarium
Raiting: New Product!
Size: 20 Gallon
Dimensions: 12 x 30 x 13 inches
Kit Includes: Aquarium with Ultra-Thick 8mm High Clarity Glass, Low Iron Leveling Rubber Mat DIMS (12” x 30” x 13”), Acrylic Filter Wall, Overflow Pre-Molded Micron Sock, Mechanical Filter, Adjustable Return Flare Nozzle, 211 Gallons Per Hour Pump, Designated Skimmer/Reactor Column.
The Fusion Peninsula series promote long & slender aquascaping possibilities, giving a unique look and feel that will surely turn heads. The ultra-thick & high clarity glass, provide security and panoramic viewing from any seat in your home. The peninsula style AIO’s add another perspective to the award winning NUVO fusion line, that represents quality craftsmanship and customizable equipment options. Challenge your imagination and stand out with an aquarium That Stands Alone!
Coralife 32 Gallon LED Biocube Aquarium
Raiting: 4.1 out of 5 stars
Customer satisfaction: 81%
Size: 32 Gallon
Dimensions: 20.2 x 21.9 x 21.5 inches
Kit Includes: Aquarium, enhancing LEDs, built-in filtration chamber, submersible pump, dual intakes and adjustable return nozzle, manual.
Sleek modern hood with vibrant LED lighting. The integrated 24-hour timer makes it easy to control the three independent channels: Bright white, sparkling blue and color enhancing LEDs for maximum beauty. Each BioCube also includes automatic 30 minute sunrise/sunset and 60 minute moonrise/moonset functions to replicate a natural day/night cycle. BioCubes are a great starter aquarium because they feature a compact and customizable filtration chamber that is already built-in to the back of the aquarium. Among other great features are the quiet submersible pump, dual intakes and adjustable return nozzle. Each aquarium is also 2" taller than the original BioCube aquariums, creating a larger viewing area with the new 16 and 32 sizes. Compatible with all existing BioCube accessories. Refer to the manual for troubleshooting steps.
SeaClear Acrylic 29 Gallon Goldfish Aquarium Combo Set
Raiting: 4.3 out of 5 stars
Customer satisfaction: 83%
Size: 29 Gallon
Dimensions: 30 x 12 x 18 inches
Kit Includes: Aquarium, reflector and electrical 24" light fixture.
When quality determines the choice, the choice is clear: SeaClear. No one can match the quality of SeaClear's virtually invisible seams, which are backed up by the industry's most extensive warranty. For the discerning aquarist for whom nothing but the best will do, SeaClear can make even the most extreme aquatic dreams come true.
Acrylic aquarium is clearer than glass fish tanks and is 17 times Stronger than Glass. Weighs half the weight than glass. More Impact Resistant making it less prone to chipping or cracking than glass, making it safer around children and pets. Safe for Salt and Freshwater. This SeaClear Aquarium is beautiful and you won't believe how your fish and decorations will pop when viewing your aquarium.
Windridercreations 24 gallon Acrylic Goldfish Aquarium with Overflow
Raiting: New Product!
Size: 24 Gallon
Dimensions: 24 x 15 x 15 inches
Kit Includes: 1/4" Domestic High quality acrylic aquarium, includes 3 sided overflow in middle Back, foam lined packaging, full top with access hole.
A 27 year craftsman hand builds each unit in America. Full 3 year warranty. Acrylic aquarium with overflow that can hold two bulkheads. Can be drilled with no charge . Please request size of holes directly from the manufacturer. 1/4" Domestic material. Very high quality construction. Built in Filters are also available. Custom made aquariums are possible!
How to Care Your Goldfish
Goldfish make great pets, and are often heralded as a wonderful beginner pet. They can teach responsibility, they are easy to feed, they are pretty to look at and can usually withstand care that isn’t perfect all the time (too much food at a feeding, less than ideal water before cleaning). While we definitely agree, Goldfish are certainly an easier pet to care for, there are some things that all new Goldfish owners should know.
Your water temperature should never rise above 23.5° Celsius, and ideally should sit between 18°-20° Celcius. Best to purchase a thermometer to help track this. Keep your tank out of sunlight as well, you would be shocked how quickly the sun can heat the water and water that is too warm can make your fish very sick.
Cleaning & Water
Filters aren’t a requirement to having a healthy goldfish, but they sure do help. Filters will help keep the water clean and safe, as the waste from goldfish can contaminate the water and toxin levels can become dangerous. Even with a filter, you still need to change the water regularly, but not as often.
Even with a filter, you should clean your tank once a week – even if it doesn’t look dirty. When you clean your tank, you only need to remove about 15% of the water regularly and replace it with fresh, dechlorinated, room temperature, tap water. Some fish owners leave the water sitting out overnight to make sure the temperature is perfect.
If you notice algae, pick up an algae scrapper and scrape the walls of your tank before changing your water. The quality of water in your tank will have the biggest effect on keeping your goldfish healthy. If you are using tap water in your tank, be sure to use a water conditioner, that helps neutralize chlorine and other chemicals in your water that could potentially be harmful to your fish.
Food & Fun
The good (and the bad) news is goldfish will eat anything, so be sure to feed then a high quality goldfish food. The bad news is that goldfish have large appetites and will constantly be grazing for food so careful not to overfeed. A goldfish only needs to be fed once a day and should eat their food pretty quickly. If they don’t eat it all and the “leftovers” aren’t eaten, it can eventually affect the water quality in your tank. Another by-product of over feeding is excess waste, which can also have an effect on safe water levels.
Time to decorate – have fun with your goldfish tank! There are lot of great ornaments, plants or gravel that you can use to liven up your tank and give your fish a fun place to live. These things will also give your goldfish a place to hid behind or rest. Another option is to add a live underwater plants to your aquarium, not only do they look great but it will give your goldfish something to snack on in between meals!
We always suggest getting your tank set up before you bring home your new fish. Goldfish don’t travel well and can find going from one environment to the next stressful, so we suggest having everything all set up and bringing home your new goldfish last.
Anything that is going in your tank should have a thorough rinse (no soap!) before being put in your tank, including plants, gravel or stones.
Goldfish sleep when we sleep, and are affected by light in their environment. At night, give your goldfish a chance to rest by turning off the light – they don’t have eyelids after all!
- Aquarium Tank/Bowl
- Water Conditioner
- Fish Food
- Water Testing Kit
- Fish Net
- Plants/ Ornaments
- Cleaning Supplies
DID YOU KNOW? There are over 300 recognized Essentials goldfish breeds.
FUN FACT! It is often said that a goldfish has a 3 second memory, but this just isn’t true. Goldfish are capable of remembering things for months! And goldfish can learn a routine, such as every morning it knows it is feeding time and will swim around excitedly.
Article "How to care for your goldfish" is written by: Kellie McCutcheon
Discover more information about how to care for your pets here.