Fish As The Gift – 3 things to consider before you give goldfish as a present

With Christmas just around the corner, you must be scratching your head on what to buy for your family and friends.  You may have thought about giving fish as the gift, goldfish specifically as they are so pretty and easily accessible. Besides that, a goldfish cost so much cheaper and is less messy than other pets like a puppy or kitten, right?

Well, I am sure this idea doesn’t only come about during Christmas time. You may have thought about this for someone’s birthday or on any other occasions. However is it a good idea to do so?

Fish As The Gift

Giving goldfish as gifts

When you are thinking about giving a goldfish or any living pet to someone, you must remember that these are living beings and they will need proper care. So this gift will definitely require the emotional, physical and financial commitment on the receiver’s end.  Stop!…Can your gift receiver handle these?

You are right if you think that a goldfish is cheaper and that it requires less care than the other pets, but that doesn’t mean that you can just ignore its well-being. Please consider the following before you decide to give goldfish away as gifts.

3 things to consider before giving a goldfish as the gift

Consideration #1: Does the receiver want one?

Not everyone likes pets. Besides that, as mentioned living pets require the emotional, physical and financial commitment from their owners, and these are not just temporary. It becomes a responsibility to learn about them and to take care of them properly.

Mind you, a goldfish’s lifespan can be very long with the average of 10 years and with the oldest recorded one being 43 years old!

So, does your gift receiver really want a goldfish and can they take up this commitment?

Consideration #2: Is there already A proper setup?

A goldfish can grow very big. The egg-shaped body type can grow more than 6″ in length and the streamlined body type can grow double that size. This means that a goldfish require a big space to thrive. The recommended tank size is at least 20 gallons for each goldfish. So those goldfish bowls are definitely a big NO NO!

Basic equipment

Besides the tank, you will need a filter, a heater (if you are staying in a place that will get cold), lighting, decorations, fish food etc. You can check out this post on the basic equipment for the setup.

So does your gift receiver already have these, or are you getting them for him/her as well?

Cycled tank

If the receiver is already a fish keeper, then that’s great! One of the hard lessons in fish keeping is about Nitrogen Cycle. This affects the water condition which is really a matter of life or death for the fish. So does the receiver already have a cycled tank?…  or better, a cycled quarantine tank for the new goldfish?

If not, then the receiver will need to do a more frequent water change when the tank is cycling. More information here.

Consideration #3: Will there be regular maintenance?

Keeping goldfish is not as easy as one may think. It is not just about putting them in a nice looking fish tank and feeding them.

Goldfish are messy eaters and they produce a lot of waste which deteriorate the water quality very quickly. So this means the tank needs regular maintenance depending on how many goldfish, how big is the tank and how good the filter is. I would think it has to be maintained at least once a week.

Can the receiver do that?… or will you be helping him/her?

Ryukin Goldfish


So you see, it is not JUST about giving a fish as the gift (or any living pets for this matter) and the job is done. It is also about how this living being will be affected and how it will affect the receiver’s life. If you are still thinking about whether to give a goldfish as a present, look through the 3 simple considerations I have above.

If those are already too much, then please change your mind. You and the receiver are better off with a sweater, a pen or a mug. 🙂

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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