Now that you have done some research on goldfish (if not, please at least read this), you may want to start setting up a goldfish tank. Before you can do that, you will need to know what equipment you need to get.
At this juncture, please do not give in to the temptation of buying those pretty goldfish at your local fish store that keep calling out your name (Get a grip, it’s in your mind!) … YET. You will need time to set up and cycle your fish tank before it is fit to be the home for your goldfish.
This is how my first goldfish tank looks like currently:
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Typically to set up a goldfish tank, these are the 8 most basic equipment (at least for me):
This is where your goldfish will stay, so the bigger the better as they do grow big. The common guideline is 20 gallons for the first goldfish, another 10 gallons each for subsequent ones. Goldfish bowl is a HUGE NO NO!
I have a 3ft tank which comes out to be ~50 gallons, and I have 5 goldfish in there. Yeah I know… not exactly following the guideline, but I learn to make it work.
The tank may come with a hood or not, it doesn’t matter. Goldfish are not known to be jumpers, and I have not had any goldfish jumping out of my open top tank.
The general purpose of a filter is to keep the water clean and safe for the fish. Filters come in many types and with different level of capabilities. Some examples are Sponge filter, HOB filter, Canister filter, Top filter, etc. The media in these filters provide the place for good bacteria to colonize and you really need them. This is why.
The most basic and cheapest filter is the sponge filter.
I am using Eheim Classic External Filter 2215 for my first goldfish tank. It’s expensive but I think it’s worth it.
I chose it because it offers different types of filtration (mechanical, biological & chemical) and is able to handle the volume of water in my tank. Besides that, it’s an external filter and can be hidden from view.
3) Air pump
Air pumps provide water movement in the tank for the exchange of gases at the surface. Oxygen from the atmosphere gets dissolved into the water, and gasses such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen from the water is released. Some filters such as the sponge filter will need air pump to work. Using air stone with air pump will also produce nice bubbles in the tank for visual effect.
As I am using a canister filter which outlet does create water movement in my tank, technically I do not need an air pump. However I wanted to see curtain of bubbles rising up, so I have it anyway. The bubbles really add on to the visual enjoyment… really really.
4) Substrate & Decorations
Substrate & decorations enhance the look of your tank. To me, these are optional although the substrate (such as gravel, sand, soil, etc) acts as the place for good bacteria to colonize as well. What to choose will depend on what theme you want to go with. I went for a minimalist nature theme with sand and some river rocks.
If you are going with substrate, I would recommend those with small particles such as sand instead of gravel. Like little kids, goldfish do put things into their mouths and bigger particle like gravel may get stuck there.
Sand for the fish tank
Some people just go with a bare bottom tank with no or minimal decoration. To them, this is the way to really enjoy the beauty of your goldfish without distractions. This also make the tank easier to clean and maintain.
Example of a bare bottom tank with minimal decoration and sponge filters
Lighting illuminates your tank so that you can enjoy looking at your goldfish. It is also used to replicate day & night for them. They do need to sleep too, you know..
For the purpose of goldfish keeping, I do not think you need special or strong lighting unless you are keeping them with plants. I never had any luck keeping goldfish and plants together. My goldfish would rip them apart and eat them, even with plant species such as the Java fern which is supposedly too hard for them. Hmm… could it be that I was not feeding them enough???
I chose LED lighting for my tank. Besides energy saving, LED does not release much heat that could warm up the tank. I am also using a timer to turn the lighting on and off so that my goldfish gets around 9-10 hours of light each day.
6) Water Conditioner
The tap water that we use to fill up our fish tank contains chemical such as chlorine and other diluted metal which are good for humans, but not for aquatic lives.
So we will need water conditioners to remove these substances from the tap water so that it’s safe for our goldfish. I am using Seachem Prime 500ml for this purpose.
7) Test Kit
When a fish tank is newly set up, it will need to go through the Nitrogen Cycle process before it’s safe for your goldfish. During this process, you will need to monitor the water condition and this can only be done by using a test kit that checks on the concentration of Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate in your tank.
The test kit that I am using is the API Freshwater Master Test Kit.
8) Maintenance Equipment
I know this probably doesn’t fall under fish tank set up, but if you are going on a shopping spree for your fish tank’s stuff, you may as well get these too.
Goldfish tank needs to be maintained. You will need to do regular water changes, fish tank’s glass cleaning, goldfish wastes removal, etc etc. So you will need things like water siphon, bucket, fish net, water hose and sponge cleaner.
So yah, these are the 8 basic equipment that are needed to set up a goldfish tank. Now lets go shopping, shall we? *wink
For part 2 on Setting Up A Goldfish Tank, please click here.
I am so sorry. I overlooked the fact that not everyone lives in a tropical country like mine.
Although goldfish prefer cold water (18-24°C), they can tolerate a big range of temperature. Over here, my room temperature is usually around 27-28°C, and occasionally rise up to 30°C. However my goldfish are doing fine without needing any additional equipment.
If you stay in a place that can get very very cold or freezing, you will need a fish tank heater to regulate the water temperature accordingly.
[Added on 9-Aug-2017]
I am adding some information on my own goldfish tank setup:
My goldfish tank setup
The equipment that I am using for my goldfish tank are:
1) Fish Tank
This is a 50 gallons fish tank which is curved at the 2 front corners. I bought it from a local fish store together with the cabinet. However I do not know what the brand is.
When I tried searching on Amazon, I came across the tank on the right which looks very much like it, if not better.
This is a 3 feet all white LED lighting by Deebow.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I am using the Eheim Classic External Canister Filter 2215. Do check out my review of this filter.
These are Nature Aquarium White Shirui Sand.
These are river rocks that I selected and bought from a shop specializing in landscaping and ponds. I am sure you can get some nice looking ones from your local fish stores as well. I used to have 8 rocks of various sizes in this tank but reduced them to 3 for easier maintenance, and to provide more room for my goldfish to swim around.
The other equipment that I am using for this tank is already mentioned in the post above. I do not have a fish tank heater as I live in a tropical country.
So… all the best in your fish tank setup!