Everything you should know about how to influence the growth rate of your goldfish
The first thing that you should be aware of when personally controlling the growth rate of your goldfish is that it is nothing to take lightly. In fact, the best thing you can do for your goldfish is to take care of him and provide the best life that you can for him, and he will do the rest naturally. Avoid any medications or drugs that say they are for goldfish enhancement; the reality is that they are dangerous and could cause your goldfish illness and death. Yes, it is true that goldfish (among most other species of fish) can continue to grow until they die, given that they are provided the necessary requirements to do so. If you really want your goldfish to grow as they are meant to then there are various things that you can do that are not only safe, but that are necessary for healthy goldfish of any size!
Please take note:
The number one thing that you should never forget throughout this process is the health and happiness of your fish! If you are considering any method that could risk the health or happiness of your fish then do not do it! Your fish deserve to live their lives healthy and happy regardless of their size!
Providing a proper diet can influence the growth rate of your goldfish:
Many goldfish owners do not understand how to correctly feed their goldfish. They simply purchase a bottle of fish flakes or fish pellets (usually whatever is cheapest) and provide pinches of food until their goldfish simply stop eating and swim away. This “method” is completely incorrect and will cause great harm to your goldfish including becoming overweight. By following this “method” you will not influence their size in the way that you want. They will not grow simply because you feed them continuously.
The best method for feeding your goldfish revolves around what kind of diet you will be feeding them, how much, and when. Once you have figured out those three steps, then you need to stick to it. The only time you should steer away from this feeding method would be if your fish are ill.
Step one: Pick 3 to 4 different foods to have in your goldfish’s diet.
Food choices for goldfish include:
- Algae (they usually eat the algae that is growing in their tank)
- Insects (flies, ants, etc.)
- Worms (bloodworms, earth worms, etc.)
- Larvae (mosquito larvae is their favorite)
- Vegetables (mashed peas, broccoli, lettuce)
- Fruits (blueberries)
- Plants and plant roots
- Fish flakes and fish pellets (yes, they do enjoy their fish food)
Goldfish are omnivores and will attempt to eat just about anything that you provide to them. If you are trying to influence your goldfish’s growth rate then try to avoid fish flakes or fish pellets. While these two choices do have a nutritional value it isn’t as much as the other choices I previously listed. In fact, if you are interested in happy, healthy and big goldfish then choose to feed your goldfish a variety. Similarly, to how humans require a variety of foods in our diets, goldfish do as well. Mix and match! Have fun with it! Keep your goldfish interested in feeding time! As I mentioned earlier, it is recommended to choose 3 to 4 of the foods on this list. Consider choosing vegetables, insects, fish flakes, and larvae. This combination will provide your fish with a little something different for each feeding. Each of these options provides your goldfish with a different level of nutritional value which when combined can encourage a healthy growth rate and an overall happy fish!
Step two: Figure out how much food you should provide:
The rule of thumb for feeding goldfish is to only feed them as much as they can fully consume in 2 minutes or less. In order for you to figure out how much food that is for your particular goldfish, you may have to play a little trial and error. For example, if you have a goldfish aquarium with 5 goldfish living in it and you feed them a small pinch of fish food and walk away, sure the food will be gone but is that enough for all 5 fish? Probably, not. On the other hand, if you provide your 5 fish an entire stalk of broccoli and walk away then your goldfish will eat until they are full, and then the remaining stalk of broccoli will rot away causing the aquarium to become a toxic place to live. It is up to you to discover how much is appropriate for your particular aquarium.
For the first week or so, take the time to feed them and time them. Provide a certain amount of food (maybe a pinch or two) and time how much of that food they consume in a 2 to 3 minute period. If they consume all of it then provide a little more during the next feeding. If they do not consume it all and there is uneaten food resting on the bottom of the tank, then feed a little less during the next feeding. Like I said trial and error.
Step three: Figure out when is the best time to feed your goldfish:
This usually revolves more around your schedule than theirs because goldfish are natural foragers and will consume just about anything at just about any time of day. In fact, many people believe that a goldfish’s only purpose in life is to swim in circles and eat. These people do not know what they are missing! The most common method (which actually works out well for everyone) is to feed your goldfish 2 to 3 times per day. Once in the morning, in the afternoon as well as in the evening. If you choose to follow this schedule because it works well with your schedule, then do it!
For example, if you work a full-time job that requires you to clock in at 8 am and clock out at 5 pm and your children come home from school around 2:30 pm then here is what your feeding schedule could look like.
7:30 am (before you go to work) feed your goldfish a few flies or ants to start off their day.
2:30 pm (when your children come home from school) have them feed the goldfish fish flakes or fish pellets.
6 pm (after you get home from work) hand-feed your goldfish a leaf of lettuce or other fruits and veggies.
This schedule is just an example to demonstrate how the three meals can vary in content as well as how to space out the feedings. It is wise to feed your goldfish fish flakes, fish pellets, or insects during your busiest time of day. They do not require hand-feeding and are relatively easy to measure out and drop into the water. If you have children performing a feeding, then you may want to have them take over the fish flakes or fish pellets to make it a simpler feeding for them to handle. Finally, when you have more time and patience and your day is beginning to slow down, this is the time to provide a food choice that requires hand-feeding (such as veggies or plants). Once you choose your variety of food, figure out how much to feed them and when then you have created a schedule. It is vital that you continue to follow this feeding schedule. However, time of day is more important than the content of food. If you want to change up what you are feeding your goldfish, you can do so as long as you are following the schedule.
Providing good quality water in your goldfish aquarium can help influence their growth rate:
The quality of the tank water is one of the most important components of having happy and healthy goldfish. If the water in their aquarium is of poor quality, then your fish will become ill, be susceptible to diseases and parasites and will likely die well before they are supposed to. This can be true whether or not you are trying to influence the growth rate of your goldfish.
There are various things that you can do as a goldfish owner that can ensure your goldfish have quality tank water. One of which is that you treat the tap water with a water conditioner before adding it to the aquarium. Tap water is toxic to goldfish (and most species of fish). It causes them to become stressed and can even create a burning sensation in their gills. Each brand of water conditioner may have their own set of instructions, so follow them accordingly.
Another step that you can take to provide quality tank water is to provide a good filtration system in the aquarium. Filtration is essential for goldfish health because they are messy creatures and will not live long in dirty water. There are various filtration devices on the market today that you can choose from. The specific type will depend on the goldfish breed that you own because some breeds are more delicate than others. For example, the Bubble Eyed Fancy Goldfish will require an undergravel filtration system because of their fragile fluid-filled sacs located beneath their eyes. A canister filtration system may provide too much suction or have pointy sides, both of which can cause great damage to these sacs. However, the Comet Goldfish is much tougher and can do well in an aquarium with a canister filtration system. Do your research about which breeds can do well with which filtration devices before purchasing anything. However, you should do your best to choose a filter that provides mechanical, biological, as well as chemical filtration. Filters with all three types of filtration media will provide the best water quality.
Feeding can play a role in water quality as well. If you overfeed your goldfish then any food that is not eaten will float to the bottom of the aquarium and rest there until it becomes moldy. If this happens, the food will release ammonia and possibly other toxins into the tank water and can cause your goldfish to become ill. It is also important that you do not overpopulate your aquariums as this too can cause ammonia levels to spike and cause the water quality to become poor.
Finally, you can ensure the water is of good quality if you perform water changes and water tests regularly. Every two weeks you should be performing a 30% water change by siphoning out 30% of the tank water into a bucket and replacing it with 30% treated tap water. If you are also cleaning the tank during this process then use the bucket of old water to rinse any décor or other objects from the tank. Do not rinse anything from the aquarium in straight tap water! When you are cleaning your aquarium and performing water changes do not test the water at this time.
Check the water for toxins such as ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates every few days. There is no harm in checking every day, either. Monitoring these levels will significantly influence the overall health of your fish and keeping the levels as low as possible will provide them good quality water as well as promote healthy growth. The final water test you should perform is a pH test. Goldfish prefer a pH of 7.4.
Providing the appropriate water temperature can influence the growth rate of your goldfish:
Goldfish can thrive well in a water temperature that falls between 62ºF and 75ºF. However, the cooler the temperature, the less active goldfish are, they are less interested in food, their digestive systems slow, their immune systems slow, and many other healthy body systems become affected by cooler temperatures. This is also true of warmer temperatures. If the aquarium water begins to creep into the higher 70’s and lower 80’s, then, the environment becomes too hot for them, and they can go into shock. If you provide a steady temperature of about 70ºF or 74ºF then your fish will be more active, they will be more interested in feeding, and their other body systems will become more regulated. Be aware that warmer temperatures also means more oxygen consumption. If you intend to keep your aquarium water at a warmer temperature, then it would be wise to provide an air stone or another type of aeration device to assist in oxygen production. If you are fascinated by influencing the growth rate of your goldfish with warmer temperatures, then a steady mid-70’s reading should be adequate.
Providing a large tank for your goldfish to live in can influence their growth rate:
Many people believe that goldfish will only grow to the size of the habitat they live in. While this is technically correct, it is also a misconception. Goldfish (and most species of fish) can continue to grow until the day they die. The reason people believe they only grow to a certain size is that many goldfish in captivity do not live long enough to become colossal. If you have provided everything up to this point (good nutrition, water quality, and the proper temperature) then consider the size of your aquarium. Goldfish will not grow enormous if all they have is a 20-gallon tank.
The rule of thumb to follow for minimum tank size is 20-gallons of water per fish. For example, if you intend on owning 4 to 5 goldfish then you should be prepared to purchase an 80-gallon aquarium to 100-gallon aquarium. Anything smaller wouldn’t provide adequate space for swimming, feeding, or playing. It would also not provide enough oxygenated water per fish nor provide enough room for each fish to grow. Depending on how large you want you fish to be able to grow would depend on how large of a tank you provide. Most specialists recommend purchasing the largest tank that you can afford and then limiting the amount of inhabitants that you have in it.
Genetics may play a role in the growth rate of your goldfish, as well:
Do your research on different breeders in your area. Visit them and check out the fish that they have on site. Take the time to question the breeders about the breeding process of the fish and about their genetics. While each fish and each situation is different, you can get an idea as to how large your fish can grow based on its parents. However, fish tend to grow until they die and if you provide the best living conditions possible then you should have no problem getting your goldfish to grow into a large, healthy and happy fish.
The overall health of your goldfish will play a role in their growth rate:
This should be common knowledge. If your goldfish are in good health and have never been sick then they will likely grow to be a very large fish. If your goldfish have been ill in the past or seem to be ill often then they will likely not grow to be very large. Their growth rate greatly depends on the quality of care that you provide them as their owner. If you have kept their aquariums clean, filtered, and have treated the tap water then their growth rate will be positively influenced because they will likely be healthy. If you have provided them a healthy variety of foods in their diet then they will likely continue to grow. If you have bought a large tank and resisted the urge to overpopulate it, kept the water at a decent temperature and only chose healthy fish from the very beginning then your goldfish are likely to grow. If you ignore everything that specialists recommend and decide to “wing it” or if you decide to feed your fish “size enhancers” then your goldfish will very likely be in poor health and not live long enough to grow.
The bottom line is to treat your goldfish right. Goldfish naturally have a very long lifespan and therefore can naturally grow to be rather large. It is the quality of care provided by their owners that determines otherwise. Give them the life that they deserve and they will naturally continue to grow because they will be healthy enough to live for decades the way they are supposed to.