What does your goldfish need to be comfortable and safe in it’s environment? What decor are suitable to goldfish living? What kind of lighting does it need? These are all questions you need to ask yourself now that you have a tank and there are plenty of options for you to consider.
The first thing you’re going to need is a proper light source. Although goldfish have no eyelids they do sleep. They need a constant day and night cycle just like we do in order to function. Goldfish need about 8 hours of light whether it be natural or artificial. One thing I would like to suggest is a timer. You can plug your light into this specialized plug and set it to turn on at a certain time of the day as well as shut off. This keeps things very consistant for your fish and will help you and it establish a healthy routine.
There are many different kinds of lights. UV sterilizers (although expensive) are by far the best. These lights help reduce green water, algae blooms, parasitic and bacterial infections in your tank. They are very beneficial for your fish. They can also help preserve your goldfish’s beautiful colour. LED are powerful energy efficient lights. The use up less electricity than traditional bulbs and they are very bright. Normal aquarium bulbs may also be used in your tank. They do need to be replaced every 6 months or so as they dim out.
Another thing you need to consider is your decor.When it comes to substrate I would like to strongly advise against it. I do not recommend sand in your aquarium either as it can get sucked into your filter intake and seize up your motor. A bare bottom tank is easy to clean, maintain and looks modern. Goldfish have the natural urge to forage at the bottom of tanks, in order to encourage this behaviour I suggest adding some river rocks to your tank. To test and see if your river rocks are safe you can pour vinegar on them. If the rocks bubble this means that there are lime and calciate present. These minerals will make your water hard which although it can create a more stable pH in your aquarium it will also make ammonia more toxic to your fish. Another much better test is to look for green in the rock. That color can indicate copper is present, and copper is very toxic to fish.
Now another thing your goldfish will need is a place to hide. Real plants are always best as they improve the quality of your water, but most plants require a good substrate and a lot of water. Most plants need to be bleached before being introduced into your aquarium as well as it would introduce harmful parasites into the water. If you are choosing to go the fake plant route I would like to suggest a few good choices. Look for plants that do not have metal inside them. The metal can rust and leech into the water. There are ways of sealing this of course. You may use aquarium safe silicone and cover the rusting metal, allowing it plenty of time to dry until the smell is gone and the silicone has cured. Another thing you should look for is soft leaves. Silk plants are the best option as they look great under water and the leaves aren’t hard. Goldfish are clumsy swimmers and they do occasionally bump into decorations so making sure the decor and plants you use are non abrasive when it comes to their surfaces is a must.
Another thing to watch out for is hollow ornaments. Do not use them in your tank. Just like gravel can collect anaeobic bacteria hollow ornaments can too. Because there is no water circulation in a hollow ornament there isn’t oxygen getting into the water and it causes it to stagnate. In conditions where oxygen isn’t available the for the bacteria to use, they will use other compounds like nitrates and sulfur. They make hydrogen sulfide gas which poisonous to fish. It will cause death in your tank.
There are a couple solutions to help counter this. One method is to fill your hollow ornament with sand in order for it to sink and add weight and then seal the outside of it with aquarium safe silicone. Another method is to drill a couple holes in your ornament and run an air stone through it. This will cause movement inside it and keep your water from stagnating.
The last thing I would like to mention is temperature in your tank. It is very important as goldfish live in cold water to keep your tank at a comfortable temperature. You can invest in a heater if you live in a place where your temperature fluctuates between day and night. I suggest a comfortable and very stable 72F. Make sure your temperatures aren’t fluctuating greatly in a short period of time. This is very important.