How to Care for a Feeder Goldfish From a Fair

Feeder goldfish are bred intensively in poor conditions, not for health.
Feeder goldfish are bred intensively in poor conditions, not for health. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Few of the goldfish given as prizes ever survive. Lack of oxygen and extreme temperatures in the bags they're transported in are likely to weaken the fish before anyone wins them. People who didn’t expect to have goldfish after the day out often put them in small bowls, which don’t keep the fish alive for long. For these reasons, using goldfish as prizes has been locally banned in many places. If you do end up with such a fish, there are ways to maximize its chances of survival. Be prepared, however, for the goldfish to die despite your most valiant efforts to rescue it.

Things You'll Need

  • Fish tank with filtration and lighting equipment
  • Aquarium gravel
  • Freshwater fish food
  • Aquatic plants
  • Gravel cleaner with plastic tubing
  • Buckets

Visit the nearest pet store for emergency supplies. You need a proper fish tank 20 gallons or larger with filtration and lighting equipment, gravel, water dechlorinator and fish food.

Fill the tank with tap water and add the dechlorinator as per package directions. It normally takes about 1 or 2 minutes for it to work.

Float the bag with the goldfish in the tank to allow the temperature of the bag water and the tank water to equalize.

Release the fish into the tank after about half an hour.

Observe the fish’s behavior. If the goldfish appears active and healthy, you can feed it. Feed small quantities of food 3 or 4 times a day.

Add aquatic plants and any other accessories carefully to the tank after a few days. This is more aesthetically pleasing for you and provides a better environment for the fish.

Clean the tank once a week by removing 25 percent of the water with the gravel cleaner and bucket. Replace with fresh, dechlorinated water. You can dechlorinate water in another bucket with the dechlorinator, or simply leave tap water in the bucket for 24 hours before adding it to the tank.

Tips & Warnings

  • Feeder fish are likely to have parasites and possibly diseases. Watch the goldfish for signs of listlessness or white spots on its body or fins. If something seems amiss, you can ask at an aquarium supply store or check online for treatment options.
  • If the goldfish dies and you want to reuse the tank, this is a freshwater set-up suitable for small coldwater fish. If you add a heater, you can keep tropical freshwater fish.

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