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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Fancy Goldfish

Fancy Goldfish


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Traits & behavior

Fancy goldfish will eat both plants and tiny, living creatures like small aquatic crustaceans and aquatic insect larvae.

Middle swimmers
You will see these fish swimming in the middle of your aquarium.

Unlike tropical fish, goldfish will live in a wide range of water temperatures.

Things to remember

Adding fish
Whether you're just starting your aquarium or introducing new fish into your tank, don't forget to add only 1-3 at a time.

Aquarium fish only
Never put fancy goldfish into a pond environment. They are at a distinct disadvantage with predators as well as other types of goldfish and koi.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.


Staple diet
Choose vegetable-based flake and pellet foods. Sinking foods are recommended to prevent gulping air during eating. Feed according to the directions on the packaging.

To boost the overall health of fancy goldfish, supplement their diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, such as zucchini, romaine lettuce and peas.

Frequent feedings
For optimum health, fancy goldfish should be fed as much food as they will consume in 1-3 minutes, twice a day. You can alternate between regular staple diet feedings and 2-4 meals per week of a supplement food.


Signs your fancy goldfish are healthy:

  • Eating vigorously and swimming actively in the middle of the aquarium
  • Clear eyes, smooth, clean skin and fins free from any lesions or inconsistent colorations
  • Calm, steady gill movements

Things to watch for:

  • Swimming upside down or floating at the top of the aquarium
  • Lying on bottom of aquarium
  • Poor growth or weight loss
  • Inflamed gills, skin or fins
  • Fins clamped to sides
  • Scraping body on rocks

If you notice any of the signs described above, check your aquarium water quality and consult a PetSmart Aquatics Specialist.


Fancy goldfish need a large aquarium. Minimum aquarium size for two adult goldfish should be 29 gallons.

Decorate their aquarium sparsely with driftwood or rockwork, but be sure to leave a large, open area in the center of the aquarium for swimming. Since goldfish will eat live plants, opt for plastic plants instead.

Fish compatibility
Fancy goldfish do best if kept with other fancy goldfish only.

These fish prefer fine gravel or sand substrate on the bottom of the aquarium. Since goldfish sift through the sand in search of food, larger grains of gravel may become lodged in their throats and can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

As voracious, messy eaters, fancy goldfish need an aquarium with lots of filtration (e.g., outside power filter).

Water changes
Test water weekly to assess water quality. It is recommended that 10% of your aquarium water be changed per week. At the very least, 25% of your aquarium water should be changed per month.

Water temperature
Water temperatures should range between 68-72° F, although they can survive in water warmer or cooler.

Aquarium placement
Place your aquarium in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Aquarium stand
An aquarium stand will safely support the weight of your filled aquarium.

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