A beginner’s guide to keeping pet goldfish

Fancy some fish? Not the sort that comes with chips - the goldfish sort! If you do, we’ve got a simple guide for getting started with goldfish as pets.

November 25, 2021

If you child is nagging you for a pet, but you haven’t the time or the room for a dog or a cat, then goldfish are the perfect solution. They are easy to keep and will give your kids the responsibility of caring for a pet.  

The perfect pet

Goldfish are a fantastic choice of pet for so many reasons. They’re not going to run off and get lost! They have a set space in a fixed area, don’t need walking, no barking complaints from the neighbours and are a lot cheaper to keep than most other types of pets. They are also more interactive than you might think. They are entertaining to watch as they glide around the tank, weaving in and out of rocks and plants. They will also rush to greet you at feeding time.  

Goldfish are fairly low maintenance, although you must keep the tank and water in good condition. If the water looks cloudy or smells, deal with it straight away or your fish could get ill. They are also known as a stress reliever, with research showing that watching them swim calmly and silently will lower blood pressure.

Everybody needs a friend

Keeping at least two goldfish in a tank is recommended to provide companionship and promote activity. Make sure your tank is big enough for the number of goldfish you are planning.   


A mixture of specialised goldfish flakes and granules are a good staple diet. The goldfish diet should contain a high carbohydrate level. Any freeze-dried food should be soaked first to avoid digestive upsets.

Feed 2-3 times daily, but it’s important not to overfeed. This can cause indigestion and contaminate the tank. A good rule of thumb is to only feed an amount that the goldfish can consume in under two minutes.

You will need:

  • A tank – most goldfish are small, but they need plenty of room to swim, especially if you have decided to get more than one.  
  • A filter - this will keep the water in the tank cleaner for longer, removing any debris, pollutants, and waste, along with reducing cleaning time.
  • An air pump - this will keep the water in the tank oxygenated and will keep the water moving which is great for your goldfish.  
  • Add some gravel - some bacteria are beneficial to fish and gravel gives it somewhere to live. It will also help to break down any waste that your fish creates, as well as looking nice.
  • Include some plants/greenery – this gives them somewhere to hide and play. Real plants will help to maintain the nutrients in the tank, but artificial plants will work just as well for giving your goldfish somewhere to hide. 

Keep it out of direct sunlight, away from windows and heating. The last thing you want is for the water in the tank to heat up out of your control – nobody likes a boiled fish (especially the fish!).