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Guidelines are recommendations by experienced goldfish keepers for those of lesser (or no) experience. They are not the only way of keeping goldfish, or even the best, but are our compromise between ideal conditions for goldfish and the space, time, and money limitations of the goldfish hobbyist. Koko’s guidelines are continually reviewed and updated as needed by the moderating team as we gain new information from research and experience.
Your tank should be large enough to provide at least 20 gallons (76 liters) for each goldfish. This is true for both long-bodied and fancy goldfish. While baby goldfish can do well in a smaller tank short term, they grow very fast, so we recommend starting them in their grown-up tank. If you provide less than 20 gallons per adult fish, you should increase the amount of water changed to maintain water quality.
The ideal tank for goldfish is shallow with a large surface area. Tall tanks should be avoided if possible. If you have a shallow tank or a tall one, use the surface area to determine stocking level -- 2 square feet of surface area per goldfish. We recommend the 40B (40 gallon breeder) for two goldfish since it meets both criteria -- 20 gallons per fish and 2.25 square feet per fish.
The most common filters for goldfish tanks are HOBs (hang on the back) or canisters. We recommend a HOB filter be rated by the manufacturer as turning over at least 10 times the tank volume per hour. Thus a HOB filter for a 20 gallon (76L) tank should turn over at least 200 gph (760 lph). If one has multiple HOBs the turnover rates should add up to at least 10x the tank volume per hour.
Canisters have more filter volume, and we recommend they turn over at least 5-7 times the tank volume per hour.
We do not recommend internal filters for goldfish.
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