So you want to start a goldfish tank… all you need is a tank and some goldfish right? Well, I’m sorry to say there are quite a few more things you’ll need to buy. In this article, I will go over everything you absolutely need to start a goldfish tank, as well as things that are not exactly necessary but are things I recommend. Also at the end of this article, I will have two goldfish companies listed that I am affiliated with and recommend for quality goldfish.
Things You Will NEED:
The first and most important thing you will need is a tank! Now there are a ton of recommendations out there as to what size tank you need, and the true answer to this question is a bit complicated. I always recommend buying the absolute largest tank you can possibly fit or afford. If you can buy a 55-gallon tank or a 75-gallon tank, then buy it, even if you only want two goldfish. However, if the question is: what’s the absolute minimum tank size to buy for 1-2 smaller to medium size goldfish? I would say the absolute minimum size would be around 25 gallons, however, at this small tank size, the system will require a great deal of maintenance and the fish will not grow very large. I personally recommend a tank closer to 40 gallons just because it will make your life so much easier in the long run, and it’s a more appropriate swimming space for the fish. Also make sure to buy a tank that is longer and more shallow, instead of taller and skinny. I buy my tanks from Petco, and when they are on sale, the price is very reasonable. To read more into what goldfish tank you should buy, check out my article linked here about goldfish tank size.
Total cost: $30+ (The larger the tank, the more expensive)
The next thing you will need is a filter. There are a ton of great filter options out there that will work perfectly for goldfish, but my favorite one is the sponge filter. The reason I like them so much is that they are WAY cheaper than other filters, they are more reliable, there is no chance of leaking if they break, they are easier to clean out, they are very easy to set up, they use less electricity, in my opinion, they look pretty cool in the tank, and you don’t need to buy additional filter media like other filters because the entire sponge filter itself is the biological media. To set up a working sponge filter all you need is an air pump, an air hose, and the sponge filter. Though for a 2 goldfish system a single dual air pump with 2 sponge filters would work just fine, I recommend buying more sponge filters than you think you’ll need because you can’t go wrong having extra filtration. If you are buying a 40-gallon tank as I recommend, I would probably buy the 4-pack of sponge filters I have listed below, along with 2 dual-outlet air pumps. This way each of the dual air pumps will provide a flow of air to 2 of the sponge filters. These dual air pumps come with air hoses, so you will not need to purchase those separately.
Total cost (for 4 running sponge filters+ pumps+ hoses): $55
Link to 4 pack of sponge filters (Buy 1 four-pack): https://amzn.to/3aVEnwa
Link to buy dual air pumps (Buy 2 of these): https://amzn.to/3eGp8Z2
The next thing you will need is a water heater. I recommend water heaters for several reasons, you can read my article linked here if you’re interested to know why you should have one and what temperature to set them to. Linked below I have a water heater that has been pretty reliable for me so far.
Total cost: $25
Link to buy water heater: https://amzn.to/335XT4L
Nitrifying Bacteria Starter:
If you are going to start a new tank, it will need to be cycled. The easiest way to get a tank cycled fast is by using bottled nitrifying bacteria. I highly recommend researching how to properly cycle a fish tank to prepare it for fish. After you buy this product once, you will likely not need it again.
Total cost: $10
Link to buy bottled Nitrifying bacteria: https://amzn.to/3gSXFpA
Water conditioner is a product that is absolutely necessary for keeping any type of fish. When initially filling up a tank, or changing the water out of an existing tank, water conditioner must be used to make the tap water safe for your goldfish. The water conditioner neutralizes chemicals like chlorine or chloramines that would otherwise kill both your fish and biological filtration if not neutralized.
Total cost: $10
Link to buy water conditioner: https://amzn.to/3aVfOQ5
You will need a base dry feed for your goldfish that contains all necessary micro and macronutrients. I recommend against using flakes because they create a large mess in the tank. I prefer using sinking pellets. There are several good brands out there that make sinking pellets but I stand by Mizuho Feed as a great base pellet feed for my goldfish. In addition to feeding pellets, I also recommend feeding veggies and frozen/live fish foods.
Total cost (Using my discount): $15
Link to buy goldfish feed: http://mizuhofeed.refr.cc/lukehagopian
Water Testing Kit:
Many folks will say that a water testing kit is not necessary, but I say it is. Will your fish die or be unhealthy if you don’t have one? Not technically, but the chance of them dying or becoming unhealthy due to poor water quality is a lot higher. Having a water testing kit is important for many reasons including allowing you to ensure that your tank is properly cycled, allowing you to determine whether or not there is a spike in ammonia or nitrites if you change something in the system, allowing you to monitor nitrate levels and create a water change schedule, and many other reasons.
Total cost: $30
Link to buy complete water testing kit: https://amzn.to/3xEtU1H
Okay, that is everything you will absolutely need! If you buy all these items, or items similar, you should be able to keep goldfish successfully! The total cost for everything you need comes out to roughly $175, which is not that bad considering what it costs to take care of most pets. Now of course that cost will be higher if you choose to buy a larger tank (which I highly recommend), and you will need to buy more food and water conditioner every so often when you run out. I will go over some of the products that I highly recommend but don’t consider so to be absolutely necessary.
Additional Things I Recommend:
Some may say that aquarium lights are necessary, but if your tank is in a well-lit room or near a window, you don’t NEED one, and because of that, I don’t consider them necessary. However, I do recommend buying them because if your tank is in a darker room, or even a well-lit room, it will make your tank look much better and it will give your goldfish a better daily wake/sleep cycle.
Total cost: $35+
Link to buy lights: https://jcpaquarium.com?sca_ref=500669.e63E97xM9t
Python Water Changer:
This product will make doing water changes so much easier, you will never regret buying it. As a goldfish keeper, I can tell you that water changes are something you will be doing fairly often. If you use a python water changer, it will make doing these routine water changes so much easier.
Total cost: $45
Link to buy Python Water Changer: https://amzn.to/3381VK0
Tank Maintenance Tool:
I use this tool just to clean the glass in my tanks. Algae will always grow on the glass over time and using this tool is great for scrubbing that algae off. You do not need to do this, scrubbing algae off it purely for cosmetic purposes of the tank and nothing bad will happen if you allow it to grow. However, if you want a clean-looking tank, this will help.
Total cost: $24
Link to buy maintenance tool: https://amzn.to/3xHpjMs
Natural Water Clarifier:
This is a powdered beneficial bacteria that will help to keep tank sludge to a minimum and help keep the water very clear. I use this on my tanks after every water change to help keep the water looking crystal clear.
Total cost: $10
Link to buy beneficial bacteria: https://amzn.to/2SbFD7K
Salt is great for treating several sicknesses in goldfish, and can also be used as a preventative measure. I recommend every goldfish keeper to have this on hand. Linked here I have an article I wrote about the many uses of aquarium salt and why and how you should use it.
Total cost: $7
Link to buy aquarium salt: https://amzn.to/3gTf8ya
Parasites are a very common problem with goldfish. It’s more likely than not that any new goldfish you buy, even from a trusted source, will have some sort of parasite. Even if you don’t buy a new goldfish, parasite problems can arise from random microorganisms finding their way into your tank. General cure contains both praziquantel and metronidazole, which can help fight large parasitic infections, single-celled parasitic infections (protozoa), and even bacterial infections as well. I recommend using this along with salt when quarantining new fish. A cheaper per gallon treated alternative to this buying this product is buying individual praziquantel powder and metronidazole powder.
Total cost: $13
Link to buy General Cure: https://www.liveaquaria.com/product/4393/?pcatid=4393
Total cost (cheaper per gallon alternative): $70
Link to buy praziquantel powder: https://amzn.to/3xD7fTz
Link to buy Metronidazole power: https://amzn.to/336xkMN
Though you may need to buy additional products if your goldfish is battling a specific disease or problem, if you buy these products listed, you will have a good shot at treating most issues with your goldfish.
Now, if you have all your necessary products and items and your tank is cycled, then you are ready to buy your goldfish. I recommend buying from Goldfish Island. Goldfish island has a wide selection of goldfish breeds. Some very high quality, some lower quality, some big and some small. And the price accurately reflects the quality and size of what you are receiving. So wether you are looking for a jumbo show grade fish or a smaller commercial fish for regular pet keeping, you can find it there. You can use my discount code: “LUKE” to get a discount on any order.
Total cost: Too much lol
Use discount code: “LUKE”
Link to Goldfish Island: https://www.goldfishisland.com/?ref=Luke