Not unless the bowl is a lot larger than those you can purchase in the stall if you’win’ a goldfish in a funfair.
Children often wind up with a goldfish as a pet – they are cheap to buy and feed, you do not need to take out expensive insurance, and they don’t need to be taken for walks. But the fate of many is to end up is a totally unsuitable bowl where they spend a miserable and short lived life.
They are extremely popular as pets as they can live in cold water, and do not need water to be heated, even in winter. If you go away on vacation you do not need to be concerned about someone looking after them, since you can use food cubes that last for around a couple of weeks.
Consider this for a minute. Given the right conditions they can grow up to 60 cm long (about 2 feet) and live for 20 years.
But, you say, the ones I see are much much smaller than that – surely these must be another breed? No, I’m afraid not, goldfish have their growth inhibited by the volume of the water where they live. If they live in a large outside pond they’ll grow to full size, or even, their growth is stunted.
In some countries the simple bowl is banned as it is considered too cruel.
So what does my goldfish need?
Your fish requires an environment where he can swim around, and nuzzle algae off rocks and plants as he would do in the wild. In a plain bowl with no decorations or plants he will have a very boring life.
Your pet needs good quality oxygenated water so he can breathe. One thing you won’t think of with a plain noodle bowl is a filter and pump that will help clean and oxygenate the water. The tank needs to be cleaned out – the fish must swim around in precisely the same water he has defecated in, so this needs to be changed regularly particularly as they’re quite messy fish. Changing the water does not only mean tipping half of the water out and filling up the bowl again from the tap – it means putting clean water into a bucket and placing water conditioner in it. Tap water is full of chlorine and fluoride and other additives which are good for us, but act as a slow acting poison for a goldfish if conditioner isn’t employed. You can find the exact same effect as using a conditioner if you leave water standing in a bucket for a few hours, but the conditioner is more convenient, and is not expensive as you use very little each time you change the water. A little of the water ought to be changed weekly if possible. Do not wait until the water is dirty and muddy and then change the whole lot at once! This will cause too great a shock to the goldfish who might become ill because of this.
Goldfish food is fairly cheap and can be purchased in any pet shop or supermarket. If your fish is a little hungry after food time he’ll peck at the food which has dropped down on the plants and décor – an activity which stops him getting bored, and keeps the tank cleaner as well.
Average size aquariums are not too costly, and he’ll be a lot happier than swimming round in circles in a small bowl. Especially if you have room to get him a companion to swim around with. You can place some attractive gravel at the base of the tank. They are more suited residing in ponds than inside in tanks.
Living plants help to oxygenate the water, and algae grows on them that is a natural food for your pet. Swimming through the plants will be more interesting for him than a tank only with free swimming area. Plastic plants can also entice algae, so are a fantastic alternative.
Filters and tanks aren’t expensive, so in case you’ve come back from the fair carrying your prize fish in a plastic bag, invest in some decent gear to give him a happy and healthy life. You will get more enjoyment as well than watching him just swim round and round in a glass bowl. If you place him in a bowl he’ll survive, but he will not be happy, and will not live to his full lifespan.