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The Goldfish Gazette, Issue #122 The Aquarium Size Debate
February 28, 2024

Goldfish Care Tips

A Free Monthly Resource For Goldfish Enthusiasts
February 2024
Issue #122

In This Issue
The Aquarium Size Debate

A large aquarium does not necessarily mean better care for your Goldfish, however, the bigger the aquarium, the less likely there will be a sudden drop in water quality.

The Aquarium Size Debate

Why I am calling this a debate is because when Goldfish keepers proudly post a picture of their setup on social media, multiple posts will often follow condemning the setup as being far to small for the number of fish being kept.

I agree most of the time, but sometimes the owner of a small aquarium will take better care of their fish than one with a bigger setup.

Size Doesn’t Matter

I have always maintained that it is not the size of the aquarium that counts, within reason, it is water quality. If water changes are not made, it doesn’t matter how big an aquarium is, the water quality will still drop, even when running a filter.

Owners of small aquariums with large fish numbers soon learn that to keep water quality high, specifically nitrate levels below 40 ppm, large water changes are required often.

This raises the next consideration regarding aquarium size, how easy will it be to make large water changes.

Ease of Water Changes

How easy it is to do water changes usually dictates how often they are done. I still read about Goldfish owners using buckets to make water changes. For larger setups, buckets are not a long-term solution. Ideally you should be able to empty an aquarium using a siphon hose that safely takes the water outside or into a waste water outlet.

Filling by hose from a tap is the ideal method but in winter when temperature differences can be too great between tap and aquarium, then it’s not so simple.

I have this problem so fill large plastic tubs by hose, add hot water and water conditioner, then use a large capacity submersible aquarium pump to transfer the water to the aquarium.

No heavy lifting involved.

Fish growth

One thing often overlooked by owners of small setups is that with the requirement to make large water changes frequently to maintain high water quality, your fish will grow.

What often happens is after say, 12 months, the fish have doubled or tripled in size, and so the filter is now working at maximum capacity. It only takes a small glitch such as a prolonged power cut to suddenly have dropping water quality, and if it isn’t noticed quickly enough, disease or deaths can follow.

It is prudent with smaller setups to have a filter that has a capacity rating well above the aquarium it is being used on, at least double.


I see nothing wrong with someone new to the hobby starting out with a small setup and one or two small goldfish. Often children return home with a Goldfish won at a fair. It is unreasonable to expect the parent to pay out for a 40 gallon aquarium and all the accessories necessary; ideal yes but not realistic.

Starting small allows them to see if they want to continue with the hobby or not. If they do, they will either join a social media group with similar interests or seek more information on the Internet.

They will soon learn what the minimum requirements are to maintain their fish in good health, and realize their present setup is very temporary, and they will need to make changes if they want to continue in the hobby.

The learn more about how much room Goldfish need click here...

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this e-zine and tell me what you think, or what topics you want to be covered.

Next Month's Topic

Feeding Juveniles

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