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The Goldfish Gazette, Issue #125 Ornament Dangers
May 30, 2024

Goldfish Care Tips

A Free Monthly Resource For Goldfish Enthusiasts
May 2024
Issue #125

In This Issue
Ornament Dangers

Ornaments in an aquarium or pond do personalize it, but they can pose dangers to its inhabitants, especially when they are Goldfish.

Ornament Dangers

Fungus attacking damaged skin

You would think my main focus on the dangers of ornaments in aquariums and ponds would be directed at the fancy varieties, with their deep bodies, telescopic eyes and long flowing fins.

Yes, the fancy varieties do get injured more often than do the single tailed varieties, but even they manage to injure themselves.

The image above is from a recent post on Facebook that shows a single tailed, normal eyed fish that got itself wedged between plant containers.

Injury Types

The most common injuries we see are loss of scales and torn fins.

Loss of eyes are often blamed on aquarium ornaments but the actual cause is often other tank mates, especially if the victim is one of the smaller fish.

An often-overlooked reason for injuries is external parasites.

When Goldfish are seen “flashing”, they have an itch they need to scratch. This action is quite energetic and when it is against a hard object in the aquarium, scales are inevitably lost.

Treatment of Injuries

Treatment of external injuries is very simple.

Salt and clean water.

The trick with injuries is to treat quickly after they are sustained.

Loss of electrolytes by osmosis through damaged skin, and bacterial or fungal attack are the main concerns.

Salt equalizes the balance between the fish’s salty body fluids and the surrounding water which is normally low in salt.

Salt also stops bacterial and fungal spore growth, as does clean water.

For the loss of a few scales or torn fins I use a teaspoon of salt per gallon. For anything greater I use two teaspoons per gallon.

This is assuming the fish was healthy before the injury.

Suitable Aquarium Ornaments (for Goldfish)

Looking at the assortment of ornaments available at various retailers, I found most were unsuitable for Goldfish, especially fancies, because they had sharp points and edges and, listed as a feature, holes for fish to hide in.

As a general rule, ornaments suitable for Goldfish are smooth and round, no sharp points or edges.

Keep in mind that Goldfish generally prefer open water, they don’t seek places to hide unless feeling threatened.

The varieties of Goldfish you keep will indicate what ornaments are the most suitable.

The varieties that give you the most flexibility are the single tailed ones, because they are more agile, but they are also the most active. They prefer larger areas of open water, uncluttered by ornaments or plants.

At the other extreme, varieties such as Celestials and Water Bubble Eyes should have very little decoration in their aquarium.

Most fancy varieties require a more open, uncluttered aquarium as their physical characteristics such as deep bodies, long flowing fins and poor eyesight all increase the possibility of injury.

This is why many experienced keepers of fancy varieties have no gravel or ornaments in with their fish.


It's our responsibility to keep out Goldfish safe, so choose ornaments suitable for your Goldfish variety. The fancier the variety, the smoother ornaments need to be.

Avoid anything with holes large enough for a Goldfish to get trapped in, because they will.

Have lots of space around any ornaments, don't create tight spaces.

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

Spring Illnesses

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