You want to get a pet, but a dog or cat is out of the question. However, something simple like a goldfish is a good go-to option. These creatures don’t need much space or much maintenance, and they’re beautiful to look at.
That said, there are things goldfish need to keep healthy and the tank clean, and a filter is one of these things. You’ve probably seen many people with goldfish bowls – literally just a bowl, water, and a fish. Well, just because many people do it doesn’t make it correct.
While goldfish are relatively low maintenance, not providing them with adequate water filtration can be detrimental to their health. There’s a reason why people with goldfish bowls continuously get new fish – it’s not because they want to, but because a lack of filtration means that toxic wastes accumulate and kill the fish.
Do Goldfish Need Filters for Their Tanks?
The simple answer here is that yes – goldfish need aquarium filters to survive. The average lifespan of a goldfish kept in a tank without filtration and aeration is somewhere around 48 hours. So an aquarium filter keeps the water clean no matter what kind of fish you have. But, of course, keeping the water clean means keeping the fish alive.
Goldfish need an aquarium filter to stay healthy. However, many people don’t realize that goldfish might need more filtration than most other fish. This is simple – goldfish are messy eaters, and they produce a lot of waste. If a fish generates a lot of waste, it increases the filtration needs for a tank.
Food and fish waste floating around in the tank is not suitable for your goldfish. Rotting organic material and waste release toxic compounds and chemicals into the water – things like ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates (and more too!) can all kill your fish. These things all come from fish waste, which your goldfish produces. Let’s move on and talk about filtration types.
Three Types of Aquarium Filtration for Your Goldfish
There are three main types of aquarium water filtration. Some filters perform just one type, some two, and the best incorporate all three. These filtration types include mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. Let’s take a quick look at all three of these filtration types and why your goldfish needs them.
First off is mechanical filtration. This process utilizes floss pads, filter socks, and various sponges to filter out physical debris. Here, when we say, ‘physical debris,’ we’re talking about uneaten fish food, fish waste, and other particles.
This is generally the first line of defense in any aquarium filter. It removes these physical particles before they have a chance to decay and release dangerous chemicals into the water.
Mechanical filtration media and baskets must be emptied and cleaned regularly. This type of filtration will also help remove particles that make the water look cloudy. This could include sand floating in the aquarium, as well as small bits of plants. These filters won’t remove ammonia and nitrogen from the water. However, they do remove the physical particles that release these compounds. To remove ammonia and nitrogen, you need biological filtration.
Next is biological filtration, which is for removing toxic ammonia and other compounds from the water. A mechanical filter removes fish waste; however, it doesn’t remove the ammonia and nitrogen the waste releases before it’s removed by the mechanical filter. This is what the biological filter is for.
This could take the form of a bio-wheel, a bio-pad, bio-balls, or even full-scale refugium. The point is that a biofilter features beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and other toxic compounds. These live bacteria are a good thing; in fact, when it comes to keeping your fish alive, this might just be the most important type of filtration.
Last, we have chemical filtration, which uses resins or activated carbons that remove various substances from the water. These chemical filters can remove things like tannins, medications, and even heavy metals. Keep in mind that chemical filtration media requires replacement regularly.
The bottom line is that your goldfish needs a decent aquarium filter to maintain a healthy living environment. Generally speaking, the best filter is one that incorporates all three types of water filtration. This will produce the cleanest tank and the healthiest goldfish.
Aquarist & Writer 15+ Years