Does My Goldfish Need a Heater?


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Many people think that a goldfish is easy to take care of.  All they need is a small tank and some food, and they will be happy. While a goldfish is lower maintenance as a pet than a cat or dog, this doesn’t mean some effort isn’t involved.

goldfish looking at the camera

Does my goldfish need a heater? Most goldfish don’t need heaters. Goldfish can survive cold temperatures. However, you might need a heater if you have a very fancy goldfish.

If you want to know more about whether you should get a heater for your goldfish, you should keep in mind what kind of goldfish you have. Basic goldfish care tips can be very useful as well.

Does My Goldfish Need a Heater?

If the temperature in your home is above freezing, you probably don’t need a heater for your goldfish. Slim-bodied goldfish can typically tolerate very low temperatures. However, you need to keep in mind that this is not the case for all goldfish.

Any goldfish can thrive in moderately warm temperatures, meaning between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit. The common goldfish can also be fine in colder temperatures, even if these temperatures go down to freezing.

However, there are some fancy breeds of goldfish that can only tolerate water that is warmer than about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. With these types of goldfish, during the winter months, you might need a heater for your tank.

You should keep in mind that even though you don’t usually need a heater for your goldfish tank, you might need to modulate the temperatures at some point.

There are even times where you might need to make the tank a little bit cooler, like during the hot summer months. You can accomplish this with a small table fan that you set up to blow over the top of the water, or you can even get a cooling fan that has been made especially for aquariums 

Why Would a Goldfish Need a Heater?

goldfish in a decorated tank

Many people aren’t even aware that a goldfish could potentially need a heater. People think of goldfish as very simple pets with very simple needs. Though this is typically the case, there are situations where a heater would be very helpful.

Any goldfish can be healthy in temperatures in the 60s. However, the common goldfish can be healthy even in much colder water. In this situation, the metabolism of the goldfish will go down. Then, he or she will become sluggish and end up hibernating.

However, this isn’t the case for the fancy goldfish. They can die if you let the temperature in the tank go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

You might wonder why a fancy goldfish would need to have a heater in its tank. The truth is that the immune systems of these goldfish can be somewhat fragile. These goldfish can be prone to different types of infections if you keep them in water that is too cold.

The purpose of the heater would not only be to keep the tank warm but also to keep the temperature consistent. Regulated temperatures that do not fluctuate too often are necessary for a goldfish tank.

What Types of Goldfish Need a Heater?

The types of fancy goldfish that people keep for display purposes will often need heaters in their tanks. These include the Phoenix goldfish, Bubble Eyes goldfish, Oranda goldfish, Fantail goldfish, Lionhead goldfish, and Japanese Tamasaba goldfish.

You also need to keep in mind that not all goldfish are the same. They don’t all have the exact same optimal temperatures, for example.

For the Tamasaba goldfish, for example, you should keep the temperature between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit.

The Lionhead goldfish will end up more prone to infection in temperatures below 60 and above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Fantail and Bubble Eyes breeds need warmer temperatures, at ranges between 75- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit and between 70- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.

How Warm Is Too Warm for a Goldfish?

Learning about how important a heater can be for a goldfish might lead some people to believe that in a goldfish tank, the warmer, the better. However, this is not the case either. Although goldfish can thrive in a heated tank, you shouldn’t heat it too much.

If you have fancy goldfish, you should make sure that you do not heat the tank to a temperature that is over 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature range for these goldfish is between 60- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, there are some important exceptions, as discussed above; if you have one of these types of fish, you will need to be mindful of this.

It’s also a good idea to remember that even if the goldfish can be healthy for the time being in an overly warm tank, it will likely reduce its lifespan.

This is because warmer temperatures will increase their metabolism. It will also cause them to breed more so that you will have more goldfish to take care of.

This is why, if the temperature in your home becomes too warm, it would be a good idea to cool down your goldfish tank with some sort of a fan. It might also help to increase the water movement within the tank, which will increase the amount of oxygen in the water. This will support the boosted metabolism of the goldfish.

What Type of Heater Is Best for a Goldfish Tank?

Even though the cost is a consideration when making any kind of purchase, this is not the type of purchase that you should skimp on.

If you make sure to purchase a quality heater for your goldfish tank, it’ll be less likely that you must waste money on frequent replacements. There are different types of heaters from which you can choose.

Hanging Heater

People who don’t have a lot of experience with goldfish often choose this option, which is typically included with starter kits.

The heater will be in position over the top of the fish tank, and the heating device will be in the water.

You will need to make a hole at the top of your tank in order to accommodate the heater. While it does its job, it’s not the most efficient choice.

Submersible Heater

The submersible heater is seen by many to perform the function better. These are positioned under the water and located close to the inlet of the filter.  That way you can easily heat up the water that is entering the tank.

These heaters often contain LED lights so that you know they are working properly.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is more to know about maintaining proper temperatures for your goldfish than you had likely previously thought. Though goldfish aren’t generally very high maintenance, some types require more intensive care than others.

If you have a fancy goldfish breed, you should make sure that you know the specific ideal conditions for that breed. It’s also important to make sure that the water doesn’t get too warm.

You should also do the appropriate legwork to find the right heater for your fish tank if it turns out that you need to get one. You want to make sure that even though you aren’t spending too much money, you get a high-quality heater that you will not have to replace very soon. This way, your goldfish can thrive for a long time to come in a healthy and warm environment. 

April

I'm an avid animal lover, former veterinary assistant, and blogger. My undergraduate work included a pre-veterinary curriculum and some graduate work along those lines as well from Cal Poly in Pomona, CA (GO BRONCOS!). These days I blog about all sorts of animal-related topics. Many I have or currently personally own, some I don't but am just interested in. Nothing in this blog should be construed as veterinary advice. I am a 100% advocate that if you think something is wrong with your pet, take it to a vet.

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