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Goldfish Hibernation

Oftentimes, goldfish keepers and breeders like to allow their fish to hibernate during the colder winter months. Goldfish are quite versatile animals, and can survive in water temperatures as low as 45°F. With a little bit of work, your outdoor ponds and tanks in un-heated areas of your homes can be set to keep your fish safely hibernating without risking the temperature dropping too low. With the aid of temperature controllers and titanium heaters, nearly any tank or pond can be equipped to handle the colder winter months.

Advantages Of Hibernating Your Goldfish

There are a number of different reasons why breeders prefer to hibernate their goldfish during the winter time. According to one breeder who specializes in the Ranchu variety of goldfish, “During hibernation, you do not feed your Ranchu and do no water changes unless necessary because of bad water quality.” Although regular monitoring of water temperatures and conditions are required, this means a lot less work for keepers and breeders who have numerous goldfish. For anyone who knows how much work it can be to maintain a large number of fish, this seasonal break is often a welcomed respite.

How To Safely Hibernate Your Goldfish

While hibernating your fish is perfectly safe if done correctly, it is important to follow a proper set of guidelines to avoid unintentionally causing harm to your goldfish.

Here is a step-by-step list of what you need to do to rest your fish:

  • When the water temperature has dropped to 50°F, stop feeding your goldfish for three days. After this period, clean the bottom of the tank or pond but allow algae to remain on the sides.
  • Ranco Temperature Control
    Change out the tank’s water with clean, fresh water and install a 300+ watt titanium heater and temperature regulator. Set the regulator to 45°F, the lowest temperature you’ll need to keep your water, and then return the fish to the tank once the new water has adjusted to the previous water’s temperature. One of the best temperature controllers on the market right now is the Ranco ETC-111000.
  • Leave aerators and sponge filters in place, and cover the top of ponds to protect from sudden chills and drops in temperature.
  • You can leave your goldfish in hibernation for 6-10 weeks. Attempting to keep temperatures low for any longer can lead to health issues and even death in some cases.
  • After the period of hibernation, do a full water change and hose out the bottom and sides of the pond, but do not scrape all of the growth off of the surfaces, and return the fish.
  • On the first day, add 2.5g of salt for each liter of water in your pond. Repeat the addition of salt on the second day as well
  • Using the temperature controller and titanium heater, raise the water’s temperature by 1°F every other day until 49°F. At this point, raise the temperature from 49°F to 52°F in one day. This rapid increase is important because harmful organisms can survive in that temperature range, but your goldfish’s immune systems will still be hibernating.
  • Once the water temperature reaches 52°F, begin feeding and conduct 100% water changes weekly until all fish are back to their normal state. Additional salt can be added at either 2.5g/l or 5.0g/l if the fish look “dull” following these water changes.

Hibernating your goldfish can be an easy way to keep them healthy outdoors through the winter months and reduce the amount of time you’ll need to spend caring for them. Even though they’re resting, however, you will still need to pay attention regularly to the water’s temperature and quality. If done properly, hibernation can be simple but it is important to ensure water does not drop below 45°F to prevent damage to your fish’s health.

Goldfish Club

Goldfish Society of Great BritainAmerican Ranchu Society North American Veiltail Association Blue Egg Phoenix Preservation Society

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