What’s The Best Goldfish Tank Setup?

Bigger is always better when it comes to choosing an aquarium, especially when it comes to a Goldfish tank.

These beautiful, interesting and widely popular fish have specific requirements when it comes to tank size and equipment.

Today, I’ll go over some information all new Goldfish owners should know and review some products that can help you set up the perfect tank for this species.

What Tank Size Do You Need for Goldfish?

three orange fantail goldfish swimming near surface on tank on black background

Here’s the thing: goldfish need a lot more room than people realize.

Anyone who tells you that goldfish can be kept in a bowl or a small 5 gallon (19 liter) tank does not know what they are talking about.

The cute little goldfish you see in the store will grow to be between 6 and 12 inches long (15-30 centimeters), depending on the breed.

Not only do they grow really large, goldfish also produce an enormous amount of waste and they’re messy eaters. So they need a higher water volume to dilute that (more on that later).

Some varieties of goldfish are much more active than others. Breeds like comet or common goldfish are very athletic and swim rapidly all day long. Since they also reach lengths of 12 inches, these fish need a larger, and preferably longer, tank than fancy goldfish varieties.

Larger and more active breeds of goldfish include:

  • Common goldfish
  • Comets
  • Shubunkin 

These fish get big, really, really big. That’s why they’re often kept in ponds. But if you’re going to keep them in an aquarium, expect that they will need at least 40 gallons (151 liters) per fish.

Plan on having a huge tank if you want to have multiple fish, at least an 80 gallon (303 liter) for a pair of comet goldfish.

Fancy goldfish breeds include:

  • Fantail 
  • Veiltail
  • Oranda
  • Bubble eye 
  • Telescope eye
  • Lionhead 

Fancy goldfish don’t get as massive as comets and common goldfish, and aren’t overly vigorous swimmers, but they still need ample room. You should plan on providing at least 20 gallons (75 liters) per fish.

Reviews for the Best Goldfish Tank – Tank Only

Pearlscale Goldfish close up

Tetra Glass Aquarium (Assorted Sizes)

These are the classic, the same kind of framed rectangular tanks that we all know and love. Again, the absolute smallest I would go for a single fancy Goldfish would be the 20 gallon, or better yet, the 29 gallon.

If you’d like to have two Goldfish—maybe three if you have enough filtration and keep up with your water changes—I’d suggest going with a 55 gallon.

These tanks are sturdy and well sealed and give you the opportunity to pick your own equipment and customize your lighting and filtration.

Tetra Glass Aquarium 29 Gallons, Rectangular Fish Tank, Assorted color
Tetra Glass Aquarium 29 Gallons, Rectangular Fish Tank, Assorted color

    Last update on 2024-07-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Firaq Large Ultra Clear Borderless Aquarium with Low-Iron Glass (Assorted Sizes)

    There’s nothing wrong with a rimmed tank. I own a bunch of them. But, you can get some really impactful, sleek, modern looks with a rimless tank. And the ultra clear glass really makes your fish look brighter.

    I understand, not everyone can spring for the expense, but if you can swing it, a rimless tank can really look amazing with the right setup.

    Sale
    Firaq Large Fish Tank, Glass Aquarium, Rectangular Turtle Tank Peninsula Style, Premium Ultra Clear Borderless Aquarium with Low-Iron Glass for Fish and Corals 8mm (23.6 * 17.7 * 17.7 inches)
    Firaq Large Fish Tank, Glass Aquarium, Rectangular Turtle Tank Peninsula Style, Premium Ultra Clear Borderless Aquarium with Low-Iron Glass for Fish and Corals 8mm (23.6 * 17.7 * 17.7 inches)

      Last update on 2024-07-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      Reviews Best Goldfish Tank Equipment

      Some aquarists prefer to buy their tank and equipment separately, especially for bigger tanks. I’ll admit, that’s what I often do.

      Hydro-Sponge Pro IV Premium Reticulated Foam Sponge Filter

      Goldfish put off enormous amounts of waste. Seriously, they poop a lot!!

      You need some really great filtration to be able to process that amount of fish waste without getting deadly ammonia spikes.

      I highly recommend adding on some extra filtration, even if you buy a great filter, to make sure that your water parameters stay stable and healthy. 

      You don’t have to break the bank to do this. Sponge filters are cheap, easy to set up and simple to maintain.

      I’ve used a bunch of Hydro-Sponges over the years, they’re great. I especially like the coarser sponge that comes with their Pro series filters. It doesn’t get clogged up as easily as finer sponges.

      You will need an air pump for your sponge filter, and I recommend adding on a diffuser to make the bubbles a little quieter.

      Please, click these links to see our detailed articles about sponge filters and air pumps.

      Hydro-Sponge Pro IV Premium Reticulated Foam Sponge Filter for Aquariums up to 80 Gallons
      Hydro-Sponge Pro IV Premium Reticulated Foam Sponge Filter for Aquariums up to 80 Gallons

        Last update on 2024-07-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        EHEIM Classic 2215 External Canister Filter

        Love this filter!! I’ve used it on one of my most heavily stocked tanks for years. It’s done an amazing job.

        This filter has room for an enormous amount of biomedia. It processes fish waste like a boss.

        And when you have big messy fish, like Goldfish, you have to regularly clean your filters out. Maintenance on this Eheim filter is so simple. It only takes me about 20 minutes to clean this out and it’s easy to get it going again when I get done.

        This filter really is a classic: simple, reliable, straightforward.

        EHEIM Classic 2215 External Canister Filter with Media for up to 92 US Gallons
        EHEIM Classic 2215 External Canister Filter with Media for up to 92 US Gallons

          Last update on 2024-07-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          Fluval ‘07 Series Performance Canister Filters

          Fluval 407 canister filter set up on aquarium

          In my opinion, you can never go wrong with Fluval. The renowned German manufacturer makes a whole line of ‘07 Performance filters, rated from 30-100 gallons. 

          I use a 407 on one of my 55 gallon tanks that’s stocked with angelfish and Boesemani rainbows. Again, lots of room for biomedia in the canister.

          It also has very large sponges for mechanical filtration that are awesome for catching all that Goldfish poop.

          It’s simple to clean out and prime this filter. I highly recommend this canister.

          Fluval 207 Perfomance Canister Filter - for Aquariums Up to 45 Gallons - Aquarium Canister Filter
          Fluval 207 Perfomance Canister Filter - for Aquariums Up to 45 Gallons - Aquarium Canister Filter

            Last update on 2024-07-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            Fluval FX6 Canister Filter

            Fluval fx6 reviewed

            I recommend the FX6 if you have a very large tank, like a 150 gallon or larger.

            I actually tested this filter on a 100 gallon indoor pond that housed a group of juvenile comet Goldfish. This filter sucked up all the solid wastes and did a spectacular job at maintaining healthy water parameters.

            This filter holds an enormous amount of biomedia and its super strong pump keeps your water well circulated.

            Yes, it’s expensive, but if you’re going to keep a really large tank with lots of Goldfish, I think the FX6 is completely worth it.

            Fluval FX6 High Performance Aquarium Filter, Canister Filter for Aquariums up to 400 Gal.
            Fluval FX6 High Performance Aquarium Filter, Canister Filter for Aquariums up to 400 Gal.

              Last update on 2024-07-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              Hygger Auto On Off LED Aquarium Light

              If you want to go a little bit higher end for lights, Hygger lights are really nice. I love the way they make my tanks and fish look.

              These lights grow plants like crazy, but that also means they can grow some serious algae, so make sure to use the built-in timer to control how long the lights are on and how intense they are.

              Some folks give these lights a hard time, and I could not disagree more. I’ve got them on two different tanks and am about to add a third. I genuinely like them. 

              Hygger lights make my fish look better than any other lights I’ve ever used, including way more expensive brands. A Goldfish tank is all about watching the fish, so these lights would be my first choice.

              hygger Auto On Off LED Aquarium Light, Full Spectrum Fish Tank Light with LCD Monitor, 24/7 Lighting Cycle, 7 Colors, Adjustable Timer, IP68 Waterproof, 3 Modes for 18'-24' Freshwater Planted Tank
              hygger Auto On Off LED Aquarium Light, Full Spectrum Fish Tank Light with LCD Monitor, 24/7 Lighting Cycle, 7 Colors, Adjustable Timer, IP68 Waterproof, 3 Modes for 18"-24" Freshwater Planted Tank

                Last update on 2024-07-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                NICREW ClassicLED Plus LED Aquarium Light

                Nicrew is a reliable, and beautiful, economy light. I tested these for several weeks, and while it wasn’t my absolute favorite for a planted tank, I think it’s still a very solid light that looks great for a fish only tank.

                They are capable of growing low-light plants, which can sometimes grow in a Goldfish tank (if the fish don’t eat/destroy them) and have a lot of great features, like a built-in timer and dimmer. 

                I like that you can program the daylight and moonlight hours and then the light will automatically add in ramp up/down periods so the transitions from one mode to another are less stressful for fish.

                Other economy lights just snap from off to full daylight, then snap again to moonlight, etc, which can scare and stress fish. These Nicrew lights are much nicer than that!

                Remember, Goldfish are cold water fish. No need to add on a heater!

                NICREW ClassicLED Plus LED Aquarium Light with Timer, 27 Watts, for 36 to 48 Inch Fish Tank Light, Daylight and Moonlight Cycle, Brightness Adjustable
                NICREW ClassicLED Plus LED Aquarium Light with Timer, 27 Watts, for 36 to 48 Inch Fish Tank Light, Daylight and Moonlight Cycle, Brightness Adjustable

                  Last update on 2024-07-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                  Reviews for the Best Goldfish Tank – Kits

                  Goldfish in planted tank

                  Marina Aquarium Kit – 20 gallon

                  Equipment included:

                  • 20 gallon glass aquarium
                  • Lid with integrated LED light
                  • Power filter
                  • Net 
                  • Thermometer 

                  This is a great little kit that would make a good home for a single fancy Goldfish.

                  But, the filter is a bit small, so I would definitely recommend adding on a sponge filter.

                  I like that the light is integrated into the lid. It comes with white LEDs only, but they’re more than enough to enjoy watching your Goldfish flutter around the tank.

                  The lower and simpler the light, the easier it usually is to control algae long-term anyway.

                  Marina Aquarium Kit - 20 gallon Fish Tank - LED
                  Marina Aquarium Kit - 20 gallon Fish Tank - LED

                    Last update on 2024-07-18 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                    Tetra Complete LED Aquarium 55 Gallons

                    Equipment included:

                    • 55 gallon glass aquarium
                    • Lid with integrated LED light
                    • Whisper power filter
                    • Heater (which you don’t need for Goldfish)
                    • Net

                    I really like the low profile lid on this kit. The LED lights that are integrated into the lid aren’t the best, but they could always be replaced or augmented with waterproof LED strips down the road.

                    This kit comes with a Whisper power filter that’s rated at having a flow rate of 330 gallons per hour. That’s a good turnover rate for the tank, but since there’s not much room for biomedia inside this filter, I would recommend adding on a sponge filter or two to make sure that your water parameters stay in check.

                    And on a personal note, I would ditch the cartridges and just add reusable sponge and biomedia. But, that’s just me and my anti-activated carbon campaign I’ve been on for years. Carbon doesn’t do anything for ammonia, but biomedia, like ceramic rings or bio balls, do.

                    But, no matter what you do, this kit is a good start so you can get your Goldfish set up in a new home. Just remember, as long as your room temperatures don’t routinely drop below 65°F (18°C), there’s no need for you to add the included heater to a Goldfish tank.

                    Tetra Complete LED Aquarium 55 Gallons, includes LED Lighting, Filtration, Heater and Accessories
                    Tetra Complete LED Aquarium 55 Gallons, includes LED Lighting, Filtration, Heater and Accessories

                      Last update on 2024-07-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                      Conclusions

                      Goldfish have very specific requirements when it comes to tank size and filtration. For both of these, more is MORE!!

                      The bigger the water volume of the tank, the easier it is to maintain your water parameters, especially with how much poop Goldfish pump out every day. 

                      I highly recommend adding on as much filtration as possible. It will keep the tank healthier in the long run, believe me.

                      I hope you find this article helpful.

                      I wish you and your fish the very best!

                      Katherine Morgan
                      Katherine Morgan

                      Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. An aquarium specialist, I've kept tanks for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast.

                      Leave a Reply

                      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

                      This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.