Do goldfish need an air pump?

Written by rena sherwood
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Do goldfish need an air pump?
(Image from StockXChng.)

Although seeing a goldfish in a bowl is popular image, it's not an ideal home for these fish because they can't get enough oxygen to stay healthy. If a goldfish has to be kept in a bowl, an air stone should be added in order to add needed oxygen. In order to operate the air stone, an air pump is needed.


An air pump can help keep the water moving. This makes make for a healthier tank, because still water quickly becomes stagnant and becomes a home for breeding mosquitoes and promotes algae growth.


According to "Goldfish: A Complete Owner's Manual" (Marshall Ostrow, 1995) goldfish produce more excreta than other kinds of aquarium fish. This means that goldfish water is depleted of oxygen fairly quickly.


The smaller the tank, the more quickly dangerous nitrogen-based toxic chemicals build up. The sources of these toxins includes goldfish waste, dead fish and food the goldfish misses and is left to rot.

Expert Insight

According to "Goldfish" (Bernice Brewster and Nick Fletcher, 2004), buy the biggest tank you can afford and use an air pump and filter. Partial water changes only need to be done once a week. Goldfish bowls, in contrast, need complete water changes every day if the goldfish has any chance of surviving.


One attractive way to hide air stones or air hoses is with fish tank ornaments. Those that move, such as those in the shape of a giant clam or a treasure chest, move because they are connected to a plastic hose that is connected to an air pump. This helps bring needed oxygen to the fish.

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