Random Bits of Projects

August 22, 2008

Handfeeding a Goldfish

Filed under: Fish,How to Do Stuff,pets — virtuallyamy @ 2:22 am
Tags: , , , , ,

One of my favorite fish was a red-cap Oranda goldfish named Shemp. There was a Moe but we Never got around to a Curly. I had this fish for 8 years before he/she  died of a disease that flared up on occasion through his life. Moe followed the same path.

What was striking about Shemp is that he would eat from my hand and if I put my hand in the water, he would swim up and sit in it. Needless to say it was easy to take Shemp out of the tank when I had to move. I just picked him up. For some reason, he never became scared of my hand after that. This fish was not smart, as fish go, but he was really cool….as fish go. When he (and the other goldfish) died I went on a fishy rebound and got cichlids. Sigh. More about them later.

So in his belated memory, I thought I would try to remember how I got him to be so tame and post it here. Keep in mind this was now 10 years ago so I probably do not remember it all. But at least you know you can do it and maybe research it some more. If you do research more, you can also get goldfish to jump through hoops but you probably want something other than a slow oranda for that.

I started Shemp when he was maybe an inch long. After he got used to the feeding routine (goldfish flakes when he was small and pellets later), I started to treat with some pellets. Eventually I held the pellet in my hand until he got near. It did not take long for him to then take it directly from my fingers. As time went by, I would follow him with my hand in a way that did not scare him. If he became to frightened, I would stop. You just want to push it just a little bit more over time. After awhile he did not mind my hand at all. You cannot associate your hand with anything but food and hanging around. He was much bigger when I could finally cup him in my hand. I wish I could remember the time it took. Just be patient. Make this a project you kind of do here and there.

A word of caution: be sure your hands do not have soap residue or anything else. This can harm the fish or cause alarm associated with your hand.

Moe came later for a buddy for Shemp. Goldfish seem to like the company. I did not do any of this with Moe so he never would let me near him with my hand.

If this inspires you to get a goldfish, please read up on their requirements first. I will post sites for this soon. They do NOT do well in a bowl unless you are willing to change the water a few times a day. They urinate and poop a lot. Without a good quantity of water and filtration the fish will die from its own waste. They also get big. Shemp was BIG when he died. I never measured but he and Moe took up a 29 gallon tank and probably could have gone bigger. I had filtration for a 70 gallon tank to keep up with their waste output. (I recommend extra filtration for any tank but especially for goldfish). If you get an inch long fish or two, start with a 10 gallon but expect to go at least 29. If you get more than 2 or 3, then get a bigger tank. I have seen so many of these fish die because people think they are throw away (if any animal is) pet to stick in a bowl until their child gets over it (in a few days). If you can only deal with a bowl, get a beta. Even then, expect to change the water weekly. No filtration = waste staying in the bowl. Even with filtration, you still have ammonia from urine and food break down. Also, fish do behave the same in a small bowl. They are much more interesting with space to swim and objects to explore. If you insist on a bowl, consider a betta fish.

Eventually I will post the basics of fish keeping for people considering this. I briefly worked at a pet shop and was horrified how people just get a pet on a whim and then get annoyed it takes work. Fish are not low maintenance.

Whew…enough ranting there.

Links: http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/care.html  or  http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=16&cat=1922&articleid=2650,   more soon.

Read about my betta fish here  https://virtuallyamy.wordpress.com/2008/09/07/betta-fish-look-at-the-bubbles/

More links, and fine tuning soon. Please check back. This was a quick post.  Share goldfish stories if you have them!

For more fish and tank related stuff, go to my Categories listed on the right and click on fish from the drop down menu. (Hopefully it will show all.)



  1. hi. Can i refer to u about my oranda? (sorry if english is broken cuz i dont speak english in everyday). My oranda now is so BIG. She (or he??) used to get familiar with my hand and i keep her alone in a big bowl. I used to change its water once in two days.

    Last month i got busy with exams so i had to send my oranda to my boyfriend’s place, where later he keeps my BIG oranda along together with other 5-6 small goldfishes.

    Now, my oranda became slow in movement (perhaps lethargic) and has black-greenie spots on its lower part of body and fins. her tail also rotten and got holes there. I feel sad. Extremely sad cuz i thought Flyer (her name) is like a baby to me.

    I saw she’s been pecking by the other mean small goldfish in the same tank. They keep on peck,peck and peck on her black/green area on its body. Im so saddd!!!!!

    Can her health improvise if i take her back n do quarantine?

    Comment by Lady Qeen — May 6, 2009 @ 2:28 am | Reply

    • Hello! I am so sorry about your fish! Yes, I would quarantine Flyer as soon as possible. I am not entirely sure what the problem would be but one of the things you can check is water quality. If you can find Melafix and Pimafix those are two medications that might help. If the fish is in a bowl though, you will need to use much less than it says because there is no filtration and air. The other fish are probably eating the rotting flesh. I had that happen with my baby. I was very attached to mine as wekk. It is hard to go through this. I hope you have good luck. Sorry I am not much help on this one.
      Try these two websites. http://goldfishcareguide.com/2008/03/05/common-goldfish-diseases/

      Comment by virtuallyamy — May 6, 2009 @ 8:47 am | Reply

  2. ouh, thanx!

    Comment by Lady Qeen — May 6, 2009 @ 8:54 am | Reply

    • You are very welcome! Good Luck! 🙂

      Comment by virtuallyamy — May 6, 2009 @ 8:56 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: