Goldfish- Their love for Pebble and Gravel

Goldfish are the real treasure of an aquarium. Their exotic appearance is enough to add grace and make the tank look beautiful. Although easy to maintain, goldfish have their own set of notorious activities that can baffle any aquarist. Out of so many, today, we will discuss their equation with gravel and pebbles or rocks of the tank.

If you have an experience of petting a goldfish, you might be familiar with their love of keeping pebbles in their mouth. The wide mouth of goldfish can easily hold small rocks or gravel that we put in the tank. In search of food when goldfish forages along the bottom of the tank, they pick up small rocks easily. However, soon after realizing that it’s not something to eat, they spit them out immediately.

Until this point, everything is easy. But, the things take U-turn when the pebbles get stuck in the mouth. If the pebbles are pea-sized, this risk increases.

Goldfish and Pebbles

Pebbles or small rocks and gravel are one of the essentialities of an aquarium. You cannot remove all the pebbles or exclude gravel from the tank if you have goldfish. Most of the time, the new aquarists panic seeing the small rock stuck in the mouth of their fish. Therefore, today in the following steps, we will tell how you can remove the pebbles out from the goldfish mouth easily.

  • Wash your hand thoroughly– It is important that your hands are clean before you enter them inside the tank. Dirty or greasy hands can alter the water chemistry and make it detrimental for the fish.
  • Unplug the electrical source of the tank– Since you have to put your hands inside the tank, make sure the tank’s electrical source is unplugged. It will avoid the risk of electric shock.
  • Pick the goldfish– Reach your one hand down into the tank slowly and hold the goldfish gently. Do not squeeze the fish and try to keep it still. It will be better to hold the fish closer to the side glass as it ensures better visibility inside its mouth.
  • Use tweezers– Now with another hand, lift a pair of tweezers and lower it inside the tank. Open the mouth of the goldfish by gently pressing from the sides and carefully grasp the stuck pebble out. You may also use the end of the tweezers to enter the fish’s mouth and get a better grip on the pebble.
  • Release the fish– Once the pebble is out, release the fish.

This is one of the easiest ways of removing the small rocks out from the goldfish’s mouth. However, with the new aquarists, holding the goldfish to the side of the glass becomes difficult as they are slippery and tries very hard to get out of the clutch.

If such is the case with you too, try this way-

  • Use a net– Point the concerned fish and remove it from the tank with the help of a net. Now keep the fish on a firm and clean surface.
  • Hold the fish– Now hold the fish with one hand so that it doesn’t jump out. It will be easy as the fish is already inside the net. With your other hand, extract the stuck pebble out with the help of tweezers.
  • Release the fish back to the tank– Once the pebble comes out; return the fish back to the tank immediately.

When you try to remove the pebble with this method, you need to be extra quick to do all the steps. Make sure you put the fish back inside the water without delay. You don’t want to lose your fish, right?

What can you do to avoid pebble getting stuck in the mouth?

If your goldfish is in the habit of keeping the pebble in the mouth, which gets stuck more often, get rid of the large-sized pebbles straight away from the tank. When you are introducing goldfish in the tank, the first thing you can do is removing the pea-sized rocks or pebbles out.

Increase the size of the rocks in the tank. Either purchase it from the aquarium store or collect it by yourself. The rocks from the store are already treated, so you don’t need to make any additional efforts. However, if you are collecting by yourself, make sure they do not contain chemicals or minerals that can affect the water chemistry. At the same time, boil and sanitize the rocks you have collected by yourself before you introduce them in the tank.

 Goldfish and Gravel

Apart from pebble, goldfish loves gravel equally. You may find your gold creature dwelling at the bottom and sucking the gravel many times. Sucking and spitting gravel is one of the common activities that you will encounter. Don’t panic!

There are two important reasons behind spending time at the bottom and sucking the gravel. These are-

  • Looking for snacks– Goldfish loves to eat. They are called opportunistic feeders as they do not leave anything that they cannot eat. In search of food or a quick snack, they frequently dwell at the bottom and scan the gravel.

Gravel contains bits of algae and other microscopic organisms; goldfish get tempting buffet there. So they suck the entire gravel, scrape off the microorganisms and spit the rest of the gravel out. While most of the gravel comes out, some that get stuck inside is excreted out with the feces. You may find small pebbles and bits of gravel in the excreta of goldfish due to this.

The digestive system of goldfish is strong enough to remove these foreign materials out. Therefore, do not panic when you see small stones in the feces as now you know from where and why they are coming.

  • Lovestruck- If it’s a breeding season and your fish are dwelling at the bottom, there is a high possibility that they have found a match. During mating season, the fish begin to nip at anything. It could be plants, gravel, pebbles, and even each other. While nipping is a natural behavior that they show during mating season, make sure none of them is getting aggressive on the other.

What can you do to avoid gravel getting inside the mouth?

While you can select large size rocks to avoid getting pebble stuck in the mouth, you can go for fine sand gravel instead of coarse one. No matter which gravel you select, ensure that it doesn’t irritate the gills of the fish. It is advised to always get the gravel from an aquarium store and select only high-quality fine sand. It will make sure that the fish are safe even after sucking the gravel inside.

So these are certain safety measures that are essential to practice if you have goldfish in your aquarium. Get the right size of pebbles and fine quality gravel to keep them safe from any kind of uncertainty. As much as the goldfish look beautiful, the same amount of effort is needed for its upkeep.

So make the right choice when it comes to pebbles and gravel and give your goldfish a safe and healthy environment to grow.

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