Lionhead goldfish are among the most popular fancy goldfish because of their bright colors and the mane-like growths around their neck. However, these goldfish require more sensitive care than other fish species and a proper aquarium setup is vital to ensure lifelong health.
At minimum, young goldfish need at least one gallon of water per inch of fish. If you have three two-inch fish, this is six total inches and you need six gallons of water. However, as fish grow older, they need much more space than this and you should aim for 20 or so gallons of water per fish. Generally speaking, the larger the aquarium is, the healthier the fish will be. Lionhead goldfish need more oxygen than many other fish, so provide an air stone for proper oxygenation. Proper filtration will keep the tank clean, and you should change 10 percent of the water each week.
Lighting and Temperature
Without adequate lighting, goldfish lose their color. An aquarium hood is an ideal light source because it prevents fish from jumping out. Lionheads are large and fairly strong, and can jump out and suffocate. The aquarium temperature should be between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below 60 degrees or above 75 degrees can kill your goldfish, so carefully monitor temperature. You can elevate temperatures by using a heat light or aquarium heater. Lower temperatures by draining some water and adding cold water.
Lionheads, like most goldfish, are omnivorous scavengers, which means they will eat just about anything. They can survive on fish flakes alone, but for optimal health they need variety in their diets. Give your fish brine shrimp, small pieces of cooked meat such as chicken, and pieces of fruit and vegetables regularly. Avoid giving snack foods and lettuces, as these offer little nutritional value.
While most goldfish do well in tanks with plenty of decor, lionheads can easily snag their fins and manes on rough decorations. Ensure that aquarium ornaments are sanded down. Too many ornaments can decrease your fish's swimming space, so keep them to a minimum. Live plants are excellent decorations because they add oxygen to the tank. The fish do not need substrate, but brightly-colored aquarium gravel or river rocks provide an ideal substrate for planting plants and can help catch debris at the bottom of the tank.
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.