Have you seen your fish, especially your Goldfish open and close their mouth before or even keep doing it constantly? well if you have, you will be very worried or puzzled and you might want to know why such is happening and what to do to stop it. Goldfish fish is one of the most popular freshwater fish and it is commonly seen in many homes. These fish are not very hardy, although they are not very complicated to be cared for. If you want to know why your Goldfish is behaving in such a manner, I recommend you read this article to the end to comprehend and know the possible solutions.
Why do Goldfish open and close their mouth? They close their mouth to take in water to breathe when they can’t get sufficient oxygen through their gills and also they do it to clean their gills.
Goldfish is one of the fish that are sometimes called dirty fish. This doesn’t mean they stain themselves or anything like that, but they produce a lot of waste in their water which could result in many negative effects on them.
If you are very familiar with them, you must have discovered that they do open and close their mouth from time to time, although not consistently.
This is because they produce much waste and sometimes their gills will easily be clogged with dirt, which needs to be removed, so taking in water from their mouth and using it to wash their gills is one of the main reasons why they open and close their mouth.
So, Goldfish do yawn or open and close their mouth when they can’t get enough oxygen or when they want to wash or clean their gills.
The difference between when they are doing it for cleaning their gills and when they are doing it because they lack oxygen is, that they will stay at the bottom and will yawn once in a while, and won’t feel bothered when they are doing it to clean their gills, but when they do it because they want to breath, they will surface and will be grabbing air from the surface, they will be doing it consistently and rapidly and if a solution is not provided, they may become stressed and sick.
Now you know the 2 reasons why they open and close their mouth or yawn as you may call it, let’s look at why they may lack oxygen in their water.
1. Overstocking: As I explained above, these fish are considered to be dirty fish because of their ability to release a high amount of toxins such as ammonia in their tanks.
Because of this, they prefer living in a much bigger tank and with a minimal number of fish, so that they could not easily pollute the water and cause problems for themselves.
Although they are a little tolerant of some toxins such as ammonia and that’s why it doesn’t seem to affect them that much, but it does anyway!.
When toxins like ammonia get into goldfish tanks, it will affect their gills, making them unable to breath freely, so that is why Goldfish could sometimes do that.
So, overcrowding them in a tank will help speed up the pollution of a tank, thereby breeding toxins that may affect their gills and curtail their breathing.
2. Small tank size: Just like overcrowding, a small tank could be very fatal for these fish.
I have seen so many people keep their goldfish in a bowel or tanks that is less than 10 gallons, well it is highly discouraged as they deserve big tanks despite their small sizes.
The truth is, captive-bred goldfish are small in size, nevertheless they need big tanks not because of their size and their level of activeness, but because of the amount of waste they produce which could easily pollute small tanks and affect the. negatively.
So, keeping them in any tank less than at least a 55-gallon tank is not recommended, because a single goldfish needs up to a 15-20 gallon tank.
3. Water Temperature: Goldfish are tropical freshwater fish, which means that they only love and dwell in warm water, but can’t do well in cold water and might even die in it.
Coldwater depletes the level of oxygen in it which will frustrate any tropical water fish or animal in it, thereby making them opt for oxygen at the surface.
This is why fish like Goldfish can’t do without a Heater. Buy a heater for them and keep the temperature normal for them, and they will be very healthy and will stop breathing heavily or yawning consistently.
4. Dirty water: These fish are known for making a mess in their water through their constant pooping and maybe many leftover Foods which will in return pollute the water.
When the water is polluted, the oxygen in it will deplete and it will hardly get in such water, so this will make the fish or any animal in such a tank suffocate.
Apart from the water getting polluted, sometimes enough oxygen won’t circulate in the water, especially if the tank is big and the water is deep.
This is why it is very important to buy an air pump or air stone.
A filter is very necessary too to help keep the water clean.
How To Stop Goldfish From Opening And Closing Their Mouth
To stop them from doing this, there are things that you could do to prevent it, such as:
1. If they don’t because the oxygen in the water is depleting, then do a change of water and put in an air pump or air stone which will help to move air down to the bottom of the tank.
2. Avoid anything that will lead to stress for your fish such as a small tank, unsuitable tank mates, unsuitable environment.
3. Always check their water to know when toxins are in, and check the temperature too. to do these, you will need a thermometer and testing kit.
This is because, as I explained above, toxins affect their gills thereby making them unable time breath effectively, while cold water temperature depletes the level of oxygen in the water. So get them a Heater too.
4. Clean your tank and do at least a 50% change of water twice a week and buy a filter to help keep the water clean.