Care Guide for GloFish – Fluorescent Fish for Beginners
You may have seen brightly-colored fish in a pet shop and wondered what they were. Because of their vibrant rainbow colors and energetic behavior, GloFish(r), are a popular fish for beginners. They can also live in many different water conditions. Learn how they got their bright fluorescent glow and how you can care for them to live a long, healthy life.
What are GloFish?
GloFish are not just one type of fish but rather a collection of freshwater species that have been genetically modified with fluorescent protein genes that naturally occur in jellyfish, sea anemones, corals, and other marine life. They were originally developed by scientists to study genetics and help detect certain pollutants in the water, but their dazzling appearance made them a popular addition to the aquarium fish industry. The GloFish glows under blue light thanks to their fluorescent genes. This does not seem to affect their quality of living.
Currently, GloFish are available in the following options, but more varieties and colors are being developed on a regular basis.
– Zebra danios (Danio rerio) – Black skirt tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) – Tiger barbs (Puntius tetrazona) – Rainbow shark (Epalzeorhynchos frenatum) – Betta fish (Betta splendens)
Although each species’ husbandry is different, this article will attempt to provide a generalized overview.
GloFish tetras are genetically modified black skirt tetras that glow under blue lighting.
What are the colors of GloFish? Currently, they come in Moonrise Pink, Starfire Red, Sunburst Orange, Electric Green, Cosmic Blue, and Galactic Purple.
Are GloFish injected with dye? Their brilliant coloration is not due to injection with dye. It is a hereditary trait passed from parent-to-offspring.
Is it illegal to breed GloFish? GloFish are trademarked and patented by GloFish LLC, so only they and their affiliates are legally allowed to breed and sell them. If your fish accidentally reproduce in your home or school aquarium, it is not a problem. Hobbyists and unlicensed entities are prohibited from selling, bartering, or trading GloFish offspring.
What’s the average lifespan of GloFishes? It all depends on what species you have, but they generally live between 3-5 and 5-7 years. Betta fish tend to have a short lifespan closer to 2-3 years, whereas some hobbyists have reported owning rainbow sharks up to 13 years.
How much do GloFish cost? GloFish can be more expensive than normal-colored fish. The prices range from $6.49 to $24.99 for a GloFish Danio to $24.99 for an elite male GloFish Betta.
How Do You Set Up a GloFish Aquarium?
Most GloFish aquarium kits are quite small, where 10 or 20 gallons seems to the biggest size that is available at mainstream pet stores. However, most GloFish are very active and need to be kept in 20- to 40-gallon aquariums or larger. Also, the blue light that comes with GloFish tanks does not grow aquarium plants very well, which means you may need to add lots of aquarium decorations and fake plants to prevent any aggression among your fish.
GloFish still look very colorful under normal white light and would do well in a beautiful planted aquarium.
Smaller fish tanks with no plants will need more water changes and filter maintenance in order to ensure that your fish do not live in water contaminated by their waste. Water test strips can be used to assess the level of your water and decide if it is time for a tank clean. If possible, buy a bigger aquarium that is not specifically for GloFish. You can use it as long as the aquarium has a “moonlight”, setting that emits blue light, and a white light setting. Then you can add low light aquarium plants that grow under white light during the daytime and naturally consume the toxic nitrogen chemicals produced by your fish’s waste. A large fish tank with many plants will keep your fish’s health better and the water more clean.
Should I turn off my GloFish light? Yes, do not leave the blue light on for 24 hours a day because the fish need to sleep in the dark at night and algae can grow if you turn on the aquarium light more than 12 hours a day. If you find that your fish tank is experiencing green water or excessive algae growth, use a power outlet timer for the aquarium light and number the amount of hours the light is on each day.
Do you need a heater for GloFish? All GloFish except for the danios need a heater because they are tropical fish that require temperatures of approximately 75-80degF (24-27degC) to stay healthy. Keep them at room temperature between 68-72degF (20-22degC) to avoid them getting sick. A simple aquarium heater will automatically take care of the temperature for you.
How many GloFish should be kept together? You should keep at least six GloFish together. Tetras, barbs, and danios are schooling fish. This will make them more comfortable and reduce aggression. Different colors are fine, so you could, for example, get one tetra of each color to form a school of six. Tiger barbs can attack other GloFish types, making them semi-aggressive fish. We recommend keeping them in a species-only aquarium that only contains tiger barbs.
GloFish danios are a fast-swimming schooling fish that get along with other peaceful, community fish.
Rainbow sharks grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) long and can be a bit territorial, so we only recommend getting one for a 29-gallon or larger aquarium. We recommend that you only get one Betta fish for your 5-gallon or larger fish tank. They are semi-aggressive, and will not tolerate other GloFish types. See our recommendations for tank mates that you could keep with betta fish.
What does GloFish eat?
Glofish are easy to keep and love variety. One caveat is that Betta fish prefer to be fed from the water surface. Instead of giving them frozen food, betta pellets or freeze-dried foods, you can try floating betta.
Feed different kinds of fish foods each week to ensure that your GloFish get all the essential nutrients they need for optimal health and coloration.
GloFish are difficult to keep alive
The developers of GloFish deliberately chose the hardiest, most beginner-friendly species possible to make GloFish, so in general, they are fairly bulletproof as long as you keep their aquarium clean and feed them well. GloFish can become stressed and underweight after being purchased, making them more susceptible to illness. Choose GloFish with rounded bellies that swim well and don’t show any signs (e.g., white spots or ripped fins) and who behave normally. We recommend quarantining all new fish that you bring into your home to prevent the potential spread of disease to your aquariums and to treat them more easily with medication if needed. Also, make sure to keep them in larger aquariums of at least 5 gallons for a betta fish, 20 gallons for tetras and danios, 30 gallons for tiger barbs, and 30-40 gallons for a rainbow shark.
We wish you the best with your new GloFish. Our Aquarium Co-Op retail store does not sell GloFish because we believe there is already a huge variety of colorful fish in nature to choose from. To order aquarium fish online, check out our recommended fish sellers below.