I was downstairs, and decided to take some photos of my three goldfish as I rarely pay them much mind apart from water changes and feeding.
My original fish
My original fish with its similar looking companion
This is my weird looking shubunkin. It doesn't really seem to grow as fast as the other two and it has always swam on sort of a tilt.
Then my other silvery coloured one (I'm sure there is some proper goldfish term used to describe this colour)
The oldest shubunkin above, is what originally got me into serious fishkeeping. About three years ago, my dad moved interstate and left me in charge of looking after his goldfish tank.
My dad had I think around five goldfish in a tank that couldn't be any bigger than 15 gallons. It ran an UGF, which my dad kindly cleaned along with the gravel in tap water and then bleach. When one of the goldfish developed dropsy, I did some research online and realised why when I was a kid all our goldfish seemed to die horrible deaths. Back then, we relied on what the fish store owner told us, and I didn't have the luxury of a whole Internet worth of information at my fingertips.
Because the tank was now trying to cycle, I ended up with only two survivors. The shubunkin I have now, and a black moor who later died under very mysterious circumstances. These two were moved from their 15 gallon tank into our previous goldfish tank which I think was around 35 gallons. Still not ideal, but with appropriate filtration and twice weekly water changes I suppose it was better than the fate awaiting most $5 pet store goldfish.
I picked up two smaller shubunkin to keep my original fish company after the black moor died. By now the original shubunkin was in a 46 gallon tank and this is where the three of them have been since. I keep up with the water changes and they are on a combination of NLS pellets and frozen/live foods. I will readily admit that the previous bad care and current conditions have stunted their growth, but even so, they still all measure in at around 7-8 inches from head to tail.
However, we have a new 4x2x2ft tank on order that these three are going to hopefully get moved into in November of this year (when the tank is supposed to arrive). This time I will be purchasing one or two canister filters rather than the four large internal filters I rely on now. This tank will be where these fish spend the rest of their lives unless we move to a place with space to build a fish friendly pond.
Most likely people will call me a hypocrite as I often express the opinion that bigger is better on this forum. However, in my view, there is a vast difference between being able to find the space for a 5 gallon tank, and being able to find the space for a 100 plus gallon tank. Particularly when I don't own the home I live in, and rely on the saintly patience of my mother when it comes to housing my fish.
Owning these fish has shown me how big a commitment goldfish truly are. I cringe when I see threads on here where people own goldfish and think a 30 gallon tank is sufficient to keep these fish in for life.
My goldfish are most likely never going to grow to their maximum potential size. However, they still manage to make a 46 gallon tank look cramped.