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How Long Do Goldfish Live: In The Wild & As Pets?

Goldfish are a popular starter fish due of their vibrant colour and affordable cost. So don't be fooled into believing that they are a temporary pet!

In fact, goldfish are one of the household fish species with the longest lifespans. The majority of goldfish in captivity should survive more than 10 years if they are kept in a secure and healthy environment.

Continue reading "How Long Do Goldfish Live: In The Wild & As Pets?" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) for more details

What's the Average Lifespan of a Goldfish?

Goldfish may live for many years! The usual lifetime of goldfish varies by species, but a healthy goldfish in a secure habitat should live between 10 and 15 years. There are types of goldfish that may live up to 30 years.

However, many goldfish do not live so long. Inadequate living conditions and lack of sufficient maintenance can drastically reduce the lifespan of a goldfish.

Top 7 Reasons Why Some Goldfish Live Longer Than Others

Although a healthy goldfish should live at least 10 years, this is not the case for many goldfish. There are several causes of health problems, however the majority of variables that limit goldfish lifespans are within the owner’s control. Inadequate environmental conditions are the leading cause of early death in goldfish.

Goldfish in good health are vividly colored and have their fins upright. They are energetic and will spend the most of their time swimming within the aquarium.

A goldfish with a drab or gloomy appearance, drooping or ragged fins, or a sedentary or bottom-dwelling behavior is likely suffering from unfulfilled demands and is at danger of early death. Listed below are many reasons why some goldfish may live longer than others:

1. Nutrition

Specialty goldfish feeds are formulated to give goldfish with a nutritious foundation. While goldfish may survive on a single food type, many are happiest and healthiest when given a combination of flakes and pellets. They may also augment their diet with live or frozen brine shrimp. Goldfish must be fed twice or three times every day.

Overeating is a significant issue for goldfish. Overfed goldfish frequently have health issues and decreased lifespans. A decent rule of thumb is to feed goldfish no more than they can consume in two minutes.

Unconsumed food should be removed from the tank after two minutes to prevent decomposition or overeating.

2. Water Quality

Goldfish will live longer if their optimal environmental demands are met. A living habitat with the proper temperature and water quality is essential for the health of your goldfish.

Goldfish thrive in water that is between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (20 and 24 degrees Celsius), however they may survive for brief periods in water that is either colder or warmer.

Because the air in the majority of homes is already within this temperature range, a tank heater is typically unnecessary. Yet, it is essential to check tank temperature and keep an eye out for unexpected sources of heat, such as direct sunshine and neighboring heat sources.

Goldfish generate a substantial amount of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates as waste. Without effective filtration, these by-products will accumulate in the water.

Your tank’s filtration should be proportional to its capacity. To maintain tank filters running properly, they should be cleaned as needed or approximately once per month, and partial water changes should be conducted around once per week.

While completing a water change, remove 20 to 25 percent of the tank’s water. Employ a siphon to clear any gravel or substrate in the aquarium. Replace with water that has been treated with conditioner and is fresh.

3. Tank Size

Goldfish should be kept in at least a 15-gallon (50-liter) aquarium. That’s far more room than the typical fishbowl! In addition to the gallon capacity, it is essential that the dimensions of the aquarium accommodate your fish.

The appropriate size of a fish tank may be determined by the length of the fish’s mature body. Your tank should be at least three times as tall, twice as broad, and four times as long as the adult body length of your goldfish.

If your fish is not completely matured, you can approximate its size by researching its unique species. These dimensions are essential because they provide ample area for your fish to be active, turn around, and hide.

A too-narrow or too-shallow tank may severely effect the health of your goldfish since he won’t have enough room to exercise.

4. Other Environmental Conditions

Goldfish are the healthiest and happiest in a safe and exciting environment. Plant cover may enhance the water quality in your aquarium and give goldfish with an enriching habitat. Because to the abundance of goldfish’s natural predators, a lack of cover might raise stress and decrease activity.

This cover should also incorporate driftwood, rock hides, and other ornaments, in addition to genuine or artificial plants. Some goldfish like playing with floating balls and other toys.

Although an empty tank is not a suitable long-term home for a goldfish, everything added to a goldfish tank should be evaluated for safety. Do not add anything in your aquarium that has sharp edges or openings that are too tiny for your fish to swim through safely.

5. Size

Goldfish have an indefinite lifespan. This means that they will continue to grow as long as they have space. Although the size of a healthy adult goldfish varies from fish to fish, this size is not a limit, and healthy goldfish can continue to develop as they age. Goldfish with more room to develop are often healthier and live longer.

6. Sex

There is no official answer to this question, however some web sites assert that female goldfish live slightly longer than males. This variance, if it occurs, is minimal, thus both male and female goldfish may be anticipated to live between 10 and 15 years.

7. Genes

Some goldfish species live longer than others. In general, goldfish with altered tails, eyes, and other traits will not survive as long as those with more natural qualities.

Bubble Eye Goldfish, for instance, have been bred to develop enormous sacs behind their eyes. These sacs are physically attractive, but they have serious health consequences, including eye problems and mobility restrictions. Because of this, Bubble Eye Goldfish typically only survive between 5 and 8 years.

If you decide to purchase a breed of fancy goldfish, you should investigate any potential health issues associated with that breed.

What About Pond Goldfish?

This may come as a major surprise, but goldfish raised in ponds tend to live longer than aquarium-kept goldfish. This is due to their yearly torpor and the fact that ponds often provide a considerable amount of swimming area in a nourishing environment.

Nevertheless, goldfish housed in ponds are at a greater danger of predation, thus it is essential that the pond habitat be designed to protect the fish from cats, birds of prey, and other predators.

The 5 Life Stages of a Goldfish

Stage 1 – Egg

Goldfish lay around 25 eggs at a time, generally clinging to plants. Embryos develop within the egg for around three to five days before hatching.

Stage 2 – Fry

Goldfish juveniles are known as fry. When they hatch, they are small and transparent. Prior to searching for food, they spend their first few days of life clinging to the plants where their eggs were placed.

Fry develop fast during their initial weeks of life. At around two weeks of age, they acquire fins and spend the majority of their time swimming and seeking for food.

Stage 3 – Juvenile

When fry develop into juveniles, their hue will begin as a dark brownish-bronze and gradually lighten. Adult goldfish often have forked tails, but juvenile goldfish have rounded tail fins. By one year of age, the majority of juveniles get their adult color.

Stage 4 – Adult

Mature goldfish are often orange or gold in hue. They will continue to grow throughout their lives, but at a much slower rate after they reach adulthood and even more so once they reach the maximum size of their tank.

Stage 5 – Senior

Even in a huge tank, goldfish reach their latter years of life and their development decreases. They may lose their pigment, becoming white or cream-colored, and become less active. Elderly goldfish often consume less food as they age.

How To Tell Your Goldfish's Age

It might be difficult to determine the age of an adult goldfish. Scientists can determine the age of a goldfish by examining its scales under a microscope in the laboratory.

Scales of goldfish will develop rings similar to tree rings, which scientists can count. It is not something the majority of us can accomplish at home, therefore the most we can hope for is a general stage of life.

About a year of age, juvenile goldfish get their adult coloration, which is bronze or brownish in hue. Most goldfish in pet stores are between one and two years old.

After goldfish reach maturity, environmental influences might make it difficult to determine their age. While goldfish continue to develop throughout their lives, their growth rate varies according on their surroundings.

Elderly goldfish may be paler and less energetic than younger goldfish; if your fish was once a vibrant orange or gold hue and is now fading, it is likely at least 10 years old.

How Can I Ensure My Goldfish Lives a Long Life?

  • Offer a Healthy Diet:

Feeding your goldfish a nutritious, well-balanced meal should not be difficult! The majority of your goldfish’s feed should consist of high-quality flakes or pellets. Gel food may be an excellent complement to a diet.

Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and romaine lettuce, can be supplied to your goldfish at all times, while other vegetables and fruits, like as butternut squash, green beans, and banana, can be offered as rewards.

Bloodworms, juvenile brine shrimp, and daphnia are weekly delights that are strong in protein. These foods can be purchased fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried.

  • Don’t Overfeed:

In general, goldfish only need to be fed once per day, or at most twice per day. Yet, they should have continuous access to leafy greens.

Ensure that you are not feeding your goldfish so much that they are going hungry. Overfeeding is one of the simplest ways to contaminate aquarium water.

Unconsumed food will decompose in the bottom of the tank, causing ammonia levels to surge and promoting the spread of harmful bacteria.

  • Cycle the Tank: 

Check out the steps for cycling a fish tank if you haven’t bought your goldfish yet so that your tank is ready when you do. Invest in a reputable water testing kit to monitor the characteristics of your water supply.

By cycling the tank, colonies of beneficial bacteria that devour waste will be established. There are bottled microorganisms that can aid in cycling your aquarium, but nothing can totally substitute cycling your aquarium manually.

  • Maintain the Tank:

Install a suitable filtration system for the goldfish tank. Especially if the tank is overstocked, you may need to utilize a filter that is rated for larger tanks than the one your fish inhabits.

  • Create an Enriching Environment:

Provide your goldfish with a stimulating habitat. Occasionally, it might be difficult to identify plants that can live in a goldfish tank, so trial and error may be required.

Diverse forms of ornamentation, air stones and bubblers, and unobstructed swimming area may all contribute to a more enriching environment for your goldfish. Adding new objects periodically can also keep things interesting for your goldfish.

  • Prevent Overstocking:

There are no hard and fast “laws” regarding the size of a goldfish’s tank, but there are stocking concerns to keep in mind. The greater the number of goldfish in a tank, the greater the frequency of water changes and the greater the effort required to maintain water quality.

Your goldfish should have ample area to swim around without colliding with one another and to escape from one another when necessary.


As you can see in “How Long Do Goldfish Live: In The Wild & As Pets?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), goldfish are extraordinary pets that may live long, healthy lives.

Whether your fish has not yet attained adult colors or is a senior with white scales, adequate environmental care is essential for a healthy, happy fish. And be prepared for your goldfish to become a member of the family; if properly cared for, the typical goldfish will live between 10 and 15 years.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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