goldfish lifespan

Goldfish Life Span: How Long Do Goldfish Live?

Goldfish seem to be the subject of many a rumour and common misconception. For instance, how long their memory is and also that they have very short lifespans that are commonly less than a year. This is in fact not even close to the truth, especially if goldfish have owners that look after them and carry out regular maintenance of their goldfish tank and give them the right goldfish food that answers their needs.

Here we look at how long do goldfish live in a bowl for as well as the best ways to keep their lifespan as long as possible. There are just a few tips and pointers needed that can really extend how long a life your goldfish could live as well as improving their overall health as a consequence.

how long do goldfish live

The Typical Lifespan of a Goldfish

While so many of us believe that the average lifespan of a goldfish is under a year, if not less, this is perhaps based on those fish that are won at fairs. In fact, gold fish that are bought from reputable sources can actually live as pets for at least five years and anything up to as much as a decade. Plus, when left to their own devices when out in the wild, goldfish can actually live as long as 25 years old. More shocking than this is the fact that the oldest recorded goldfish was a huge 43 years old before it died. Specialist forms of goldfish have slightly different lifespans. For example the Oranda goldfish lifespan is anything up to 20 years. Or, a Comet goldfish lifespan can be even longer than 15 years if the conditions are right.

While it is probably unrealistic to think that a pet goldfish could live as long as the record holding 43 years, there are definitely ways to ensure that your pet fish lives to the ripe old age of 10. For those that are looking for a low maintenance pet, sadly a goldfish won’t be it. Trying to keep them as healthy as possible over a decade actually requires a great deal of dedication with particular respect taken with regards to its tank and food. Goldfish need to be fed a handful of times each week with their water changed regularly. This means that a goldfish owner should change the water in their pet’s goldfish tank around two to three times a month. Other things to note are:

Water Temperature

The temperature of a goldfish tank should be around 65 to 68 degrees fahrenheit. This may be a great deal cooler than many would initially think and far colder than we as humans would like to swim in! However, goldfish like cooler water which keeps their stress levels lower than hotter temperatures. That being said, if you have a selection of rare goldfish like a oranda goldfish or a comet goldfish or even a veil tail, ask your provider for specific advice on the water temperature. They like water that little bit warmer than your typical goldfish.

One of the main reasons that cooler water is better for goldfish is that hotter water has less oxygen within it. The less oxygen there is in the water, the less likely a goldfish can live happily.

The Size of Your Tank

The stereotypical image of a goldfish in a goldfish bowl is actually pretty harmful to these types of fish, given that they actually need far more space to grow and live. The smaller the tank or bowl that you provide your goldfish with, the less space they have to grow, but also the far more likely they are to develop a disease. The ideal size for a goldfish is a tank that holds around 20 gallons of water, at least, if you have a goldfish that weighs around 35 ounces. If you increase the amount of goldfish in your collection, you need to increase the size of your tank too. This is down to the amount of organic carbon content that builds up the larger the fish or the bigger the number of fish within a contained space. A goldfish tank that is overcrowded has a high propensity of having fish within it that become sick.

To further help your fish or fishes within a tank, aquariums need to have air pumps so that the level of oxygen within the water is of a high enough standard.

High Quality Food

Just because goldfish can be on the cheaper end of the pet spectrum to buy, does not mean that they don’t need high quality food to sustain them. This means that owners need to give them food or fish flakes that are made up of freeze dried fodder and vegetable matter. Some owners that are keen goldfish keepers actually swear by a form of protein called daphnia which are tiny crustaceans that fish love to feast on.

However, the key to feeding goldfish is not to overfeed them. This is due to the fact that when food is left uneaten, it will decompose within a goldfish tank which then affects the quality of the water which starts to become dirty and heavily laden in nasties that can be bad for goldfish. If the water in your tank looks cloudy or you can see algae or even fungus or mold, it’s time to change the water as well as reduce the amount of food you are feeding your fish.

goldfish life span

Goldfish Life Span – The Bottom Line

If you take careful note of all these concepts, you will see an immediate difference in your goldfish and consequently their lifespan. You should be able to keep the same one for five years at the very least, if not longer with particular care being paid to the food, water and tank that you provide your golden pet with.

Related Post: How to Tell If a Goldfish Is Pregnant


  1. Kali Wyrosdic, Facts About Goldfish, PetMD
  2. Craig Morton, How to Keep a Goldfish Alive, wikiHow
  3. How Long Do Fish Live as Pets?, WebMD

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