What Is The Lifespan Of A Goldfish? You Won’t Believe It!

Most people have owned and cared for a common goldfish, Right. Usually, one you have won at the state fair or bought on impulse from your local mall.

Once you get your lovely little Goldfish home, you’re often left wondering What is the lifespan of a goldfish?Have you just committed to owning a pet goldfish that could outlive you? Or will you have a sad child after the poor little thing dies within days?

Let’s find out How long your new goldfish will really live.

What is the lifespan of a goldfish? There are many different varieties of goldfish and Koi carp which also often fall into this topic, all of which have different lifespans. The common goldfish in a goldfish bowl is often only a few months. However, given the correct size aquarium and water conditions, it’s lifespan can be increased to 20 years plus.

lifespan of a goldfish

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Goldfish?

We say ‘ The average lifespan of a goldfish ‘ because there are many factors to consider when owning a goldfish that can have an impact on their lifespan. We’ll go into more detail further in this article.

If we are talking about a goldfish that is given a good environment to live in and a balanced diet, the average lifespan of a common goldfish, living in a suitably sized aquarium is 5-10 Years.

goldfish won at a carnival

What Is The Lifespan Of A Goldfish In The Wild?

Thanks to a natural diet and good water conditions, wild goldfish live for much longer than their home aquarium counterparts. The average lifespan of a wild goldfish is 20-25 Years.

It also has to be said that their colors, appearance, and general health are also much better than ones kept in a home aquarium.

This isn’t to say that you can’t offer your goldfish the best possible environment and water conditions that will ensure your little goldfish lives a long and happy life.

Should goldfish even be kept in a home aquarium and even alone? This is a question that we try to cover in another article. Read more here!

What Is The Age Of The Oldest Goldfish Ever?

The oldest goldfish lived until it was 43 years old. Yes. 43 – WOW!!

His name was Goldie… Not original we know, but still, he lived as a family pet with his family from Devon in the United Kingdom. Read all about Goldie Here!

Ensuring your goldfish has a long and happy life will depend on the care and environment you give it. The quality of the water and the food you feed it will all have a part to play in determining how long it will live for.

How Long Do Goldfish Live In A Goldfish Bowl?

Whenever you talk about goldfish most people will think of the type you get at the carnival or state fairs. However, there are dozens of varieties of goldfish and some look amazing.

People also instantly think of goldfish bowls when you talk about them. These are the most popular way to keep a single goldfish.

You get given a little goldfish or you win one at the state fair and bring it home and suddenly realize that you don’t have anywhere to keep it. So you run out and purchase a cheap and small goldfish bowl, with a small amount of gravel and a plastic plant.

This is not a great environment to give your new little friend a happy and healthy life, nor will it give them a long lifespan.

The best method of keeping your goldfish is in a suitably sized fish tank with filtration, aeration, and lighting.

The best size for a starter tank is about 2-5 Gallons. We like the Fluval Spec 3 tank from Amazon. Tanks like these have filtration that provides clean, aerated water for your goldfish to live in.

Ammonia will build up in any fish tank or goldfish bowl that doesn’t have filtration. This is really harmful to your fish and will eventually kill it. The best process for reducing and improving harmful water conditions is partial water changes. 

girl looking at a goldfish
Never keep a goldfish in a bowl if you can help it. Provide a suitably sized aquarium or pond

A Good Diet Will Improve The Lifespan Of Your Goldfish

Like all pets, Goldfish need a balanced and nutritious diet. Long gone are the days of feeding your goldfish simple and cheap flakes that offer no real balance in their diet.

Food these days for pets is a massive global market and people now understand the benefits and if we’re honest the right thing to do when feeding the pets we love.

You can even feed your goldfish live food like Daphnia, Bloodworms, these tiny crustaceans are purchased in small bags from your pet store or Aquarium shop. They are a great treat for your goldfish and you should feed them to your little friend at least once every 10-14 days. They don’t cost more than $2 a bag.

Read all about: Bloodworms here and how good they are for your tropical and coldwater fish.

Uneaten food is the downfall for all fish tanks and the cause is always ‘Overfeeding’. If you use a good quality fish food like TetraFin Plus, you will only need to use a small amount. The best guide we can give you for the amount to feed your goldfish is as much as they can eat within 2 minutes. If after that length of time food it is falling to the bottom of the tank, then you’ve fed them too much.

A sign of overfeeding in a fish tank is small deposits of food on the bottom of the tank that has started to grow patches of mold and fungus. Also, cloudy water is another sign of overfeeding.

how long will a goldfish live for?

What Is The Best Water Temperature For Goldfish?

To give your goldfish the best chance of living to a ripe old age, water quality is the secret. No fish should have to live in smelly, dirty, ammonia-filled water.

You don’t need to change the water every day or in fact every week. Just make sure you have a filter that works well and fits the size of the tank.

Temperature is also important. Goldfish live in cool water and don’t like the temperature too high, Make sure you don’t sit the tank in direct sunlight or near a heating source. Some types of goldfish do like warmer temperatures but most prefer cooler water.

5 Ways To Increase The Lifespan Of Your Goldfish

5. Stop overfeeding

feeding fish goldfish to improve lifespan
Never overfeed your goldfish. Feed a balanced diet, 2 times a day in small portions

One of the worst things you can do to any fish is to overfeed them. Secondly, is to giving them a poor diet. Overfeeding leads to poor water conditions and an unhealthy lifestyle for your fish.

If you feel that you have overfed your fish you must react quickly, otherwise, you could be putting your goldfish in danger, Changing the water conditions to an intolerable level will make it difficult for them to survive.

Read here what to do if you overfeed your goldfish.

4. Keep them in a suitably sized aquarium or pond

garden pond - Goldfish lifespan
A garden pond is always a better option for keeping goldfish

The number one mistake most people make when owning a goldfish is keeping them in a small goldfish bowl or a small aquarium. Most people don’t realize the true potential of a goldfish and the size that they can reach.

Whilst it is true to a certain extent that a fish will grow to the size of their environment ie: They will never reach their full potential and size when restricted to a small and confined aquarium. They will still outgrow most fish tanks within a year or two.

Checkout some lovely garden container ponds here!

Ensure you provide the biggest aquarium possible or even better, a large garden pond. Even a smaller garden container pond is usually better than most indoor aquariums.

3. Overcrowding

overcrowded goldfish bowl

Whilst we like the fact that your goldfish will not be living alone, the temptation to add too many friends is overwhelming sometimes.

All part of the fun of fishkeeping is to go to your local pet store and purchase new fish. We do it most weekends. But there’s a limit to how many fish you can keep in one aquarium and this will depend on the water volume.

Overcrowding can lead to anxiety and bad behavior problems and also stress. Not to mention poor water quality.

2. Water quality

Poor smelly water conditions will have an effect on a goldfish lifespan
Poor/smelly water quality will decrease the lifespan of your goldfish

Goldfish are messy eaters and often leave plenty of food uneaten which can quickly affect the water quality which they live in.

Goldfish lifespans are far too often shortened due to poor tank maintenance or unhygienic conditions in which they live. Many people simply don’t realize the implication of caring for and owning a goldfish.

To ensure you have the correct water conditions for your pet goldfish to thrive in, you must conduct regular water checks. This is a simple and quick process that can save the life of your goldfish.

We use the API Freshwater Aquarium Test Kit. It’s very easy to use and could save the life of your goldfish. After all, Nitrates and Ammonia build-ups are not visible to the naked human eye.

1.Water changes

fish tank water changes
Regular water changes are the best way to provide the best water conditions for your goldfish

The most common issue with Goldfish and their lifespan is the lack of water changes done by the owners. They often don’t even realize that goldfish need regular water changes to replace the essential minerals that are lost over time.

Imagine living in that type of environment for the rest of your life. It would be like taking a bath in the same water for the rest of your life. Yuck!

Don’t know about you but I don’t fancy that!

So, why should your pet goldfish have to live in those conditions? In my eyes, that is cruelty to pet fish and you should not be allowed to keep one.

Sorry….. Rant over!!! But it makes my blood boil.

F.A.Q Goldfish Lifespan

Do goldfish need a filter? Yes, goldfish produce a lot of waste that will not disappear on its own. A good filter will remove a lot of waste products and uneaten food. However, you’ll still need to perform regular water changes to ensure perfect water conditions.

Can goldfish live in a bowl? We highly encourage you NOT to keep goldfish in a bowl but if this is all you have then ensure you fit a small sponge filter, add some live aquarium plants (Complete Plant Guide Here), and change 30% of the water every week. Plus, remember not to overfeed them.

Do goldfish live longer in the wild? Goldfish live considerably longer in the wild. The average goldfish lifespan is 20+ years in the wild compared to 5-6 years in a home aquarium. Thanks to a natural diet and better water conditions.

How old was the oldest Goldfish to ever live? The oldest known pet goldfish was called goldie and lived with his family in Devon (England), and reach the grand old age of 43 years, thanks to a large aquarium, good diet and plenty of water changes. Oh, and lots of love from its owners.

Which Goldfish live the longest? Koi carp are often regarded as goldfish. However, they are a different species from the Carp family. They do however live the longest and have been known to live for more than 200 years. WOW, That is old!

Can you save a dying goldfish? Unfortunately, once a goldfish shows signs of dying, it is often too late. Lack of movement, loss of appetite, and gasping for air are all signs that your goldfish is suffering. You can treat certain illnesses and I would encourage you to read our guide on fish diseases to spot early signs of illness.

goldfish image-fishkeeping forever

Final Thoughts: What Is The Lifespan Of A Goldfish?

Whatever type of fish you keep, simply try to give them the best environment possible. A well-balanced diet; clean, oxygenated water and plenty of space and they will live a long and happy life.

We are asked many questions regarding goldfish and their care and one that keeps coming up is: Can goldfish live alone? Read our article and find out.

You never know, your goldfish might beat the world record of 43 years!

Carl Broadbent
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