How Long Do Goldfish Live


People often keep goldfish as pets in aquariums or ponds in their gardens. You might be thinking about getting goldfish as pets. Or maybe you already have a goldfish and want to know, “How Long Do Goldfish Live?” A goldfish will live for about 10 to 15 years on average. But with the proper care, some goldfish can live up to 30 years.

This article will discuss how long goldfish typically live, how long they live in the wild and captivity, how to tell how old a goldfish is, and the most common reasons for death.

Let’s take a deep dive into the exciting topic of goldfish longevity.

Lifespan of Goldfish

A well-cared-for goldfish can live anywhere from 10 to 15 years on average. But with adequate care and the right environment, it’s not unusual for goldfish to live longer than this.

In some rare cases, goldfish have been known to live for 20 or even 30 years, which is an impressively long time. Unfortunately, many people who keep goldfish do not know how to care for them or have the knowledge to do so. Most of the time, the fish in the aquarium are left alone with little care, and most don’t live past 5 or 6 years.

This short lifespan is due to several factors, like overfeeding, environment, diet and nutrition, water quality, tank size, and the goldfish’s health care. However, all of these factors can be changed with the proper care so that every goldfish can live at least 15 years and more.

Factors that affect the lifespan of a goldfish

If you want your goldfish to live as long and happily as possible, you should know all the factors affecting their lifespan.


A goldfish’s expected lifespan is heavily influenced by its genetic makeup. The average lifespan of a goldfish depends on the species.

Some species may have a reduced life expectancy due to their genes, but some species are known to live far longer. Knowing the particular characteristics of your goldfish species will allow you to provide the best possible care.

Size of the aquarium

A goldfish needs at least a 20-gallon aquarium, but the bigger, the better. Goldfish are energetic fish that require a large tank for swimming.

The stress and health risks of keeping a small aquarium cannot be overstated.

The number of goldfish you plan to keep is a significant factor in determining your required aquarium size.

For instance, a 40-gallon aquarium is required for a pair of goldfish. For example, if you want to keep three goldfish, you’ll need a 60-gallon tank.

When selecting an aquarium for your goldfish, the shape of the aquarium is another vital factor to consider. Because goldfish are elongated and thin fish, their aquarium must also be elongated and slender.

A spherical aquarium is not the best option for housing goldfish because it does not offer sufficient swimming space.

Consider the aquarium’s filtration system when making your final decision. Since goldfish produce a lot of waste, a strong filter is required to maintain clean water.

Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are toxic to goldfish and may be removed with a good filter.

Quality of the water

The well-being of goldfish in an aquarium is directly related to the water standard in the tank.

Goldfish are extremely sensitive to changes in the water quality in their natural habitat and can become sick very quickly if the water isn’t maintained correctly.

Ensure you have a reliable filter in your goldfish aquarium to maintain the high quality of the water inside.

Goldfish are sensitive to ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, all of which can be removed from the water using an effective filter. Also, make sure that the water is changed regularly. You should replace twenty percent of the water in your aquarium every week.

A frequent water test is an additional step to maintain a high level of water quality.

It is essential to perform routine tests on the water quality in your aquarium to ensure that the conditions are appropriate for your goldfish.

Using a water testing kit, you can determine the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates levels in the water.

 Be sure that no chemicals are introduced into the water under any circumstances. Your goldfish should be kept away from any chemicals.

In addition to that, make sure that you put some plants in your aquarium. Plants contribute to the process of oxygenating the water as well as removing pollutants from it.

It would be best to have the following optimal values for the best water quality when conducting a water test. If you don’t, then adjust accordingly by water treatment.

  • pH between 7 and 8
  • Total hardness 12 to 18°dH
  • Carbonate hardness 10 to 14°dH
  • Ammonium less than 0.1 mg/l
  • Nitrite less than 0.1 mg/l
  • Nitrate less than 25 mg/l
  • Carbon dioxide less than 20 mg/l

Diet and Nutrition

Goldfish are omnivores and need a diversified diet. Flakes, pellets, and live food are all components that should make up a healthy diet for goldfish.

Your goldfish’s diet should consist of flakes, pellets, and live food to keep it exciting and varied. Flakes and pellets are essential sources of nutrition.

The following is a list of certain foods that can be given to your goldfish:

Flakes: Goldfish do well when fed flakes as a primary food source.. They are an easy food option for goldfish to consume and provide a healthy source of nutrients.

Pellets: Pellets are another type of food that is beneficial to provide consistently for goldfish. They are an excellent source of several nutrients and are relatively simple for goldfish to consume.

Live food: Providing your goldfish with a diet that includes live food might assist in keeping their diet exciting and varied. Brine prawns, bloodworms, and daphnia are examples of live meals beneficial for feeding goldfish.

You need to give your goldfish food at least twice a day. You should never give your goldfish more food than they can consume in two to three minutes. If you overfeed your goldfish, it could cause issues with the water’s quality and obesity.

Health care

Due to their susceptibility to certain illnesses, goldfish should undergo periodic checks at the veterinarian; by so doing, you will be prolonging your goldfish’s life expectancy. The veterinarian may spot any health issues early on and make treatment recommendations.

Diseases that affect goldfish

Ich: White patches on the fish’s body result from the parasite infection ich. Medications are used to treat it.

Fin rot This is a bacterial infection that results in the rot of the fish’s fins. Drugs are used to treat it.

Dropsy: This illness causes the body of the fish to enlarge. This dangerous ailment frequently results in death.

Swim bladder disease: A condition that affects a fish’s swim bladder is called swim bladder disease. The fish may float to the top of the tank or fall to the bottom due to it. Drugs are used to treat it.

Tips for avoiding infections in goldfish:

  • Maintain excellent water quality in your aquarium. This will aid in limiting the development of dangerous germs and parasites.
  • Don’t feed your goldfish too much. Overfeeding can result in poor water quality and obesity, which increases the risk of disease in your goldfish.
  • Regularly clean your aquarium. This will assist in getting rid of any garbage that might accumulate and affect the quality of the water.
  • Before adding additional fish to your aquarium, quarantine them first. This will aid in limiting the spread of illness.

Common Goldfish Varieties and Their Lifespan

Goldfish vary in size, coloration, and form. The lifespan of one variety can be vastly different from that of another. Let’s look at the lifespans of some of the most common types of goldfish.

Common Goldfish

The American goldfish, or common goldfish, is one of the most resilient species and can live for 15 years or more with the right environment and diet.

They are often shades of orange or red and have a streamlined body form.

Comet Fish

Comet goldfish resemble regular goldfish, but their body and tail are longer. They have a 10–15 years lifespan and are famous for their vigorous swimming style. You can find them in many different colors, like orange, red, bright yellow, or even a red and white design.

Comet Fish
Comet Fish /

Shubunkin Fish

Calico-patterned Shubunkin goldfish features a range of colors, from blue and red to black and white. If taken care of, their lifespan can extend to between 10 and 15 years.

They emerged in Japan through many years of cross breeding between the standard (short fin) and Comet (long fin) goldfish with the calico telescope goldfish.

Fantail Goldfish

Fantail goldfish are more spherical and have two tails. They come in many hues; their lifespan averages between 10 and 15 years.

The Fantail goldfish can grow to be between 6 and 8 inches long. But in rare cases, an adult goldfish can grow to be 12 inches long.

 fantail goldfish in aquarium
White fantail goldfish in aquarium /

Oranda Goldfish

The distinctive wen atop the heads of Oranda goldfish is easily recognizable. Due to the fragility of their wen, this type calls for special attention. If taken care of, their lifespan can extend to between 10 and 15 years.

Ryukin Goldfish

The Ryukin goldfish is distinguished by a distinctive hump and deep, spherical body behind its head. They have a lifespan of at least 10–15 years.

The Ryukin comes from China. No one knows when the ryukin was first bred, but it is probably a mutation of the Wakin. It got its name from the Ryukyu Islands, which is where it was said to have come from.

Ryukin Goldfish swim in the aquarium
Ryukin Goldfish swim in the aquarium /

Telescope Goldfish

The eyes of a goldfish stick outward like the lenses of a telescope. They need extra care to avoid vision problems. If taken care of, their lifespan can extend to between 10 and 15 years.

Black Moor Goldfish

Black Moor goldfish are easily recognizable due to their dark appearance and large, protruding eyes. They have a lifespan of 10–15 years at the very most.

You will never find a Black Moor goldfish in the wild because this type of Fancy goldfish was made by cross breeding.

Black moor goldfish in freshwater aquarium
Black moor goldfish in freshwater aquarium /


How long can goldfish go without food?

Goldfish can stay up to two weeks without eating. But leaving them without food for this long is not a good idea. They can get sick and weak if they go too long without food. Also, their metabolism will slow down, making it hard for them to digest food when they start eating again.

How long can goldfish live in a bowl?

The average lifespan of goldfish in a bowl is anywhere between a few weeks to three years. Goldfish don’t belong in a bowl.

Goldfish can’t swim around and grow in bowls because they aren’t big enough, so you shouldn’t consider putting goldfish in a bowl.

Do goldfish live longer if kept alone?

No proof keeping goldfish alone makes them live longer. Some studies have shown that keeping goldfish in groups may help them live longer. This is because goldfish are social creatures that do better when they have other goldfish to hang out with.

How often should I feed my goldfish?

Feeding goldfish small amounts of food two or three times a day is best. It’s important not to overfeed because it can harm your health.

What is the oldest recorded goldfish?

The longest-lived goldfish on record lived to age 43. Hilda and Gordon Hand had a goldfish named Tish. Tish lived for 43 years.

How Old Do Goldfish Live In The Wild?

Goldfish in the wild don’t usually make it as long as those kept as pets. Their lifespan can be shortened by hazards like hostile environments, predators, and poor nourishment. The average lifespan of a goldfish in the wild is 4 to 8 years.

How old do goldfish get in captivity?

Captive goldfish, like those seen in a backyard pond, are known to outlive their wild counterparts by several years. This is because their artificial habitat provides for all of their requirements. The average lifespan of a goldfish in captivity is between 10 and 15 years.

How do you determine the age of a goldfish?

The age of a goldfish can be estimated in several ways. You can tell its age by studying the rings on its scales. Like tree rings, goldfish scales develop annual concentric rings.

The goldfish’s age can be roughly calculated from the number of rings. However, this technique is imperfect because dirt and algae can obscure the rings and make them harder to count.

The size of a goldfish can also be used as an indicator of its age. Since goldfish develop at a steady rate, their size can be used to estimate their age. Various environmental and genetic factors control the goldfish development rate; therefore, this method is unreliable either.

If you want to know how old your goldfish is, you should consult the store where you got it. You could try contacting the previous owner if you didn’t get the goldfish from a pet store and find out how old it is.

What do goldfish mostly die from?

Ammonia and nitrites in polluted water are a leading cause of death in goldfish. Contamination like this can happen when aquariums are overcrowded or when water isn’t changed often enough.


How long do goldfish live depends on several factors, such as its genes, water quality, food, and care in general. Goldfish can live between 10 and 15 years on average, but if you take good care of them, they can live even longer.

To keep your goldfish healthy and alive for a long time, you should give them a good home with clean, well-maintained water, balanced food, and thorough care.

Now that you know “How Long Goldfish Live,” make sure you always buy healthy goldfish from trusted sources and pay attention to what each type of goldfish needs.

Your goldfish will live longer and be healthy if you keep an eye on them and take preventative and corrective steps to deal with common health problems.