When And How Do Goldfish Sleep (7 Signs To Look Out For)

goldfish sleeping

Goldfish are interesting creatures that captivate experienced fish enthusiasts and beginners alike. We’re often amazed by their bright colors and seamless swimming. But have you ever thought about how and when do goldfish sleep? Goldfish do sleep about 8 to 12 hours a day, but they do it intermittently in a way that is different from how people sleep

In this guide, you will learn about when and how goldfish sleep and 7 signs that your goldfish is sleeping that you can look for.

I will also tell you how to help your goldfish get better sleep patterns.

You may also read 25 Popular Types of Goldfish (For Beginners with photos) here

Let’s get to it now!

When Do Goldfish Sleep?

Goldfish get roughly 8 to 12 hours of sleep each day; however, their sleep is broken up into several phases throughout the day. Instead, they take a nap for brief periods, occasionally throughout the day.

Goldfish are diurnal animals, they are at their most active during the day, whereas at night, they are more likely to sleep.

When compared to human sleep cycles, goldfish have their unique patterns. Goldfish sleep patterns are more scattered throughout the day and night, in contrast to the more continuous sleeping patterns typical for humans throughout the nighttime hours.

Goldfish sleep cycle is not regular like that of humans. Instead, they switch back and forth between rest and activity throughout the day.

How Do Goldfish Sleep?

Goldfish can sleep in two positions: one is on the water’s surface, and the other is at the bottom of the tank. They may appear motionless during these periods of sleep, with their fins gently drooped over their bodies.

Goldfish do not have eyelids, and as a result, their eyes are always opened even while the fish are sleeping. This is an attractive trait to observe. Nevertheless, their eyes could look less alert or more relaxed when they are sleeping.

Goldfish do not go into a deep sleep like humans do. Instead, they do not lose awareness of their surroundings and are easy to rouse from their sleep.

7 Signs Your Goldfish Is Sleeping

Sign 1: Floating Motionless

If your goldfish is floating around motionlessly near the water’s surface or at the bottom of the tank, this is one of the first signs they may be sleeping.

During these times, their fins might drop down ever-so-slightly, and they might give off a sense of total relaxation.

Sign 2: Finding a Resting Spot

When it’s time for them to sleep, goldfish usually investigate the tank in search of certain spots where they can feel secure and at ease.

It is possible that you will find your goldfish relaxing among the plants or decorations in their tank or even at the tank’s bottom.

They select these areas because they provide them with a feeling of safety and minimize the risks associated with exposure to potential dangers.

Sign 3: Reduced Activity Level

Goldfish have a significantly decreased activity level when they doze off to sleep. There’s a possibility that they swim less and move more slowly overall.

The goldfish’s breathing and movement will become slower and sluggish due to sleep.

If you notice that your goldfish are less active at certain times of the day, it may be a sign that they are getting the rest they have earned and that you should not disturb them during this time.

Sign 4: Closing Their Eyes

Goldfish do not have eyelids; nonetheless, they can still close their eyes to a certain degree. While they sleep, you might notice that their eyes appear less alert and that there is a slight shift in how they look.

One of the signs that goldfish are beginning to enter a state of rest is a decrease in the degree to which their eyes remain alert.

Sign 5: Changes in Coloration

Goldfish have been observed to undergo color changes while they are sleeping off. There is a possibility that the color of certain goldfish will become paler or duller, while others may develop darker tones.

The lower metabolic rate that the fish experiences while sleeping is likely the cause of these color changes.

It would be best to closely monitor your goldfish because sudden and significant color changes could indicate other health problems. Because of this, it is essential to pay great attention to your goldfish.

Sign 6: Slower Breathing

Goldfish tend to slow down their breathing when they are sleeping. You might observe that the movements of their gills grow less rapid and more relaxing as time goes on.

Another telling signs of goldfish sleep is a change in the activity level of its respiratory system.

Sign 7: Hiding or Seeking Shelter

Some goldfish want to hide or seek refuge to sleep more comfortably during their rest.

Goldfish sleep behavior include swimming into the caves, hiding under the plants, or going to one of the other hidden places in the aquarium.

Goldfish exhibit this behavior without conscious thought because it is analogous to their natural desire to find cover in the wild while sleeping.

Tips for Helping Your Goldfish Sleep Well

There are a few things you may do to promote healthy sleep patterns in your goldfish, including the following:

  • Make sure the environment where your goldfish lives is calm and dark. Because goldfish are most active during the day, i

You should consider making their nighttime environment calm and devoid of light. This can be accomplished by placing the tank in a dark room or covering it with a towel.

  • Around the aquarium, you should try to avoid making any sudden movements or loud noises. Because goldfish are often startled by loud noises and unexpected movements,

Endeavor to maintain a quiet environment around their tank at all times. As a result, they will find it easier to unwind and go to sleep.

  • Maintain an appropriate temperature for swimming in the water.

Goldfish do best in water with a temperature that ranges from 68 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Your goldfish could have trouble falling or staying asleep if the water temperature is too chilly or warm.

  • Try not to give your Goldfish too much food. Your goldfish may have trouble falling or staying asleep if they are overweight, which can be caused by excessive feeding. You should only give your goldfish as much food as possible in a few minutes.
  • If you follow these guidelines, you can ensure your goldfish get the necessary sleep to maintain their health and happiness.


After reading this guide about when and how do goldfish Sleep, you should be able to provide the necessary care for these fish, goldfish have a one-of-a-kind method of sleeping and replenishing their energy, and their sleep cycles are not the same as humans.

Even though they do not have REM sleep as we do, they nevertheless need sleep periods to keep their health and well-being in good condition.

Goldfish can sleep any time during day or night, based on their personal preferences and the conditions in their surrounding habitat. They might doze off during the night when the aquarium lights are turned off or turned down, or they might doze off during the day if they sense that they are safe and comfortable in their surroundings.

It is of the utmost importance to supply them with a consistent light-dark cycle to mimic their regular sleep habits.

Also read: What Do Goldfish Eat? (16 foods not to give your goldfish)


1. Do goldfish sleep with their eyes open?

Due to the absence of eyelids, goldfish always have their eyes open, even while sleeping. Nevertheless, their eyes could look less alert or more relaxed when they are sleeping.

2. How long do goldfish sleep?

There is no consistent amount of time that goldfish spend sleeping. Goldfish often do not have a single sleep cycle significantly longer than the others; they tend to sleep for multiple shorter cycles throughout the day.

3. Should I turn off the aquarium lights at night for my goldfish to sleep?

A consistent pattern of darkness and light is beneficial to goldfish. You should give your goldfish periods of darkness during the night to mimic the conditions of their natural environment.

On the other hand, sudden and total darkness can be stressful for them. Thus, a subdued night light or the effect of moonlight is frequently preferred.

4. Can goldfish sleep while swimming?

Goldfish can rest either on the water’s top or at the bottom of the tank, depending on their preference. They might also find a resting place to lie still for a while.

5. Do goldfish like the dark at night?

Goldfish don’t have to be entirely in the dark at night, but they do better with a few hours of less light. Even though goldfish are active during the day and are diurnal, giving them a time of darkness at night helps them feel like they are in their natural environment and sleep better.