How Long Do Goldfish Live? 9 Tips To Help Your Goldfish Live Longer

Before you get yourself a pet, it’s probably best to know at least some things about it’s species, yes, even goldfish. But before you do that, a key question you might have wondered before getting one is: how long do goldfish live?

Fortunately, goldfish have quite an impressive lifespan. The average lifespan of a goldfish can fall anywhere between 10-15 years. However, some species of goldfish can even live up to 30 years with proper care!

Keep on reading to learn all about the average lifespan of a goldfish in different living conditions.

Goldfish Lifespan According To Water Volume

The water volume can significantly affect your goldfish’s lifespan. Generally speaking, the bigger the pond or tank, the more likely your fish is to live a longer life.

This is because you can easily maintain a stable water parameter and good water quality in a comparatively larger body of water. Larger water bodies usually have more oxygen and are well cycled, which can influence your pet’s lifespan.

Here are some of the most common water bodies and the average lifespan of goldfish in them:

In A Pond

Ponds are considered the best place for a goldfish to live as they offer a large surface area and a higher water volume. This means your pond goldfish can get as much oxygen as it needs to survive.

In a pond with adequate conditions, a goldfish can survive for around 10 to 20 years. All you need to do is protect them from different predators, including birds.

In A Bowl

Most of the time, people put a goldfish into the bowl. Unfortunately, it’s quite unlikely for a goldfish to survive even a few months in a bowl. This is because most goldfish bowls are unfiltered and small in size.

goldfish in goldfish bowl

It is noteworthy to mention here that goldfish produce a lot of waste. As it is nearly impossible to get rid of that waste in a small bowl, this toxic build-up will eventually poison your fish. To keep your goldfish healthy, you need a pond or a proper fish tank.

In A Bag

Oftentimes, you first get a goldfish you’ll receive them in a big. We would hope you’d understand that a band is most definitely not supposed to be a permanent home for your fishy friend.

Some stores deliver goldfish in a bag, meaning they have to survive at least 2-3 days in a bag. However, stores use breathable bags with special packaging to make this possible.

goldfish in bag

Alternatively, in a normal bag, a goldfish can live up to 12-14 hours, depending upon how fast they use up all the oxygen. It’s best not to think of a bag as the permanent home for your goldfish and introduce it to a bigger tank or a pond right away!

In The Wild

Children’s books and TV shows have made us believe that goldfish only live in ponds or fish tanks. However, this couldn’t be any farther from the truth. In fact, goldfish can survive for even longer in the wild.

On average, a goldfish can live up to 20-40 years in the wild. This is because they have access to stable conditions, experience lesser stress, and have a lot of swimming space. Goldfish can get really stressed when trapped in a bowl.

Moreover, goldfish produce a lot of waste. In smaller tanks, this waste can become toxic and even prove fatal for the goldfish. A goldfish in the wild does not face these problems because of the unlimited swimming space and a natural habitat.

wild caught goldfish
Credit: Murdoch University

Fun fact: The goldfish you typically see in tanks are limited in growth due to tank size (kind of like Dragons in Game of Thrones). In the wild without the size of the fish tank limiting them, goldfish can grow over a foot long and weigh greater than three pounds!

Average Lifespan According To The Type Of Goldfish

The average lifespan of a goldfish also depends upon its type. Yes, there are several types of goldfish available out there.

Here are some of the most common types of goldfish and their average lifespan:

Carnival Goldfish

So, you were in a carnival and won a goldfish but don’t know how long it will live; what should you do?

Well, carnival goldfish are usually common goldfish, meaning they are not actually a distinct variety. Generally speaking, common goldfish can live for decades if they are bought from a reputable breeder or a pet store. However, that’s not usually the case with carnival goldfish; because:

  • As carnival goldfish are often an unexpected reward, you might not have a bigger tank or a pond ready for your fish. Usually, these fish don’t even get proper goldfish care until it’s too late.
  • Carnival goldfish might be bought from a low-quality pet store, making them genetically weaker compared to well-bred goldfish.
  • Carnival goldfish are usually kept in a tank with other fish before they’re given away as gifts. This condition can cause a lot of stress to the goldfish, which can affect its lifespan.

Fancy Goldfish

Another goldfish type that deserves a spot on our list is the fancy goldfish. Compared to a slim-bodied, well-bred goldfish, fancy goldfish has a shorter lifespan.

This is because fancy goldfish are bred to show some specific traits, such as bulging eyes, flowing fins, and round bodies. As a result, they become most vulnerable to different health issues. For example, swim bladder issues are more common in this type of goldfish.

fancy goldfish

In addition, fancy goldfish are less hardy and more delicate compared to the common goldfish. You’ll have to pay close attention to the water quality and water volume if you want your fancy goldfish to live a long life.

That being said, you don’t have to give up. It’s still possible for a fancy goldfish to live several years. In fact, with good conditions and a bit of luck, these types of goldfish can even see their tenth birthday.

Other Types Of Goldfish

Besides carnival goldfish and fancy goldfish, there are some other types of goldfish available out there, such as Shubunkins, Comets, and common goldfish.

These types of goldfish are known to have the longest lifespan. All you need to do is offer larger goldfish tanks, provide adequate oxygen, and filter the water regularly, and these goldfish will easily survive for more than 10 years.

How Long Do Goldfish Live Without Food?

Like all other pets, goldfish also need water and food to survive (duh). If your goldfish do not have access to proper food, they will eventually die because of starvation. Alternatively, a goldfish out of water will suffocate to death in a short span of time.

goldfish eating

However, you’d be pretty surprised to learn how long goldfish can survive without any food.

According to some studies, goldfish can survive without food for up to two weeks. If you are going on vacation, the chances of your goldfish over-feeding are more than of starvation. Easy solution: get yourself a high-performance automatic feeder to overcome any of these issues.

How Long Do Goldfish Live Out of Water?

Keep in mind that a goldfish is a fish (I’d hope this is pretty clear by now). So, water is certainly important. As you would expect, the chances of a goldfish surviving out of water are quite slim.

That said, you should not assume the worst if your pet is out of the water for a few seconds or minutes. Surprisingly, goldfish can survive out of water for up to an hour.

In fact, some goldfish even survived for around 3 hours on the floor, just because some water came out of the tank when they jumped.

Of course, a goldfish out of the water can lead to severe health complications. So, instead of observing “how long can your fish survive without water?”, you should immediately put it back in the goldfish tank or reach out to a vet.

How To Increase The Lifespan Of A Goldfish?

There are several factors that can affect the average lifespan of a goldfish, such as water volume, diet, water quality, filtration, and many more. Therefore, it’s normal to ask: what can you do to increase the average lifespan of your goldfish?

Well, here are some things you can try out:

  • Feed your pet goldfish the right amount
  • Always offer good-quality and healthy food to your goldfish
  • Keep an eye on the water quality
  • Ensure that the tank is clean and cycled
  • Use high-performance filters
  • Put your goldfish into a big tank
goldfish in large goldfish tank

As you can see, the quality of water and tank size are the most important things for your young fish. If you are getting a tank for your goldfish, make sure it has:

  • Enough hiding spots to maintain your goldfish’s natural instincts
  • A good-quality filter to keep your tank clean from toxins
  • A high-performance thermostat to ensure the water is set to the right temperature

Besides that, make sure to clean the tank regularly. This means you will have to refill the de-chlorinated water and change up to 15% of the tank water.

Make sure your selected goldfish is sold by a reputable breeder or pet store. Different types of goldfish have different lifespans so it’s important to be mindful of which goldfish you have. Always get a well-bred and healthy fish as your pet!

In A Nutshell

Well if you’ve been wondering how long do goldfish live, you can see it’s really up to the care you provide, as well as where you get your goldfish from. And under good conditions, it might even be longer than you expected. If you want your goldfish to live longer, get it well-bred from a reputable pet store.

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