Skip to main content

How long do goldfish live? What to know about your new carnival prize

3 tips to keep your goldfish alive longer

A goldfish in a tank.
Gabriel P / Pexels

You might have memories from childhood of your first pet, perhaps a hamster, turtle, or goldfish. While in popular culture, we often think of the goldfish as having a short lifespan (not to mention attention span), neither of these myths is really true. In fact, these bright beauties can live for a long time with proper care.

So, how long do goldfish live? And what do you need to do to maximize your time with them? We’ll break down the best ways to keep your swimmer alive.

How long do goldfish live?

An orange and white goldfish at the center of an aquarium with several other fish and tank decor in shot
Hans / Pixabay

As with so many things, it depends. Like dogs and cats, there are different kinds of goldfish that have different needs and lifespans. In total, you’ll have about 200 varieties available to you, though you will likely only find a few of the top breeds in a local store, including the common, comet, Ryukin, and Oranda.

Just as the Chihuahua and Great Dane don’t live the same number of years, each type of goldfish has its own life expectancy. Overall, the Oranda goes longest, up to 25 years, but many goldies have surpassed even this age. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Tish gets the prize for longest-living pet goldfish at the ripe old age of 43. Your more average fishy might make it to 10 or 15, though, a 20-year-old animal would not be hard to find.

How can you keep your goldfish healthy?

Two goldfish hanging out in an aquarium.
Chaikom / Shutterstock

Even though these pets can live to an advanced age, much of that depends on you taking excellent care of them. When trying to keep your fish healthy and happy, you should consider three things: creating a perfect home, feeding them properly, and providing stimulation.

The right bowl

You probably already know this, but you can’t put your fishy into one of the tiny goldfish bowls you might see in a movie. An adult needs approximately 13 gallons to stay fully healthy. Don’t forget that you should also include heat, light, and a filtration system.

A balanced diet

Funny enough, this aquatic animal is actually an omnivore and you are welcome to feed them small amounts of lettuce, peas, and green beans (make sure there are no bugs or pesticides first). But the majority of their food should consist of pellets or flakes. Also, although you don’t want to starve your pet, you need to work hard not to overfeed.

Regular play

Lastly, make sure you give your pet something to do. This can include fish games, accessories in the tank, or a friend — all three would surely bring them joy. Interacting with them daily will keep their brain and body healthy and going strong.

As we already said, it’s not true that goldfish don’t remember things, and they might even get to know you and enjoy your company. Research says some fish can recognize their owners. Luckily, you’ll have at least a decade together as long as you work hard to take good care of them.

Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
A simple guide to what to feed tadpoles in your aquarium
A list of everything you should and shouldn't give baby frogs
Small child looks into a jar of tadpoles

Whether you’re taking in rescue tadpoles or planning to keep frogs as pets, you’ll have to adapt continually to their changing bodies. These amphibians undergo a metamorphosis and live as tadpoles for up to 14 weeks, though the last stage of the transition happens in just 24 hours.

You’ll put them to bed as a kid and come back to a teenager. Also, tadpoles are vegetarians, but frogs are carnivorous, so you should prepare for their diet to evolve as they do over the course of a few months. Here's what to feed tadpoles.

Read more
7 telltale signs of a dying hamster (and what you should do)
Here's how to figure out if your pet hamster is dying (or possibly just hibernating)
Vet checks out small hamster

It's one of the saddest parts of owning a pet: We know that someday we'll have to say goodbye. Our pets never live long enough for us, and preparing for the end can be painful (though important). Your pet hamster will be with you for between two and three years of happy life — full of spinning wheels and treats. Once they're getting close to the end, though, you'll want to help ease their passing, keeping them warm and comfortable.

By paying close attention to the signs of a dying hamster, you can be ready to step in as a pet parent and help them finish the end of their life well. Watch out for any of these symptoms, which should be accompanied by a visit to the vet, since they can have a few different causes.

Read more
Is my rabbit pregnant? 5 telltale signs you should know
Look for these signs to confirm your rabbit will soon have babies
Baby rabbit being held by owner

What's better than one pet rabbit? An entire litter of bunnies (as long as you're prepared for them, of course). If you've been wondering, "Is my rabbit pregnant?" now is the time to find out for sure. After all, you don't want to be caught unaware and suddenly have a whole new colony of animals in your hutch.

Sometimes, lady bunnies can take on the behaviors of expectant mamas, but it's actually a false pregnancy. The best way to find out if your rabbit is pregnant is to take her to the vet and have them confirm it. However, when you're figuring it out yourself, you should look for the signs that a rabbit is pregnant. If you spot these behaviors, be sure to call your animal doctor.

Read more