How Long Do Goldfish Live?

By Jamie Boyle

Well this goldfish question “How Long Do Goldfish Live” is one I’ve been asked many many times. The lifespan of a goldfish differs greatly as it all depends on how well people take care of their goldfish. If people provide proper goldfish care they should live a long healthy life.

The true fact of the matter is that we are the ones truly responsible for how long goldfish live for. What we feed our goldfish, how big their aquarium is, having proper equipment such as filters and air pumps and not overcrowding their tank can increase how long goldfish live. Fantail Goldfish Wishing There Was A Top On His Goldfish BowlBy doing the following can drastically reduce the chance of goldfish diseases occurring as well as increase the years that your goldfish live.

Why Goldfish Bowls Are Not RecommendedGoldfish can live up to be 20 years old or older but the above mentioned goldfish tips need to be carried out if you want your pet to live a good life. Most goldfish I would say don’t live to be 20 years old as they are just too many factors to consider. The lifespan of a goldfish reduces drastically when one attempts to keep fish in a goldfish bowl. Taking care of goldfish in a bowl is not recommended and people shouldn’t expect their goldfish to live for years and years in such a small environment with usually no filter or air. If people want their goldfish to live long lives provide the essential care required for healthy goldfish.

So how long have your goldfish lived for you? Lets here some comments and ages and type of some of your goldfish. How old are your goldfish?

42 comments on “How Long Do Goldfish Live?

  1. I am really enjoying your goldfish blog. I’ve put you on my blogroll so I don’t loose you. Thanks for the info on black spots and ammonia levels. I’ve started doing a partial water change weekly and I think all the fish are happier! πŸ™‚

  2. Merydith on said:

    I would love to buy Frankie some real goldfish (not the crackers) soon :). Thanks for the visit.

  3. The Goldfish Guy on said:

    Thanks Betsy!I’m really glad that you do enjoy my goldfish blog. It’s always nice to hear back from readers.Your very welcome for the info. Glad to hear your goldfish are much happier.If you ever need anymore help, please feel free to stop by anytime.Sincerely,Jamie Boyle

  4. The Goldfish Guy on said:

    Merydith thanks for stopping by. Yeah I thought that picture was cute and funny all at the same time. When kids are quite you really need to wonder what the heck are they up too :)I’m sure Frankie would love for you to have an aquarium set up as he watches his little goldfish swim around. I know my daughter enjoyed it a lot and sure Frankie would too. Someday eh :)Thanks for the visit!Sincerely,Jamie Boyle@ Betsy – I forgot to ask you, how long have you had your goldfish now? Are they pretty old? What do you have just regular goldfish or fancy? Nice to know how long some people’s goldfish have lived for.

  5. Anonymous on said:

    My sons put several goldfish in our under porch 1000+ gallon cistern in 1989 and 1990. Two are still alive. I just saw a gold one today, 5/27/2009 and it was about 4″ long. I have never fed them, and they are there all year long, with the top frozen over in the winter. I couldn’t believe they lasted that long. Bob in Bexley Ohio

  6. Anonymous on said:

    In 1993 and 1994 our sons put several goldfish they “won” from the elementary school funfest in our cistern under our front porch. I just saw one today, 5/27/2009, it was about 5″ long and orange. I saw a tanish one last summer also. This tank is dark, about 1000G, and I have never fed them. Those are some tough little fish. Bob in Bexley Ohio

  7. Anonymous on said:

    i have had my goldfish for at least 7 years. they have grown to a point where i needed new tanks. and i added a koi with him who also seems to be doing well.

  8. Anonymous on said:

    My gold fish are at least seven years old, if not older. I got them as "rescued" feeders, and we love them all. I think one of them must be a koi, because he has a slightly different head and "whiskers" at the corners of his mouth.

  9. Anonymous on said:

    this has been really helpful. But i would like to ask what goldfish for my 6 year old sister?

  10. Rashel on said:

    This has been really helpful, but i would like to ask you. What would be the best fish for my 6 year old sister?

  11. PetGoldfishForum on said:

    Rashel,The best fish for your 6 year old sister would be a regular goldfish. For beginners getting into the hobby start off getting common goldfish and then later on get more fancy goldfish.Start small and grow as your experience does.If your already comfortable in the overall aspect in taking care of fish then it's really up to you. If not start with a few goldfish and grow from there as you become more comfortable.Goldfish are very hardy and are the #1 beginner fish for people to start with.Best of luck with whatever fish your sister decides on getting.Jamie BoyleThe Goldfish Guy

  12. Almost Catholic on said:

    I wondered how long they lived! Thanks for the info!We wanted to "test out our waters" and bought… feeder fish, as in, the fish used to feed other fish! Tiny little goldfish for only 15 cents! I had 5 (jerry, elaine, george, kramer, and newman) but unfortunately one (newman) died within the first week… Besides that its been a year and a half and they are HUGE!Whenever people stop over they always compliment my fish. I hope to enjoy them for years to come!

  13. NotNicky on said:

    My old goldfish lived alone in a 20 gallon tank. I tried making him have friends but apparently, he likes it alone. He was a tad aggressive. He loved me though. He always had to have his eyes on me. He lived over 5 years. He was a "carnival fish" that I had won as a prize at a game. I loved that fishy. πŸ™‚

  14. Theresa on said:

    I have a goldfish that started off as a classroom project and ended up in a 55 gallon tank. She will be eleven this year as she was bought back in 1999. There were three others but during the years they just started dieing off. So Bubbles is almost eleven and I've been saying almost ten. Wow. I have pictures also.

  15. Deidre on said:

    Hi!I love your site! Thank you for posting all the great information. I have a question…not necessarily regarding their lifespan.I have 2 goldfish in a 55 gallon aquarium. Both are about 4 inches in length and fairly large in girth. One being a gold fancy, the other a black moor. I also have another goldfish in a 3 gallon tank which I rescued from my ex-husbands home. This one is a common goldfish about 2 inches in length and much smaller in overall size. I'd like to consolidate tanks by adding the common fish to the larger aquarium with the larger fish, however I've read many horror stories of larger goldfish eating or bullying smaller ones. I've had the common goldfish for almost 3 years and I would hate to just "throw him to the sharks"! What are your thoughts? Should I not take the chance? Any info would be helpful! Thank you:)

    • Wood on said:

      They can live in at least a 1 gallon bowl, but any smaller is kinda mean. but thats still a lot better than those lil cups at the stores. a 1 gallon bowl would be about 5-10 dollars.i would get a tank with a filter and the fish will be happier and you will have less work as far as maintnence.2.5 gallon kit with lights and filter at walmart is about20 dollars.or a 5 gallon hex tank with light and filter and cool look is about 35 that is what i keep mine in. he is so happy in his own 5 gallon tank too. the light keeps him warm in the is like 1.99-3 dollarsthe fish at walmart is like 2.50 or so. i would get one from walmart just to rescue it. they cannot take care of there fish good at all.the bowl would be fine though and cheaper. i would just change half of his water a week with som water that you let sit out for that long so the chorine evaporates from it.try to also clean his gravel to get rid of his food and poop.he does need some light. my moms has a lamp next to it.feed him once a dayvery small amounts.

    • Roxanna on said:

      Ok, the fish itself is only about a couple bucks. The food might be $ 5 but it lasts a long time. I think that a bowl with pebbles is fine but there is a certain thing that you need to put in the water so that the fish will live. I had a beta fish awhile ago and all I did was put it in a bowl with pebbles and the fish died a couple of days later. After that I was told that there is a certain thing that you need to put in the water (one or two drops a day I think). I don’t remember what it’s called but I’m sure that anybody at a pet store would be able to tell you. You might want to put the fish in a room with a window so that it can get some sunlight but don’t put it directly in the sun. You should feed him once a day at least maybe twice. As for names, my last beta fish was named Ethel.I hope this helped you somewhat!

    • Lorene on said:

      I myself have a Betta. They are rather cheap. I got mine for about two dollars at PetSmart.They have speacal betta tanks also, wich aren’t very big. That is what I use. I’m not sure how big it is, but Its compact, and can easily fit on a desk with lots of room left.The food is a few bucks i think, for a good amount. I feed my Betta twice a day, with four pellets and he does very well. Right before I leave for school I feed him, and around when i eat dinner.I don’t put mine in direct sunlight. I think direct sunlight is bad, but so is dark. Mine is fine with just the light in my room.Bettas are great fish, pretty easy, and they live a while. I recomend cleaning the tank once a week, which is also very easy.Hope that helps, and good luck!

  16. Deidre on said:

    Hi Jamie, I love your site! Thank you for posting all the great information. I have a question…I have 2 goldfish in a 55 gallon aquarium. Both are about 4 inches in length and fairly large in girth. One being a gold fancy, the other a black moor. I also have another goldfish in a 3 gallon tank which I rescued from my ex-husbands home. This one is a common goldfish about 2 inches in length and much smaller in overall size. I'd like to consolidate tanks by adding the common fish to the larger aquarium with the larger fish, however I've read many horror stories of larger goldfish eating or bullying smaller ones. I've had the common goldfish for almost 3 years and I would hate to just "throw him to the sharks"! What are your thoughts? Should I not take the chance? Any info would be helpful!

  17. Backtogoldfish320 on said:

    Hello,I have a question about goldfish i haven't seen answered yet. i recently started taking care of goldfish again (I used to keep them when i was younger) and I woke up one morning to find one of them stuck to the side of the filter. Is it likely that the filter is too powerful for my little fish? I have had the fish three weekd with no other problems, cleaning the tank regularly etc. and the tank I have is specifically a goldfish tank.

  18. Jayne on said:

    My Goldfish – Stephen died today. He was 12 years old and i feel so guilty. Over the years he has seen off several other goldfish, some of which i think he killed. He was a large fish who loved his own company, every morning he would watch me as i put his food in. This last couple of months we have moved house and his biodome was wedged up a corner of a room and desperately needed a clean, time was never on my side hence i kept putting it off and today i find him lying at the bottom dead. I know it sounds stupid but i really did love him….

  19. John on said:

    Our goldfish died yesterday. He lived 9 years and 11 months. Our other goldfish is currently 4 years old.

  20. I have had great luck with my goldfish. I started off with three (Nellie, Jennifer, and Tennah). They were my birthday present when I was 5 years old, I got the tank and everything from my parents. Tennah lived 7 years, Jennifer lived 9 years and Nellie is still alive and kicking. She is now over 18 years old, and my only problem is what to do with her now that I don't have a place to put her tank. No 5 year old thinks what am I going to do with my pet fish when I move out of the house (LOL). For now she is living at my parents : ) I have alwys wonderd how olng they can live but have never looked it up. Most people don't believe me when I tel thim how old she is. I just think it is my claim to fame. Thanks for the info!

  21. Anonymous on said:

    i have 4 gold fish and have had 3 of them for 6 yrs, the problem is, is that one of them has lost all of her color except the top fin she was orange now she is white with the one orange fin i thought she would die but that was 7 months ago and i'm still waiting. why did she loose her coloring?

  22. Anonymous on said:

    so far my goldfish hav lived 4 bout 5 months now i expect 4 em 2 liv 2 at least 5 yrs old πŸ™‚

  23. Anonymous on said:

    my gold fish lasted 8 1/2 months in a rectangular bowl.

  24. Goldfish Care on said:

    Good job people! Goldfish can live a long life as long as we take the proper steps in caring for them right. Good nutrition, proper maintenance schedule, water changes, water quality checks will all help your goldfish live a long healthy life.I look forward to reading more comments on how old other peoples goldfish are.Best of luck everyone and keep doing what your doing!Sincerely,Jamie BoyleThe Goldfish Guy

  25. Daniibabiie on said:

    I have 2 goldfish and 2 red eyed albino fish and i have had 1 of the goldfish for about 15 years and unffortunatly it died last night and my last goldfish that followed it around everywhere looks lost he just keeps sitting in the corner and the 2 red eyed albino ive have for about 5 years im always keeping there tank clean

  26. I LOVE YOUR SIGHT!!!We have had our goldfish for 10+ years. We bought him for 3 cents… so as you can tell he was a "feeder" goldfish. His name is Glug and has quite the personality. He sits by my computer and if he is hungry and I am not paying attention, he will splash me… yuck!Years ago we almost lost Glug. He had a rick stuck in his mouth and was unable to get it out. It was after hours in our small town so the vet was closed… Yes I was going to take him to the vet! We decided we had to try to get it out ourselves. Just as I was reaching in to grab him for my husband who had tweezers in hand, Glug spit it out. When it hit the glass it popped so loud I thought it would break the glass. Needless to say, Glug only gets BIG rocks in his tank now. We hope to have another 10+ years with our little finned friend. Thanks for your blogs in making his life better.

  27. Hello, I have 3 goldfish in a 40 gallon tank. One of the fish is 2.5 years old. For the past 2 days, he is just sitting on the bottom and doesn’t eat. He swims around alittle but just stays on the bottom and when he swims he looks like he is off balance and leaning to one side. He looks normal and all his fins look fine except the one on top of him looks pushed back. I checked all the levels and everything is fine. I also just completed a water change. Any help would be great.


    • Old Man By The Sea on said:

      We have a carnival goldfish who has been in a plastic 2 gallon tank for 10 years, rarely has clean water, lives by himself and is always happy! We feel guilty about his conditions but it keeps him going. We have thought about putting him in a “luxury tank” with filters, air bubbles, a scuba scene, etc. but don’t want to throw off what seems to be a good thing for him. 10 years!

      • The Goldfish Guy on said:

        Wow, just goes to show people just how hardy are goldfish! I know your goldfish has lived for 10 years in that small goldfish bowl but you really should be put in a larger fish tank with proper equipment. If you give your goldfish a better place to live your goldfish could live another 10+ years. Your goldfish lifespan will increase and I’m sure he’d love you for it.

        Who ever said that winning a goldfish at a carnival can’t live a long life. Your goldfish has.

    • The Goldfish Guy on said:

      Your goldfish appears to be stressed or sick by his clamped fins. Have you done anything recently to your tank or added anything. When doing water testing, what do you actually test for? Maybe you need to test other things? Hope to hear from you soon.

      • My son’s goldfish was won at a school carnival…….Goldie the goldfish is now 12 years old! A normal goldfish,happy healthy and in a normal type bowl, which of course I had to enlarge through time. But Goldie has no filtration system, and seems to be going strong still! πŸ™‚

  28. Elisabeth on said:

    When I was around 8 or 9 years old my mom brought home a large globe bowl she saw someone put out for trash. She filled it up, put it behind the kitchen sink and bought 3 little feeder goldfish. I would say the bowl was 7 gallons … 10 at most. Those darn fish lived with me after I graduated from college … the oldest reached 15 years … all in that free glass globe from the garbage bin. Currently we have one goldie living in a 6 gallon cylinder vase (it is larger and more bulbous than most tanks, really) … he has just aquarium gem rocks at the bottom and a small jar to swim in and out of, and seems pleased. He is my son’s fish, he received him for his 4th birthday, and now he is almost 5 … so far so good – though he is really more my fish, as he lives in my bedroom so I can control how much stress he has to tolerate from little hands tapping each day … he seems happy. His water seems to stay the best when I ignore it, add a bit each week and change it every 2 months or so … the tank gets no direct sunlight, so nothing really grows, and the large gem rocks allow all the filth to sink all the way to the bottom …

  29. My grandchildren gave me Gilly in May of 2009. They won him at a carnival. He is in a 20 gal tank all by himself. I clean his tank as instructed. I change the filter as instructed. He got slightly cloudy eye a couple of months ago and I medicated his water as instructed. I feed him only a teeny pinch every morning and let him forage. I noticed last night that he did not go to the bottom of his aquarium to sleep. He seems to be having difficulty staying “up” and not lay over on his side. He did not eat today and is propping himself up between the filter pump and the side of the aquarium. I test his water and yesterday the only thing that was lower than usual was the aklinity. It is as 80 instead of between 120 and 240 as recommended. However, I looked up what goldfish could tolerate and 80 was ok. What am I doing wrong? How can I fix him?

  30. Marleen on said:

    My Goldfish, which is now totally white in color, will be 14 years old May 5th.
    A beautiful vail tale goldfish, and too big to pick up with my hands. Her name is Pudge and she is a very nice pet.

  31. SIVAPURAMDEVI on said:


  32. Lisa-Marie Adams on said:

    i rescued these two goldfish from a fair they are very small and get scared of the slightest movement past their tank thanks to u i can make the yrs they ave happy as many funfair goldfish dont live long but at least i can make them happier. and anyways u never know.

  33. Ian Anderson on said:

    I was wondering the same things the life span of a gold fish I had six that I bought over sixteen years ago. the first one died around the twelve year mark then one about every year after that. I still have one left who happened to be the biggest and went from orange to almost white I think i might have screwed up I cleaned out his tank clean all the gravel and plastic plants and the rest of stuff you stick into their tank. on the process of netting him to put him in a bowl part of tail was broken off so I keep my fingers crossed that I din’t screw him up hope he makes it to seventeen.

  34. Pat Kozero on said:

    Years ago, I got a feeder goldfish for my daughter, but didn’t expect a 3 year old to know how to care for the fish. We kept Bubbles in a fish bowl his whole life. Bubbles traveled to several locations with us, once in the middle of winter. There was one occasion when we didn’t make it home to feed Bubbles for almost a week. He must have been an incredibly tough little fish as he lived almost 12 years. I can still remember my teenage daughter and her friend kneeling on the ground next to the house holding a flashlight and saying a prayer as they buried Bubbles. RIP little buddy.

  35. I have 2 fish, today is one of theirs Gotcha Day and yesterday was the other. They have lived one year, I had another but he passed since we changed the water a long while ago and didn’t put the AquaSafe conditioner.

    Nice site! I love the stuff

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