Many people have been emailing me wondering how long can a goldfish survive out of water before dying? To be honest it depends on the strength of your goldfish. Some goldfish can tolerate more things then others while weaker fish will perish. As the saying goes “Only The Strong Survive”. How long a goldfish can survive out of water depends on its overall health and will to live.
To give you some sort of answer on this, I would say anything over 30 minutes and you will be lucky. There was one time that we had a large koi in our aquarium about 10 years ago now and my mother came home to find out that the koi had jumped out of the aquarium onto the floor which was carpet at the time. It is estimated that the koi was there between 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. It looked pretty dry and we were not sure if it would survive. We placed the koi back into the aquarium and it floated to the bottom on its side. Then all of a sudden its gills started moving. Within 5 to 10 minutes it started swimming around like nothing ever happened. It was one of my favourite koi at the time and I was happy it survived.
You see some fish are simply able to handle more then others. While some goldfish may only survive 30 minutes out of water max, others may be able to tolerate longer. Some species of fish are able to breath air as it’s one of their unique capabilities that enable them to survive in low oxygen levels and droughts. If you ever watched the show River Monsters, Jeremy Wade, extreme angler, talks about how certain river fish are able to breath air due to low oxygen levels which enable them to survive. Some fish like catfish and eels are able to live a long time out of water. If you’ve never watched his show before, it’s quite interesting to see the different varieties of River Monsters that could be lurking in your waters. I was quite shocked to learn about Bull Sharks being in Rivers found in New Jersey some have been reported. Bull sharks are able to live in freshwater and salt water. It’s a show that I definitely suggest taking the time to watch!
Back to the question at hand, it really all depends. I am not going to test this out and risk the life of a goldfish but from looking across the Internet as well many have reported that their goldfish has survived out of water from anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. If your taking care of your goldfish good and feed high quality fish food and are generally healthy it may just survive long periods of time out of water. My suggestion to you all is keep your goldfish in water then we don’t have to wonder how long your goldfish can live for.
The Goldfish Guy
“Helping Goldfish Owners With Advice, Fish Care and Fish Medication Treatments for Goldfish Diseases, Illnesses and Parasites”