How long do goldfish live and how big do they get?

Caring for a pet can teach your child about compassion, responsibility, and coping with loss. For your first animal companion, however, it makes sense to choose something small and relatively low-maintenance.

A family favorite that fits the bill perfectly is the goldfish. Before You Head to the Pet Store, Read the Basics carassius auratusFrom life expectancy to food advice.

How long can a goldfish live?

School of goldfish in a pond. Fish in pet stores are sometimes kept in overcrowded tanks and stressed fish are at higher risk of contracting disease.
George Melin / Getty Images

Adam Jones, editor of The Goldfish Tank website, suggests that this mainstay of indoor aquariums can have a surprisingly long life—if properly cared for.

“Goldfish typically have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years,” he said. Greeley Tribune. “Some varieties can even live up to 30 years.

“Unfortunately, most goldfish do not live that long due to improper care and inadequate housing conditions. Proper housing facilities are a necessity to meet both behavioral and physiological needs.”

Jones recommends using caution when shopping for your pet goldfish, as poor living conditions early in life can shorten their lifespan.

“You want to make sure the breeder is not keeping them in an overpopulated or undersized tank.

“Healthy fish should have clear and bright colors on their bodies and will swim around the tank without any undue effort.

“A too small tank can stunt the growth of your goldfish, cause them to fall to the surface, and even lead to premature death.”

How big is a goldfish?

Aquarium Native Hardy Gold Fish, Red Fantail
A fantasy goldfish. Goldfish can grow to 10 inches or more in ponds, but they are unlikely to reach that length if kept in an aquarium.
uTouch/Getty Images

The size of a goldfish “depends on the care and treatment of the fish,” as well as “breed and genetics,” according to Jones.

He adds: “Goldfish kept as pets in small indoor tanks usually grow to about 1 to 2 inches in length, and never really exceed 6 inches. However, in ponds, they can grow to well over 10 inches.

“For optimal growth, your goldfish needs about 29 percent protein and 12 percent fat in their diet. Provided you follow this, your goldfish should be 2 inches during six months and 3 inches by the end of their first year. should increase.”

The largest goldfish ever recorded belonged to a man in the Netherlands and measured 18.7 inches in length in 2003.

Goldfish that are over 1 foot long are not all that uncommon. In July 2021, Minnesota officials urged pet owners to stop disposing of unwanted goldfish in lakes or ponds.

He shed light on the problem by sharing images of goldfish, which had grown to great size after their release, damaging the water quality and plant life in the lakes.

What do goldfish eat?

Goldfish Swimming In A Tank
Goldfish swimming in a tank. It is easy to stop feeding if your fish is not in the pond.
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Goldfish eat a variety of insects, plants, and crustaceans. For pets, Jones recommends a mix of flakes, pellets, live food, and vegetables.

They are also “opportunistic feeders,” he said, and will continue to eat “even if it is to their detriment.”

He said: “By keeping a goldfish in a tank rather than a pond, you will be able to monitor their diet and make sure they don’t overeat because you will be controlling their feeding.

“While you still have to feed the goldfish that live in the ponds, they are open to their surroundings. This means they will feed on algae as well as insects that fall on the pond water.”

how to care for goldfish

Goldfish In Aquarium With Green Plants, Snag
Goldfish in aquarium. Keep a close eye on your pet for any changes in appearance or behavior. This will help owners address concerns before they become major health problems.
Sergio_Kumar/Getty Images

Before buying a goldfish, consider the size of the tank — not the bowl — you’ll need to keep somewhere in your home.

“Each fish should have at least 6 gallons of water, and the tank should ideally be no smaller than 10 gallons. Therefore, the more fish you have, the larger the tank should be,” Jones said.

Your tank will also need:

  • a thermometer to make sure the water remains at the correct temperature
  • Aquarium filter to prevent water poisoning
  • Enough hiding places for your fish to maintain their natural instincts

The tank needs to be cleaned regularly. “This will require you to change about 10 to 15 percent of the water, and refill with de-chlorinated water,” said Jones, who provides more guidance online for new goldfish parents.

Goldfish In Aquarium Goldfish
Your goldfish tank should hold at least 10 gallons of water. Each fish you add should get its “own” 6 gallons or more.
Altinosmanaj/Getty Images

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