How Old Do Pond Goldfish Live? | Life Expectancy In The Pond

Those who have a beautiful natural garden, not infrequently want a small pond, water oasis for animals and plants. Goldfish, Carassius auratus, are an excellent choice to enliven the pond. They are considered unpretentious and enchant people with their colorfulness. They are also popular as aquarium fish and are not infrequently purchased as the first pet for children. But how long do goldfish actually live? What does the life expectancy depend on?


Goldfish have fascinated people for centuries with their beautiful shapes and unique colorfulness. They exert a calming effect on people. This is another reason for their popularity as fish in the aquarium or garden pond.
The goldfish is a freshwater fish. It belongs to the carp family and originates from China. It can be kept in an aquarium or in a garden pond. The most famous varieties of goldfish are the comet tail and the sarasa.

Note: Did you know that the goldfish was the first known domestic animal kept by humans without economic benefit?

Goldfisch atmet durch Kiemen

Life expectancy

How old goldfish become depends on many factors. There are specimens that have reached an age of 40 years. 25 years is considered an average value for the life expectancy of the animals.

Decisive for the age of the fish is the species-appropriate attitude. Unfortunately, they often die after only a few weeks or months due to poor husbandry. For a high age of the fish the observance of the following conditions is necessary:

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Water quality

If you want to keep goldfish in your garden pond, the water should meet the following characteristics:

  • pH value: 7 to 8
  • ammonium content: less than 0.1 milligrams per liter
  • Nitrite content: less than 0.1 milligrams per liter
  • Nitrate content: less than 25 milligrams per liter
  • Carbon dioxide content: less than 20 milligrams per liter
  • Hardness level: 12 to 18

To ensure compliance with these values, it helps to check with a water test from a specialist retailer. Alternatively, you can have the water quality tested in a laboratory.

Water temperature

The temperature of the water should be between 4 °C and 30 °C. Optimal water temperatures are between 28 °C and 24 °C in summer and between 6 °C and 14 °C in winter.
Note that special breeding forms are more sensitive and heat-loving than the common goldfish. When keeping exotic specimens, a pond heater is needed in winter.

Pond size

The size of goldfish determines their water or space requirements in the pond. For keeping common varieties of goldfish, the following is a guideline: a maximum of five animals per 1000 liters of water. The pond should have a depth of at least one meter.

Note: When calculating the space requirement, bear in mind that the fish reproduce quickly. In no time at all the number doubles.

Pond design

In order to reach a high age, the fish need a habitat that is as close as possible to the conditions in a natural pond. As a general rule, maintaining larger ponds is easier than maintaining smaller ponds.
In large garden ponds, the water quality remains stable for a long time. If you have enough space on the property, make the goldfish pond larger if possible. Prefer a location in the shade. The fish do not tolerate blazing sun well. They need gravel or pond soil on the bottom as well as enough water plants.

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If your garden pond is planted with enough aquatic plants, the fish will not need daily feeding. The more natural your pond is designed, the less food is needed. In a natural pond, small creatures settle quickly and serve as food.

Otherwise, use food from the specialized trade and dose it exactly as indicated on the feeding instructions. It is recommended to feed smaller quantities. Observe the feed intake and give feed again at intervals of a few minutes if necessary. Be sure to avoid leftover feed. Leftover food will cause the quality of the water to suffer and the fish to be adversely affected.

Fischfutter Teichsticks

Water filter

Keeping goldfish requires a pond water filter. This facilitates maintenance and reduces pollution. Falling leaves must still be removed manually.

Protection from other animals

Goldfish in the garden pond are at risk from cats, raccoons and gray herons. Pond netting may be required to protect the pond.

Safety In Wint

A major influence on the life expectancy of the fish is wintering. The garden pond must have a minimum depth of one meter for wintering to be successful. Note that the pond surface must not freeze over. If necessary, protect the goldfish pond with polystyrene sheets. Turn off the water filter in the winter.

Note: Winter rest in the garden pond increases the vitality of the fish.
If you follow these tips, you will enjoy the colorful fish for a long time. An age of up to 40 years is achievable by goldfish.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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