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If you have a beautiful natural garden, you often want a small pond, a water oasis for animals and plants. Goldfish, Carassius auratus, are an excellent choice to liven up the pond. They are considered undemanding and enchant people with their blaze of colour. They are also popular as aquarium fish and are often bought as the first pet for children. But how long do goldfish actually live? What does life expectancy depend on?


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

notice: Did you know that the goldfish was the first known pet kept by humans without any economic benefit?

Life expectancy

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

Proper husbandry is decisive for the age of the fish. Unfortunately, they often die after just a few weeks or months due to poor posture. For a great age of fish, compliance with the following conditions is required:

water quality

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

  • pH: 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
  • Degree of hardness: 12 to 18

To ensure compliance with these values, checking with a water test from specialist retailers helps. 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. Water temperatures between 28 °C and 24 °C in summer and between 6 °C and 14 °C in winter are ideal.
Note that special breeds are more sensitive and love warmth than the common goldfish. When keeping exotic specimens, pond heating is required in winter.

pond size

The size of the goldfish determines their water and space requirements in the pond. The guide value for keeping ordinary goldfish species is: a maximum of five animals per 1000 liters of water. The pond should be at least one meter deep.

notice: When calculating the space requirement, bear in mind that fish breed quickly. The number doubles in no time.

pond design

In order to reach a high age, the fish need a habitat that comes as close as possible to the conditions in a natural pond. Basically, the maintenance of larger ponds is easier than the maintenance of small 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 as large as possible. Prefer a shaded location. The fish do not tolerate blazing sun well. You need gravel or pond soil on the bottom and enough water plants.


If your garden pond is planted with enough aquatic plants, the fish do not need a daily feed. The more natural your pond is designed, the less feed is required. Small creatures that serve as food quickly settle in the near-natural pond.

Otherwise, use food from specialist retailers and dose it exactly as indicated on the feeding instructions. It is advisable to feed smaller amounts. Observe the feed intake and feed again at intervals of a few minutes if necessary. Be careful not to leave any food behind. The quality of the water suffers from uneaten food and the fish are adversely affected.

Fish food pond sticks

water filter

Keeping goldfish requires a pond water filter. This makes maintenance easier and reduces dirt. Falling leaves still have to be removed manually.

Protection from other animals

Goldfish in the garden pond are endangered by cats, raccoons and gray herons. It may be necessary to protect the pond with pond nets.


Overwintering has a major impact on the life expectancy of the fish. The garden pond must have a minimum depth of one meter so that hibernation is successful. Note that the pond surface must not freeze over. If necessary, protect the goldfish pond with styrofoam plates. Turn off the water filter in winter.

notice: The hibernation in the garden pond increases the vitality of the fish.
If you follow these instructions, you will enjoy the colorful fish for a long time. Goldfish can live up to 40 years.

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