facts about goldfish

40 Fun Goldfish Facts


From Bizarre to WOW…it’ll surely raise an EYEBROW!

From regal beginnings to a humble presence, the Goldfish has claimed the hearts of many pet lovers around the world!

The planet earth holds almost 7.6 BILLION PEOPLE. Among the massive number of humans, there are 480 MILLION GOLDFISH

Are you scratching your head as you ponder this factoid???

Let’s get our feet wet as we DIVE further INTO some AMAZING FACTS about our little gold friends.

FACT 1: Goldfish Varieties

There are over 300 hundred varieties of Goldfish. 

There are specific things that set each variety of Goldfish apart from the other.

  • Color
  • Fins
  • Tail
  • Eyes
  • Body Shape
  • Hoods (growth on the head)

FACT 2: Commonality

Goldfish are one of the four most common household pets in the world. 

  1. Dogs
  2. Cats
  3. Goldfish
  4. Birds

FACT 3: How Old?

The age of a goldfish is evident by the number of rings on its scales.

For every year of a goldfish’s life, there will be a ring on the scales. But wait, don’t run over to your fish tank and start squinting to see those rings because you will need a microscope to see them!

FACT 4: Albinism

Albino goldfish are rare, making them a coveted variety.

Some goldfish are born albino with white bodies and red/pink eyes. A true albino must have both of these traits. 

FACT 5: Tongue

Goldfish use a stationary bump located on the floor of their mouth in place of a tongue.

do goldfish have tongues 1

As humans, we rely on our tongues when eating. However, Goldfish depend on a bony structure called the basihyal to move food around in their mouth.

FACT 6: Eyelids

The EYES of a goldfish NEVER CLOSE! It’s because they do not have eyelids.

If you ever wonder why your Goldfish never blinks, now you know! Their eyes are always open, even when they are asleep. 

FACT 7: Hearing

WE CAN HEAR YOU! Goldfish do not have external ears as we do, but they can hear you.

Goldfish hear vibrations through “otoliths” that are internal. People tapping on the tank glass trying to get the attention of their fish don’t realize that the vibrations are not only loud but disturbing. It causes stress to the fish, which can lead to disease or even death! Be kind, don’t tap!

FACT 8: Goldfish Bowls

Bowl is a BIG NO NO! Goldfish bowls kill Goldfish.

Goldfish bowls are marketed all over the world as the ideal home for your Goldfish. Far from the truth! Goldfish have requirements to thrive. The common Goldfish grows up to 6” whereas a fancy goldfish can reach over 9” in size. 

Goldfish require:

  • A minimum of 6-10 gallons per Goldfish
  • Large surface area for oxygenation and release of ammonia
  • Filtration system
  • Aeration

FACT 9: Sight Of Colors

Goldfish see MORE COLORS OF LIGHT than we do!

Our Goldfish live a much more colorful world because they see UV light that is invisible to the human eye. 

Humans can see what’s called “visual spectrum” of light. We perceive this light as white.

Goldfish see “UV spectrum” and “visual spectrum” lights. These spectrums are blues, greens, and yellows.

FACT 10: Uniqueness

There are no two goldfish alike. Every Goldfish is unique and individual with coloring and pattern.

The beautiful thing about individualism that separates every human being apart from another is the same for Goldfish. You can bet your bottom dollar that there’s not another goldfish in the world that is precisely the same as yours!

FACT 11: Memory

The myth that Goldfish can’t remember anything is false. They have GOOD MEMORIES!

Goldfish are thought to have a micro-memory in that they can’t remember anything past a few seconds. Not only do they remember things, but they also can use their memory to recall their owner’s face and when it’s time to eat. They also retain instruction in training them to do tricks. 

Next time you forget to feed your fish or fail to give them attention, you may find them peering through their tank window to tell you,  “Hey, you forgot me!

FACT 12: Color

The skin (not the scales) on a goldfish depicts what color the fish is. 

The characteristic orange color that you see in a goldfish does not come from orange scales. In fact, the variety of colors and patterns on all Goldfish comes from their skin. The scales are transparent and act as a protective barrier on the fish.

There are, however, different types of scales which attribute to how the skin’s color and pattern are projected.

  • Matte(dull, flat)
  • Metallic (shiny)
  • Nacreous (a combination of matte and metallic)

FACT 13: Lips & Taste Buds

Did you know Goldfish have lips? Those lips have sensors (similar to our taste buds) that cover the opening of the mouth.

If you feed your fish something and they spit it out, you can rest assured they didn’t like the taste! 

FACT 14: Smell

The “nose knows!” Goldfish may not have a nose as we do. However, they have small openings just above their mouth that smells.

The “nares” of a goldfish are small openings that allow a goldfish to detect odors (good and bad) when searching for food. 

FACT 15: Lot of Poo

Goldfish are heavy waste producers!

When caring for Goldfish, it’s crucial to keep their water clean. Ammonia is a result of fish waste, and if not kept in check, it can kill your fish. 

FACT 16: Pregnancy

Many will refer to a goldfish as being pregnant. There is no such thing!

To be considered pregnant, the mother has to be carrying live young. Goldfish do not carry live fry. They lay eggs which are then fertilized by a male — the fry hatched from those eggs.

Remember next time that if you THINK your Goldfish is expecting, she isn’t. She is nothing more than a vehicle delivering the eggs.

FACT 17: Goes In Fast, Comes Out Fast

When a goldfish eats, it exits the other end almost instantly! This is because they have no stomach.

You are probably wondering how a goldfish thrives if they expel food as quickly as they ate it. They do not have stomachs, so when food enters their mouth, it enters into the intestine. Nutrients are extracted very quickly while in the intestine, and then the food is expelled rapidly. 

Can you imagine if humans had a digestive system like this? This would be one heck of a way to stay skinny.

FACT 18: Regeneration

When a scale falls off, or a fin is frayed, the Goldfish can regrow them if they are healthy and they have the right water parameters.

Sometimes the swift swimming that Goldfish do across the tank can end up with them scraping up against something. They can tear a fin or damage scales. When this happens, they can regrow them provided they are healthy as well as their water environment.

FACT 19: Little Carps

Did you know that Goldfish are small carps? 

Goldfish are descendants of the Prussian carp. Through selective breeding over thousands of years, they have evolved into much smaller fish with distinct colors, patterns, shapes, etc.

FACT 20: Sonar

Goldfish have similar features like a submarine.

Submarines rely on sonar to detect the presence of things in the water and to aid in direction. Goldfish have this same ability from a sensory organ called a “lateral line.” These are located on each side of their body. They can sense movement, vibrations, current, and change in pressure in the water. The lateral line also helps them balance as they swim.

FACT 21: Love of Music

Goldfish LOVE music but have a preference of genre!

Goldfish delight in the right kind of music. Music produces vibrations which are intensified in the tank water. This is why you should NEVER place your fish tank near speakers or your TV.

Classical music has been known to help Goldfish be more conducive to being trained. Music such as rock, hip-hop, and rap, contain more profound levels of bass that resonates in the tank water so much that it causes your fish stress. This stress can lead to disease and sometimes death.

FACT 22: Talented

You can teach a goldfish to do tricks.

Goldfish can be taught to swim through hoops, roll a tiny soccer ball into the net, swim in specific directions, and more! Using food as a reward, you can lead them to do a lot of things with some patience!

If you are feeding them from your hand, be sure to wash your hands before and after. NEVER HANDLE or TOUCH your Goldfish. This can damage or compromise their slime coat.

FACT 23: Sleep

Goldfish sleep at night!

Just like us, Goldfish appreciate lights off at night so they can sleep. Just because their eyes are wide open doesn’t mean they are awake. They do not have eyelids. This gives the term, “Bug-eyed at bedtime” a whole new perspective!

FACT 24: Toughness

The resiliency of a goldfish is tough as nails!

We want to have Goldfish in an environment that is healthy and ideal. However, some goldfish have beat the odds with their strong will to survive.

Common goldfish are hardy and have even endured extreme conditions such as:

  • Living in ponds that have entirely frozen over.
  • Dark caves without light. 
  • Going without food for three weeks.
  • Being crammed into fish bowls instead of a tank. This is NOT RECOMMENDED!

Fancy Goldfish are far less tolerable of hostile conditions. 

FACT 25: Boredom

Goldfish do get bored! They need variety to keep them happy.

Just like us, our Goldfish can become bored. There is only so much in a fish tank that can keep your Goldfish’s attention peaked. To add variety, consider changing out the decor, adding plants, or feeding them veggies/fruits.

FACT 26: Tanning Needs

Leaving a goldfish in an environment without light will cause it to lose its color.

Goldfish depend on light to produce the pigment needed to retain its color. Feral Goldfish that live in dark caves are a perfect example of how this happens. Those Goldfish have muted coloring or are white.

They need to maintain their “tans” with some “rays” so don’t forget the light! Direct sunlight is not ideal but rather a light bar or tank light. 

FACT 27: “I will eat you!”

If it’s in the tank, they are going to eat it! Goldfish are opportunistic feeders.

A goldfish will attempt to eat anything and everything in the tank. This is why it’s essential to avoid placing anything in the tank that they can nibble on that is harmful. 

Goldfish will eat:

  • Other fish
  • Fry
  • Ornaments that are not fish-proof
  • Rotted and decaying food
  • Plants 
  • Themselves 

FACT 28: Ewww – Poo!

Ewww, Goldfish eat what? They eat their own “poo!”

As gross as it sounds, they will eat waste that is in the water. This is why cleaning their tank water is vital to having healthy fish!

FACT 29: Whole Lotta Trouble

Goldfish troubles? They do travel in groups with other Goldfish, which is known as “troublings.”

There are rather quirky terms to groups of marine life. Shivers of sharks, smacks of jellyfish, or a pod of whales are odd characterizations. However, when you see Goldfish together, remember it’s a troubling!

A generically used term of a “school” of fish does not apply to Goldfish as well as many other types of water creatures.

FACT 30: Teeth

Goldfish have “pearly whites” (teeth) in the back of their throat.

Most people would never assume that Goldfish have teeth! In the back of a goldfish’s throat are pharyngeal teeth that are used to shred food as it passes from their mouth into their intestine. No need to worry about a tiny little goldfish biting your finger off!

FACT 31: Laser Play

You can play with your Goldfish with a laser light.

Goldfish love chasing laser lights. If you find that your little fish becomes bored, pull out a laser light and watch them chase it. It’s entertaining for them and you!

FACT 32: A Good “Flush”

A good “flushing” of the gills is done with a backward yawn. 

There’s nothing more cleansing and relaxing than yawning backward to clean the gills out! Goldfish don’t yawn from fatigue or boredom. They do this to uptake water to clean their gills.

FACT 33: Presidential Preference

President Grover Cleveland imported hundreds of Goldfish for his personal fish pond.

The fish ponds of the old home of President Cleveland may still be full today of imported fancy Goldfish. He has such a passion for the beautiful Goldfish that he had them specially brought in from Japan.

FACT 34: “Heyyyy Ladies!”

Male goldfish love to impress the ladies with their dots!

Rough dots on a male goldfish’s gills and fins say “heyyy” to females. Nothing like a great dot to attract the opposite sex!

FACT 35: Lifespan

The lifespan of a goldfish OUTLIVES any other domesticated kind of fish.

If a goldfish is taken care of, it can live up to 40 years! Wowzer, that’s basically a pet for life.

FACT 36: Gifting

If you receive a goldfish as a gift, it signifies “friendship.” 

Many years ago, it was common practice in the orient to give a goldfish as a token of friendship. However, the unique symbolism behind gifting this fish is a thing of the past. Back then, Goldfish was considered a rare treasure. 

FACT 37: Regal Fish

I “crown you” king with a goldfish! Goldfish was once something only the royal possessed.

Long ago, Chinese emperors were the only ones to be able to afford the coveted Goldfish. If you were anything less than royalty and had a goldfish, you were in serious trouble. The traditional color of regality was yellow and is still evident in China today.

FACT 38: Big Fish

Goldfish on steroids? Nope, it’s a goldfish that got pretty darn big!

Goldfish can grow to be very large. Those cute little tiny fish can quickly outgrow a small tank. One goldfish made the Guinness Book of World Records coming in at the size of a cat! Can you imagine trying to stuff that into a 10-gallon tank?

FACT 39: Serious Egg-laying

Can you imagine laying 1,000 eggs at one time if you were a goldfish? 

Female Goldfish will lay a lot of eggs in one single laying. This means there are going to be a lot of fry filling the tank!

The mother (and other Goldfish in the tank) will eat her own young. This is when it’s ideal to have a separate tank/container for fry.

FACT 40: Noises

Goldfish make noises while they are eating, but we can’t hear it.

Perhaps the joy of eating food is what makes a fish purr with grunts and squeals. If you have the right equipment, you can hear them. These noises are produced in their nasal area.


Goldfish in all their simplicity offer more value to our lives than we realize. Their quiet and zen-like beauty soothes our souls making them the perfect pet to have! 

Hopefully, you learned some new things about these little creatures that you didn’t already know!