Goldfish belong to the family Cyprinidae, which are species known for having a long lifespan. As such, these fish became popular among aquarists because while they can live on for years, they’re also low-maintenance.
So, how long do goldfish live in a pond? Well, if they’re residing in a great environment, they can live up to 15 years.
However, there are biological and environmental factors that might affect the goldfish’s health, and in turn, its life expectancy.
Stick around as we discuss the life span of goldfish when they live in a pond!
There are two goldfish body types: flat and round. The former includes the Common Goldfish, Shubunkin, and Tancho. On the other hand, Oranda, Pearl-Scale, and Ryukin comprise the latter.
Despite the plethora of goldfish variants, they all have the same life expectancy. Most, if not all, of them, can live up to ten years with proper care.
However, there are goldfish that lived up to more than 20 years. In fact, the oldest one recorded managed to thrive for 45 years!
Water temperature significantly affects the health and overall happiness of your goldfish.
Even though they’re tolerant to a warmer or cooler environment, the constant temperature change can stress them. It can lead to worrisome behavior such as loss of appetite, frantic swimming, or even hiding for long periods.
If you’re keeping goldfish in a pond, the temperature shouldn’t be less than 65°F. However, they can tolerate lower temperatures if the change is gradual.
Do note that if they’re in a pond with lower temperatures, they’ll experience stunted growth due to their slower metabolic rate.
Aside from the water’s temperature, other factors affect the goldfish’s overall health and lifespan. With that said, you should consider the following if you’re keeping them in a pond:
You should always keep a close eye on the water’s quality if you want your goldfish to thrive in your pond. The process includes checking the pond’s level of dissolved oxygen, ammonia, and salinity.
If there isn’t enough dissolved oxygen in your pond, it can lead to your fish dying. This typically happens during hot days when the production of algae is prominent.
Once the algae die, organisms such as aquatic worms will help decompose them, but they’ll use more air, leaving your goldfish with little to no supply. As such, you should always maintain a level of 10 to 12 mg/L of oxygen.
On the other hand, your pond shouldn’t contain ammonia at all. When the concentration is strong enough, it can be highly toxic to your goldfish and can lead to lethargy and death.
If you’re managing your pond properly, this situation will rarely happen. Still, you should always check the water because when it occurs, there isn’t much you can do to reverse its effects.
Lastly, its salinity shouldn’t exceed 10,000 ppm. Too much salt is toxic because it can shut down your goldfish’s kidneys and even kill them.
When it comes to your pond’s water level, the rule of thumb is that it should be at least three feet deep. It’s the ideal amount, so you won’t have to keep topping it up whenever the liquid evaporates during warmer weather.
Since evaporation is inevitable, constantly checking the water level is ideal. If the pond loses too much liquid, its oxygen supply will decrease. As a result, your goldfish might swim near the surface to swallow air.
In addition, there’s also the possibility that your goldfish will suffocate. In other words, if there isn’t enough water that can pass through their gills, their bloodstream won’t get the oxygen they need.
How many fish and plants you keep in your pond also plays a significant role in your goldfish’s lifespan.
As such, the safe option is to put no more than five fish in every 100 gallons of water.
Goldfish need at least ten gallons of water whenever they grow an inch. On top of that, overcrowding will lead to a reduced oxygen level. As mentioned earlier, this can lead to their death due to suffocation.
Moreover, there should only be 15 to 25% of aquatic plants present in your pond because it helps balance the oxygen cycle.
That said, an abundance of aquatic plants might result in an unbalanced pond ecosystem, especially when they start decaying. The soil will build up as they decompose, making the pond shallower.
Your goldfish’s genes also influence its lifespan in the pond.
Common goldfish are prone to issues like buoyancy problems. However, because of their unique anatomy (dual tails, egg-shaped bodies), it’s more prominent in fancier variants, such as the Ryukin.
If you have fancy goldfish, give them your utmost care and attention so they’ll thrive. If you leave them in a dirty pond, they’ll likely contract dropsy, swim bladder disease, and other freshwater fish diseases, such as ich and fungal infections.
Leaving them untreated for a long time might result in difficulty swimming or staying upright. In some cases, it can even lead to their death.
If you want your goldfish to live in your pond for a long time, consider following these tips:
Even if you’re taking good care of your goldfish, their life can end abruptly because of predators.
Birds that fly through your area can quickly snatch a goldfish from your pond without you noticing it. However, they shouldn’t be your only concern because any animal can attack your fish.
As such, it’s ideal to put tight mesh netting over your pond to prevent predators and insects from entering the water. A great alternative is installing a motion sensor sprinkler so they’ll get sprayed if they try to attack your fish.
As mentioned earlier, the ideal temperature for your pond is 65°F to 75°F. Anything higher or lower than that will be harmful to your goldfish.
So, you can control the temperature by installing a waterfall or a stream because they improve the overall circulation of the pond.
Furthermore, you can provide shade by adding shrubs, plants, and trees so the sunlight won’t directly hit the pond. Boulders will also work just as fine.
During the cold season, you can use a pond heater. It keeps a specific area from freezing, so the gasses and air can pass through the water.
Your pond’s oxygen level is an essential factor that you should look into. You can quickly do it by using a hydrometer or a dissolved oxygen test kit.
Once you’ve seen that the oxygen level is low, take action immediately. Increase the water movement by turning on your waterfall or water fountain, as they’ll improve the pond’s circulation.
You can use oxygen stones instead if you don’t have a waterfall installed. These serve as air pumps that supply air bubbles to the water.
Of course, your pond’s water quality should be your foremost priority.
You should check your pond’s ammonia, salinity, pH, and nitrite levels weekly. If time permits, you can do it every other day to ensure the water is safe for your goldfish.
So, investing in liquid test kits or test strips is beneficial for you in the long run. It’s because you’ll be able to determine whether your goldfish or pond are experiencing problems.
If you’re still wondering how long do goldfish live in a pond, they live up to ten years.
Additionally, you’ll be able to extend their lifespan with proper care. As such, you should always keep your pond clean and free from predators. Keeping the water clean is also essential for their overall health!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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