50 Crazy Goldfish Facts You Wouldn’t Believe!

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Goldfish are more than just pretty fish. These fascinating creatures have a long history with the human race because of their beautiful colors, graceful nature, and interesting behaviors. In fact, this long history leads to some unbelievable facts. And guess what? I have 50 to tell you about today that will blow your socks off!

After reading these facts, you’ll never look at your goldfish the same way again!

Key Takeaways

  • Goldfish have a rich history with humans going all the way back to the Song Dynasty in China!
  • They are the most popular freshwater fish in the aquarium hobby
  • Goldfish has been taught how to play Soccer and had matches live streamed over the internet!
  • Goldfish have amazing anatomy like being able to use UV light and actually having teeth!
  • Facts about Goldfish will help to get to know your fish’s amazing ability and needs

50 Goldfish Facts

Are you ready to learn some amazing facts about goldfish? I’ve broken down each of our top 50 goldfish facts into these ten categories so that you can learn all about the wonderful world of goldfish:

  • History of goldfish
  • Goldfish records
  • Goldfish breeding
  • Goldfish diet & feeding
  • Goldfish behavior
  • Goldfish anatomy
  • Goldfish breeds and body shapes
  • Goldfish senses
  • Goldfish species
  • Goldfish care

Let’s get started! We have a video you can watch from your YouTube Channel and we go into more detail in our blog post below!


1. The first goldfish

Goldfish have been around for a long time. Originally bred from the Prussian carp, the fish we know today were first domesticated in ancient China over a thousand years ago! They were usually grey not the orange you are used to seeing with the common goldfish!

2. Chinese emperors used to be the only humans who could afford them!

In the early days, Goldfish were rare and prized animals that only royalty could keep. Unless you were an emperor, you were strictly forbidden to keep yellow goldfish. Luckily, things have changed, and today anyone can go into a pet store and pick up one of these royal fish.

3. Anniversary gifts in the Orient

Goldfish were once considered the perfect first-anniversary gift and a symbol of good luck for the future of the marriage. They can still make a great gift today, but only if you know the person will take good care of their new fishy friend.

4. Traveling Goldfish

After centuries of popularity in the East, Goldfish were introduced to the United States in the mid-1800s. They were brought across the ocean by ship and they’ve been here ever since. Nearly 200 years later, they are just as popular as ever!

5. President Cleveland’s favorite fish

President Cleveland

Grover Cleveland was the American president for two terms in the late 1800s. He and his wife were both animal lovers, and they loved goldfish so much that they imported them from Japan and kept them in ponds at the Whitehouse.

6. Goldfish can be valuable

Most goldfish make very affordable pets, but some rare breeds can cost hundreds of dollars. That’s still very cheap compared with the world’s most expensive koi fish which sold for a jaw-dropping 1.8 million dollars!


7. Goldfish get really old!

Goldfish have a really impressive maximum lifespan. We don’t know exactly how old they can get, but at least one individual lived for 44 years! It was a fish was named George

Source Image

8. The most talented goldfish

A calico goldfish called Albert Einstein was awarded the Guinness world record for the fish with the largest repertoire of tricks. This smart fish was trained to do six different stunts1.

9. The world’s favorite fish

Goldfish are the world’s most popular freshwater aquarium fish, with an estimated 480-million sold each year!

10. The largest goldfish on record was as large as a cat

Most people think goldfish are small fish, but they can grow surprisingly large. In fact, the largest specimens can grow to several pounds, and one monster from South Carolina grew to nearly 10 pounds2! another giant goldfish in Europe grew an amazing 19 inches long.


11. Male Goldfish grow spots on their gills

Most people find it difficult to tell female goldfish from males, but you can often tell by looking at the sides of their heads. Male goldfish develop white dots called tubercles on their fin rays, gill covers, and the sides of their face in the breeding season.

12. Female goldfish are heavier

Are you wondering how to tell female goldfish from male goldfish? Well, females tend to have thicker, rounder bodies and their vent protrudes as a little bump under their belly.

13. Females can lay over 1000 eggs

Goldfish don’t get pregnant, but they do lay eggs – lots of them! Healthy female goldfish produce over a thousand fish eggs, which means you can grow your collection pretty fast if you breed these fish.

14. Sticky eggs

Goldfish prefer to lay their eggs on plants and other objects where they can get good oxygen and stay safe from predators cruising along the bottom. Their sticky eggs stay attached to the surface until they are ready to hatch out after about 4 to 7 days.

Diet & Feeding

15. Goldfish do not have a true stomach

Goldfish don’t have stomachs like we do. Instead, they rely on their gut (long intestine) to digest their food and absorb nutrients.

16. Goldfish have teeth

If you watch your goldfish closely, you might spot them yawning and showing off their small bony tongue. One thing you won’t see is any teeth. But goldfish do have teeth, so where are they hidden? A video of these fish is filed by Solid Gold Aquatics. These are often spotted in bare bottom tanks on the bottom of the fish tank.

A goldfish’s teeth are located in its throat where they can crush food before being swallowed. That means goldfish have to swallow meals whole, and they can’t take a bite out of their favorite snacks.

17. Goldfish are predators

We usually think of goldfish as friendly and even clumsy pets, but these fish will eat other fish if they can catch them. It’s simple – if the other fish is small enough to swallow whole, a goldfish will snack on it!

Of course, goldfish aren’t only hunters. These fish have a pretty varied diet and they also eat plants and invertebrates like small crustaceans. Keep that in mind in case you were planning on keeping shrimps or growing live plants in your goldfish’s tank as your goldfish will eat both.


18. They actually make noise

You might hear your goldfish make popping noises at the surface. Some owners believe their pet fish do this to get attention, but it can also be a sign of low oxygen levels or poor water quality.

19. Goldfish Yawn – But it’s not what you think!

Have you ever seen your goldfish yawn? Well, it doesn’t mean your fish is sleepy. Instead, goldfish yawn to suck water through their gills and wash out any dirt so that they can breathe better.

20. They will chase laser lights

Goldfish can be pretty playful, and they love to play chase. You can keep your pet entertained by shining a dot on the bottom of the tank and watching it give chase! Just don’t shine your laser directly on your fish because the bright light could hurt their eyes.

21. Goldfish can jump

Goldfish aren’t the most streamlined fish on the planet, and some of the fancy breeds are pretty weak swimmers. However, slim-bodied breeds like common and comet goldfish can swim surprisingly fast, and they can easily jump out of an aquarium without a secure hood.

22. Goldfish are pretty smart

You’ve probably heard that goldfish have a memory of just a few seconds, but that’s just not true. These colorful creatures actually have a memory of many months, and they are even able to recognize their owner’s face! They were even taught how to play soccer in China where the matches would get televised on Twitch. Check it out from South China Morning Post:

23. Goldfish can do tricks

You can train pet goldfish to do some pretty neat tricks like navigating an obstacle course. With time and patience, you can train your pet to swim through hoops, tunnels, and under hurdles. The secret to training these fish is to reward them with a tasty snack, and after a while they’ll even take food from your hand in reward!


24. Goldfish sleep with both eyes open

Goldfish don’t have any eyelids because they live underwater and there’s no chance for their eyes to dry out. Goldfish still sleep at night though, so make sure you give them a regular day/night light cycle to get their beauty sleep.

25. Their scales are clear

Goldfish have obvious scales, but the color you see is on the skin underneath. Goldfish scales are actually see-through!

26. Their scales tell their age

Just like trees, goldfish scales develop a new ring each year, and you can count them to find out the age of your fish. However, these rings are known as circuli and they are very small, so you would need X-ray eyes or a microscope to see them clearly.

27. They have bony tongues

We rely on our flexible tongues for speech and eating, but goldfish get by just fine with a small bony structure known as a basihyal.

28. Goldfish can regrow their scales

Sometimes goldfish lose scales from injuries like bumping into decorations or fighting with other fish. The good news is that they can grow back, but the process might take up to three months.

Breeds & Body Shapes

29. Many varieties

Ryukin Goldfish

With at least two-hundred pet breeds of goldfish out there, these freshwater fish come in a pretty crazy range of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some fancy breeds, like the black moor and oranda goldfish, look nothing like the regular goldfish!

We’ve got a whole article just about goldfish varieties! check it out if you’d like to learn more about these adorable fish.

30. Goldfish aren’t always gold

Goldfish come in all sorts of colors, including black, silver, yellow, and orange. The original wild goldfish were actually a silvery brown color!

31. Goldfish can change color too

Goldfish often change color as they grow older. Most of the changes happen in their first few years, but it can happen at any stage of their lives. They can also turn pale at night or if kept in very low light. These fish usually develop their best colors in outdoor ponds where they can get some sunshine.

32. Not all white goldfish are albino

Albino goldfish are pretty rare, but they do turn up from time to time. The best way to tell the difference between an albino goldfish and a regular white goldfish breed is to look at their eyes. If your fish has a pale yellowish-pink body and pink pupils, it’s a true albino.

33. A group of goldfish has a special name

How To Increase Goldfish Life Expectancy

A school of goldfish is called a glint or a trouble of goldfish. Glint makes sense because of the way these beautiful fish shine, but most goldfish owners would agree that they’re not that much trouble!

34. Some goldfish can’t look down

The celestial eye stargazer goldfish is a fancy breed that has large bulging eyes that look straight up! This is caused by large fluid-filled sacs below each eye.

35. Long tails

Due to centuries of selective breeding, some goldfish breeds have truly amazing fins and tails. The comet goldfish can even have a tail that’s longer than its whole body! Other goldfish breeds with long tails include the shubunkin, fantail goldfish, and ryukin.

36. Double tails

Many goldfish breeds have a special characteristic known as double tails. This amazing mutation is very rare in nature, but it has been around in domesticated goldfish for over 400 years. Now that’s a long time!

37. Goldfish have three types of scales

One of the differences between the various goldfish breeds is their scale color and texture. Goldfish can have matte (translucent), nacreous (translucent and reflective), or metallic scales (reflective).


38. A sense of taste

Goldfish have taste buds, just not where you expect them to be. These fish taste with their lips and the inside of their mouths. In case you were wondering what goldfish taste like – stick to tuna because goldfish are much better in a fish tank than on a dinner plate!

39. Goldfish can hear

Goldfish don’t have visible ears, but they sure can hear by using internal ears located inside their heads. Believe it or not, your fish are sensitive to loud noises, so never put speakers next to your tank.

40. Goldfish can smell

Goldfish have a good sense of smell. Their nostrils ( correctly known as nares) end in blind chambers instead of opening into their mouths, but sensory cells allow them to detect food and bad smells in their environment.

41. An extra sense

It’s hard to sneak up on a goldfish. Like other fish, these sensory superstars can feel movement and vibrations in the water around them with their lateral line. This means they can sense prey and predators around them, even in complete darkness.

42. Goldfish see more than we can

Goldfish have big eyes and a great sense of vision. Scientists have discovered that these fish can see ultraviolet and infrared light, which means they can see many colors and patterns that we can’t3.


43. Goldfish have a big family

Goldfish come from the Cyprinidae family, which is the largest fish family on Earth! There are well over a thousand species in this group, including many well-known aquarium fish like barbs, koi, White cloud mountain minnows, and rasboras.

44. Carp relatives

Kawarimono Koi Types

Goldfish are actually a species of carp, just like koi (pictures above). However, the two are completely different species, and it’s pretty easy to see the difference. Koi grow much larger, and they have distinctive whiskers or small barbels that grow around their mouths. The world’s largest ‘goldfish’, a beast of over 60 pounds is actually a golden common carp and not a true goldfish.


45. Cool water

Goldfish are not tropical fish, and they actually prefer cooler water temperatures between 68 and 74°F. That means you can usually keep these fish without a heater and they even do fine in outdoor ponds in many parts of the world. However, choosing tank mates can be tricky because most aquarium fish don’t like cold water.

46. Goldfish hate bowls

Goldfish need a lot of room to stay healthy and grow naturally. Those bowls you see at the pet store are way too small! in fact, goldfish need a tank of at least 20-30 gallons with good water quality.

47. Goldfish are messy

Goldfish eat a lot and poop a lot, so these fish need good filtration and regular tank maintenance to prevent toxic water conditions and grow to their full potential.

48. Goldfish need to stay in the water

Unless you’re a veterinarian, never touch your goldfish or take them out of the water. Not only can they suffocate, but you can injure their scales or leave them vulnerable to infection by damaging their protective slime coat.

49. Goldfish only live in freshwater

Goldfish are true freshwater fish that live in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers in their natural habitat. Beautiful saltwater fish like the lyretail anthius or sea goldie may look similar, but they’re completely different species.

50. Goldfish are great first fish (if you plan it right)

With the right tank setup, goldfish are very hardy and easy to care for. This makes them an excellent choice for first-time fish keepers who want a beautiful new pet. However, they get large and need a sizeable tank long term. Before you purchase one, consider these instead.


What is a unique fact about goldfish?

One of the most unique goldfish facts is that they can learn to recognize music. As strange as it sounds, Japanese researchers discovered that goldfish from two groups could learn to recognize and respond to different classical music for a food reward.

What colors can goldfish see?

Goldfish have amazing color vision. These fish can see the visible light spectrum like we can, but that’s not all. Goldfish eyes can also perceive infrared and ultraviolet light.

What makes goldfish happy?

The best way to keep your goldfish happy is to provide a nice big aquarium of over twenty gallons with good filtration, high water quality, and comfortable, cool water temperatures.

Provide good quality goldfish food at mealtimes and furnish their tank with gravel, some ornaments, and a few hardy live plants. If your tank is over thirty gallons, you can keep two goldfish together for company.

What is special about goldfish?

Goldfish are the world’s most popular fish and one of the first species to be domesticated. With so many amazing breeds and varieties to choose from, there’s a goldfish out there for anyone.

How long do goldfish live?

Most goldfish can live about 5 to 10 years with good care and proper nutrition, but some special fish live much longer. The oldest goldfish in the world reach their early forties!

How do goldfish have fun?

You and your goldfish can have fun by practicing tricks like chasing laser beams or swimming through hoops. Your pet will enjoy the stimulation and the tasty rewards you provide.

Final Thoughts

You can’t deny it, goldfish are special animals. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning these 50 fun facts about goldfish as much as I did!

What are your favorite goldfish facts? Let us know in the comments below!

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