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dnalex

Goldfish Life Expectancy & Other Interesting Observations

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captivity may not mean longer lifespan for other animals. I think i read somewhere that lifespan of parakeet is several times shorter in captivity - mainly because of unlimited food. they die of heart attacks :\ but i don't remember where i read this so could be false too! it makes sense though.

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I think for educational purposes on the forum, five to seven years is a very realistic number especially for fancy varieties of goldfish and those kept in aquariums. It does seem pond fish can live much longer, however I prefer modest approaches with advice and don't think there should be any issues with saying pond fish are known to live longer than the five to seven years of aquarium fish.

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There has to be a major difference in the life expectancy in the wild and in a protected, maintained pond/tank. Zoo animals live to ages far beyond those of wild animals. While humans living in an undisturbed hunter-gatherer culture have a healthier diet and lifestyle than we do, and may actually be healthier through most of their lives than us, they don't approach our life span.

I suspect predation is huge.

However, a BIG complicating factor here when it comes to life expectancy, in zoos, and in human homes is the advance of veterinary and medical care.

captivity may not mean longer lifespan for other animals. I think i read somewhere that lifespan of parakeet is several times shorter in captivity - mainly because of unlimited food. they die of heart attacks :\ but i don't remember where i read this so could be false too! it makes sense though.

:goodpost This, this and this are huge factors, I believe. They should live longer than in wild because of the lack of predators, but the lack of available medical care and knowledge, and the difficulty giving them a proper diet, can't be helping them.

The biggest frustration to me in keeping these fish is how little we really know. We don't know exactly why a lot of these fish become ill or die. We think bacterial or parasite, but often we just don't know what we need to. I've seen tremendous saves here and lots of good knowledge. But to some extent, it all experimental, and we can't explain why one member will take seemingly ideal care of fish and they all get sick, while other members neglect their fish and the seem to thrive.

Someone should sit down with the English couple that had the goldfish for 40-some years. I'd like to know what their routine was.

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when I say up to 10 years, Im aiming more for the Comet and Commons. The fancy fish I think can get pretty close if you dont cramp them into a tank.... Pharoh lived for 9 years long bodied Oranda... That was cause of the amount of room I gave him, food and the constant water changes he got.

I agree fish like Ranchus, bubble eyes and such have a much harder time living a long life. They have been so Genetically changed from the original goldfish, they cant deal with it all....

:twocents

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2. In the wild, the goldfish diet is composed of 60% brown algae, 20% green algae, 15% zooplankton, and 5% cyanobacteria. This means that MOST of the food that goldfish eat are plant based. You can probably now see why commercial foods can sometimes be so problematic for goldfish.

This also makes me wonder about tank setups and "cleanliness" (scrubbed clean or algae covered) and whether that has a role in diet and health. :hmm

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Thanks Alex, another good topic :) and thought provoking too.

Edited by cmclien

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maybe growing up in hyper-sterile aquariums since birth would significantly reduce immune capacity. the whole "let children eat dirt" thing. also, having tons of harmless bacteria can out-compete the truly harmful ones, who have a FEAST when given the chance.

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I think that we might see goldfish life expectancy start to go up in captivity now, as more and more people are learning how to care for goldfish properly, and breeders start producing healthier, more robust lines. Discounting pet store goldfish might show a bit of a bias upward even now.

Here's hoping that more breeders start breeding for more robust immune systems and longer lifespans. It'd be interesting to see what we might get out of them.

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I think that we might see goldfish life expectancy start to go up in captivity now, as more and more people are learning how to care for goldfish properly, and breeders start producing healthier, more robust lines. Discounting pet store goldfish might show a bit of a bias upward even now.

I don't think this will happen any time soon. Many goldfish still live in bowls, and we have yet to begin to learn what exactly constitutes good care. I think we are heading in the right direction, but I don't know that this is quite enough to make that huge of an impact just yet.

Here's hoping that more breeders start breeding for more robust immune systems and longer lifespans. It'd be interesting to see what we might get out of them.

Not easily done, and may not be possible. The immune system is a double-edge system. If it's too robust, you will start to get autoimmune diseases.

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Excellent topic, Alex. :thumb:

I feel very lucky to have had my "original" fish, Dorothy, for over 7 years. It really makes me wonder . . . she lived in a bowl for at least a couple of years with infrequent WCs. Then to a 3 gallon, then 6 and finally to a proper aquarium once I found Koko's. And yet, she is the fish that I had for the longest amount of time by far! She was a fantail and I do think they tend to be hardier than other types of fancies. She was one tough fish. I just wonder how long I could have had her if I had done it right from the beginning?

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Thanks for all the info Alex :)

I will be happy to have one of my Babies beyond the one year mark ;)

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Whenever I was researching I was under the impression that 6/7 was very young for a goldfish and I should expect over 10 years. I've had my oldest for almost 5 years - for a few months he was in a 5 gallon with 2 other goldies,then a 20 gallon with I think around 5 others, he was in there for 2-3 years? I only did water changes when the tank looked dirty or was covered in algae,and I rinsed everything in tap water. Then he was in an 80 gallon with 9 others, with 25% weekly water changes, for over a year now he has being in the 80 gallon with 5 others and 25% water changes weekly, the last couple of months I've upped it to 50-70%

I don't know how old he was when I got him, he was fairly small though - http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs28/i/2008/136/6/0/Google_by_tamedwhiskers.jpg

Here he is now

http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/255/a/e/two_fish__three_eyes_by_buttpanda-d5eg3xq.jpg (The one-eyed one)

I've noticed on other sites people are made to feel guilty if their goldfish lived 5, even 10 years, because 'they can live so much longer'.

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maybe growing up in hyper-sterile aquariums since birth would significantly reduce immune capacity. the whole "let children eat dirt" thing. also, having tons of harmless bacteria can out-compete the truly harmful ones, who have a FEAST when given the chance.

I think this is a good point. There's an article about this very topic online called "Mycobacteriosis- the Stealth Disease" written by Diana Walstad; it's pretty interesting. http://thegab.org/Articles/WalstadMyco_APC1.pdf

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maybe growing up in hyper-sterile aquariums since birth would significantly reduce immune capacity. the whole "let children eat dirt" thing. also, having tons of harmless bacteria can out-compete the truly harmful ones, who have a FEAST when given the chance.

I think this is a good point. There's an article about this very topic online called "Mycobacteriosis- the Stealth Disease" written by Diana Walstad; it's pretty interesting. http://thegab.org/Ar...adMyco_APC1.pdf

Very good read Sakura!

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maybe growing up in hyper-sterile aquariums since birth would significantly reduce immune capacity. the whole "let children eat dirt" thing. also, having tons of harmless bacteria can out-compete the truly harmful ones, who have a FEAST when given the chance.

maybe growing up in hyper-sterile aquariums since birth would significantly reduce immune capacity. the whole "let children eat dirt" thing. also, having tons of harmless bacteria can out-compete the truly harmful ones, who have a FEAST when given the chance.

I think this is a good point. There's an article about this very topic online called "Mycobacteriosis- the Stealth Disease" written by Diana Walstad; it's pretty interesting. http://thegab.org/Ar...adMyco_APC1.pdf

The problem is that our aquariums are anything but hyper-sterile. I have another thread (sorry, in the subbies' section), showing a huge range of pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria that are in the waters of our goldfish.

As for mycobacteria, these organisms are ubiquitous, and can be found everywhere.

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maybe growing up in hyper-sterile aquariums since birth would significantly reduce immune capacity. the whole "let children eat dirt" thing. also, having tons of harmless bacteria can out-compete the truly harmful ones, who have a FEAST when given the chance.

I think this is a good point. There's an article about this very topic online called "Mycobacteriosis- the Stealth Disease" written by Diana Walstad; it's pretty interesting. http://thegab.org/Ar...adMyco_APC1.pdf

I feel like running out and buying a UV sterilizer!!

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2. In the wild, the goldfish diet is composed of 60% brown algae, 20% green algae, 15% zooplankton, and 5% cyanobacteria. This means that MOST of the food that goldfish eat are plant based. You can probably now see why commercial foods can sometimes be so problematic for goldfish.

This also makes me wonder about tank setups and "cleanliness" (scrubbed clean or algae covered) and whether that has a role in diet and health. :hmm

Shawn, I am ever mindful of this. Besides cleaning the front glass, the filter media, and gravel vacuuming, I leave everything else alone.

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I get the idea from the MB article its not the usual cleaning of our tanks that enrich the EM but disinfection of tanks that eradicate other bacteria but not EM and these other bacteria help to keep the EM in check.

I agree, I feel like I should get a UV sterilizer!

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I get the idea from the MB article its not the usual cleaning of our tanks that enrich the EM but disinfection of tanks that eradicate other bacteria but not EM and these other bacteria help to keep the EM in check.

I agree, I feel like I should get a UV sterilizer!

Not all UVs are created equal. When picking one, you have to choose the wattage, size of the UV chamber, and the speed at which water flows through. The regular UVs that clarify water won't be sufficient.

Anyway, my post above is to say that I don't clean other surfaces etc, to allow for algae to have a bit of a foothold. :)

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My pond goldfish are all around 15 years old. They get no care, no pond maintenance, live with predators and spend their winters under ice. So I have to go along with goldfish living 10 to 20 years.

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I was reading a post on a pond forum a few days ago from person who said she had put a dozen feeders in her pond when she built it and they were all there now 8 years later, only a lot bigger. The feral goldfish in the studies I have read are all commons/comets. All the indoor goldfish that have gained fame for living for decades are also commons/comets. It seems likely that these types of fish live considerably longer under human care than in the wild.

I have observed on this forum at least one person with a fantail in its late teens, and many people have had fancies outlive the average common in the Iraq marsh. Has anyone heard of a fancy goldfish being recovered when feral goldfish were removed from a natural body of water? I haven't. And it's not because people don't dump their fancy goldfish in lakes. Even people on this forum have proposed doing this. I suspect the life expectancy of a fancy goldfish in the wild is measured in weeks, not years. So fancy goldfish also live longer under human care.

Nick, I think it's likely that my goldfish will not live as long as yours. Subtropical pond goldfish grow fast, mature early, and die younger than those who get cool Wisconsin water during the few months of liquid water and rest under the ice the rest of the year.

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The other thing that I will point out is that it's a population thing. The maximum age a goldfish can attain in in surplus of 10 years. So, of course we are going to have fish that are that age, as we do in the wild.

However, if you take a poll and see what age people's goldfish are, I can tell you that the vast majority will be under 5 years old, fancy or single tails.

I do agree that the single tails are going to be longer living.

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2. In the wild, the goldfish diet is composed of 60% brown algae, 20% green algae, 15% zooplankton, and 5% cyanobacteria. This means that MOST of the food that goldfish eat are plant based. You can probably now see why commercial foods can sometimes be so problematic for goldfish.

This also makes me wonder about tank setups and "cleanliness" (scrubbed clean or algae covered) and whether that has a role in diet and health. :hmm

Well at least it gives us a good reason to stop scrubbing these tanks like maniacs :lol

Although my big tank looks... not so pretty with all that algae all over the place, the fish in there sure enjoy themselves. I feed them much less commercial food anymore as they graze on the algae all day long.

In addition the algae plays a role in reducing the amount of nitrates in the water, so it is kind of a win-win situation - aside from the lack of aesthetics.

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My pond goldfish are all around 15 years old. They get no care, no pond maintenance, live with predators and spend their winters under ice. So I have to go along with goldfish living 10 to 20 years.

It sounds like you stocked the pond just once. What fraction of the original fish are still there? Haven't any fry survived?

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I originally stocked the pond with 100 feeder goldfish after a hard winter that caused a freeze out. Since there were no larger fish in the pond at the time they were able to grow up. There are about 50% or so of the original goldfish left. Because of the size and depth of the pond there is no way to get and accurate count. None of the fry have survived. At first I thought that the goldfish weren't breeding but it's more likely that the fry are getting eaten.

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