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Goldfish Life Expectancy & Other Interesting Observations

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Also, from the survey

Size: It typically grows to 120 to 220 mm SL, with a maximum of 410 mm SL (Page and Burr, 1991).

What is difficult to comprehend?

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They have the potential to grow large yes, but they are very likely to have been stunted. They stunt their growth when given stressors. If a feeder tank at a chain store is not a stressor I don't know what is. How many people have looked bred and raised their own common in a proper environment and compared it's growth to a fish that is purchased as a feeder that should be the same age (using a sizing chart as reference for it's supposed age) and grown them both to full size to see which gets larger/lives longer? If you go by the research article you provided originally, they are only supposed to grow to around 7 inches but up to 23. 7 inches is not full size but how many keepers here own a fish that has grown to more than 20 inches? Was that fish the 6 years the studies are saying most are when they die? The evidence there is fairly lax so I don't think that anyone should base life expectancy on that when many, many fish have out lived that.

I also think that 7 inches standard length is quite full size for most goldfish. Whether some small minority grows larger or not doesn't contradict anything.

It's like with humans, most of us will be between 5-6.2, but some of us are 3 feet, and some are 7.5+. It also depends on the region.

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They have the potential to grow large yes, but they are very likely to have been stunted. They stunt their growth when given stressors. If a feeder tank at a chain store is not a stressor I don't know what is. How many people have looked bred and raised their own common in a proper environment and compared it's growth to a fish that is purchased as a feeder that should be the same age (using a sizing chart as reference for it's supposed age) and grown them both to full size to see which gets larger/lives longer? If you go by the research article you provided originally, they are only supposed to grow to around 7 inches but up to 23. 7 inches is not full size but how many keepers here own a fish that has grown to more than 20 inches? Was that fish the 6 years the studies are saying most are when they die? The evidence there is fairly lax so I don't think that anyone should base life expectancy on that when many, many fish have out lived that.

Please show me some data.

Thank you.

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Idk what average is and dont have much experience time wise with fancies. But ive had commons and comets for a long time. I got 6 at a school fare in elementary school. Out of those 6, 5 made it to adult hood. Those 5 all lived over 10 years and I still have one that is approaching 19. So while fancies may live shorter lives i still think 10 years is common among commons and comets. But this is just based on my personal experience with a limited number of fish. Its just id think if the average life expectancy was 5-7 year why did all of mine live much longer? I did not lose the first of the 5 until they was 13-14 years old.

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Idk what average is and dont have much experience time wise with fancies. But ive had commons and comets for a long time. I got 6 at a school fare in elementary school. Out of those 6, 5 made it to adult hood. Those 5 all lived over 10 years and I still have one that is approaching 19. So while fancies may live shorter lives i still think 10 years is common among commons and comets. But this is just based on my personal experience with a limited number of fish. Its just id think if the average life expectancy was 5-7 year why did all of mine live much longer? I did not lose the first of the 5 until they was 13-14 years old.

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Sharon posed a really good question the other day...not to you specifically, but it's relevant here...are you really seeing the fish that you thought you saw, given that color changes happen, and rather frequently.

What I REALLY have to re-emphasize is that I am not at all saying that they don't have that potential to have that kind of lifespan. Rather, I am trying to get people to have a bit more realistic expectations, fancy goldfish or otherwise. Less than five years is probably is a bit too short, and more than ten years is probably too long, in terms of expectations. I spoke to a breeder of fancy goldfish not too long ago, and he somehow thinks this the average his own fish is somewhere like 3-4 years, and that's someone with lots of fish.

The point of this article is that the 15-20 years number, while nice, doesn't have much to back that up other than anecdotes. If you want to based your expectations of your own fish on those number, than by all means do. You most likely will be disappointed.

Of course, I can name at least 4-5 fish on this forum who are 13-17. So, they are there. I can also name a couple of people who are near 100. But it doesn't mean much.

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Idk what average is and dont have much experience time wise with fancies. But ive had commons and comets for a long time. I got 6 at a school fare in elementary school. Out of those 6, 5 made it to adult hood. Those 5 all lived over 10 years and I still have one that is approaching 19. So while fancies may live shorter lives i still think 10 years is common among commons and comets. But this is just based on my personal experience with a limited number of fish. Its just id think if the average life expectancy was 5-7 year why did all of mine live much longer? I did not lose the first of the 5 until they was 13-14 years old.

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Sharon posed a really good question the other day...not to you specifically, but it's relevant here...are you really seeing the fish that you thought you saw, given that color changes happen, and rather frequently.

What I REALLY have to re-emphasize is that I am not at all saying that they don't have that potential to have that kind of lifespan. Rather, I am trying to get people to have a bit more realistic expectations, fancy goldfish or otherwise. Less than five years is probably is a bit too short, and more than ten years is probably too long, in terms of expectations. I spoke to a breeder of fancy goldfish not too long ago, and he somehow thinks this the average his own fish is somewhere like 3-4 years, and that's someone with lots of fish.

The point of this article is that the 15-20 years number, while nice, doesn't have much to back that up other than anecdotes. If you want to based your expectations of your own fish on those number, than by all means do. You most likely will be disappointed.

Of course, I can name at least 4-5 fish on this forum who are 13-17. So, they are there. I can also name a couple of people who are near 100. But it doesn't mean much.

due to the fact I did not start adding goldfish untill I was down to 2 yes I can say it has been them. Now I have been reading though some more of this and may have a reason why mine have lived so love. They live in cold water year round. Even in the dead of summer the temps in most of the pond would be hard pressed to get out of the 60s.

As for the color change. Something I have found is as they approached the 12-15 years mark most started losing their color and became white. The one I still have is the one that did not but starting last year he is fading.

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The pond is also frozen over much of the wenter months so they are probably not eating in those times. And even through much of the spring and fall temps are exceedingly cold.

They have contiguous fresh water coming in from deep springs that come up on our propertie. They also have a lot of space per fish probably 500+ gallon. So with all of those factors I can see hiw the life span could have been extended. In a warmer environment they probably would not have lived half as long.

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Exactly. Assuming that an owner doesn't know which fish is which and is mistaking them is ridiculous. 7 inches might be okay for fancies but in a proper environment, commons and comets will grow much larger, they will also live longer than 6 years.

Normal Albino Iridescent Shark/Albino Shark Catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus)-Note the straight spine.

Cebu+Zoo+albino+hammerhead+fish.jpg

Stunted Albino Iridescent Shark (on left, normal juvenile on right)-Note the extreme curve to the spine

Albino-Pangasius-Cabreney-Johnny.jpg

Normal Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)-Straight, even slope from dorsal down to tail.

goldengatepark332x-149077.jpg

Stunted Redtail Catfish- Dips in topline between dorsal and adipose and adipose to caudal fin. Lack of muscle along caudal peduncle. Proportions between head and body are skewed.

Phractocephalus-stunted-BF-article.jpg

And some full grown goldfish:

untitled.JPG

biggoldfish.jpg

I don't think that's 7 inches in body length.

Edited by BeginAgain

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That first goldfish pic looks like a hybrid to me :idont

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Edited by Daniel E.

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On second glance, yes it probably is. Oops. Here's a better one from my LFS

s2wilc.jpg

He was raised in a pond with a bunch of other fish, he wasn't alone. He is approx. 2-3 inches from the glass.

What conditions were the fish in the studies raised in? How long were they in poor conditions? What were they fed and how often were they fed, how often and how big were water changes, were there any, what's the tank/pond size, how many others were in there, whats the oxygenation level, were they ever sick if so with what? Assuming that the fish were in perfect conditions and then lived to be that age is extremely naive.

Edited by BeginAgain

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Exactly. Assuming that an owner doesn't know which fish is which and is mistaking them is ridiculous. 7 inches might be okay for fancies but in a proper environment, commons and comets will grow much larger, they will also live longer than 6 years.

Normal Albino Iridescent Shark/Albino Shark Catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus)-Note the straight spine.

Cebu+Zoo+albino+hammerhead+fish.jpg

Stunted Albino Iridescent Shark (on left, normal juvenile on right)-Note the extreme curve to the spine

Albino-Pangasius-Cabreney-Johnny.jpg

Normal Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)-Straight, even slope from dorsal down to tail.

goldengatepark332x-149077.jpg

Stunted Redtail Catfish- Dips in topline between dorsal and adipose and adipose to caudal fin. Lack of muscle along caudal peduncle. Proportions between head and body are skewed.

Phractocephalus-stunted-BF-article.jpg

And some full grown goldfish:

untitled.JPG

biggoldfish.jpg

I don't think that's 7 inches in body length.

There are several things I need to point out, again:

1. You keep bandying the word stunted around. Let's see what it means, and the science behind it please. Pretend we are in school, and supply references that would stand up to school standards.

2. We are ONLY talking about goldfish here.

3. I think you are confused between maximum, median, and averages. Just because some goldfish can achieve a certain size, doesn't mean that they are all destined to be that size. That also doesn't mean they are stunted. Right now, I have a 2 year old ryukin who is almost 400 grams. Does that mean that every other ryukin of that age bracket who's not 400 gram is underweight or stunted?

I'm sorry if I sound a bit short. I would very much like to have this discussion with you, but we need to start at the same place, or else the conversation doesn't get to progress much.

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Stunted:"slowed or stopped abnormally in growth or development." (Dictionary.com)

"The common goldfish, so popular on fairgrounds, are among the largest, and they are capable of reaching over 18 inches and 10 pounds. Even the smallest breeds can reach between 4 and 7 inches" (http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/articles/goldfish-myths-debunked.htm)

"common goldfish can reach up to 10″ and fancy goldfish can reach up to 8″" (Can't post, from another forum)

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Stunted:"slowed or stopped abnormally in growth or development." (Dictionary.com)

"The common goldfish, so popular on fairgrounds, are among the largest, and they are capable of reaching over 18 inches and 10 pounds. Even the smallest breeds can reach between 4 and 7 inches" (http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/articles/goldfish-myths-debunked.htm)

"common goldfish can reach up to 10″ and fancy goldfish can reach up to 8″" (Can't post, from another forum)

I would like some scientific papers, please. I have some, and the answer is quite different from what you just quoted.

I also have the scientific definition of a stunted fish. What you described up above is ambiguous.

Please, look for real references...

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"common goldfish can reach up to 10″ and fancy goldfish can reach up to 8″" (Can't post, from another forum)

post the link

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"common goldfish can reach up to 10″ and fancy goldfish can reach up to 8″" (Can't post, from another forum)

post the link

BeginAgain,

I've tried to tell you at least three times to differentiate between standard versus total length. This is part of the reason why things are confusing for you. One of my single tails is simultaneously 4 inches standard length, but 8 inches total length. So, you can imagine when someone is talking about a 12 inch or 20 inch fish, what exactly they are talking about.

Also, this is something that doesn't require other forums to tell you. You can find real scientific sources, if you actually want to find them.

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Well I am about to boggle your brains.. I had 2 comet like goldfish that were 13+ years old (I'd say almost 14 to be realistic). One of them died about a month ago. I had him since college!

 

Anyway, I still have his best friend (aka "the little one" even though he is about 1' long now) knock on wood. I worry about him all the time and I am hoping that he doesnt miss his friend too much.

 

I would have to say that the key may be healthy water parameters (although I was not so great at this.. still learning even after all these years) but most importantly, there was nothing EVER introduced to this tank that had any potential of being alive.. no live plants, no live fish and no aquarium media or filters that could have carried a disease into the tank. Might be a good tip for everyone to help keep their goldfish even longer than the 6 or so years stated above. :)

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wow, what a great post!  I had always heard the "10-20 year lifespan" for goldfish, but had always assumed it meant for longer body goldfish like comets.  I'd never heard the true life expectancy of fancies.  My only personal knowledge of a very old fancy was a friend of mine told me she bought a calico ryukin when she was pregnant with her son, and she still had that ryukin when her son was 25.... but I've always wondered if a fancy could really live 25 years and if her story was true...

 

Either way, this answers my questions on general life expectancy of a fancy.  My 3 oldest goldfish are 5 years old now...  I got them when I was 24, and thought I may still have the fish when I was in my 40's.  Now I know that's not realistic and I need to enjoy them while I can! 

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This was a marathon read but very helpful for a novice like me. I love fancies like Telescope Butterflies but now have lowered my expectations of how long they will probably live. I found it interesting that in the wild goldfish eat a mostly plant based diet. I think I will feed my fish a more plant based diet from now on.

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I had to re-read most of the thread to figure out where you got that information.  Studies of feral goldfish in warm water all show the primary food is detritus -- decomposing organic material.  The primary organisms in detritus are bacteria and algae, and the specific types vary with location.  While the remains of aquatic plants can be found in detritus it does not contain a lot of land plants.

 

In cold water, fish don't eat much, but what goldfish do eat then includes a lot of insect larvae and other small aquatic animals.  

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Thanks shakaho, did I mention I was a novice? It seems I did not fully understand what I was reading, a novice mistake, I seem to be good at these sorts of mistakes! 

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Yes, I recognize you as a novice.  So I wanted to make sure you didn't follow misunderstood information.

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Yes, I recognized you as a novice, so I wanted to correct a misunderstanding immediately.  :)

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So I was talking to one of my students today about my goldfish (I lecture in landscape design theory & practice at a College) and how I was not great at keeping them alive. He told me he is a trained Veterinary technician and and that from the experiences he had working in a large vet practice that includes fish care, the fancy goldfish are commonly very short lived. Often less than five years, due to the intensive breeding to produce the exotic shapes. He advised me to enjoy them while I have them but not to get too upset if they die as I am probably expecting too much if I expect them to live many years. Your thoughts anyone?

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So I was talking to one of my students today about my goldfish (I lecture in landscape design theory & practice at a College) and how I was not great at keeping them alive. He told me he is a trained Veterinary technician and and that from the experiences he had working in a large vet practice that includes fish care, the fancy goldfish are commonly very short lived. Often less than five years, due to the intensive breeding to produce the exotic shapes. He advised me to enjoy them while I have them but not to get too upset if they die as I am probably expecting too much if I expect them to live many years. Your thoughts anyone?

 

 

Guess it depends on if you hand raise the fry or buy them off of someone..... I had one that I got when he was only 2" big and lived with me for almost 7 years.....I have had others that only live for like a year or so... Just depends... but yeah enjoy them hun... love then :)

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Hi Koko, Thank you for your comments. I am hoping to keep my two goldfish for many years, I am only now coming to the realisation that a lot of what I thought about their longevity does not really apply to the fancies. I look at the beautiful fish people have on this site and assumed they were all able to keep their fish healthy until a great old age. I now see that only some goldfish will grow to be many years old. I am just readjusting my view so I will continue to keep goldfish and not go into a depression if I lose one.  :no:

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