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23 Fun Facts About Goldfish

Did you know that goldfish are the most popular pet in the world? If not then it’s time to dive into the best fun facts about goldfish!

goldfish facts

Have you ever won a goldfish in a carnival game? Or went to the pet store and picked out your favorite goldie from the tank?

As the most popular pet in the world, there’s a good chance you’ve had a few goldfish throughout your life, but how much do you really know about these cute orange fish?

With these fun facts about goldfish, we’ll uncover all the interesting things you need to know. And trust us, there’s a lot to discover about this fish!

fun goldfish facts
How much do you know about goldfish?

Like how big can goldfish really get (hint: VERY BIG!), what body parts are missing from goldfish, and what are the most popular goldfish names.

And those are only the tame goldfish facts. We’ll also get into the kooky facts that truly shocked us. These include the cannibalistic qualities of goldfish, the laying of 1,000 eggs, and the goldfish with driver’s licenses.

We’ll then get philosophical with some existential questions, including, “Does my goldfish recognize me?” And, “Will my goldfish outlive me?”

The fascinating world of goldfish is quite eye-opening (goldfish don’t have eyelids after all).

We had no idea how unique, intelligent, and downright cool goldfish were. We hope you feel the same way too after reading these essential goldfish facts.

facts about goldfish
It’s time to dive into all our goldfish trivia

23 Fun Facts About Goldfish

1. The most popular fish in the world

Chances are you’ve had a goldfish in your life at some point. Incredibly, every year almost 500 million goldfish are sold as pets. Dogs and cats combined do not even come close to this number!

2. How many varieties of goldfish are there?

Most goldfish breeds originated in China, with over 200 unique species identified. These different breeds were produced through selective breeding, looking for body shape, eye shape, and fin configuration.

There is one USA-made variety of goldfish – the Comet goldfish, known for its deeply forked tail.

most popular pet in the world
The comet goldfish is a very popular type of goldfish

3. Do goldfish sleep with their eyes open?

The eyes of a goldfish actually never close, because they don’t have eyelids! Eyelids evolved to keep eyes from drying out, but in an aquatic environment fish eyes don’t need moistening. 

However, goldfish do sleep better in the dark, so make sure you turn your tank light off at night.

4. What other body parts are missing from goldfish?

Eyelids aren’t the only thing that a goldfish is lacking. Did you know goldfish also don’t have tongues?

Goldfish taste buds are located on their mouth and lips. Their teeth, at the back of their mouth, grinds food before it enters the intestine. Oh yeah, goldfish don’t have stomachs either. Weird eh?

5. Don’t do this to your goldfish

Even though they’re not visible, goldfish have internal ears called otoliths. This means that tapping on a fish tank can really stress goldfish out and should be avoided. No wonder you always see kids being scolded for doing it!

types of goldfish
Goldfish can grow very big!

6. What’s the world’s largest goldfish?

Of all the goldfish facts this one might be the most astonishing. Did you know that goldfish grow relative to the size of their tank? 

In fact, some goldfish that have been released in the wild have grown up to 67 pounds!

7. The prolific reproduction of goldfish

Female goldfish lay at least 1,000 eggs at a time! Although not all the eggs get fertilized, goldfish still reproduce at an incredible pace. 

In fact, goldfish released into the wild can overrun ponds and lakes in a few short years.

8. When a koi meets a goldfish

It’s possible to breed a goldfish and a koi. However, the offspring of the two fish will be infertile. 

This is common among many other animal species, including a horse and a donkey breeding to create a mule. In fact, the koi/goldfish hybrid is called a mule too.

goldfish trivia
What do you call a goldfish and a koi? A mule?

9. Are goldfish cannibals?

Goldfish have an insatiable appetite. While enjoying its pellets or flakes, a goldfish will also eat other small fish, its own eggs and babies, and fish waste.

Goldfish will also eat themselves to death if given too much food. The life purpose of a goldfish is to eat, so make sure you monitor their feeding schedule closely!

10. Do goldfish have a three-second memory?

This might be the biggest misconception about goldfish. Research actually suggests that goldfish have at least a five-month memory. 

Israeli scientists trained goldfish to recognize a dinner bell. The goldfish were then released. After five months the bell was rung again and the goldfish returned to the original feeding place.

11. The attention span of a goldfish

Hey, are you still paying attention to these goldfish facts? We don’t blame you if your mind has started to wander.

Humans only have an average attention span of eight seconds. Believe it or not, goldfish have humans beat with a nine-second attention span! Go goldfish go!

goldfish information
Goldfish are actually surprisingly intelligent

12. How intelligent are goldfish?

Rumored to have no brain or memory, goldfish have been grossly underestimated. In fact, goldfish are extremely intelligent.

Goldfish can recognize faces, shapes, and sounds. That’s why they’ll often come to the center of the tank when you’re near. It recognizes the face that feeds them!

13. Goldfish are being trained to drive

No, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke! Scientists in Israel are teaching goldfish to drive.

In an effort to prove that navigation is a universal ability of animals, goldfish were put in a tank on top of a robotic platform. Trained with food pellets to reach a specific target, the goldfish picked up the navigation skill in a matter of days. 

14. Surgery for a goldfish?

For some families their goldfish is a beloved pet, just as important as a dog or cat. Veterinarians are often called in to remove tumors from older goldfish. 

Goldfish are anesthetized and kept wet during surgery to prevent their scales from drying out, and can be back to their normal selves within hours.

how many types of goldfish are there
Yes, we really do love goldfish

15. How long can goldfish live?

One of the most incredible facts is that goldfish can live for over 40 years! Goldie (1960-2005), the oldest goldfish to ever live died at 45. 

And as people’s hair turns gray or white in old age, Goldie’s scales faded from orange to pale pink in his later years.

16. The amazing lateral line

This is one of the coolest goldfish trivia we came across. The lateral line of a goldfish is an organ that spreads along the side of a fish in tiny dots. 

The dots detect water movement and changes in water pressure. This allows goldfish to navigate through water unimpeded and to sense danger.

17. What do goldfish symbolize?

In Asia, goldfish are seen as a sign of friendship. It’s also a traditional first anniversary gift from husbands to their wives.

Additionally, goldfish symbolize abundance, good fortune, tranquility and peace.

goldfish facts for kids
In Asia, goldfish are seen as a sign of friendship

18. The fish of royalty

Of all the goldfish facts, this one took us completely by surprise. Did you know that in medieval China only members of the Song Dynasty (960 AD -1279 AD) were allowed to own goldfish? 

The symbolism of luck and fortune meant the Song’s didn’t want anyone else to get their hands on the auspicious goldfish!

19. The famous Goldfish cracker

Of course in our fun facts about goldfish we absolutely have to mention the little orange snack that everyone loves. 

Americans love Goldfish crackers so much they eat 150 billion of them every year! But did you know that only 40% of Goldfish crackers have a smile baked in?

20. Why are goldfish orange?

The pigment in goldfish is encouraged by the sun. The more sun your goldfish gets the more brilliant in color it will become. 

But did you know that the scales of a goldfish are clear? It’s the skin underneath the scales that gives goldfish their distinctive color and pattern.

can goldfish heal themselves
Did you know goldfish can heal themselves?

21. Goldfish can heal themselves

If goldfish lose scales or fins to disease or injury, they have the ability to regenerate their body parts, and become as good as new.

Wow! What can’t a goldfish do? We hope all our goldfish information has made you appreciate this humble little fish.

22. A goldfish in winter

Did you know that goldfish have the ability to hibernate? Once water temperatures drop below 60°F (15.6°C), goldfish will drop to the bottom of a pond or tank for 6-10 weeks, conserving energy. 

However, a well-taken care of goldfish in a temperature controlled tank will never need to hibernate.

how long can goldfish live for
Goldie or Nemo?

23. What should I name my goldfish?

Jaws is the most common name for goldfish! The runners-up for most popular are Goldie and Nemo. 

Other names in the top-10 include Bubbles, Finn, Moby, Pumpkin, Goldilocks and Bubba. What are you gonna name your next goldfish?

Who wants more fun facts?

fact books

If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!

  1. Interesting Facts for Curious Minds
  2. 1,144 Random, Interesting & Fun Facts You Need To Know
  3. The Intriguingly Interesting Book of 555 Fascinating Facts

We really hope you enjoyed all our fun facts about goldfish! Did you learn something new? 

If there’s any goldfish facts we missed, you can let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to this article! 

Share these fun facts now!

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