- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids


Goldfish Facts

Size Up to 18.6 in (47.4 cm) (largest species)
Speed Unknown
Weight Up to 5 lb (2.3 kg) (largest species)
Lifespan 10-30 years
Food Plants, insects
Predators Birds, turtles
Habitat Freshwater
Order Cypriniformes
Family Cyprinidae
Scientific name Carassius gibelio forma auratus
Characteristics Typically orange-colored fish

Main Characteristics

The goldfish is a freshwater fish and one of the oldest known pets. It developed from a breed in East China around 1,000 years ago. The tiny and cute goldfish is acutally a carp. But a very small one.

Life Expectancy

How Old Can Goldfish Get?

The world’s oldest goldfish reached an age of 43 years. It was named Tish and lovingly buried in a yoghurt pot in the garden of its owner.

Goldfish Goldfish - Photo: motorolka/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

Do Goldfish Have a Memory?

The goldfish is said to have a memory of only three seconds. Yet, it has been proven that the goldfish can remember things much longer, actually for at least three months, by means of the following experiment:

In the aquarium, a lever opened the feeding shaft only once a day at a certain time. If the goldfish really had such a bad memory, it would pull the lever at any time of day. But after a short while the goldfish pulled the lever at the correct time to get its reward. Thus, goldfish are not that dumb – but always hungry.

Can Goldfish Hear?

Goldfish have rather good hearing, but are not always keen on listening to every “rubbish”. They quickly get irritated if it gets too loud around them. Then they just close their ears.

Goldfish Goldfish - Photo: satit_srihin/Shutterstock

Anatomy and Appearance

The Biggest Goldfish

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, “Joris Gijsbers“ from the Netherlands is the longest goldfish measuring 18.6 inch (47.4 cm) from mouth to tail.

Goldfish Goldfish - Photo: Mirek Kijewski/Shutterstock


Female goldfish lay eggs which are impregnated by male goldfish in the water. After two or three days the little goldfish hatch and develop their typical orange color after about twelve months.

Goldfish As Pets

There are about 20-30 different breeds of goldfish, such as the “comet-tailed goldfish” with an extremely long tail. Or the “celestial eye” with its extremely big eyes looking upwards. The “shubunkin” is covered with lots of dots and the “veiltail” has a flowing double (!) fan tail.

Goldfisch Goldfisch - Photo: Skumer/Shutterstock


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