How Long Do Goldfish Live In A Pond?

Have you been keeping your Goldfish in an outdoor pond? It is natural to wonder how long your Goldfish will survive in the habitat that you are providing them with. If you want to know how long your Goldfish can live in a pond then I will tell you the dos and don’ts of keeping your Goldfish outside in a pond.

On average, Goldfish have a life expectancy of around 6 years. This obviously varies for different types of Goldfish. Their life expectancy can also vary with the care and conditions you provide for them. Keeping a Goldfish is not a very hard task, all you have to do is keep check of their water and diet and your Goldfish may live up to 25 years even.

Goldfish Live In A Pond

How Goldfish Thrive In Different Conditions?

Most TV shows and cartoons have led us to believe that Goldfish are to be kept in fishbowls as pets. This is very misleading and can be very harmful to your Goldfish. Let me tell give you an estimate of how long a single Goldfish can live in different tank sizes, under different conditions:

Size of the TankConditionsLife Expectancy
A regular-sized fishbowl (2.5 to 5 gallons)Inadequate1 week
A regular-sized fishbowl (2.5 to 5 gallons)Adequate2 months
5 to 7 gallons tankInadequate2 to 6 months
5 to 7 gallons tankAdequate6 months to 2 years
8 to 15 gallons tankInadequate6 months to 2 years
8 to 15 gallons tankAdequate2 to 5 years
15 to 20 gallons tankInadequate2 to 5 years
15 to 20 gallons tankAdequate5 to 8 years
15 to 20 gallons tankExcellent8 to 12 years
15 to 20 gallons tankExcellent conditions and great genesUp to 15 years
An outdoor pond (20 gallons or more)Well maintained15 to 20 years
An outdoor pond (20 gallons or more)Well Maintained good genesUp to 25 years

It can be clearly seen that the size of the tank that your Goldfish is being kept, in greatly influences its life expectancy. To top it off, you must provide your Goldfish with excellent water conditions and a diet that will ensure that your Goldfish lives up to more than 20 years.

How You Can Increase the Chances of a Longer Life for Your Goldfish in a Pond?

If you think that keeping your Goldfish in an outdoor pond, in an attempt to bring them closer to their habitat is enough, then you may be wrong. There are certain other parameters that you need to take care of when keeping Goldfish in a pond. Let me walk you through them

Goldfish in a Pond

  • Large Enough: If your outdoor pond is smaller than your indoor tank, then it is better to keep your Goldfish inside the tank. The purpose of keeping your Goldfish in a pond is to give them more space than a tank could give. For this reason, you must ensure that your pond is at least 20 gallons in size, which is enough to keep one Goldfish only. For adding more Goldfish, just add another 10 gallons of volume to the initial size. This can give you an estimate as to how big a pond should be if you wish to keep more than one Goldfish. It is important to understand that Goldfish can grow as much as 10 inches in size, and little or not enough space for them will hinder their growth.
  • Aeration: Keeping your Goldfish in a pond is also a good idea as the water is in constant contact with the oxygen from the air. However, to further improve water quality you can add air stones and filters that will keep the oxygen level in the pond at an optimum level. Do make sure that your pond is not overstocked with Goldfish and other fish, as it will lead to the oxygen levels in the pond falling below optimum, sooner than they can be restored back to normal.
  • Temperature and pH: Another important aspect of a good water environment for your Goldfish is the water temperature, which needs to be at an optimum range of 68 to 74 °F. for this purpose, you can add a thermostat and a water heater to your pond that will detect the variation in the water temperature and fix the temperature back to optimum. To maintain pH levels between 7 and 8.4, you must regularly check the pH of the water. Adding driftwood to the pond and removing it when the pH is back to normal, is a great way of maintaining the pH of the water in your Goldfish Pond.
  • Water Quality: If your pond is in the garden, you may have the risk of polluting the pond’s water by the addition of fertilizers around the pond, in garden. The fertilizers can also seep into the pond through the soil. This will greatly affect the water quality of the pond negatively. The fertilizers contain nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia that are extremely harmful to your Goldfish. You need to ensure that your pond is cycled properly. Cycling is the process whereby good bacteria in the water break down the harmful Nitrogen compounds into less harmful materials. The addition of good bacteria is a must when keeping an outdoor pond, and you can do this by seeding, which is the process of adding gravel from a well-established fish tank to your pond.
  • Decaying Matter: It may be hard to see decaying plants and food in a pond, but it is still there, and you must remove it regularly. A decaying matter like plants, uneaten food, or dead fish even, can be very deadly for your Goldfish. The decaying matter produces ammonia, and nitrites which are very harmful to your Goldfish. It is absolutely vital that you remove this matter, on a weekly basis.
  • Predators: Goldfish living in an outdoor pond is always at risk, due to the natural predators that are roaming or flying about the pond in search of food. To protect your Goldfish from predators such as birds, and rodents, you can add a net on top of your pond. This will keep the predators from fetching the Goldfish from the pond. Mosquitoes and beetles are likely to disturb the Goldfish fry, and for that reason, you must make sure that the net is tightly meshed to keep such small predators away.
  • Pond Mates: When it comes to keeping mates with Goldfish, you are advised best to keep Goldfish only. They adapt well to each other generally and will be easy for you too, as you will only be dealing with one species of fish. In a pond, you must make sure that the Goldfish you are keeping are approximate of the same size so that eating each other is avoided. If you still wish to keep other fish besides Goldfish, you can add zebra danios, and rosy barbs, which are peaceful and adapt well with Goldfish.
  • Food: You must give your Goldfish the right type of feed in the right amount.
  • Amount: Feeding your Goldfish too much, thinking that you can add more food to the pond, is a wrong decision. Goldfish only eat as much as they eat within 2 minutes of food being added. You must remove the uneaten food, as it will not only decay but may also invite Goldfish to eat more. This will cause digestive problems in your Goldfish.
  • Type: You must also make sure that you are feeding your Goldfish all types of food that they require. Only feeding them pellets and flakes may not be enough for your Goldfish. You should add live food, like brine shrimp and bloodworms to your pond for your Goldfish to eat. Adding vegetables like carrots deshelled peas, lettuce and cabbage is also a good idea. Make sure that if you are feeding your Goldfish ready-made food, you are choosing the brand that promises to fulfill your Goldfish’s dietary requirements.
  • Genes: Good and healthier genes may cause your Goldfish to live longer than average genes. When buying Goldfish, make sure that you buy them from a trusted source, as there is a good chance that they sell Goldfish with good genetic characteristics.

How Will Your Goldfish Survive Winters in an Outdoor Pond?

Many people have this very much valid concern, as to how their Goldfish will survive outdoors in winter. Should you be shifting them back to an indoor tank during colder seasons? You will be surprised to know how you can still keep your Goldfish alive and well in outdoor ponds in winters. Here is how you can do that:

 Outdoor Pond

  • Choice of Filter: When adding a filter to your Goldfish tank, you must make sure that you are choosing the right one. Filters work by shifting the water from the top or bottom of the tank, or pond to the bottom or top, respectively. If your filer works such that the water at the surface of the pond is brought to the bottom, it may be dangerous for your Goldfish in the winter. The water of the pond at the surface is colder than at depth. Your Goldfish will shift to deeper waters in winter, to keep themselves warm. But f your filter brings cold water to where your Goldfish is, at the depth, they will become disturbed. It is better that you choose a filter that will bring the water from the bottom of the pond to the surface.
  • Remove Ice: If you live in countries, where the temperature drops to the freezing point of water, and below that, you may have observed that a layer of ice forms at the surface of your outdoor pond. It is necessary that you remove this ice, a small portion of it, if not all, to allow the exchange of gases between the pond water and the surrounding air. For this purpose, you can use a deicer, that will melt some ice around it.
  • Diet: Make sure to feed your Goldfish such a diet that they can easily digest, during winters. Add more fiber to their diet, which will keep their digestive tracks working properly. You must add more protein to your Goldfish diet in winter when keeping them in a pond, so that fat deposits develop in their bodies. These deposits will keep your Goldfish warm.

How Does The Life Expectancy of Goldfish Depend On Their Type?

Different types of Goldfish can live up to different ages. Keeping them in a pond, under good conditions can only help them at living their best, but the type of each Goldfish is also a major factor in determining how long your Goldfish survives.

  • Fancy Goldfish: As beautiful as fancy Goldfish are, it is sad to see that they do not live for very long. They generally have a shorter body, with flowing and exaggerated fins and bulging eyes. They require extra care and are more prone to diseases in bad water quality. Fancy Goldfish can live as much as 10 years under perfect conditions.
  • Common, Oranda, Comet, Shubunkin Goldfish: These Goldfish are a tougher breed and can survive inadequate water conditions for up to 15 years. If you keep these Goldfish species in very good conditions, there is no reason why they may not live up to 20 years.
  • Bubbly Eye and Ranchu Goldfish: These Goldfish are extremely delicate and do not have very good sets of genes. For this reason, they only live up to 5 years, even under excellent water conditions.
  • Fingernail, Fantail, Telescope Goldfish: These species of Goldfish are very tough and are known to live up to 15 years. Keeping them under good water conditions, and regular care can make them live up to their life expectancy.
  • Carnival Goldfish: Remember the Goldfish you kept when you won it at a carnival? It may have died very soon, and if you are wondering why, let me tell you. The Goldfish that people win in a carnival, is normally a common Goldfish, and the likelihood of it having good genes is minimum. They have been kept in a water bag or pouch for more than a day, which greatly affects their health and even if you shift them to a tank or fishbowl soon, they will die. Partly, this could also be because you did not know how to keep a Goldfish at that time, and you had the sudden responsibility of winning and keeping one.

The Bottom Line On How Long Do Goldfish Live In A Pond?

In my opinion, it is obviously better to keep your Goldfish in a pond, than in a tank. This increases the Goldfish’s life expectancy to as much as 25 years. But you must pay attention to all the other aspects as well, and only then will you succeed in keeping your Goldfish in an outdoor pond, safely. For some people, managing a whole pond may be difficult and this results in their Goldfish being neglected altogether. So, you should understand what is easier for you to maintain, a tank or a pond, and then decide accordingly.

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