Goldfish Pet Store Lifespan

How long do goldfish live in pet stores? If no one buys them, do they die?

Grant's Reply


Generally, conditions in pet store aquariums are not great. The fish are usually overcrowded and under-fed, leading to high stress levels.

Stressed fish get sick, so the longer they are in that environment, the lower their chances of survival.

It is usually the bigger stores that are the worst offenders, but they do have higher turnovers of stock so this does shorten the time fish are in the store.

I always recommend buying fish from specialist fish shops because they do know the basics of good fish care, and also know how to treat any disease outbreaks.

As I said in issue 63 of The Goldfish Gazette, you can still purchase fish from pet stores or large retail shops, just don't expect them to be disease free. Treat them for parasites whether they are exhibiting symptoms or not.

I have tried in the past to save sick Goldfish. The last instance was at the specialist fish store I usually get my supplies.

The fish was a Water Bubble Eye on it's last legs. It was obviously very sick, and was going to die if nothing was done.

I pointed this out to the store owner and offered to take the fish for half price. I estimated the fish had a 50/50 chance of survival.

The store owner didn't take me up on the offer, and removed the fish from the tank. I suspect it wasn't put into a sick bay, so he made nothing from the fish, not even any customer goodwill.

Sometimes you just have to accept that you can't save every Goldfish.

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Apr 25, 2019
Very interesting
by: Moreno Baruffini

Many Thanks, a very interesting and informative article! Greetings from an italian reader

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