March 23, 2023

Unpopular Opinion: Goldfish Belong Outside

Some fish belong in tanks, others need to be outside. And even though you may not like it, the goldfish’s place is in a pond.

I’m going to go ahead and ruffle some feathers… on a fish blog. I want to say something that’s been bugging me for years and I just can’t keep it to myself.


Here goes.


Whew! I feel better already!

It’s my own opinion, and many will disagree. Let me tell you why I feel so strongly about this.

Related: What You Need to Know About Feeding your Fish

At least once in every person’s life they bring home a goldfish from a fair, a party or the mall. It typically dies within the first month, never close to reaching the prime of its life. Because of this, the grieving owner says, “I have bad luck with fish.” What this really translates to is “I didn’t do proper research and now my fish is dead.” If this describes what you’ve been through, let me give you some advice.

Goldfish are carp. Carp get huge. I could rest my case right there, but I know my argument isn’t enough to sway anyone. Perhaps some measurements would go a long way to explaining what I mean. A common goldfish can reach lengths exceeding 12 inches. Goldfish have been caught in the wild that barely fit in a grown man’s arms. They also can live 30 years or more in the wild. In captivity, many don’t even see a year old. This is why I adamantly believe goldfish belong in ponds, so that they are able to reach their full potential for age, size, and beauty.

Related: Why I Think Aquarium Rock Collecting Rocks! 

Many people believe that a goldfish can only grow to the size of their tank. But the fish are meant to grow much larger. Goldfish in tanks are subject to stunting, which basically means the body of the fish stops growing, but their organs do not. Eventually, their organs grow too large for the body, and they die a painful death. Now, if you insist on keeping them in an aquarium, at least choose a tank that is adequate for them. I would recommend no less than 20 gallon per goldie.

It should also be considered that goldfish are dirty fish. They require frequent water changes, and are basically garbage disposals that can and will eat every hour of the day if they are able to. When they aren’t eating, it’s coming back out the other side to muck up the tank. They can’t be kept with any living plants, as they will eat them, and shouldn’t be kept with other types of fish either because again, they will eat them.

Another rookie mistake when it comes to goldfish is keeping them in with tropical fish. You shouldn’t mix cold water fish (goldies) with tropicals (angels, bettas, tetras, etc.)  Goldfish prefer cooler temperatures… like the water you’d find in a pond. Tropical fish prefer, tropical temperatures. The two don’t mix.

It isn’t that hard to set up a pond if you have a small patch of yard to dedicate to it. In the long run, your goldfish will live longer, grow larger, and be healthier over all. If you don’t have a spot for a pond, then consider another kind of fish.

summerSummer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she’s not talking about fish, Summer “spins” her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization.