How Long Can A Goldfish Live Without Oxygen?

For many new goldfish owners, our mind has been conditioned that it’s safe to keep your goldfish inside on a bowl. You see it in movies and even cartoons. The problem with this is that most of these bowls are too small for your goldfish, which can deprive them of oxygen.

So how long can a goldfish live without oxygen?

Goldfish require a great flow of water that is clean especially when they release a good amount of wastes. For an average-sized “goldfish bowl,” your goldfish can live for 2-3 days, which will eventually lead to it suffocating in its waste and ammonia.

I’ll explain what you need in a moment.

Proper Goldfish Tank Size

To ensure that your goldfish is in the proper tank size, you’ll have to keep these stats in mind. For every 2.5 centimeters, your goldfish will need about 11 liters of water. 11 liters of water in gallons would be 2.90589 gallons.

Goldfish SizeLiterGallon
2.5 centimeters11L2.90589 Gallons
5 centimeters22L5.81179 Gallons
7.5 centimeters33L8.71768 Gallons
10 centimeters44L11.6236 Gallons
15 centimeters66L17.4354 Gallons
20 centimeters88L23.2471 Gallons
30 centimeters132L34.8707 Gallons

If you have a 5-centimeter goldfish and another 2.5-centimeter goldfish, then you’ll need a 33-liter sized tank. I highly suggest this to keep your goldfish living comfortably and for the betterment of your goldfish’s future.

Does A Goldfish Need Oxygen?

Goldfish do need oxygen to survive. If there isn’t enough water flow or the tank size is too small for your goldfish, then try to find a bigger living environment for your goldfish.

Click here to check all available aquarium air pumps online!

You can also purchase an air pump to keep your goldfish’s water oxygenated.

Tip: You can tell your goldfish is lacking or struggling for oxygen when it keeps swimming to the top of the water and constantly gulps for air. Transfer your fish and get an air pump immediately.

If you’re going to transfer your fish, make sure that you have a bucket of aquarium-ready water.

How Long Can A Goldfish Live Without Oxygen?

For a goldfish, the answer depends on the size of the tank. It depends on how small it is.  When we’re discussing the scenarios of an average-sized fishbowl, your goldfish can lack oxygen and meet its death within 12 to 48 hours without an air pump/water filter.

Without a water filter, your goldfish could suffer in ammonia. Without an air pump, your goldfish will likely lack the oxygen needed to survive.

How Long Can A Goldfish Go Without Water?

If you ever encounter a problem during the goldfish transferring process, keep in mind that your goldfish can go without water for possibly 3 hours or more. (for cool temperatures only)

This section is here to help you just in case you’ll ever encounter any type of situation or emergency.

You should NEVER keep your goldfish out of water for any reason. If you’re planning to transfer your goldfish, then be ready.

Keeping Your Goldfish In Healthy Condition

To keep your goldfish in a healthy living condition, make sure that you have the right solution to add to your water. You want healthy water for your goldfish of course.

The main two items I highly advised you getting for your goldfish tank is an air pump and a water filter.

Air Pump

For certain goldfish tanks, there often times can be a lack of water flow. This will provide less oxygen for your goldfish. With an air pump, it’ll help oxygenate your tank water.

Water Filter

Since your goldfish will likely release a lot of waste, getting a water filter would help your fish tremendously. It’s recommended to get a water filter to help remove toxins and wastes from your goldfish’s environment.

How long can a goldfish live without a filter?

Depending on where your goldfish is living and the size of the tank, it can be somewhere between days or weeks if the water flow is lacking. When oxygen is lacking, sometimes your goldfish may move quicker in the water to try to pick up more oxygen from the surface of the water.

How Long Can A Goldfish Live Without Oxygen: FAQ

Below, you’ll find questions related to goldfish living without oxygen. If you have any questions that are not on this guide, feel free to comment below and I’ll get to you as soon as possible.

Can goldfish live in a bowl without an air pump?

It’s common to keep your goldfish in a bowl especially when you’re raising your first goldfish. You should avoid this and keep your fish in tank compatible with your fish size. Without an air pump, your goldfish could suffer from a lack of water flow. It’s recommended that you get an air pump for your goldfish to keep it in a better health condition. If you’re raising your goldfish without an air pump, then make sure that your tank is clean and size-compatible.

Can goldfish die from a lack of oxygen?

Yes, your goldfish can die from a lack of oxygen. If your tank has multiple fish, typically – the larger ones will die first. If your goldfish is lacking oxygen, immediately seek a bigger tank or add an air pump if it’s not already added.

Can goldfish survive in tap water?

When you first own a goldfish, you shouldn’t place your goldfish in any untreated water. Not even tap water. This is due to the fact that tap water has chemicals that will cause more harm to your fish. You have to make sure that you’re using the proper water and treated with the right solution to maintain a healthy life for your goldfish.

How long can goldfish live in tap water?

You should never leave your goldfish in tap water. If there’s a chance that it’s in tap water right now, then your goldfish will likely survive for half a day or even less. To keep your goldfish in safely treated water, make sure that you have anti-chlorine and proper solutions for your fish tank.

From VivariumTips,


Hopefully, this goldfish guide helped you with the necessary information to help maintain a healthy life for your goldfish. My suggestion for future goldfish owners is to get the proper tank size, an air pump, treated water, and a water filter to maintain its health.

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