Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Goldfish > 12 Oldest Goldfish that Ever Lived (with Pictures)

12 Oldest Goldfish that Ever Lived (with Pictures)

Goldfish in aquarium with plants and stones

If you have just recently entered the world of raising pet goldfish, you are likely trying to learn as much about them as possible to provide them with the best life possible. There are many fascinating facts about goldfish, including their ability to see more colors than we do, but the most important question most of us have about our goldfish is how long do they live?

Keep reading while we look into some of the oldest goldfish in the world to help you answer that question while learning other interesting facts as well!divider-fish

The 12 Oldest Goldfish Ever Recorded

1. Bob

  • Age: 20 years old
Bob the Goldfish on a life saving surgery
Image Credit: Toll Barn Veterinary Centre. All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

Bob was a 20-year-old goldfish when he underwent surgery to remove a tumor in 2017. The amazing family of this lucky guy paid $250 for the surgery, and it turned out to be a success. The fish survived the operation and went home to recover. We were unable to find any information on how much longer the fish survived. Perhaps it’s still alive.

2. Byker Families Goldfish

  • Age: 21 years old
samantha dixon with her goldfish
Image Credit: Photo taken by Coreena Ford, property of Reach PLC. All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

The Byker Family goldfish lived to be 21 years old, and many speculated if it was the oldest fish in the United Kingdom at the time. The owner said the fish might even be older because it was quite large when she purchased it. She says that she believes not overfeeding it and even forgetting to feed it on occasion contributed to its longevity. However, the strangest fact about this fish has to be that they never gave it a name.

3. Sally

  • Age: 23 years old

Reaching the ripe old age of 23 might seem like the weirdest thing about this YouTube star. However, when she began having trouble swimming upright, her loving family made her a floatation device to help her swim again. The floatation device was a success, and Sally was able to swim again.

4. Tom and Jerry

  • Ages: 23 and 21
goldfish tom and jerry with their owner Janice Gibson
Image Credit: Photo taken by Coreena Ford, property of Reach PLC. All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

Having one goldfish live to be older than 20 years is one thing, but Tom and Jerry prove a careful owner can raise two of them. These fish were probably the oldest fish in North America in 2011, and a nice lady named Janice raised them. The weirdest fact about these fish is that Janice doesn’t know why they lived so long and says she didn’t do anything special. They lived in a regular tank with a pump and ate regular fish food, though she did claim to have saved one of their lives when it swallowed a pebble, and she was able to remove it.

5. Sharkey

  • Age: 24

Sharkey was an amazing goldfish that lived to be 24 years old. His owner Palmer won him at a fair when he was only four years old, and they were together ever since. The strangest fact about Sharkey is that his mother found him belly up and flushed him down the toilet at one point, but the athletic fish was able to swim back up into the bowl, where his amazed and relieved family retrieved him and put him back in his tank.

6. Splish and Splash

  • Ages: 38 and 36

Splish and Splash are another pair of goldfish raised by a single owner that reached an almost unbelievable age. These two fish lived in the same 30-gallon tank for more than 30 years after the Wright family won them at a fair. These fish actually turned grey around the gills and moved around the tank very slowly.

7. Fred and George

  • Ages 40 and 40

Keith Allies won Fred and George at the state fair in 1974 for his 18-year-old girlfriend. Forty years later, they are still together, and Fred and George are right there with them. Mary once commented that the fish would outlive her. Some sources say that George made it to 44 before he died. He has the record as the oldest goldfish ever recorded.

8. Tish

  • Age: 43

Tish had the record for longest living fish ever recorded from 1998 until George took it in 2018. This fish was also won at the fair by a boy named Pete. Tish lost most of its color and had a silver-grey appearance in his old age. The Guinness World Book of Records was unable to confirm his age with biological testing but was satisfied the age was correct.

9. Goldie

  • Age: 45

Goldie claims to be the oldest fish on our list, reaching an unprecedented 45 years old. This fish lived alongside snails and aquarium plants in a tank that was less than ten gallons. Pauline Evans says she can’t take all of the credit for raising the fish because they belonged to her parents, who died and left them to her. It was not recognized as the oldest fish because Pauline would not subject the fish to a scale test because she feared it would put too much stress on the fish.divider-fish

Final Thoughts

As you can see, raising a goldfish can be a lot more interesting than it seems. Many of these stories involve fish that didn’t live in big expensive aquariums, but they still thrived. Currently George holds the official record at 44, and there is no telling how long that record can hold. While it’s true most fish won at the fair die very quickly, all of the world records came from there as well, so think about that next time you are there.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over our list and found yourself amazed by what you’ve learned. If you never thought goldfish could live so long, please share this guide to the oldest goldfish of all time on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image credit: Arunee Rodloy, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets