Do goldfish get lonely?

Do goldfish get lonely?Q. Do goldfish get lonely?
A. No, goldfish probably don’t get lonely.

It’s normal to wonder whether your goldfish will get lonely if kept in a tank on his or her own.

You see your goldfish swimming around the same tank, all day every day, by themselves; looking at the same plants, sticking their noses into the same bits of gravel, swimming under the same ornamental bridge…

You leave for school or work for hours on end, so there’s nothing going on outside the tank for them to look at, they’re not being fed regularly throughout the day, and you just found out that the “three second memory” is a myth.

Surely a goldfish will get bored unless you get another fish for them to play with, won’t they?!

Actually, no, they won’t!

There’s no definite answer to the question “do goldfish get lonely?”. After all, nobody can enter the mind of a goldfish to make absolutely sure! However, we can say that it is very unlikely that goldfish get lonely. They’re just not the same as humans – they’re not social animals in the same way that we are, and they don’t have the same capacity to get bored or long for companionship!

In fact, many of the longest living goldfish have lived perfectly happily in aquaria all by themselves (and some goldfish live a very long time!).

So, should you keep more fish to avoid your goldfish getting lonely?

As it’s unlikely that goldfish get lonely, you certainly shouldn’t get more fish just to keep your current goldfish company. But if there are other reasons why you want to get more fish, then that’s entirely up to you!

However, if you do decide to get more fish then please remember: you must ensure that your tank is big enough and that the fish you choose are suitable tank mates.

Read more in our Goldfish Info series! 


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  • ScottRR

    My gold fish that I’ve had for over 3 years kills off all the other fish I get by eating all the fish food first and constantly swimming into them. I think he likes being by himself but if I walk past the fish tank he will follow me as I walk by and keep swimming in the direction I’m in until I go to far away from the tank