7 Oldest Goldfish that Ever Lived

Goldfish are one of the world’s most common pets and unfortunately are often seen as disposable. It’s quite common for pet goldfish to live very short lives, with their average lifespan ranging between 5 – 10 years. While this may be the norm, with proper care a domesticated goldfish can live a very long life. All of the goldfish on this list are proof that these pets can live extraordinarily long lives.

7. Bob

Last Known Age: 20 years old in 2017
Still Alive:  Unknown
Location:  North Walsham, United Kingdom
Owner:  Unknown family

Bob photo source: The Independent 

Bob the goldfish experienced his 15 minutes of fame in 2017 when his family decided to spend $250 on an operation to save his life. Several international online news outlets reported on the story and interviewed veterinarian Dr. Faye Bethell about the operation. She said that Bob’s family had noticed that he was struggling to swim and developed a lump on his fin.

The delicate 30 minute operation was successful and Bob has fully recovered. Dr. Bethell said that his family was very pleased with the outcome as Bob is older than their children and considered part of their family.

6. Sharky

Last Known Age: 24 years old in 2012
Still Alive:  Unknown 
Location:  Gateshead, United Kingdom
Owner:  Paul Palmer

Sharkyphoto source: The Daily Mail

The last time Paul Palmer was interviewed in 2012, he said that Sharky was 24 years old. Palmer said that he won the goldfish at a small local fair when he was four years old. He never thought that Sharky would live this long, especially because his sister’s goldfish, which she won at the same fair, died a few days later.

Sharky did have a near-death experience when Palmer’s mother found him belly up in his bowl. They thought the fish was dead and flushed him down the toilet. However, Sharky was still alive and swam back up the pipe and was saved in time.

5. Splish

Last Known Age: 36
Still Alive:  No – died in 2013
Location:  Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Owner:  Richard and Ann Wright

Splishphoto source: The Sun

Before he died in 2013, Splish was one half of the duo of old goldfish owned by the Wright family, called Splish and Splash. Like many of the fish on this list, Splish and Splash were funfair prizes won by Haley and Matthew Wright in 1977. After Haley and Matthew left their family home as adults, their parents Richard and Ann cared for Splish and Splash – they still take care of Splash, who outlived Splish.

In an interview a few years before Splish’s death, Mr. Wright said that Splish and Splash had lost their golden color and have gone grey, like himself. Mr. Wright believes that Splash mourned for Splish when he was no longer around.

4. Splash

Last Known Age: 38 years old in 2015
Still Alive:  Unknown 
Location:  Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Owner:  Richard and Ann Wright

Splashphoto source: The Mirror

Splash is the surviving member of a pair of fish won by Haley and Matthew Wright at a funfair in 1977. Before Splash was unseated a short time after, he was believed to be the world’s oldest living aquarium fish.

The fish’s owners say that they have never done anything particularly special to care for Splash. He swims around his tank all day, eats regular fish food, and feeds on the live plants in his tank. The Wrights have no idea why Splash has lived so long and mentioned that he while their children left home long ago, Splash is still around and part of the family.

3. Fred and George

Last Known Age: Fred – 42 and George – 44 
Still Alive:  No – Fred died in 2017 and George died in 2019 
Location:  Worcester, United Kingdom
Owner:  Keith and Mary Allies

Fred and George photo source: The Mirror

After another goldfish in the United Kingdom gained media attention for being the oldest current living goldfish, Keith and Mary Allies stepped forward to claim that their goldfish, Fred and George were older. According to Keith, he won the pair of fish at a fair in 1974, when he and Mary were only dating. Since then, the now-married couple have kept the goldfish, who outlived two of their dogs.

Keith and Mary said that they never thought that Fred and George would live past a few months, let alone over 40 years. 

In 2019, the Allies reported that Fred had died in 2017 at the age of 42 and that George’s health started to decline after the loss of his lifelong best friend. George finally passed two years later and the grand old age of 44 — George is now the second oldest goldfish ever! 

2. Tish

Last Known Age: 43 years old
Still Alive:  No – died in 1999
Location:  Thirsk, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Owner:  Hilda Hand

Tishphoto source: BBC News

Although there is a fish older than Tish on this list, a year before his death, he was recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest living goldfish. In his later years, Tish was owned by Hilda Hand. In 1956, Mrs. Hand’s son, Peter, won Tish and another goldfish named Tosh at a funfair. Tosh lived for 19 years until he died in 1975.

Mrs. Hand said that Tish was part of her family and she felt that he could recognize her and knew when it was feeding time. She attributes Tish’s long life to not being overfed and sometimes being put out in the garden to feel the sun.

1. Goldie

Last Known Age: 45 years old
Still Alive:  No – died in 2005
Location:  Bradninch, Devon, United Kingdom
Owner:  Tom and Pauline Evans

 Goldie photo source: BBC News

Goldie was 45 years old when he died in 2005, which makes him the oldest goldfish in the world. According to one of his owners, Pauline Evans, Goldie has been in her family since the 1960s. He was originally owned by her parents until they died in the late 1990s.

While he was alive, Goldie garnered international media attention and the Evans family donated any money earned by Goldie’s appearances to charity. They asked that any checks be made out to the Vranch House School and Centre, which helps children with physical disabilities.

Although Goldie is widely believed to be the oldest goldfish that ever lived, he was not entered into the Guinness Book of Records due to a lack of documentary proof.


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