Do Goldfish Need A Filter? Will They Survive?

Goldfish are hardy fish and can live in a wide variety of water conditions, but do goldfish need a filter?

Goldfish produce a lot of waste and as such will require a filter in the tank. Although they can survive in a bowl without a filter, this setup can make life a little complicated and shorten their lifespan.

Do Goldfish Need A Filter

Can Goldfish Live Without a Filter?

Goldfish can live without a filter, but they will not have a high quality of life. A tank with no filter arrangement can shorten the lifespan of goldfish. They produce a significant amount of wastes that can quickly accumulate in a short time. The accumulation of this waste is detrimental to the health of your goldfish.

Filter offers an efficient way of getting rid of this waste and maintaining the cleanliness of the tank. Goldfish also require a high level of oxygen, and the filter can also enhance its availability. Overall, goldfish will live without a filter, but it might shorten their lifespan because they usually have difficulty coping with waste in their tank.

How Long Can Goldfish Live Without a Filter?

Goldfish can live for 2 to 3 years in a tank without a filter. This lifespan is relatively short compared to goldfish’s typical life expectancy, which is between 10-15 years.

If you plan to keep your goldfish in a bowl take a look at this article I wrote on how to care for your fish in a bowl.

How Long Can Goldfish Live Without a Filter

The lifespan and life expectancy of pet fish is mainly dependent on their living conditions. Goldfish is not an exception to this fact. The inclusion or absence of a filter is one of the significant factors that can influence goldfish’s life span because it affects the cleanliness of the tank.

Filters have so much impact on goldfish’s life span because they play an essential role in the elimination of wastes. This fish species produces a large amount of waste that accumulates in the tank within a short period. The accumulation of these wastes restrict the fish from living their best life; hence, reducing their lifespan.

Do Goldfish Need a filter on All the Time?

Goldfish are pretty hardy. You might not have to leave the filter on with the goldfish every time. Turning off the filter or taking it out a few times or for a few hours wouldn’t hurt them too much.

Goldfish Need a filter on All the Time

A filter is one of the essential requirements for running a successful goldfish tank. Goldfish produce toxic wastes that will be detrimental to them if they buildup. Filters will help to get rid of these wastes to improve the life quality of these fish.

However, if you leave your goldfish without a filter for a long time, you would be depriving them of the right quality of life. In fact, consistently leaving your goldfish without a filter for 8 out of 24 hours a day can be detrimental to the fish.

In general, you can turn off or take out filters sometimes, but it is best not to do it too frequently. If you don’t have a good reason for excluding it, leaving your goldfish with a filter all the time will not do them any harm.

Should I Use an Internal or External Filter?

There are two basic types of filters, even though they serve the same purpose. It doesn’t matter if you are using an internal or external filter as long as it is functional and suitable for the goldfish tank.

However, getting a clear understanding of internal and external filters and their functions will help you decide which is best for your fish tank. Internal filters work better for small to medium-sized tanks, while it is best to use external filters for big or gigantic tanks. The number of fish in your tank can also influence the type of filter to use. External filters are better for a tank with a higher number of fish.

Likewise, external filters are generally more powerful and more extensive than most internal filters. Consequently, external filters hold more media than internal filters; hence, it offers better cleaning and supports larger tanks.

However, this feature is on two sides. Although the large media capacity of external filters offers a more powerful performance, it will also mean a higher purchase and operation cost. You will have to purchase more of it each time you want to change the media.

In general, both internal and external filters are useful depending on the nature of your tank. However, an external filter might offer you a more versatile option because it is designed to hold diverse biological, mechanical, and chemical media. It also takes longer to clog.

Do Goldfish Need a Filter in a Pond?

The only time that it is safe to keep goldfish in a pond without including a filter is when the pond only contains few fish, and it is heavily planted. These plants will function as a natural filter, and the pond will also require regular maintenance.

Do Goldfish Need a Filter in a Pond

The primary aim of including a filter in goldfish’s home is to ensure that their habitat is clean at all times. It is possible to keep goldfish in ponds without a filter, but it means that they don’t need it.

A pond with a heavy load of goldfish might not be sustainable without a filter, even if it includes loads of plants. Their large numbers mean they will produce a higher level of waste, and they need an active way to get rid of it.

Some aquarists recommend using a regular dose of Aquaplancton in a pond without a filter. This Aquaplancton will promote the growth of certain healthy bacteria that can help with the decomposition of organic waste. It will also help to maintain the tank’s cleanliness.


Goldfish are one of the easiest fish to keep in the aquarium, even for beginners. They will thrive excellently as long as they have enough space to express themselves, and they enjoy a clean tank.

The inclusion of filters is one of the best ways to optimize tank conditions for goldfish. It improves the living conditions of the goldfish by ensuring the cleanliness of the tank. A dirty tank makes living difficult for goldfish and shortens their lifespan.