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Do Goldfish Need A Heater? Temperature Guide (With Infographic)

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By Lindsey Stanton

beautiful pearlscale goldfishes

If you are planning on getting a goldfish, there are some basics you will need, such as a tank, substrate, lights, some plants, a filter, and more. That said, do goldfish need a heater? You might be surprised to know that many types of goldfish are cold-water fish and therefore do not need a heater.

That being said, not all goldfish are cold-water fish, and therefore some of them require a heater, but it depends on the type of goldfish you have or are planning to get.


What Temperature Do Goldfish Like?

goldfish temperature chart
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Goldfish do require the water to be at a certain temperature to be happy and healthy. The ideal temperature for goldfish tank water should be between 65 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Specific species of goldfish, such as shubunkins and comets can live in water as cool as 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Can I Check my Aquarium Temperature?

The best way to check the temperature of your aquarium water is to use an aquarium thermometer. These are simple and inexpensive little devices designed to measure aquarium water temperatures. You can also get an aquarium heater with a built-in thermometer.

What Temperature Is Too Cold for Goldfish?

Generally speaking, your average fancy goldfish needs water no cooler than 65 degrees Fahrenheit, although as mentioned above, some specific species of goldfish can handle water as cool as 60 degrees.

ryukin goldfish
Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock

Which Types of Goldfish Need a Heater?

There are several types of fancy goldfish that require a heater to be happy and healthy. These mainly include fancy goldfish types. Some of the most common types of fancy goldfish that require a heater include:

  • Tosakin
  • Pom Pom
  • Froghead
  • Celestial Eye
  • Butterfly
  • Izumo Nankin
  • Bubble Eyes
  • Orandas
  • Lionheads
  • Tamasaba

Most of these types of goldfish like their water to be somewhere between 65 and 75 degrees, which means that you will probably need to get a heater for them.

If you're a new or experienced goldfish keeper who’s struggling to figure out the best temperature for your goldfish family, check out our best-selling book on Amazon, The Truth About Goldfish,  which covers everything about tank maintenance practices, maintaining optimum fish health, and more!

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This crucial aspect of the tank setup could be affecting your pet’s health more than you suspect.  which 

How to Care for Goldfish During Winter

Seeing as most goldfish are cold-water fish, there is really nothing you need to do for them in the winter. Well, this is assuming that you keep your goldfish indoors. As long as your home is decently heated and at around room temperature, the ambient room temperature should be more than enough to keep the goldfish tank water at the appropriate temperature.

That said, if you have a type of goldfish that requires the water to be slightly warmer, you will probably want to get a heater. Sure, during the summertime, the ambient temperature should be enough to heat the water to an ideal level for warm-water goldfish, but this will certainly not be the case during the cooler times of the year.

Image Credit: chaikom, Shutterstock

How Can I Adjust My Goldfish Tank Temperature?

There are a few methods for adjusting aquarium water temperature, either up or down, so let’s take a look.

How to adjust tank temperature
  • The number one way to increase the water temperature of a goldfish tank is to use a heater, ideally, one where the temperature can be adjusted.
  • If you need the tank to be a bit warmer, and you don’t want a heater, another option is to get a slightly stronger aquarium light or to move the existing light closer to the water. Lights give off heat, and this should help, but be careful not to overheat the tank.
  • Another factor that will make a difference in tank temperature is where the aquarium is placed. For instance, if you have an aquarium located in an area that is sunny a lot and has no air circulation, it will increase the water temperature. On the other hand, if the tank is located in a dark area with lots of ventilation, it will help keep the water cooler.
  • An aquarium hood can make a difference too, or in other words, a lid. If you put a hood on your aquarium, it will keep a lot of the heat inside, whereas not having a hood allows heat to escape.
  • Keep in mind that the more surface area of water your aquarium has, the faster the heat will dissipate.

Don’t Forget Other Tank Mates

Something that you always need to remember when it comes to goldfish is that other tank mates may not have the same temperature requirements. Goldfish are cold-water fish, but many aquarium fish that you will find in shops are warm-water fish. You cannot put warm water and cold-water fish in the same tank.

If warm and cold-water fish are compatible, you may be able to pull it off by keeping the tank at a moderate temperature, just cool enough for cold-water fish, and just warm enough for the warm-water fish. The bottom line is that you need to pay attention to the temperature requirements of all fish you plan on putting in the same tank.

Goldfish in aquarium with green plants
Image Credit: Skumer, Shutterstock



Do My Goldfish in My Outdoor Pond Need a Heater?

Goldfish, such as the common goldfish, fancy goldfish, and other members of the carp family, such as koi, are quite comfortable in cold water. Most of these fish can easily survive in waters as cold as 55 or even 50 degrees, which is indeed quite cold. Ideally, the water should not drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, although this is still quite cold.

Therefore, whether or not you require a heater for your outdoor pond depends on where you live. For the most part, no, you will not need one, particularly for the spring, summer, and fall months. However, if you live somewhere where the temperature regularly dips below 60 or 55 degrees, then yes, you will want a heater for your outdoor pond. Goldfish need the water to be at least 55 degrees, and this is the most important factor to consider here.

ryukin goldfish in tank
Image Credit: Moo teaforthree, Shutterstock

Can You Put Goldfish in a Heated Tank?

Yes, goldfish can be put in a heated tank, but remember that these are generally considered to be cold-water fish. Depending on where you live, you may require a heater to get your tank up to this temperature, although, for the most part, 70 degrees is what people would consider room temperature. Goldfish should not be put in tanks with the water temperature at or above 78 degrees, as they are not big fans of warm water.

Something else that is important is that warm water holds less oxygen than cold water, and goldfish need a good amount of it. Always pay attention to oxygen levels in the water when it comes to choosing the best possible temperature.

What is the Ideal Temperature for Breeding?

For many fish, the ideal temperature for breeding is a bit different than the regular ideal temperature. In many cases, an increase in temperature signals fish that it is time for breeding, and yes, this is the case with goldfish.



There you have it, folks. We’ve talked about the ideal tank temperature for goldfish, which types of tanks need a heater, and more. If you plan on getting an aquarium heater for your goldfish, we would definitely recommend taking a closer look at the units that we have reviewed here today.

Featured Image Credit: hineck, Pixabay

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