How Do Goldfish Sleep: How To Tell If Something’s Wrong

Last Updated on 2023-02-11

If you just got a goldfish and are curious or a first-time owner, you may be wondering if goldfish sleep. Yes, they actually do sleep, but not in the way most people would expect. If you’re wondering how goldfish sleep, then you’ve found the right article! Not only will you find out how they sleep, you’ll also learn when they sleep, how many hours they need, and what happens if they don’t get enough sleep!

How Do Goldfish Sleep?

Watching your goldfish sleep can be strange, especially if it’s the first time you’ve seen them do it. It’s important to keep in mind that if your fish can sleep, that means it’s healthy. But you should also know how a goldfish sleeps so you don’t think it’s sleeping when it’s actually sick.

Goldfish sleep by staying single place and move slowly, which makes them less active and more stable. When they sleep, they usually look like they are hovering about an inch or so above the bottom of the fish tank, with their heads slightly pointing down.

When your goldfish are in this state, you might notice that their color changes a little bit. They probably change color to conceal themselves away from predators’ sight when they rest. When you see this change in color and notice that your goldfish becomes less active than usual, you’ll know that it is sleeping.

When Do Goldfish Sleep

When you think of sleep, you might picture a soft, comfortable bed with fluffy pillows and a warm blanket. Goldfish do sleep, but not the way you might think. Also, it doesn’t matter if they sleep during the day or night, but instead sleep when the conditions around them are right.

Unlike most other animals and people, goldfish don’t need to sleep during the night. What they want is a dark, quiet, and peaceful environment to sleep in, which usually happens at night. As long as it’s dark and calm, they can fall asleep at any hour of the day.

Some fish keepers have even noticed that goldfish are smart enough to sleep at the same time every day. Even the goldfish can be taught to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. If you turn the light on and off around the same time each day, the goldfish will likely develop a regular sleeping schedule.

How Many Hours Do Goldfish Sleep?

When you let your goldfish rest or sleep, it’s important to give it the best environment to do so. Remember that goldfish require a dark, quiet place so they can sleep well. Not only that, it’s also important to let it sleep for the right amount of time.

An average goldfish must sleep for at least twelve hours. Some goldfish sleep the entire night through, while others nap in the afternoons as long as they can sleep undisturbed. It’s important that their fish tank has as little light and noise as possible so that they can get the best rest and stay healthy.

If your goldfish don’t get enough time to sleep, they may show signs of high levels of stress. Just like people, goldfish have to sleep to get their energy back and keep their immune systems working well. If they don’t get as much sleep as they need, their health will start to get worse over time.

Gold fish or goldfish floating swimming underwater in fresh aquarium tank with green plant. marine life.

What Happens If My Goldfish Doesn’t Get Enough Sleep?

It is very important for a goldfish to have a good place to sleep so it can get the right amount of sleep it needs. When they don’t get enough sleep, it can make them stressed out and make them sick. Here are some likely things that will happen if your goldfish don’t get enough rest.

1. More Likely To Contract Infections

Goldfish get more and more stressed when they don’t get the rest they need. They are more likely to get sick from bacteria when they are stressed for a long time or when they are stressed over and over again.

2. Loss Of Appetite

If your goldfish is swimming at the bottom of the fish tank gasping after not getting enough sleep, it could be a sign that it is stressed. When your goldfish is stressed, it might not want to eat. Loss of appetite is a serious problem that can lead to even bigger health problems.

3. Staying At The Bottom

You shouldn’t worry if you ever find your goldfish sleeping off at the bottom of the fish tank because it’s completely natural behavior. However, if this behavior is new and comes with other signs of illness, it is likely stressed.

4. Clamped Fins

When a goldfish keeps its fins close to its body instead of spreading them out as a healthy goldfish would, this is usually a sign that it is sick. Most of the time, the water has too much ammonia and nitrates, which makes the fins curl up. But not getting enough sleep can also cause stress and sickness, which can make the goldfish clamp its fins.

5. Hiding

Your goldfish instinctively hides because they don’t know what to do, are scared, stressed, or don’t feel good. Another reason your goldfish might be hiding is that it is sick. Or it could be looking for a dark, quiet place in your fish tank to sleep.

6. Less Vibrant Color

Most of the time, your goldfish is losing its vibrant color because it is getting old. But other things that stress out your goldfish, like bad water conditions, lack of sleep, or illness, can also change the color of your fish. It is very important to keep your fish in a stress-free environment because it helps them grow and have a vibrant color.

7. Lethargy

If your fish look tired and lethargic, it could be because they are stressed. Stress can be caused by many things. A goldfish can be stressed out by many things, like dirty water, the wrong water temperature, the wrong pH level, and even a lack of sleep.

How To Give Your Goldfish The Best Sleeping Conditions

For a goldfish to stay healthy and not get stressed out, it needs to get enough sleep. But as aquarists, it’s usually our job to make sure that our goldfish have a good sleeping environment to ensure that they get enough time to rest. Here are some things you can do to make sure your goldfish has a good place to sleep.

1. Turn The Lights Off

Goldfish don’t need light to sleep, so you should turn it off every so often. They actually get stressed out when the light is on for long periods of time because they need darkness to sleep. Also, too much light will make algae grow quickly and make your tank dirty, which can stress out the fish and make them less likely to sleep.

2. Keep Them Away From Noise

Even though they don’t have ears, goldfish can hear noises, which may come as a surprise. Because of this, it is very important to keep your aquarium away from loud things like TVs and speakers in the house. Goldfish are easily startled by noise, which can wake them up and make it hard for them to sleep, which stresses them out.

3. Put Plants in The Tank

By putting aquatic plants in your fish tank, you can give your goldfish a place to hide and sleep. Aquatic plants are also a great addition to your tank because they help oxygenate the water. It also stops algae from growing in your fish tank, which helps keep the water clean.

4. Put Driftwood In The Tank

Driftwood is another great option for providing your goldfish with a place to hide. But you should soak driftwood for a few weeks before putting it in your goldfish tank. This is to get rid of the tannins in the driftwood so it can be safely used in your goldfish tank.

5. Weekly Water Change

When you keep fish as pets, it’s very important to change the water often. By doing regular water changes, you can keep the levels of ammonia and nitrates low and keep your water clean. Keeping your goldfish in a clean environment will help keep them from getting stressed, which will help them get a good night’s sleep.

How Can You Tell If Your Goldfish Is Getting Enough Sleep?

Goldfish are very strong and can handle stressful situations that other fish can’t. This makes it harder to tell if they don’t get enough sleep or if they’re just doing well. To determine if your fish is getting enough list, look for these signs below.

1. Eating Well

If a goldfish is happy and has had enough rest, it will eat normally. If your fish don’t move quickly when you put food in their fish tank, it may be an indicator that your goldfish is stressed and not getting enough sleep.

2. Energetic

You can tell your goldfish are happy and have had enough sleep if they are swimming around their fish tank with energy. If your goldfish is active and healthy, it means it is having fun and that you are doing a good job of taking care of them.

3. Breathing Normal

Keeping an eye on how your fish breathes is one of the simplest ways to tell if they got enough rest. After letting them sleep, if their gills move at a steady rate and they don’t look like they’re breathing quickly, it means they got enough rest.

4. Their Skin Has A Vibrant Color

A goldfish that isn’t stressed and is physically healthy will display vibrant colors and flowing fins. Try to check your goldfish’s color to see if they are vibrant after letting them sleep to see if they got enough sleep.

5. Sociable 

Goldfish are social creatures, and when they are kept in groups, they often hang out with their other fish friends. If your goldfish is playing with the other fish in its tank as soon as it wakes up, that’s a good sign that it got enough sleep and rested well.


Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about when and how they’re goldfish sleep!

Do Goldfish Sleep with Their Eyes Open?

When a goldfish sleep, they sleep with their eyes wide open. It is because goldfish don’t have eyelids, so they need to keep their eyes open the entire time, even when they want to sleep.

Do Goldfish Sleep at Night

Goldfish don’t just go to sleep because it’s night-time. But they prefer to sleep when it’s dark and quiet, which usually happens at night. Goldfish can actually sleep at any time of day as long as it is dark and quiet.

Do Goldfish Sleep Upside Down?

When a goldfish sleeps, it stays still and upright. It doesn’t turn sideways or upside down. If your goldfish is sleeping on its side or upside down, it is probably suffering from swim bladder disease, or another illness.

Is Your Goldfish Sleeping or Dead?

When a goldfish sleeps, it stays still and doesn’t move much, so you might think it’s dead if you see it. To check if your goldfish is sleeping or dead, you should try stirring the water around it with a net to see if it moves.

Do Goldfish Sleep at The Bottom of The Tank?

When a goldfish sleeps, it is less active and stays still or moves slowly to stay stable and upright. They’ll look like they’re floating about an inch above the bottom of the fish tank.


Many goldfish owners and aquarists find it fascinating and helpful that their goldfish can sleep. Goldfish need to sleep so that their bodies can regain energy and so that their immune systems can keep working properly. It’s important to give your fish a good place to sleep so they can rest for 12 hours without being disturbed.

There are many things you can do to make your fish tank a good place to sleep, like keeping it dark and quiet when it’s time to sleep, lowering the temperature a bit, and giving your goldfish plants that give them lots of places to hide.

Not only that, but you should also check on your goldfish often to make sure they are getting enough sleep. Just like people, goldfish need a good night’s sleep to live a long, healthy, and happy life.

Ultimate Betta Fish Care Guide
About the author

Hey! I'm Nicolas from Iguane Media !

Blogger and Owner of the betta care fish guide
Thanks for reading this blog

I'm an Animal Lover

Leave a Comment


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)