split image of Tish goldfish

The average lifespan of a goldfish (Carassius auratus) is 10-15 years, with some varieties living into their thirties when properly cared for.

However, one male goldfish named Tish (1956-1999) lived to the remarkable age of 43, making him the world’s oldest goldfish ever.

Tish was won as a prize at a fairground roll-a-penny stall in 1956 by seven-year-old Peter Hand from North Yorkshire, UK.

Peter looked after Tish until he got married and left the family home, whereafter his mother, Hilda, dutifully took care of Tish.

“He has had a healthy diet and has always enjoyed a peaceful place to live,” 76-year-old Hilda told the Daily Express in 1998.

Hilda and Tish

Hilda believed that Tish lived for so long because goldfish have “extremely short memories” (which isn’t actually true), meaning that Tish didn’t “suffer all the pressure that humans have to put up with.”

Tish shared his bowl with another goldfish, Tosh, for many years, until Tosh passed away in 1976, aged 19.

In 1988, Tish had a brush with death when he leapt out of his bowl and landed on the carpet. Hilda wasn’t at home at the time, so she didn’t know how long he’d been on the floor when she eventually found him. Luckily, once she placed him back into the water, he resumed swimming as if nothing had happened.

Over the years, as he aged, Tish’s scales turned from bright orange to silver, matching the colour of Hilda’s hair.

“He’s a pensioner, just like us, and needs to take things more slowly,” she said.

According to Hilda, Tish strongly disliked noise, so she ensured that his environment was kept as quiet as possible.

Tish swimming

Tish passed away on 6 August 1999, one year after being certified as the oldest goldfish ever.

The oldest verified goldfish before Tish was another British goldfish, named Fred. Owned by A.R. Wilson from Sussex, Fred lived to be 40 years old, passing away in 1980.

Goldfish are native to China, and there have been some reports of goldfish living for over 50 years there, however, there have not been any authenticated examples to corroborate such claims.

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