Do Goldfish Sleep?

Do Goldfish Sleep?

A common question that is asked by both olds and news alike who own fish is Do Goldfish Sleep ?. They are fish, so, no. But, they are fish, so, yes. Hmm what way do we believe? Because goldfish have no eyelids, it appears as though they are always awake. But rest assured, they do take time to rest throughout the day and most of the night. If you observe your fish closely, you’ll notice that it slows down to the point of almost stopping.

A typical pose is head tilted slightly down, usually hovering near the bottom of the tank about an inch from the gravel bed. When goldfish are “sleeping” they will appear to be quite inactive when in fact they are moving just enough to keep their stability in the water. Many people mistake this for illness in their fish as sometimes fish will appear to have become paler. The paleness of their bodies is for safety, as it’s harder to be seen by predators that way. Just like humans, if goldfish don’t get enough rest or sleep, their bodies will lose the ability to fight off infections, bacteria and stress. So it’s actually very important for them to sleep.

Do goldfish sleep with their eyes open?

Also, when goldfish are sleeping, you will notice that the eyes of the fish remain open. Why does this happen? It looks really weird. This is due, again, to them having no eyelids. So they will remain quite alert even though they are sleeping. Sudden movements, noise, turning on or off the tank light can startle the fish and cause them stress, which affects their overall health. If the room they reside in is kept bright all night, that, too, can have an effect on the fish’s health. Goldfish enjoy sleeping in a dark room, just like humans, so you will want to keep the aquarium light off for at least twelve hours.


The best way to do this is to turn the light off when you go to bed and back on when you get up in the morning. If that timing does not equal twelve hours, you may want to adjust when you turn the lights on and off. Fish who live in tanks with brightness all the time, may tend to hide their faces in plants or behind decorations in the tank to get relief from the light. You will want to keep the noise level down in the room that your fish are in as well, especially at night when they get their most restful sleep. Loud noises can disrupt their sleep and cause stress, which can cause illness. If you will be going away and can’t physically turn off the light, you may want to look into purchasing a timer to turn it off for you. This is very helpful so that your fish can sleep properly and not be so stressed out.