Do Goldfish Need A Filter?

When most people think of a goldfish, they picture a simple, round fishbowl with one or two fish swimming around. And, this picture may include some limited decor, like gravel and maybe a little bridge or a plant. That picture is unlikely to include a filter. But is that a mistake? Do goldfish need a filter?

Goldfish are often seen as a very resilient and low-maintenance type of fish to keep. But, like all fish, goldfish do require clean oxygenated water to survive.

Ultimately, using a filter will ensure that your goldfish will be happier and healthier as the water will remain oxygen-rich and cleaner for longer. That said, goldfish do not necessarily need to live in a filtered environment, provided several strict conditions are met to ensure the health of the fish. You’ll find more details on this below.

Do Goldfish Need A Filter?

Many small children have grown up with goldfish as pets in the past, and most of them kept their goldfish in bowls which makes many question “do goldfish need a filter?” The practice of keeping fish in filterless fishbowls is being rethought, with some animal welfare societies fighting against using fishbowls. 

Why the controversy? Because the bowls are often too small for the goldfish, and the water is not replaced frequently enough to provide the goldfish with a healthy environment.

If you wish to keep goldfish, it is recommended to get a sufficient size tank, change the water, and clean the tank regularly.

Goldfish can live beyond 20 years when well cared for and living in a filtered tank. Goldfish living in unfiltered tanks or bowls are unlikely to live longer than 2 to 3 years.

Pros Of Keeping Goldfish Without A Filter 

There are very few pros to keeping your goldfish without a filter. The only major pro may be the cost, as you will not be putting in the outlay for a filtration system. 

Cons Of Keeping Goldfish Without A Filter 

There are many reasons to not skip the filter.

First, if you don’t use a filter, you will have to put in a lot more work to keep your goldfish healthy. The tank must be cleaned as often as necessary and at least twice a week. Cleaning the tank will mean a complete change of water, and you should also clean the gravel and ornaments that you keep in your tank to maintain a hygienic environment.

Changing the water in a tank regularly will take up a lot of time, as you will need to ensure that there is no major temperature difference between the old tank water and the new tank water. Frequent tank changes can also be stressful for your goldfish.

do goldfish need a filter

Goldfish can create a lot of waste, and this will quickly dirty their water.

They will additionally be removing the oxygen from the water they live in, so to ensure they remain healthy, goldfish tank water should be changed frequently – this will not only improve the conditions hygienically but will also ensure that their oxygen supply is never depleted.

Keeping Goldfish With A Filter

Using a filter will dramatically reduce the amount of work you need. You will not need to change your tank water often, and the tank will remain cleaner for longer. One can get a simple filter for a reasonable price, and considering how much this will improve your goldfish’s quality of life, it is worth it.

Your goldfish will be happier and healthier due to a constant supply of oxygenated and clean water. Yes, now and again, you should clean the tank for hygienic reasons, but for the most part, your goldfish will be able to live stress-free.

While goldfish do not need a filter to survive, provided their tanks are kept clean. Their water is changed regularly, and it is in their best interests to provide them with at least a simple filter as this will keep their water well oxygenated and assist in keeping their tank clean and hygienic, ensuring that your goldfish is in good health.


Do goldfish need a filter? They do not necessarily require a filter, but it is highly recommended. Raising your goldfish in a filtered tank will keep your tank cleaner, your goldfish healthier, and increase their lifespan by many years.

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