Do Goldfish Sleep? Exploring the Sleeping Habits of Goldfish

Sleep is a natural process that almost all animals experience, including goldfish. Goldfish sleep patterns and requirements, however, differ significantly to those of humans. In this article, we’ll take a look at exactly how goldfish sleep and how you can help your little aquatic friends to get the best night’s rest that they can.

How Do Goldfish Behave When Sleeping?

When it comes to goldfish, it is difficult to determine if they experience non-REM or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep like humans. However, it appears that they enter into a restful state where their bodies will relax and their metabolism will become slower. During this period, goldfish may swim slowly or hover near the bottom of the aquarium. They will become less responsive to external stimuli, such as sound and movement.

In addition, goldfish may also exhibit a behavior known as “flashing,” which is when they rapidly move their fins and tail in a jerky manner. This behavior is thought to be a sign of restlessness, and it is believed that goldfish may be dreaming during this time. Goldfish may also become more active during the night, as they are nocturnal creatures.

What Are the Sleep Requirements of Goldfish?

How much sleep goldfish need is still not precisely known; however, it is thought that they require between 6 to 8 hours of rest per day. To ensure that your goldfish get enough sleep each night, you should try to establish a regular sleep schedule for your pet. Goldfish naturally experience more sleep at night than during the day.

It is important to provide your goldfish with a dark environment when it is time for them to sleep. This can be done by turning off the lights in the tank or by covering the tank with a dark cloth. Additionally, you should avoid disturbing your goldfish during their sleep, as this can disrupt their natural sleep cycle.

Do Goldfish Have Regular Sleep Cycles?

It appears that goldfish do have regular sleep cycles. These cycles become more regular when a fish is kept in its own tank than when it is kept in an environment with other fish. The regularity of the goldfish’s sleep cycles can be further enhanced by establishing a routine in terms of when food is provided and when lights are turned off and on in its environment.

In addition to establishing a routine, it is important to provide a comfortable environment for the goldfish. This includes ensuring that the water temperature is appropriate and that the tank is not overcrowded. Additionally, it is important to provide plenty of hiding places for the goldfish, as this can help them feel more secure and relaxed, which can lead to more regular sleep cycles.

How Can You Tell if a Goldfish is Sleeping?

Goldfish will often enter a deep sleep an hour or two after dusk. During this period, they will become less responsive to disturbances in their environment and will remain very still at the bottom of the aquarium or in the safety of thick aquatic vegetation. They may also bury themselves in the gravel at the bottom of the tank and remain motionless for several hours.

If you observe your goldfish during this period, you may notice that their fins are slightly spread apart and their eyes are closed. They may also appear to be breathing more slowly than usual. If you gently touch your goldfish during this time, they may not respond or may only move slightly. This is a sign that your goldfish is in a deep sleep.

What Are Some Potential Health Issues Related to Lack of Sleep in Goldfish?

Goldfish require around 6-8 hours of restful sleep per day to remain healthy. If they are deprived of this amount of sleep on a regular basis, they may become prone to secondary health problems such as bacterial infections and parasites. Inadequate sleep can also make them more susceptible to disease and damage their immune system.

In addition, lack of sleep can cause goldfish to become lethargic and unresponsive, and can lead to a decrease in appetite. This can cause them to become malnourished, which can further weaken their immune system and make them more susceptible to disease. It is important to ensure that goldfish are getting the proper amount of sleep in order to maintain their health and wellbeing.

How Can You Help Your Goldfish Get a Good Night’s Sleep?

The best way to ensure your goldfish get the restful sleep they need is to establish a healthy routine for them. Try to establish a light schedule in which you turn any overhead lighting off around two hours before you go to bed at night. You should also feed your goldfish several hours before bed and keep the lights in their environment off overnight.


Goldfish need rest just like any other animal, despite their unique sleeping behavior. To ensure that your goldfish get the quality sleep they need, you should use a regular schedule, feed them several hours before nightfall, and keep their environment dark when they are ready to rest.