Can Goldfish See in the Dark?

Goldfish and caring for them has always been a vastly talked about conversation for a multitude of different reasons, with most topics ranging from water temperature, to diet, and even breeding. The question we will be covering today however is whether or not goldfish can see in the dark. The answer is no, goldfish are not able to see in the dark.

Can goldfish see in the dark

It has always been recommended for the goldfish tank light to be switched off at night time and only be on for a maximum of 10-12 hours a day. This is to ensure your goldfish can sleep and rest, but many hobbyists wonder, can they see and can they navigate around the tank when its dark.

Strangely enough, goldfish can see brilliantly in the daytime, during light hours, but to help them move around at night and in the dark they use their fantastic sense of smell!

Can Goldfish Navigate in the Dark?

Yes, they can navigate well in the dark due to them utilizing their Lateral Line Organ, LLO. This organ senses vibrations and water movement, which then helps them depict where they are within the tank. Now, let's dive into the factors that play a part in our goldfish being able to successfully navigate in the dark, and see well in the light.

How do Goldfish Navigate in the Dark?

Goldfish might have brilliant eyesight in the day, but just like humans, they cannot see in the dark. They have, fortunately, found a way to adapt to life in the darkness. This adaptation is through developing a fantastic sense of smell through their Lateral Line Organ, which helps them navigate in the dark with relative ease.

This organ is referred to as the Octavolateralis system, and it heightens the goldfish's senses when it comes to vibrations, pressure, and water movement. This allows them to completely recognize where they are in their aquarium, acting as their eyes but in a totally different and impressive way.

Do Goldfish Have Good Vision?

Scientific evidence has suggested that goldfish could actually have better eyesight than us humans do! Humans can only see 3 primary colors, and all the other variations that we see are derived from Red, Green, and Blue, whereas goldfish see light in a spectrum called ultraviolet, which we cannot. Goldfish are not just sensitive to the three colors humans can see, their vision is in polarized light.

Do goldfish see in the dark

Humans, however, have the upper hand when it comes to long-distance vision, with goldfish only being able to see around 15 feet (4.5 meters) in front of them, which is absolutely fine when in a safe aquarium community, but perhaps not in the wild when predators are approaching!

Can Goldfish Live in the Dark?

Whilst goldfish are pretty good at finding their way around familiar waters at night time due to their impressive adaptations, they would not be able to live in darkness for a long period of time without experiencing some problems. Goldfish, if not exposed to enough light will begin to lack nutrients, which results in them losing their color and also experiencing health defects.

Goldfish of all types are similar to humans in the sense that they need a healthy balance of light and darkness in order to replenish their bodies with the correct nutrients. A stressed fish is always an unhealthy fish, which can certainly lead to premature death. Goldfish need a balance of light and darkness as they can experience health problems by not getting enough darkness too.

Having a timed aquarium light will certainly alleviate any issues you would likely run into when it comes to providing your goldfish with the required light and dark balance.


So, goldfish are undoubtedly special and well-adapted fish that can certainly navigate the waters of their aquarium during the dark hours, but they also require light and can see pretty darn well!

There are many myths that come with goldfish, including their memories, which, for the most part, are untrue. Goldfish need light and darkness as much as we humans do to survive and thrive, living happy, and healthy lives.