Oldest Goldfish Ever Was So Old Its Scales Turned Silver

Tish, the oldest goldfish in recorded history, lived to the ripe old age of 43. In his later years, his scales actually started changing from gold to silver.

The average lifespan of a common goldfish (Carassius auratus), is 10-15 years, but the current Guinness Record for the oldest goldfish ever was set by a male goldfish named Tish that remarkably reached the age of 43. He spent his life in a fish bowl in North Yorkshire, UK, under the care of Hilda Hand and her son Peter. The latter won Tish as a prize at a fairground roll-a-penny stall in 1956, when he was only 7 years old, and after he left the family home, his mother continued looking after the aging goldfish. No one really expected Tish to reach his 40s, considering that most goldfish barely make it past a decade, but somehow he did, and, 24 years after his death, he still holds the record for the oldest goldfish ever.

Photo: Guinness Records

“He has had a healthy diet and has always enjoyed a peaceful place to live,” Hilda Hand told the Daily Express in 1998, when Tish was officially recognized as the world’s oldest goldfish. “He’s a pensioner, just like us, and needs to take things more slowly.”

Tish shared his fish bowl with another goldfish, Tosh, but he passed away in 1976, at the age of 19. In 1988, this Methuselah of goldfish had a close brush with death, when he leaped out of his bowl and onto the floor. Hilda wasn’t home at the time, so when she eventually came home, she had no idea how long he had been on the carpet. Fortunately, as soon as she placed him back in the water, he started swimming as if nothing had happened.

Photo: Guinness Records

Talking to journalists in 1998, Hilda Hand said that Tish’s color had shifted from gold to silver in his later years, sort of like the hair of humans and other mammals turns white as they get old. Tish passed away on 6 August 1999, but remains the oldest goldfish in recorded history.

There have been anecdotal reports of goldfish living to the age of 50, but there have been no authenticated reports to back up such claims.


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