Do Goldfish Blink? Why Is My Goldfish Blinking?

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  • Post last modified:September 4, 2023
  • Reading time:11 mins read

Goldfish come in many sizes and forms. It would not be wrong to say they are one of the most popular fish breeds among pet owners worldwide!

They are loved for their vibrant colors and patterns, as well as their unique antics. Taking care of your fish can be a bit challenging, however.

What a lot of Goldfish owners often want to know is, ‘Do goldfish blink?’. Further, what does it mean if a Goldfish suddenly starts flickering their eyes? Today, all your queries will be answered once and for all!

Do Goldfish Blink? Basics Of Fish Anatomy

Three Goldfishes Inside the Aquarium

Do Goldfish Blink?

No, these delightful little creatures usually never blink their eyes. This is because, like most fish, Goldfish do not have eyelids the way terrestrial animals typically do. Some unique fish species do blink, but ours is not one of them. 

Even when a Goldfish is sleeping, their eyes remain open! These eye-catching animals are constantly aware, light sleepers, and become motionless when they have to rest. A Goldfish only sleeps for about 10 to 20 minutes at a time. 

If your Goldfish starts blinking suddenly, it might signify something wrong. The blinking of a Goldfish is not as regular and effortless as ours – it is mostly not blinking at all but rather a struggle against some environmental stressor. 

How Do Goldfish Blink?

Since these fishes do not have eyelids, a Goldfish can never blink in the truest sense of the word. What a Goldfish does is flash their eyes erratically when they are irritated.

Flashing is a common technique used by fishes to itch themselves, and the term also includes rubbing their bodies, fins, and heads on any aquarium surface. Since fishes do not usually feel itchy, this might be a sign of parasitic infection. 

What we see as a blinking eyelid is not an eyelid but rather the nictitating membrane. This transparent membrane appears before the island and the environment to protect the eyes from danger. The Goldfish can still see through the nictitating membrane.

You will notice your Goldfish blinking because they rapidly focus and defocus their eyeballs. They might also try to flash or scratch the skin near their eyes or other body parts frequently. 

Must Read: Is A Fish Wet In Water?

Why Is My Goldfish Blinking?

A Goldfish suddenly starting to blink is a cause of concern for all. Do Goldfish blink only when suffering from parasitic infestation? While this is a significant cause, there can be some other reasons for this behavior as well.

1. Poor water quality

For a fish, the water surrounding them is the only environment they will ever know. Poor water quality can welcome pathogens like fungi, bacteria, and infectious viruses. A low pH level can cause irritation and distress to your Goldfish, even resulting in swing bladder disorder. 

2. Swim bladder disorder

The swim bladder is responsible for a fish’s balance and buoyancy in water. Swim bladder disorder can irritate, cause upside-down swimming, and even cause fish death. Abnormal swimming and puffy eyes can be a sign of a pop eye or a swim bladder disorder. 

3. Excessive external stress

Stress and irritation are the earliest signs of a disease in a Goldfish. If the owner is lucky and alert, they can look at behavior changes like blinking and flashing and determine the cause of external stress before something goes wrong. In rare cases, a Goldfish may also blink when facing chronic danger within your fish tank.

4. Parasites and Fungi

Parasitic worms that affect goldfish are flatworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. Fungal diseases can quickly occur by coming in contact with feces, rotting food, dead fish, etc., in the tank. Additionally, the Goldfish may start developing holes or spots on their body.

Goldfish Treatment: Solve The Blink

Orange Fantail Goldfish in a Fish Tank

Most Goldfish die from diseases and lousy living conditions because their symptoms primarily go unnoticed. Here is how we can change that!

1. Clean the tank

Clean the tank regularly and be aware of the things going on inside. Remove any rotting food or dead body as soon as possible. Don’t let mosquitoes or other insects grow in the stagnant water. Scrape off moss and build up from the tank walls.

Must Read: How To Clean A Goldfish Bowl?

2. Keep a check on the population

A Goldfish does not thrive well in overpopulated tanks. But like most fishes, they do prefer 1 or 2 companions. A Goldfish also needs a large amount of space to swim freely. 

3. Antiparasitic treatment

There are treatments available for both parasitic and fungal infections in Goldfish. Your pet doctor can prescribe you particular medications – some are also available over the counter at any pet-friendly medication store. In many extreme cases, your Goldfish might even need dressing and wound cleaning. This is necessary to reduce the internal or external infection slowly.

4. Healthy diet

Just like most animals, a Goldfish will develop a healthy immune system if it is fed good quality food. Include live fish, fresh vegetables, and high-quality fish food in its regular dietary intake. There is no requirement for additional supplements, but you can provide some to your Goldfish to explain why it is recovering.

5. Quarantine and care

Take your fish to a vet as soon as possible. Transfer it to a clean, new tank suitable for a sick goldfish. Please keep it away from other animals and let it heal.


This was our take on ‘Do Goldfish Blink?’. By taking care of your fish and noticing the early signs of discomfort, you cannot only increase its lifespan but also give it a good experience while it is here.

Prevention is always better than cure, but timely treatment can save your favorite pet’s life! If the conditions look severe, go to the vet immediately. If you have any additional queries or concerns, please write to us in the comment box below!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What does it mean if a goldfish is flashing?

Ans: When a Goldfish is flashing, it might mean it is experiencing stress or nervous excitement. Flashing can be caused due to diseases like parasitic infection and swim bladder disorder. But it can also be a response to stress, irritation, or hormonal imbalance during the mating season.

Q2. What causes parasitic infection in Goldfish?

Ans: Parasites can reach the Goldfish easily in dirty water. Goldfishes are commonly exposed to parasites when they are bred in ponds exposed to wildlife. They can also come in contact with parasites at the pet shop, where many species and breeds are kept together.

Q3. What is the most common cause of swim bladder disorder in Goldfish?

Ans: Swim bladder disorders can be caused by intestinal parasites. Overfeeding and constipation are also common reasons for a swim bladder disorder in Goldfish.