Goldfish are temperate fish that are quite social and prefer being housed with their species. However, it can be fun to house a different variety of fish with your goldfish if they are compatible.
The friendly personality of a goldfish combined with their large tank requirements allows you to add other fish into the aquarium for companionship and variety. If you plan to add other fish to your goldfish tank, you want to make sure that the fish you add have similar living requirements as goldfish and are not aggressive or large enough to harm your goldfish.
Can Goldfish Live With Other Fish?
Goldfish can live with other fish, but there are certain factors to consider before keeping your goldfish with other fish. Goldfish should ideally be kept in a species-only tank, meaning that they do best when kept in pairs or groups of other goldfish.
However, if you are up for extra maintenance and feel that you have the necessary skills to add more fish to your goldfish tank, then it can be quite a fun experience.
Goldfish in general are known for being one of the least aggressive pet fish, so they will do better with other tank mates that are not aggressive and do not fin nip. Aside from temperament, you will need to ensure that the tank mates you choose have a similar water temperature and pH requirement to goldfish. If the water chemistry between the two fish is not compatible, it can cause issues for one of the fish species.
Since goldfish are temperate water fish and can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures, the temperature of the water should be ideal for the tank mates too. If the temperature fluctuates too much, you can add a heater into the tank and set it to a temperature that is comfortable for both the goldfish and the tank mate.
If you keep tank mates with goldfish, you will need to upgrade the tank or ensure that it is large enough to provide each fish with space and that it is large enough to support the extra bioload of each fish added. If you choose to add a group of schooling fish with your goldfish, then you need to accommodate the size of the tank accordingly.
The 13 Best Tank Mates for Goldfish
1. White Cloud Minnows
|Temperament:||Friendly, schooling fish|
The white or golden cloud minnow is an excellent tank mate for small goldfish. The minnow is a slim-bodied fish that can survive in colder waters and does not require a heater. They are schooling fish that thrive in groups, so you will want to add a minimum of six white cloud minnows together if you plan to keep them with goldfish.
These hardy fish are great for beginners too, and they swim around the middle of the aquarium. Since the white cloud minnow is only slightly bigger than an inch in size, they can only be kept with small goldfish who will not try to eat them.
2. Khuli Loaches
|Temperament:||Shy, grouping fish|
The khuli loach has a small eel-like body, and they prefer to spend most of their time foraging and digging in the substrate. Khuli loaches benefit from being kept in groups of three or more to fulfill their social requirements, but they can be kept in a goldfish tank.
An issue with khuli loaches is that they can be quite shy and hide during the day, so you will not be able to see them much. The khuli loach rarely swims in the water column, so they will form part of the tank bottom clean-up crew. You will hardly see goldfish and khuli loaches interacting with each other as they seem to co-exist quite peacefully.
|Temperament:||Friendly and social|
Goldfish make great tank mates for each other, and you can mix various breeds of goldfish if you are looking to add variety. Fancy goldfish come in the largest assortment of patterns, colors, and fin types, so you might want to first look at different fancy goldfish you can keep together if you like the look of different goldfish breeds living together.
4. Checker Barbs
Checker barbs are active and social fish that prefer to be in groups of their species. They can be housed with short-tailed goldfish since the checker barb is one of the more peaceful species of barb fish.
Checker barbs are omnivorous fish that will forage around the aquarium for any food. They can be hardy and will rarely bother your goldfish, but you will need to add a heater to the tank since checker barbs are tropical fish.
5. Hillstream loach
|Temperament:||Shy and peaceful|
The Hillstream loach is a peaceful scavenger that spends most of its time exploring rock crevices, plants, and decorations in the aquarium. They prefer to keep to themselves and will not interact with goldfish.
They can be shy, so you might not be able to see your Hillstream loach as often as you would like. They thrive at the same water temperatures as goldfish which makes them compatible aside from their peaceful temperaments.
6. Hoplo Catfish
|Temperament:||Easy-going and peaceful|
Hoplo catfish are a low-maintenance catfish species that can get along well with goldfish. They grow to a medium size of 7 inches and spend most of their time at the bottom of the aquarium where they scavenge for food and a comfortable place to rest. They have an interesting black and rust coloration with a unique pattern, with short, rounded fins.
Hoplo catfish make good bottom-dwellers for very large goldfish tanks, and they are most active at night so you might not see them moving around much during the day. They are social fish, so it is best to keep them in groups of three or more to start seeing them more active throughout the aquarium.
Snails are one of the most popular tank mates in goldfish aquariums, mainly because they get along best with many species of fish. Several different types of aquarium snails will make a good addition to your goldfish aquaria, such as the mystery snail, ramshorn, or bladder snail. Goldfish will usually eat smaller snails and their eggs, which can help prevent snails from overpopulating your aquarium.
8. Platy Fish
|Temperament:||Peaceful and social|
Livebearers such as platies make colorful and peaceful schooling fish for goldfish. The platy comes in a range of different colors and can live in the same water temperature range as goldfish without requiring a heater if the aquarium stays at a comfortable room temperature.
Since platies are social fish, they prefer to be kept in groups of six or more. They are also easy to care for and rarely show signs of aggression towards other fish. Most platy will ignore goldfish and keep to themselves in the aquarium.
9. Black Skirt Tetra
The black skirt tetra is one of the small species of tetra that rarely grows larger than 3 inches in size. They are social fish that enjoy being kept in schools, so adding a minimum of six to your goldfish aquarium will be ideal.
The black skirt tetras growth relies on good water quality, so if you plan to keep these fish with goldfish, you will need to use a good filtration system and do frequent water changes to dilute all the goldfish’s waste.
10. Bloodfin Tetra
Bloodfin tetras are small schooling fish that are hardy and adaptable. This species of tetra does not grow much larger than 2 inches in size, so you can keep a group of 6 to 8 of them in a large goldfish tank.
Since the bloodfin tetra is so small, you will need to ensure that the goldfish are not large enough to swallow them. They prefer to swim at the top of an aquarium near the surface, so they do not mix much with the goldfish who swim in the middle of an aquarium.
11. Japanese Rice Fish
|Temperament:||Friendly and peaceful|
Japanese rice fishes are small schooling fish that are not aggressive. They can be housed with baby fancy goldfish since larger goldfish would try to eat this fish. The Japanese rice fish has a plain golden and white color and can be housed in slighter smaller goldfish tanks due to their small adult size. They should not be kept in groups of less than 6, and they can tolerate cold water temperatures just like goldfish.
12. Rosy Barbs
Rosy barbs are medium-sized fish that can be kept in cold waters. They have a rust coloration with black on their fins, and they are often confused with goldfish because the two fish look very similar.
Since the rosy barb grows to an adult size of 6 inches, they should be kept in very large tanks if you plan to keep them with goldfish. Rosy barbs are social fish, so they should be kept in groups of at least 6 to form a school.
13. Bamboo Shrimp
Bamboo shrimp are one of the largest growing freshwater shrimps that can reach a size of 3 inches. They can be housed with small goldfish, but they will need plenty of plants to hide between because bamboo shrimp can be quite shy.
Some goldfish will choose to pick on bamboo shrimp, which is why lots of vegetation in a large tank is necessary. Bamboo shrimps will need a heater in the tank to keep the temperature stable, but they do well at around 75 degrees Fahrenheit which is a slightly warmer temperature for goldfish.
The 5 Types of Fish You Should Avoid
When it comes to choosing a tank mate for your goldfish, these are some fish you should avoid.
1. Betta Fish
Betta fish are known for being territorial and aggressive, and they do not mix well with goldfish. Bettas will try to nip a goldfish’s fins, and they can do a lot of damage to your goldfish.
The temperature requirements for bettas and goldfish do not mix either, as bettas are tropical fish. Another reason that bettas make a poor tank mate for goldfish is that bettas will need a low-flow filter because of their small bioload, whereas goldfish need a strong filter because they produce a lot of waste.
The tank set up for goldfish will also not be desirable for a betta fish who prefers a heavily planted aquarium.
Cichlids are one of the most aggressive families of fish in the aquarium hobby. Some species like the jaguar cichlid can kill goldfish or seriously injure them. The aggressive nature and large size of many cichlid species do not make them a good addition to goldfish tanks.
If you were to keep goldfish and certain species of cichlids together, you would need to house them in a large tank since both types of fish can grow very large. Cichlids are more comfortable in tropical tanks where the temperature might be too warm for a goldfish.
Gouramis are not the best option as a tank mate for goldfish. Gouramis are known to pick a fight with their tank mates and chase other fish, which can stress your goldfish. They also do better at warmer temperatures than goldfish do, which can create some discomfort for goldfish. Both the temperature requirements and temperament of both fish don’t mix well, so it is best to avoid pairing them with gentle-natured goldfish.
4. Red-tailed Shark
Red-tailed sharks are aggressive and territorial, and they will stress out goldfish by chasing them around the tank. Even though the red-tailed shark spends most of its time at the bottom of an aquarium, they will still swim up to where your goldfish is to chase them.
These fish will bully any vulnerable goldfish you have, such as a slow-swimming fancy goldfish which will cause stress between all the fish involved, making them a tank mate you want to avoid.
5. Bucktooth Tetra
The bucktooth tetra is one of the most aggressive species of tetra you get. They might be small, but these tetras will not get along with goldfish at all. Some fish keepers even agree that the bucktooth tetra is one of the most aggressive fish in the hobby, and their aggressive temperament combined with the peaceful goldfish will only lead to problems. Bucktooth tetras are challenging to keep and do better when kept with their own kind.
Goldfish can get along well with other peaceful species of fish. Most compatible goldfish tank mates will have a similar temperature requirement, along with a calm temperament.
Some of the best goldfish tank mates are bottom dwellers like the hillstream loach or hoplo catfish, both of which keep to themselves and rarely interfere with goldfish. If you add other fish to your goldfish tank, make sure that the tank size and filtration system are large enough to support the new bioload.
Featured Image Credit: Grigorii Pisotsckii, Shutterstock