They are beautiful, iconic fish that can be enjoyed alone. But they also make great additions to community tanks. They can be playful and peaceful in multi-species settings.
However, it’s not as simple as it appears to curate a community habitat with golden fish.
Finding compatible goldfish tank mates is key to creating a healthy community with freshwater fish. Goldfish are rarer than most tropical fish on the market. It is important to look at the traits of potential tank mates.
The most important are listed below.
What Kinds of Fish Are You able to Keep with Goldfish
These guidelines will help you decide if a cool fish would suit your goldfish.
- Avoid aggressive fish, as they can pick on your goldfish. Goldfish can generally live with peaceful fish, such as African and large cichlids.
- Consider the speed of your goldfish. Common goldfish (also known as single-tailed or comet goldfish) swim very fast and are more likely than others to swallow food they shouldn’t. Fancy goldfish swim slower, so they are more vulnerable to being bullied.
- Avoid small and spiny species of fish. Goldfish enjoy exploring and putting everything in their mouths. This includes food, substrate, and other fish. Most species are too small to fit in their mouths, so we try to avoid those smaller than full-grown fish. Watch out for fish with spines (otocinclus and cory catfish) that could get caught in the gill plate of a goldfish.
Fish with a peaceful temperament
A great fish for your home aquarium is the goldfish. They come in many colours, are easy-going, and don’t have territorial tendencies like saltwater or freshwater fish.
However, they tend to occupy all available space due to their large size requirements (a minimum of 5-10 gallons). Learn more about choosing the right size tank for your friends and goldie.
This could create problems if you want to have more than one. However, there are ways around this problem. You can place decorations like driftwood branches next to glass surfaces so that your goldie does not feel lonely during his daily swim.
- Fish too large to be eaten
Goldfish are wonderful fish but don’t always get along well with other animals.
Small companion creatures should never be mistaken for food. You should keep your larger-sized mates around so that they don’t cause any problems with food.
Low temperatures are required for fish.
Although they are considered cold water fish, goldfish still need warm water to keep them healthy.
A goldfish should be kept between 65 and 75° Fahrenheit (18°C). It is important to ensure your fish are paired with goldfish that can tolerate cold temperatures.
11 Top Goldfish Tank Mates
With these factors in mind, let’s look at great goldfish tank friends for your aquarium. All the recommended companions for goldfish tanks are peaceful fish that can live in the same conditions as the goldfish tank.
It would help if you took note of the following important statistics for each goldfish tank friend on the list.
- Scientific Name
- Adult Size
- Water Temperature
- Minimum tank size
- Care Level
- Swimming Level
What Makes a Perfect Goldfish Tank Mate
In The Same Temperature Range
You should ensure that your goldfish’s potential tank mate can live in the exact same temperature range.
Goldfish are “cold water fish.” Technically, the term “cold-water” is incorrect. Most hobbyists use it to describe fish that prefer to live in a temperature range of 65°F to 75°F (18°-24°C).
Most fish found in aquariums are from tropical locations around the world. They require temperatures between 75deg (or 80degF) and 27degC. The aquariums should not be kept below 75°F as this could lead to stress and death.
Common aquarium fish like angelfish, gouramis, or bettas should be kept at temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finding fish that can survive in the same temperatures as your goldfish is essential.
They are generally calm and will not eat their tank mates. You should not keep them with aggressive fish like Jack Dempseys or tiger Barbs. Their long fins could easily lead to them being bullied and fin nipping.
Soon, they feel unwelcome in a hostile environment. They’ll show discomfort through poor eating habits, stress and, if necessary, even death.
Best Goldfish Tank Mates
Let’s now look at the top candidates. It can be challenging to find the right companions and fish for goldfish. Many species can make a great companion for your goldfish, provided you carefully follow care guidelines.
Here is a short list of compatible species that peacefully coexist with goldfish.
Rosy Barbs are bright freshwater fish which can thrive in slightly cooler conditions. Their gorgeous reddish pink colour compliments the goldfish beautifully. They are calm and can be a good friend to any fish they like.
Shoaling behaviour is the only thing that should be noted. Rosy Barbs are social creatures that live together in a group of at least five other species. Rosy barbs are prone to aggressive behaviour and territoriality without having a support group.
An increased number of rosy sabres can greatly help keep everyone in control. They will be more attentive and not worry about the goldfish!
- Dimension: 6 in
- Difficulty Beginning
- Minimum Tank Volume: 20 Gallons
Zebra Danios (Danio rerio)
- Care level: simple
- Temperament: calm (must be kept with a minimum of 5 people)
- Size: 2 inches (5cm).
- Max tank size: 10 gals (38 litres).
- Diet: omnivore
- Temperature: 65deg-75degF (18deg-24degC)
Zebra danios move quickly and can tolerate the same temperature ranges as goldfish. Adult goldfish can eat them, but they are too small to be edible.
Mixing the two species can pose a danger, but danios tend to dart quickly and should be capable of outswimming a goldy.
Zebra danios, a fish of slim stature with yellow and blue stripes that run from head to tail, are small-bodied as they swirl around the tank; their bodies shimmer and catch the light with an iridescent shine.
They would be a contrast to your goldfish when they run past you in school.
It is a smart idea for the danios to have tall artificial plants that can be used as hiding places if they are in need.
These fish-like streams flow swiftly over boulders. They require high oxygen levels and conditions close to their natural habitat. The aquarium must have excellent water flow. It must also be well aerated.
The fish won’t see them in the wild, so you don’t need plants. They can help maintain optimal water quality. Anubias or Microsoreum plants are great for high-flow aquariums. This fish can be fed with quality flakes, sinking pellets, lipids, and Mysis shrimps.
This fish is lively and native to South America. They prefer well-planted aquariums. Corydoras Aeneus Albino can leap from your aquarium. You will need a tank covering. It thrives when there are at least six fish in a group.
Giants, a larger cousin to the Zebra Danio, have iridescent-blue and yellow stripes that run parallel with their bodies.
These Zebras are much more aggressive, but they can be kept in a school with five to seven other individuals if necessary.
This can lead to stress in the fish as they will be competing for food and space.
It is important not to serve too many meals simultaneously.
The Bristlenose Fish is a great addition to any goldfish tank, as it helps to keep the tank clean.
These little guys can eat almost anything and are great for keeping your goldfish tank clean. Plus, they are so cute to look at.
The Bristlenose Catfish (small, brownish-black fish) is small and has a long, straight nose. They are gentle and peaceful by nature.
Dojo loaches (weather loaches) are foot-long hot dogs with fins and love to swim in the gravel. These friendly creatures love cold water and are a great addition to any goldfish tank. Although they are larger than the average fish, you can still find them for a very affordable $5 for the basic version and $10 for the person with albinism or speciality versions. You can’t go wrong when you look for a trusted tank mate for your goldfish.
White Cloud Mountain Minnows
Cold water minnows could be a good choice if you don’t own fancy goldfish or other fish. They are quite affordable, will school together and grow to 1.5-2 inches in length. These fish are smaller than when they were first purchased. It is worth growing them out, and even breeding them, before adding them to your aquarium. Yes, these fish can fit in the goldfish’s mouths. However, they are very fast and agile compared to slower fancy goldfish. One can be eaten by a goldfish accidentally.
There are several types of white minnows. It would help if you gave them a shot. They are a great addition to your aquarium and fun activity for the goldfish.
Cherry shrimp make a great replacement for fish. They live at the bottom of the water and spend their time searching for food.
This species is highly prized in the aquarium community. Cherry shrimp are easy to spot because of their bright red colour. They are also a great addition to any tank.
However, it is important to be careful about how the goldfish react to cherry shrimp. These inverts may become a snack for larger goldfish if not taken care of.
Make sure there are plenty of hiding places available for the shrimp. These creatures will be happy if you add many plants and stones.
Rubber lip plecos make the ideal algae-eater. They use their trademark sucker mouth to grab a glass and wipe it clean.
The characteristic pleco profile is common to rubber lip plecos. They are known for their flat bodies, wide-rayed fins, and unreturned teeth.
These fish are very discreet and prefer to stay that way. The grey colouration of these fish and their tan spots make them blend in with the natural décor.
Most rubber lip plecos make excellent goldfish tank buddies because they care for themselves. The one exception is when they don’t have enough food. Supplemental algae wafers should be provided to fish to ensure they don’t eat your goldfish.
What is life like for goldfish in their tank?
Set up a fish tank that suits your goldfish’s personality.
Plants are oxygen-rich and also provide food for fish. The aquarium will look more alive and vibrant if they have plants. Goldfish tanks are decorated with live plants, sea rocks, sand, or other ornaments that provide hiding places for small fish.
As you can see, the best goldfish tank buddies have a lot of things in common. You want a species of freshwater that is quiet, peaceful, fine in cool, not overly active, small and manageable.
This list includes species that we believe will make great companions for goldfish. You can also send us questions regarding the viability and health of other fish.