Can Clownfish Live With Goldfish?

No, clownfish are saltwater fish and goldfish are freshwater fish, it is really that simple. However, in addition to this, they both require different water temperatures and nitrate levels too. It may seem funny, but the question should not be ignored as there are many hobbyists starting out that may not know exactly what makes two fish compatible, or in this case, incompatible.

Clownfish and goldfish

Clownfish and Goldfish Habitat Differences

Clownfish and goldfish share totally different habitats, which is why they require completely different tank setups. Goldfish need colder water temperatures than clownfish thanks to this.

However, this is not the main difference, the salinity of each fish's water is the main difference between these fish. Clownfish undoubtedly need saltwater to survive, with their ideal levels ranging between 1.021-1.026, whereas goldfish need freshwater to survive.

What Happens to Goldfish in Saltwater?

Goldfish are extremely hardy fish, which allows them to survive in a plethora of different freshwater environments, however, if they enter saltwater, they will not last very long. Goldfish are only able to survive in saltwater for short periods of time, typically in the wild, they will only have to swim through some saltwater if they are migrating to a different freshwater pocket.

If they are heading from one river to another, they may have to travel through saltier water than they are used to. So, goldfish can survive a minimal amount of time in saltwater, however, despite being hardy fish, clownfish cannot handle freshwater for more than a couple of seconds. Unfortunately, clownfish would almost immediately die upon entering freshwater, so avoid this at all costs.

What Would Happen to a Clownfish in Freshwater?

If a clownfish entered saltwater it would die within minutes due to the lack of salinity in the water. Sure, they will probably be ignored and unharmed by the goldfish residents, but the clownfish will be suffering throughout, best to never do this!

True Percula Clownfish vs Ocellarist Clownfish

Would Clownfish Eat Goldfish?

In the wild, both of these fish species would never be introduced, so, it is hard to say whether clownfish would attack or even eat a goldfish. Clowns are carnivores, meaning their diet consists of meat and plants, however, clownfish prefer meat to plants, so, their diet should be balanced out at 65% meat and 35% plant.

If for whatever reason you had a goldfish in saltwater that was struggling to breathe and was dying, then, you may find one of the larger species of clownfish nipping at it or even trying to kill and eat it. Goldfish are and have never been a part of the clownfish diet, so, this scenario would never likely play out.

Why Put Clownfish and Goldfish Together?

Unfortunately, there are many fishkeepers who enjoy experimenting with fish and their compatibility, even if it is totally ill-advised and inhumane! To ensure that your fish are happy and healthy, never remove them from their required environment, especially when it comes to saltwater and freshwater.

Ryukin goldfish

Clownfish and goldfish are probably the most popular and famous species of fish from their respective water environments, but that should not mean that they can be kept together in the same tank.


Goldfish and clownfish are far from being compatible tank mates, this is because they reside in totally different waters in the wild, and therefore captivity.

It would be cruel and inhumane to attempt to house both of these fish species in the same tank as they would both end up dead. There are many bright and colorful goldfish tank mates, just as there are clownfish tank mates. So, it is best to stick with similar fish hailing from similar environments to both of these fish.