Goldfish are undoubtedly the most well-known fish in the fishkeeping world and are probably the best fish for beginners embarking on their hobbyist journey. There are so many different types of Goldfish, displaying different patterns and coloration in addition to having unique and awesome personalities.
However, finding suitable Goldfish tank mates isn't as easy as it seems. Yes, they are hardy little fish, but they have specific requirements when it comes to compatibility with other fish, and if you want a happy and healthy Goldfish, you cannot ignore these facts.
What Fish Can Live With Goldfish?
Goldfish are peaceful and graceful fish, full of awesome coloration and unique patterns. Sure, you can keep them on their own in a Goldfish tank, but it makes sense to take advantage of their peaceful nature by having them live within a diverse fish community that is compatible with them.
The only downside to finding tank mates for Goldfish is that creating a community aquarium with Goldfish as a mainstay isn't very easy. Picking the right freshwater fish to become your Goldfish tank mates is hard because there are so many considerations. Goldfish have very unique requirements compared with most tropical fish. The traits to look out for are as follows.
Temperature is so important with your fish, mimicking their natural habitat's temperature is what you ideally want to do, but it is not easy. Goldfish are considered to be cold-water fish. However, they will still need to live in pretty warm water to stay healthy, but when you compare their temperature to other popular fish species there is a massive difference.
Goldfish are native to East Asia, originating from cool mountain streams. They can live comfortably in temperatures that range between 65-75°F (18-23°C), and some different types of Goldfish prefer even colder waters. Goldfish tend to thrive within aquariums that do not have additional heating sources, so, keeping fish that require super warm water is a complete no-no.
The majority of Goldfish species are relaxed, peaceful, and playful, they are also far from territorial, which can always be a problem with some fish. Keeping Goldfish with other fish that have aggressive tendencies is typically avoided. Due to Betta fish being on a similar level of popularity, many try and keep Goldfish and Betta fish together, and while this might be possible, it is not recommended.
Goldfish are not capable of defending themselves particularly well when confronted with highly-aggressive and violent fish, so it is best to keep them with similarly tempered fish. If you do mix them with more aggressive fish, expect to have a pretty stressed tank environment, which isn't good for any of your fish or their health.
The size of your Goldfish's tank mates is so important to ensuring the happiness and healthiness of all your fish. It is recommended that you try and acquire medium-sized Goldfish tank mates, around 3 to 4 inches (7-10 cm) in length.
Due to Goldfish eating just about everything in their path, a situation has arisen where a Goldfish has eaten a smaller fish due to mistaking it for food! You do not want this happening, which is why you should only introduce fish that are the same size or slightly bigger than your Goldie.
Activity And Behavior
Perhaps the most important aspect of any good Goldfish tank mate is their behavior and activity. By that we mean that you should try and get tank mates that share similar activities and have similar behavioral patterns with your Goldfish.
Most Goldfish will be all over the place, quickly darting across your tank at a rapid rate, unless of course, your Goldfish is pregnant, in which case they'll likely be moving around slowly or hiding out in shelters or plants. It makes almost no sense to keep them in with slow-moving fish. Having a slow-moving fish live in this chaotic environment will often lead to stress which results in illnesses.
There are some Goldfish species that are bad and slow swimmers, like the Lionhead Goldfish or Oranda Goldfish. These guys will need to be matched with equally slow movers or you can create a pretty hostile environment. Not only this, some fish will react to Goldfish either swimming slowly or quickly by nipping their fins, and that will almost definitely lead to injuries and infections.
Here Are The Best Tank Mates For Goldfish
We have now discussed the requirements and criteria that qualify as an ideal tank mate for Goldfish. We are now going to provide you with a list of five of the best Goldfish tank mate candidates. Here are those fish:
Platy fish are awesome fish that do very well with Goldfish. They belong to the Xiphophorus family, which includes many different color variations. They are super chilled and are in an abundance of brilliant colors and patterns, which is exactly what you want to be accompanying your Goldfish.
Goldfish will occasionally eat Platy fish fry, which is never ideal, however, due to their rapid breeding habits, this can certainly be seen as population control. They grow to 2.5 inches (6 cm) in length, are beginner compatible, and require a 10 gallon (45 liters) or more tank.
These awesome loaches are often confused with stingrays due to their incredibly unique appearance. They have similar-looking expansive fins, but that is where the similarities end. They will spend most of their time clinging onto glass and other smooth surfaces in your tank to feed off algae.
The Hillstream Loach is a tremendously peaceful fish that will keep itself to itself. They are good tank mates for Goldfish as they will typically adapt to cooler temperatures and will even be suitable for ponds if the conditions are good. These loaches will grow to around 3 inches (7.5 cm) in length, are suitable for beginners, and will thrive in a 50 gallon (227 liters) tank.
Goldfish tank mates do not come more unique than this fish. Additionally, they don't just look cool, but they have very cool personalities too, staying out of the way of trouble, and keeping themselves to themselves. Their diet consists of algae so you will likely see them at the bottom of your tank and they are fantastic for keeping your tank nice, clean, and disease-free.
So, by keeping these with your Goldfish you are not only providing a friendly tank mate, but you are keeping the cleanliness of your tank high too. They grow anywhere between 3 to 5 inches (7.5-13 cm) in length, are beginner-friendly, and need a tank size of 25 gallons (113 liters) or more.
These catfish are native to South America, but they will still adapt well to cooler temperatures. They are resilient and extremely hardy fish that can live and adapt to almost any environment. They are relaxed, peaceful, and like to be left alone. They probably wouldn't fare well in a super busy community, but one with a few Goldfish and other peaceful fish would work very well.
Hoplo Catfish feed in the day too, which means you can see this awesome fish in all its glory! 6 inches (15 cm) is the length they typically grow to, and they are perfect for beginner hobbyists. The ideal tank size for them is 55 gallons (250 liters).
Giant danios are beautiful minnow fish that will add a lot of awesome coloration to your tank. They look very similar to Zebra danios but are obviously much bigger, and have more definition than their smaller counterparts.
They are equally as peaceful as Goldfish with a playful nature too, making them a fantastic tank mate to Goldfish. They like to school and swim around tanks quickly all-together, which is stunning to watch. If you do have Goldfish that struggle to swim, then perhaps avoid these Danios as they may cause stress.
The Giant Danios will grow to 4 inches (10 cm) in length, are an ideal fish for beginners, and require a 30 gallon (136cm) or more tank.
So, tank mates for Goldfish are not particularly easy to come across due to their specific requirements and compatible behavior. However, the fish that feature on this list have an awful amount in common and share many similarities.
Additionally, just because a type of fish that is peaceful, can adapt to cold water, is not overly hyperactive, and medium-sized hasn't appeared on our list, it doesn't mean it cannot be a brilliant Goldfish tank mate!
Remember, this is 5 of the best Goldfish tank mates, not "the only 5". So, by using this criterion, you can find your own awesome Goldfish tank mate.