Is your goldfish feeling lonely in its new aquarium?
It’s not good for fish to be alone in a tank, and for some fish (including goldfish) it can even lead to depression (yes, that is a thing common among fish that prefer to live in large numbers).
Finding a suitable tank partner(s) for your goldfish isn’t an easy task because goldfish are not that easy to keep with other fish. However, there are some species that will work well with your goldfish.
Goldfish need to live in large tanks, because of their size.
Keeping goldfish in small bowl aquariums can stress the fish. Also, goldfish prefer colder waters than most other fish, so finding suitable tank mates can prove difficult. You also need to keep in mind that goldfish tend to be aggressive towards other fish.
What Type of Fish Make Perfect Tank Mates for Goldfish?
Fish such as barbs or bottom dwellers make perfect tank mates for a goldfish.
They are usually quite peaceful fish and will most likely ignore each other. There might be cases of aggression observed between goldfish and barbs, but this is rare and not really anything to worry about.
However, don’t put goldfish and shrimps in the same tank.
Shrimps are small and they can seem fast enough to escape a goldfish, but generally, goldfish will just eat them up. Shrimps that are over 3 inches long should be fine, however, as they are too big for the goldfish to eat and they can defend themselves against attacks.
If you are still reading this article, it means that we have caught your attention! Further on in the article, you can find a list of fish that are recommended tank mates for goldfish.
We have selected 20 fish that should be able to live with your big gold fella, and we have provided a small description for each one. Obviously there are a lot more possibilities, but these are the ones that we consider to be most suitable.
The Best Tank Mates for Goldfish
1. Tiger barb
These special fish are known in our country under various names (Tetrazone, Sumatran, Sumi, etc). They live in the wild in rivers with moderate speed, in Sumatra, Borneo, and Cambodia, as well as in other parts of Asia.
At maturity, this fish reaches 7 cm long and 3 cm wide. Their size also depends on the volume of the basin in which they are raised (those from small basins will not reach this size). There are 4 color variants: Tiger, Green, Pearl, and Albino.
This species appreciates a well-planted aquarium and will display more natural behavior if kept in this type of setting.
It must be kept in moderate or harder water as it will not thrive in soft, acidic water. Usually, they live in shallow currents that are full of vegetation, such as ponds, marshes, canals, and ditches.
It is especially associated with habitats where algae and phytoplankton are present in large quantities.
In nature, these fish live in different types of habitat. You can find them at sea level up to an altitude of about 1500m, including fast-flowing streams, springs, ditches, ponds, and rivers that contain clear to cloudy water.
Usually, the water is less than 1.5 m deep and there is no aquatic vegetation. Adults tend to gather in areas with a stronger current, in flowing waters, while juveniles show a preference for quiet marginal areas.
You will need a densely planted aquarium with a larger space for swimming. It should be noted that these fish are vegetarian, so they may well destroy any plants with thin/soft leaves.
Allowing some green algae in the pool will mean extra food for this fish. When kept in soft or acidic water, the fish weakens rather quickly, a condition that is frequently indicated by lowering the fins, mushrooms, and/or paralyzed fins.
5. Corydoras elegans
Corydoras elegans are peaceful fish. They can be easily grown in community aquariums, along with small characids, cyprinids, anabantoids, and dwarf cichlids.
They need an aquarium with clean water, which requires frequent and partial water changes, with a sandy or fine gravel substrate. They can be fed with dipping foods, as they tend to eat at the bottom of the aquarium.
Their diet can include Artemia, larvae of Chironomidae, Tubifex, Daphnia, or chopped frames.
6. Checker Barb
This species of fish is native to India and the Malaysian archipelago. You can find it in lakes, small rivers and even in pools in public gardens and parks.
It is very easy to recognize by its relatively large scales, with black edges shining in the colors of the rainbow. The basic color is greenish-brown, with dark red swimmers. It has a peaceful character, living either alone or in larger groups.
7. Brown bullhead catfish
The brown bullhead catfish is a species of predatory fish, native to North America. It’s distinguished primarily by the adipose dorsal fin that appears near the caudal peduncle.
It was introduced to Europe, even to us in this country, in western North America, New Zealand, Chile, and Puerto Rico. They swim quite close to the muddy or sandy bottom of clear, quiet, shallow lakes, ponds, and rivers.
It is part of the catfish family and has the scientific name Ameiurus nebulosus.
8. Rasbora heteromorpha
Rasbora heteromorpha are freshwater fish, preferring an environment with dense vegetation, open space for swimming, a closed substrate, and discrete light.
In their case, the water temperature is not very important, but the recommended ideal value is between 23° and 26°C. The pH of the water should be between 6.0 and 6.5. These fish live in schools.
Keep them in groups of at least 3. They agree with most species and they’re not picky. Also, they will eat food in any form.
9. Rosy Barb
This is a freshwater tropical fish that brings a lot of energy to any aquarium. They are peaceful fish, but most of the barbels are very curious and they may nibble at the winged fins of other species. There are gourmet fish and are a smart choice even for beginner aquarists.
10. White Cloud Mountain Minnow
This is a bright fish with horizontal red stripes. It is a small, peaceful fish and should only be kept in aquariums. They can eat flakes and pellets, but you can also offer them a varied diet, with foods such as shrimp brine, Mysis shrimp, plankton, and other similar options.
11. Zebra Danio
Danio zebra is an exotic freshwater fish. It’s s extremely popular with aquarists, especially beginners.
With a delicate allure and abundant energy, the little fish gets its name from its most remarkable feature: its striped body, like the African herbivores. If you do not have much experience with exotic fish and want to take advantage of breeding programs, Danio rerio is the wisest choice.
12. Bloodfin Tetra
This fish needs a well-planted aquarium. You must provide them with areas with dense vegetation, along with several open spaces for swimming. Other decorations might include twisted roots and pieces of wood.
Floating vegetation will also be appreciated, as they tend to swim in the upper area of the aquarium. You will need to cover the aquarium well because it tends to jump.
13. Other Goldfish
The goldfish is a peaceful fish that does not attack other fish. However, it is possible that it might swallow very small fish. It can be placed with other species as long as they tolerate lower temperatures.
They have a habit of uprooting and eating plants, so they’re not good for planted aquariums. The goldfish can learn and recognize people. The memory of a goldfish is on average 3 months. They distinguish color shapes and sounds, so they can be trained to do various tricks.
14. Koi Carp
Nishikigoi has many similarities to common carp. They are highly adaptable and are easy to grow. Compared to other fish, they are very friendly and will eat from your hand once they trust you. In recent years, koi carp lovers from all over the world have come to love these fish as pets.
15. Microrasbora Galaxy
The small size, attractive colors that are similar to trout (white balls on a dark green background, with red swimmers), peaceful temperament, and the behavior of card fish are just some of the features that recommend this fish to the hobbyist. It is not an aggressive fish at all and can coexist with snails and shrimps without any problems.
Bottom Dwellers That Can Live With Goldfish
16. Bristlenose Pleco
You can easily maintain these fish with seaweed. Ancistrus Sp. is territorial fish and becomes aggressive during the breeding period when males attack other males.
Sometimes they can injure the female if it is small. It can be grown in small aquariums, of at least 80 liters. An Ancistrus male is recommended for two or more females.
17. Corydoras Catfish
This is a lively fish, native to South America, which prefers well-planted aquariums. Corydoras Aeneus Albino can jump from the aquarium, so you will need a good tank cover. It thrives in groups of at least 6 fish, in an aquarium with enough swimming space, arranged with sandy bottom areas in which the fish can dig.
18. Hillstream Loach
These fish inhabit streams that flow quickly over boulders. They need conditions similar to their natural habitat, with very high oxygen requirements. The aeration and flow of water must be excellent, and the aquarium must be equipped with numerous rocky hiding places, smooth pebbles, and boulders.
You don’t need plants because the fish do not encounter them in the wild. But they will help to maintain optimal water quality. Plants suitable for high flow aquariums are Anubias and Microsoreum. Feed this fish with quality flakes, sinking pellets, lipids, Mysis shrimps, spinach, cabbage, and natural algae.
19. Rubber lip Pleco
This is a timid and docile tropical fish, which can be kept with other non-aggressive species. It’s called “sanitary fish” because it eats algae from the aquarium walls, decorations, and food scraps. Hypostomus plecostomus gold also needs dry, vegetable, green, and granular feed.
20. Weather Loach
These are relatively peaceful fish and can stay with other fish with similar requirements. Don’t keep them with slow species. They swim very fast and can bump into the slower swimmers. Keep them in groups of three individuals, or even more if space allows.
Can you mix goldfish with other fish?
Yes, you can. Goldfish are quite peaceful and most of the time they will not attack other fish.
It is good to mix them with fish that can grow big over time or with fish that are fast, so they will have a chance of escaping when the goldfish decides to attack.
Can goldfish live with shrimp?
Goldfish will most likely eat all types of shrimps. Don’t pair goldfish with shrimps unless you want to offer your goldfish a tasty snack. Small shrimp, like ghost shrimp or cherry shrimp, shouldn’t be put with any type of large fish.
Why is my goldfish attacking my other goldfish?
In some cases, goldfish attack each other while playing. This is normal behavior and it won’t result in any injuries to the fish. But there are cases when goldfish fight for territory.
This is the most common type of aggression in goldfish and it can end in serious injury for one of the fish. If that is the case, remove one of the fish and put it in a separate tank.