What Fish Can Live with Goldfish: A Comprehensive Guide for Compatible Tank Mates

Goldfish are among the most popular and beloved freshwater fish in the world. Known for their striking colors and remarkable ability to adapt to a variety of aquatic environments, goldfish have been a staple in home aquariums for generations. However, as a goldfish owner, one might wonder what other types of fish can live harmoniously with these vibrant creatures. In this article, we will explore some of the best goldfish tank mates that can coexist well with them in a shared habitat.

Choosing the right tank mates for goldfish is essential to ensure the overall health and well-being of your aquatic pets. Compatibility not only depends on the fish species but also considers factors like their temperament, size, and environmental requirements. When selecting tank mates for your goldfish, it is crucial to bear in mind that goldfish produce a considerable amount of waste, which can have an impact on water quality and overall tank maintenance.

In the following sections, we will delve into various suitable tank mates for goldfish, including popular choices such as weather loaches, zebra danios, and bristlenose plecos, among others. By understanding the specific needs and compatibility of different fish species, you will be able to create a thriving, harmonious aquatic environment for your goldfish and their tank mates.

Understanding Goldfish Behavior


Goldfish are generally peaceful creatures that can coexist with various tank mates without displaying aggressive behavior. They are social and prefer to live with other fish, as long as the other species have a similar temperament. It is crucial to choose compatible tank mates to ensure a harmonious environment for your goldfish.

Activity Levels

Goldfish are not the fastest swimmers, but they do exhibit periods of increased activity, mainly during feeding times or when exploring their surroundings. Naturally, their activity levels can vary depending on factors like age, water temperature, and tank conditions. When pairing goldfish with other species, it’s essential to choose fish that have similar activity levels to avoid stress and possible conflict.


Goldfish are notorious for their healthy appetites and will consume a wide variety of food sources, such as flakes, pellets, live food, and vegetables. Due to their voracious eating habits, it is crucial to ensure that tank mates are not outcompeted for food. Additionally, goldfish can sometimes be messy eaters, which can affect water quality in the tank, so pairing them with species that can help maintain cleanliness, such as bristle nose plecos or bamboo shrimp, can be beneficial.

Ideal Goldfish Tank Conditions

To ensure the health and happiness of goldfish and their tank mates, it is essential to create and maintain the ideal conditions within the aquarium. This section covers the important aspects of water quality, temperature range, and ecosystem.

Water Quality

Goldfish thrive in good-quality water. A well-maintained aquarium helps to prevent diseases and promote the overall health of goldfish and their tank mates. To maintain optimal water quality:

  • Perform regular water changes (25% to 50% every week or two)
  • Use a filtration system to remove waste and debris
  • Monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels (aim for 0 ppm ammonia and nitrites, and below 40 ppm nitrates)
  • Maintain a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5

Temperature Range

Goldfish are cold-water fish and can tolerate a considerable range of temperatures. However, it is best to aim for a stable temperature to minimize stress on the fish. Suggested temperature ranges for goldfish are:

  • Fancy goldfish: 68 – 74 °F (20 – 23 °C)
  • Slim-bodied goldfish (e.g., Comets): 60 – 70 °F (16 – 21 °C)

Keep in mind that some tank mates may have different temperature requirements, so it’s essential to research and find a suitable range for all fish species in the aquarium.


Creating a well-balanced ecosystem in the goldfish tank will contribute to the well-being of the fish and promote a more natural habitat. Some considerations for building a healthy ecosystem are:

  • Tank size: Ensure a minimum of 20 gallons for the first fancy goldfish and an additional 10 gallons per extra fish. Slim-bodied goldfish require more space due to their larger size and activity level.
  • Decoration: Goldfish appreciate hiding spots, plants, and open areas to swim. Some suitable plants options include anubias, java moss, and water sprite.
  • Substrate: Goldfish prefer smooth, small gravel or sand as they like to forage through the substrate in search of food.
  • Tank mates: Choose compatible tank mates that can coexist peacefully with goldfish, such as white cloud minnows, bristle nose plecos, and weather loaches.

By maintaining stable tank conditions and a balanced ecosystem within the goldfish aquarium, you can ensure the health and longevity of your goldfish and their living companions.

Compatible Fish Species

Choosing the right tank mates for goldfish is essential for maintaining a healthy, harmonious aquarium environment. This section explores some compatible fish species that can thrive in the same habitat as goldfish, while considering the requirements of these different types of fishes. The sub-sections discuss peaceful fish, small fish, and tropical fish that can coexist with goldfish.

Peaceful Fish

Goldfish generally live well with other passive and calm fishes. Some examples of peaceful fish that make good tank mates for goldfish include:

  • Corydoras catfish: These bottom dwellers are non-aggressive and help keep the tank clean by scavenging for leftover food and detritus.
A corydoras catfish lying on gravel at the base of a freshwater fish tank
  • Gouramis: Slow-moving and placid, gouramis can coexist with goldfish as long as the goldfish are of similar size to avoid being mistaken for food.
  • White Cloud Mountain minnows: They can tolerate the goldfish’s temperature range, are very peaceful, and add visual interest to the aquarium with their bright colors.

Small Fish

Although some small fish can become food for larger goldfish, many fast-moving small fish can be suitable tank mates. Some examples are:

  • Zebra danios: Despite their small size, zebra danios are fast swimmers, which makes it difficult for goldfish to catch them. They can also tolerate the temperature range required by goldfish.
  • Guppies: These vibrant, tiny fish add color to the tank and are extremely active swimmers, able to avoid being eaten by goldfish.
A male guppy with an orange-red tail with black spots

Tropical Fish

While goldfish are not tropical fish, some tropical species can tolerate similar water conditions and thrive in a goldfish tank. A few examples include:

  • Platies: They are suitable tank mates for goldfish due to their adaptability, peaceful nature, and ability to handle a wide temperature range.
  • Swordtails: These sturdy and peaceful tropical fish can adapt to various water conditions, making them compatible companions for goldfish.

Remember to monitor the aquarium closely after introducing new tank mates to ensure that all of the fish are adapting well to each other and maintaining a healthy environment.

Specific Goldfish Tank Mates

Dojo Loach

Dojo Loaches are an excellent choice for goldfish tank mates due to their peaceful temperament and compatibility with cooler water temperatures. They are interesting to watch and can grow up to 10 inches in length.

Rosy Barb

Rosy Barbs are colorful, active, and peaceful freshwater fish that can live well with goldfish in cooler environments. With a reddish-pink hue, they add visual variety to the aquarium.

Weather Loach

The Weather Loach can also be a suitable tank mate for goldfish. These loaches prefer cooler water temperatures and are docile, making them great companions for goldfish.


Platies are another excellent option for goldfish companions because they are easy to care for and can tolerate a range of water conditions. They are small, peaceful freshwater fish, adding color and diversity to the community tank.


Corydoras Catfish are bottom dwellers that can be good tank mates for goldfish, as they scavenge and help keep the tank clean. They are also peaceful and can thrive in a community tank.

Other Tank Mates

Other suitable goldfish tank mates include:

  • Zebra Danios: known for their active swimming and compatibility with cooler water temperatures, ideal for sharing a space with goldfish.
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows: small, peaceful fish native to cooler mountain streams.
  • Hillstream Loach: a unique aquarium inhabitant with a flat, streamlined body that prefers cool, well-oxygenated water.
  • Bristlenose Pleco: an algae-eating option that won’t grow too large for a goldfish tank.
  • Snails: freshwater snails, such as the Mystery Snail or Japanese Rice Fish, can also make good companions for goldfish, helping maintain water quality and adding visual interest.

When choosing tank mates for your goldfish, it is crucial to consider factors such as water temperature preferences and peaceful temperament. Additionally, avoid aggressive fish and overly small fish that might become prey. Providing adequate space, water quality, and hiding spots will also help maintain a healthy community tank environment.