Some people might think that it’s easy to choose tank mates for goldfish, but this isn’t quite the case. Thanks to my experience however, I can tell you exactly which fish work best to keep with goldfish.
Some of the best tank mates for goldfish include hoplo catfish, rosy barbs, platies, plecos, loaches, and more. Anything relatively peaceful that isn’t small enough to be eaten by your goldfish should make for a good option.
Today, I’m going to take a look at some of the best tank mates to live with goldfish that are compatible and easy to care for.
Considerations When Choosing Tank Mates for Goldfish
Before I start talking about the different types of fish that are ideal to keep with your goldfish in the same tank, let me first talk about some of the main considerations you should keep in mind here.
One of the most important considerations before choosing any kind of fish to house along with your goldfish is what the conditions in the tank are like.
More than anything else, what you need to consider here are the temperature and pH levels in the tank, with temperature perhaps being the most important of all.
Remember that goldfish are cool water fish, so you can’t keep any tropical fish with them that require warmer waters. If the water is too cool for the other fish, they will eventually die.
In most cases, this means that a goldfish tank mate needs to be comfortable in temperatures between 50 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep all of your tankmates happy and healthy, consider a nice canister filter like this one.
What you may also want to consider is that different fish have different feeding schedules, especially if we consider nocturnal fish.
Remember that goldfish like to eat during the day, but some of the fish on the list today are nocturnal.
This is a consideration, because it means that you have to engage in what is known as target feeding. This means you will have to be the nocturnal fish during the night separately from your goldfish.
Although this is not a big problem for many people, it is something you need to consider. Keep reading here to find out what goldfish eat.
Opposed to what many people might think, goldfish are actually really voracious eaters, and they make for decent predators too.
In fact, they enjoy eating much smaller fish. Anything that is slow enough and small enough for a goldfish to catch could possibly make for its next snack.
Therefore, you need to make sure that any goldfish tank mate you get is not small enough to fit in its mouth.
Furthermore, if the fish is small enough to fit in the goldfish’s mouth, it at least needs to be fast enough so that the goldfish can’t catch it. Ideally, you just want to get something that’s not small enough to be eaten.
That said, you do also want to consider size constraints in terms of the overall size of your fish tank. If you have a small 20 gallon tank, you obviously can’t get a 20 inch long fish to house along with your goldfish.
I also want to quickly mention fish that have spines. Generally speaking, small fish with spines need to be avoided at all costs.
Not only will goldfish try to eat small fish, but the spines may also injure your goldfish as it tries to munch on them. If you do get fish that have spines, they absolutely need to be big and fast enough to avoid a goldfish trying to eat them.
Although being eaten is certainly a problem, there are of course also much larger fish that may eat your goldfish. Adding any kind of fish that may possibly eat your goldfish into the tank is best avoided.
Furthermore, you also want to avoid any overly aggressive fish that may bully your goldfish. This is supposed to be a community tank, so you just want really peaceful fish.
1. The Hog Nosed Catfish
Most people would usually not put a cory catfish inside of a goldfish tank. This is because they aren’t small enough to fit in the mouth of a goldfish.
They do have some spines on their fins, but they are extremely docile, and goldfish don’t try to eat them, so they are not an issue here.
However, there are also giant corydoras, also known as giant corydoras or hog nosed catfish.
This fish does not have any spines on its fins, therefore making it much safer to live with goldfish than a regular cory plus they can reach up to 4 inches in size, so they’re too big to fit in the mouth of a goldfish.
What’s also beneficial about these fish is that they make for excellent cleanup crews, because they are bottom feeders that like to sift through substrate and suck up any leftover foods. These are some very interesting looking creatures, and they make for great community tank mates for a variety of fish.
2. The Hillstream Loach
Here we have one of the most interesting fish around, the hillstream loach, an animal that looks like a very small stingray but has the personality of a pleco. There are actually many different types of loaches that will work well for a goldfish tank other than this particular one.
Just like goldfish, this type of loach prefers cooler temperatures, and they prefer the water conditions to be very similar to that of goldfish in general.
Furthermore, in terms of temperament, this fish is an extremely peaceful bottom feeder that doesn’t cause trouble with any other fish.
However, they’re also big enough so they won’t get eaten by goldfish, plus they like to hang on to the glass very tightly, so goldfish can’t really get them anyway.
What you might appreciate about this fish is that it helps clean up your fish tank, as it is a scavenger that loves eating food scraps left behind in the tank.
3. Bristlenose Pleco
Some people might say that keeping a bristlenose pleco with a goldfish can be a challenge because these fish may suck off the slime coat of your goldfish. However, this really only is a problem with much larger plecos that are not well fed.
If you have plecos and goldfish living together, and the goldfish are eating too much of the food, it may cause issues.
However, these two make for excellent tank mates as long as both fish are well fed. Therefore, keeping a smaller species of pleco like the bristle nose is more than manageable.
Plecos are also bottom feeders, so they do a pretty good job at taking care of tank hygiene issues.
Overall, they are fairly peaceful fish that really shouldn’t cause trouble with your goldfish or with any other fish in your community tank. They’re also more than large enough so that goldfish won’t mistake them for food.
4. The Dojo Loach
If you are looking for a relatively large tankmate for your goldfish, then something like a Dojo Loach might be right for you. These are also known as weather loaches, and they look kind of like a combination of fish and eel, like a very long hot dog.
What is nice about this fish is that it is not overly active. Although it may be around a foot in length, it doesn’t require all that much space to swim around in. What they do like to do however is burrow in gravel and sand, scavenge for leftovers, and they’re very hungry eaters as well.
Although they are large, they also aren’t very aggressive. In fact, they’re some of the most peaceful tank mates that you could possibly put in your goldfish tank.
Of course, they’re also more than large enough to not be eaten by the much smaller goldfish. On that note, they also enjoy cool water, just like goldfish. They make for excellent tank mates.
5. The Rubbernose Pleco
The rubbernose pleco is very similar to the bristle nose pleco, with the main difference being that this one does not have any bristles on its snout. Other than that, they are extremely similar.
For instance, the rubbernose pleco can grow up to six inches in length, which is ideal for a goldfish tank, because it’s much too large for a goldfish to eat.
Furthermore, the rubbernose pleco is also a very peaceful fish that just likes to scavenge for food. It doesn’t cause trouble, it’s not aggressive, and it’s generally not territorial either.
These are just very easy to care for fish that make for great community tank mates. If you like bottom feeding fish, especially the look and temperament of them, then the rubber nose pleco might be an ideal option for you.
6. The Ricefish
If you want to add something a bit more colorful to your goldfish tank, consider the Japanese ricefish.
These fish are not overly large, and they feature a beautiful orange coloration with red and blue accents. This is one of the most common color variations, but there are many others to choose from as well.
If you are looking for a fish that most people would consider beautiful, then the ricefish is certainly something worth looking into. Furthermore, this fish enjoys cool water environments and in the same general tank conditions as goldfish.
It’s also not a very aggressive or territorial fish at all, and it certainly should not bother your goldfish. At the same time, it’s also large enough so that your goldfish should not bother it. As long as both fish are well fed, everybody should get along just fine.
7. The White Cloud Mountain Minnow
On the list we have the white cloud mountain minnow. This is a great tank mate to have together with goldfish, especially fancy goldfish. These are very cheap and affordable fish that grow up to two inches long, and are fantastic to keep in schools.
However, keep in mind that when you first get them, they will be fairly small, which means that they are susceptible to being eaten by your goldfish.
To avoid this from happening, you may want to put them in a separate tank to let them reach their full size before adding them into the goldfish tank.
Furthermore, even when they are full size, they may be small enough to fit into the mouths of some goldfish, but they are also very fast and agile swimmers, so they should be able to avoid being eaten just fine.
There are also many different types of white cloud mountain minnows, mainly with a variety of color variations. What you need to be sure of is that you don’t get any that have long bins, because this will increase their chances of the goldfish catching them.
8. The Variatus Platy
It might sound odd to say that a live bearer fish makes for a good tank mate for goldfish. If your platy manages to breed and have fish fry in the tank, the goldfish will eat most of those fish fry.
Therefore, if you are worried about livebearers like this taking over the tank with too many babies, goldfish will keep them in check just fine. If you don’t want goldfish eating the babies, you may want to create a separate breeding tank however.
Out of the two species of platy fish, this is the one that can live in cooler waters, just like goldfish, as well as similar tank conditions in general.
What is nice about platies is that they come in tons of different patterns and colors, so you should always find something that can either match or contrast your goldfish.
Furthermore, these fish are great cleaners, and they love to scavenge for food all over the tank. They’re also large enough to avoid being eaten by goldfish, but also small and friendly enough so that they won’t try to eat your goldfish either.
9. The Hoplo Catfish
Here we have a very special type of catfish, a large otocinclus that can reach up to 6 inches in length. Yes, it does have a variety of spines on its body, but it’s more than large enough so that a goldfish won’t mistake it for food.
Furthermore, it’s also a very peaceful and docile fish, so most likely won’t try to cause any trouble with your goldfish either way.
What is convenient about this fish is that it is awake during the daytime, so you don’t need to feed it at a special time just to make sure that the goldfish doesn’t eat all of its food. You can just feed them all at the same time.
Furthermore, they do just fine in the exact same tank conditions as goldfish. What you may also appreciate about this catfish is that it makes for an excellent scavenger and tank cleaner that will eat virtually any kind of scrap it comes across.
10. Rosy Barbs
Sometimes fish like barbs can be a little bit aggressive, but this can usually be totally avoided when you keep them in schools of at least four or five fish. If they are kept together in schools, their aggression is generally kept at a minimum.
If however you don’t have these fish in an adequate school, they may become aggressive towards your goldfish. When kept in small schools along with goldfish, they make for excellent tank mates as they should generally be quite peaceful.
They make for good goldfish tank mates however because they enjoy the same temperatures and water conditions.
What many people also love about these fish is simply their coloration, which is bright red and orange. They make for a great colorful addition to any community tank with goldfish.