The goldfish is very popular with aquarists, primary because of their vibrant hues that light up any aquarium.
Many fish species will thrive with the goldfish, although you should be aware of the aquatic pets that will not make good tank mates.
The compatible fish thrive in similar conditions as the goldfish, including temperature and pH. The best goldfish tank mates include:
1. Zebra Danio
The Zebra Danio is a freshwater species indigenous to Central Asia. It has adapted well to life in captivity and will thrive in most aquarium setups.
Since it is a schooling fish, keep about five Zebra Danios together to prevent them from getting stressed. They will thrive in a community tank with goldfish, although you should not keep them with fancy goldfish.
The Zebra Danio typically grows to two inches in size and will outswim any the goldfish if mistaken for food. It prefers temperatures between 64-74 °F, which is also suitable for goldfish.
2. Celestial Danio
The Celestial Danio is a pretty recent discovery in the aquarium world, having been reported in 2006. Its vibrant colors resonated with aquarists worldwide, and it has grown to be a favored aquatic pet.
The body of the Celestial Danio features white spots and orange- or red-colored fins.
These small fish are very peaceful, and it is best to contain them with similarly-sized fish like the goldfish.
Keep the Celestial Danio in groups of five or six to ensure they are comfortable. It thrives in temperatures between 73 to 79 °F and a PH between 6.5 to 7.5.
3. Rosy Tetra
The rosy tetra is fairly hardy, and it needs moderate care. Its beautiful appearance features a rich salmon-colored body complemented by red highlights and white tips on its fins.
The tetra will only display these attractive hues when it is comfortable with the environment.
The rosy tetra is a schooling fish, and it thrives in a community tank of small and peaceful species. It will live peacefully with the goldfish, and you should offer a lot of plants for shelter with open spaces to swim.
4. Rummy Nose Tetra
The rummy nose tetra is a freshwater species native to South America. It has a silver body that makes a beautiful contrast to the deep-red head.
The caudal fin features black and white horizontal stripes. The patterns of the rummy nose tetra are best seen in shoaling fish, and you can keep ten of them in a 20-gallon tank.
Their peaceful nature will be suitable for a community tank with goldfish. The rummy nose tetras are active swimmers and mainly avoid the bottom of the tank.
You will need to provide plants that will mostly grow at the aquarium’s middle layer.
The tetra has adapted to temperatures between 75 to 84 °F, and you can use a heater to warm up the tank.
You can use gravel as the substrate and invest in an external filter because the tetra is sensitive to water conditions.
5. Bloodfin Tetras
The bloodfin tetra is popular with beginners because it is relatively hardy. They have silver bodies and red fins, and these colors will be a lovely addition to any aquarium.
The bloodfin tetra mostly reaches two inches in size, and it thrives in the company of other small fish. It is also very fast and will outrun the goldfish if needed.
You can keep five to seven bloodfin tetras in a 20-gallon tank. It swims in the upper sections of the tank, so ensure that this space is mostly clear. The tetra appreciates temperatures between 70 to 80 °F and a PH of 6 to 8.
The blood tetra inhabits river basins in South America, and will, therefore, thrive among lush and live vegetation.
6. Dojo Loach
Dojo loaches are common companions of goldfish since they also thrive in the colder temperatures of between 60 to 70 °F.
Dojo loaches will reach lengths of 12 inches, and their bodies are characterized by small scales.
When it comes to water conditions, the loach is not very demanding, which is perfect for beginners or aquarists without a lot of time.
You can keep one dojo loach, although it will be more comfortable in groups of about three.
The dojo loach and the goldfish are not rivals when it comes to feeding, and the loach will consume any leftovers of the goldfish and reduce waste.
The dojo loach needs a lot of space to swim, however, and you will need a big setup of about 40 gallons.
7. Hillstream Loach
The hillstream loach is an unusual fish that is easily confused with the catfish. It inhabits fast-flowing rivers in Asia, and its streamlined body has adapted to the strong currents.
You will need to provide a strong water flow in your aquarium via a pump or filter. The tank should also be long and high to accommodate the movements of the loach.
The hillstream loach, like the goldfish, prefers warm temperatures. Its tolerance, however, does not go beyond 75 °F, so you should ensure the temperature does not advance beyond this.
You can keep about four of the loaches provided a lot of space is provided. Its coloring becomes light when it feels scared or threatened.
8. Paradise Fish
The paradise fish enjoys a wide habitat range in Southeast Asia. They have vivid red and blue stripes that run across their body with an orange caudal fin. These hues intensify during mating.
The paradise fish thrives in temperatures and PH between 61 to 79 °F and 5.8 to 8.0.
They do not make good tankmates with species that are similarly-sized. They have been known to rip the tails of other fish and even kill them.
If you want to keep it in a community aquarium, avoid other dominant and territorial species.
They will generally be peaceful towards larger goldfish. Avoid keeping them with fancy goldfish, since their long fins can be bitten and most of them are slow swimmers.
9. White Cloud Minnows
The white cloud minnow grows to one and a half inches. The body has a shimmering brown-bronze color with red ventral and dorsal fins.
The white cloud minnows are quite hardy and can survive in temperatures as low as 41 °F.
Their ideal temperature is between 64 to 72 °F. Ensure that the temperature does not go beyond 80 °F. A 10-gallon tank would suit five white cloud minnows.
The fish share their indigenous habitats with many aquatic species. They are popular companions for goldfish, mainly because they share in the cold-water conditions.
The white cloud minnows are, however, quite small, and there is always a chance they can get eaten. In most cases, the fish will easily outrun the goldfish.
10. Birstlenose Plecos
While most plecos will target the goldfish, the bristlenose pleco will co-exist peacefully with them. This plecos grows to around 6 inches, which is smaller than the average size of the common plecos (15 inches).
The bristlenose has a perfect size since it will fit into an aquarium with goldfish without being targeted for food.
The bristlenose pleco does not suck on the scales of the goldfish, as is commonly observed with other plecos. It tolerates temperatures between 70 to 80 °F.
The bristlenose also feeds on algae, which helps to maintain the health of your setup.
The Corydoras catfish is a good beginner fish, given its peaceful temperament and undemanding nature.
It thrives in shoals and in community tanks, where it is a beautiful and lively addition.
The Corydoras is a tropical species and will enjoy temperatures between 70 to 78 °F. Ensure the temperature is kept consistent to avoid stressing the fish with dramatic adjustments.
Plants will break the tank’s water flow and make the Corydoras comfortable.
You will need sufficient room to keep a school of Corydoras together with fish.
Corydoras prefer the bottom of the tank, where they scavenge for food scraps. Ensure they are being fed enough as the goldfish can be grabbing food meant for the Corydoras.
12. Otocinclus Fish
The Otocinclus fish are popular as algae eaters. They are quite small, and will rarely grow beyond two inches.
The fish inhabits the bottom of the tank, where you should keep a fine-grained substrate. Coarse grains will injure their delicate bodies. Keep at least four Otocinclus fish in a sufficiently-sized aquarium.
The fish are very peaceful and will co-exist well with your goldfish. The Otocinclus fish is extremely sensitive to water parameters, and you will need a stable setup for them.
13. Glass Catfish
The glass catfish are notable for their transparent bodies, through which their organs and bones are visible. To see the best of their unusual bodies, keep around five or six of them.
They are active swimmers and will need at least 30 gallons to swim around.
The glass catfish needs specific water parameters making it a bit challenging to rear. Temperatures should be between 75 to 80 °F, with a PH of 6.5 to 7.0. Give them hiding spots by adding many plants.
The glass catfish thrives in community setups, making it an ideal companion for the goldfish.
14. Panda Loach
The panda loach has an attractive coloration. It thrives in a tank that is rich in algae and biofilm, so ensure these plants are abundant at all times.
The panda loach prefers very clean water with moderate to high lighting. It is quite social, especially with small companions, and will live comfortably with the goldfish.
15. Zebra Loach
The zebra loach grows to four inches on average. Their bold vertical stripes on their entire bodies have earned them their name.
They are mostly seen rummaging the substrate for food, and a rough substrate should, therefore, be avoided. Temperatures should be between 73 to 79 °F with a PH of 6.0 to 6.5.
Their peaceful nature is perfect for a tank with goldfish.
Fish to Avoid Keeping with Goldfish
Consider the ideal parameters of any species you intend to keep with your goldfish. This condition rules out almost all tropical fish who would not survive in the low temperatures preferred by goldfish.
Some aquarists will try and keep the two types of fish in the middle of their appropriate temperature ranges. In this case, none of the fish will be living optimally.
The goldfish also produces a lot of waste, which can be intolerable for tropical species. Some of the fish to avoid keeping with the goldfish include:
- Barbs: These tropical pets are semi-aggressive and will stress out your goldfish. Tiger barbs, denison barbs, cherry barbs, and rosy barbs are especially not recommended.
- Guppies: Be careful with large goldfish as they can target smaller guppies.
- Mollies: Mollies will not survive in the cold waters preferred by the goldfish. Mollies are also noted to be aggressive.
- Swordtails: Goldfish produce a lot of waste, and swordtails are very sensitive to ammonia concentrations.
- Angelfish: Angelfish need warmer temperatures than those of the goldfish, and they are, therefore, not ideal tankmates.
- Discus fish: The discus fish needs pristine water conditions at all times, and they will be negatively impacted by the amount of waste produced by the goldfish
- Betta Fish: Bettas love a warmer environment, and they are also aggressive.
What Tank Size to Choose for Goldfish?
Beginner aquarists may be mistaken to assume that a goldfish will be perfectly fine in a fishbowl. This pet actually needs a lot of space, and you should provide a big enough tank for it.
Avoid tanks below 20 gallons as they will inhibit the movements of your goldfish. The size also depends on the goldfish type, as the comet, for example, will need 50 gallons.
Keep two goldfish in a 40-gallon aquarium, and add another 20 gallons for every addition. Every goldfish needs at least 20 gallons, in part because they produce a lot of waste.
How Many Fish Can You Keep with the Goldfish?
You need to be concerned about water quality with a community tank, especially one with goldfish. Once you have identified the species that can live with the goldfish, make room for additional gallons.
If you are buying schooling fish, ensure space is enough by engaging in comprehensive research.
The goldfish is a beloved aquatic pet, and it features in many aquariums. Your goldfish will thrive with numerous companions, including the zebra and celestial danios, dojo loach, bloodfin, and rosy tetras, and the white cloud minnows.
Before making any additions to your tank, however, ensure you have researched and implemented the needs of all the tank residents.