Are Goldfish Fin Nippers?

Goldfish are fresh water fish that are popular among aquarists. They are easy to take care for and can survive in a wide variety of water conditions.

They are famous among aquarists, both veteran and beginners, because they are known to survive for days without food.

Goldfish are active swimmers and social fish that love to live and swim together in a group. Keeping a goldfish in isolation could lead to stress and a form of lethargy.

Are Goldfish Fin Nippers?

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Are Goldfish Fin Nippers?

Goldfish are not aggressive, they are peaceful and gentle in nature. They can live peacefully in a community tank with other types of fish and creatures from other species.

However, it is important to ensure the tank mates are larger than the goldfish, otherwise, your goldfish will try to eat them.

On the other side, there are some types of fish that are not compatible with goldfish. These types of fish can bully the goldfish, causing stress and restlessness.

Although goldfish are considered peaceful and on normal circumstances can live with other tank mates without any problems. They can also be semi aggressive and hostile towards their tank mates.

Reasons Why Goldfish can be Fin Nippers

Goldfish get aggressive when provoked. Below are other reasons that could lead to goldfish showing aggression behavior such as nipping other fish’s fins.

Body Characteristics

Some types of fish are at risk of being harassed and their fins nipped by their tank mates. Fancy goldfish with longer and trailing fins will have problems in a community tank.

They are at a risk of having their fins chewed by their fellow goldfish, causing injuries and physical damage.

Overcrowded Fish Tank

Keeping too many fish in a small fish tank will increase the chances of having the fish picking at each other. Although goldfish are peaceful fish, they can be territorial.

In an attempt to protect their territories and mark boundaries, they can become aggressive and nip their tank mates’ fins. However, this is not always the case.

Some goldfish live in a crowded fish tank without any trouble, depending on the fish’ personality.

Personality Differences

Just like human beings, fish can have personality differences. Although goldfish have a general calm nature, there are a few that have some pushy, alpha, superior personalities.

These types of goldfish are possibly the ‘pack leaders’ in the fish tank, which is normal. However, some of these pushy goldfish may end up bullying other goldfish in the tank and nipping their fins.

If there are some goldfish causing too much trouble and stress to other goldfish, the best option is to relocate them.


Unfortunately, goldfish are not compassionate types of fish. When one of their kind is sick and weak, the others attack, start biting and nipping its fins.

Such behaviours may only cause more stress and make it difficult for the goldfish to recover. This is why it is important to remove a sick goldfish from the main tank and put them in a hospital tank.


During breeding season, especially in the spring weather, full moon or when large volumes of water has been changed, male goldfish become more active and aggressive as they chase the females around tank.

It may look like a fun activity, but sometimes the male goldfish may end up harassing and nipping the female’s fins. It is important to observe and intervene if the female goldfish are overly stressed.

Scrambling for Food

During feeding time, you may realize your goldfish start to become more aggressive towards each other.

The goldfish may involve in an activity of scrambling for food, an in the process hurt each other. If this is the case in your aquarium, you can intervene by introducing tank dividers during feeding times.

New Tank Mates

Introducing a new tank mate to an already established aquarium may pose a challenge. Goldfish that have had their space may find new tank mates as intruders.

In an attempt to protect their space, the new tank mates may experience harassment from the other goldfish. To avoid bullying and fin nipping, ensure you introduce new tank mates properly.

How to Deal With Fin Nipping Fish?

Fish nipping will cause stress and anxiety in your aquarium. Stress is not good for your fish, it lowers the immunity system, making your fish friend vulnerable to many diseases and infections.

When you realize that one of your goldfish is harassing the tank mates, you need to deal with it, before it creates havoc in the entire tank. Below are tips on how to deal with fin nipping goldfish;

Remove the Fish Nipper

If one of your goldfish has an aggressive personality, the best option is to separate it from the rest of the fish before it causes further damage. A fish will regrow the nipped fins, but sometimes the fin may be affected with other diseases such as fin rot, making it impossible for the fins to grow back. Having many hiding plants and spots in the tank is important, however, an aggressive fish will continually stress out their tank mates out of their hiding.

Find a New Home for the Fish Nipper

To avoid further damage, find a new home for the goldfish nipper. If you are not able to have two fish tanks, you can give away the goldfish to a friend, or return it to the pet store.

Treat the Damaged Fins

Removing the offending goldfish is not enough. A bullied fish will remain scared and susceptible to diseases if the wounds are not treated. Open injuries attract bacteria and can later become serious medical conditions such as fin rot, especially if the fish is stressed. Treat the injured fins with a fin rot solution to heal the fins and also prevent further infections.

Wrapping Up

It is important to keep goldfish with tank mates that have similar personality and swimming abilities. Most of the time, goldfish will nip other fish’s fins if they are provoked.

To ensure there is harmony and peace in the tank, ensure there is enough swimming and feeding space in the aquarium.

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