One of the biggest pitfalls of keeping goldfish is choosing the right tankmates. Even though they are sold along with tropical fish, goldfish care requirements are quite different. They also have some unique characteristics that can make choosing the right tank mate quite tricky. So, we will first look at the various criteria that can make a fish a good tankmate for goldfish, and then we will choose the seven best tankmates for goldfish.
Goldfish are very docile and they need equally docile fish. Any fish that is even slightly aggressive will go after the delicate fins of the goldfish. This is especially true in the case of some of the really fancy varieties as they are often poor swimmers and sometimes, they even have compromised vision. Ideally, peaceful fish that mind their own business are perfect as tankmates.
Level Of Activity:
This is something that is often overlooked but is just as important when it comes to choosing tankmates. Not all goldfish are born the same. Some are active while others are more subdued. This also means that they have different requirements when it comes to the flow rate. Some are strong swimmers and have body growths that would get infected in an aquarium with a low flow rate while others have shortcomings in the fin department that would make them useless in an aquarium with a strong current. So, choosing fish with a similar level of activity is paramount for the well-being of all the fishes involved.
Goldfish while being docile have a big appetite. They will literally eat anything that can fit in their mouth and that can include other fish as well. So, tankmates should be large enough to not inadvertently end up as food for the goldfish. There are some exceptions to this rule. Small fish that are very quick and can keep their distance from the ever-active mouths of these enthusiastic feeders can be kept with them.
The final piece of the puzzle is in the care requirements. Goldfish are often mistaken as tropical fish but in reality, they are coldwater fish. This makes them incompatible with most of the popular fish in the aquarium trade. There is usually no middle ground between the conditions needed by tropical fish and coldwater fish and that can make it almost impossible to keep these two types of fish together. Thankfully there are other coldwater fish and fish that do well in both conditions and these can make great tankmates for the goldfish.
Now that we have gotten the eligibility criteria out of the way, let’s take a look at the best tankmates for goldfish.
7 Tankmates For Goldfish
We will start off with the humble pleco. Almost all plecos make for poor tankmates for the goldfish as they can attach themselves to the body of the goldfish to suck on the protective slime on their body. This only happens with the larger plecos and the Bristlenose is a happy exception to that. It can tolerate all the conditions that goldfish thrive in and these plecos don’t require any additional care. The only trouble you might run into is with feeding. Target feeding them with sinking pellets and wafers at night usually does the trick.
Even though spiny fish should be avoided, this catfish poses no risk to the goldfish. They are docile and keep to themselves. They also grow large enough to avoid ending up as fodder for the goldfishes. Another advantage of keeping this catfish as a tankmate for goldfish is that it won’t get outcompeted for food as it can be quite active when it is feeding time.
This is a gem of a fish that can be as pretty as your goldfish and add even more character to the tank. It is a livebearer but do not worry about ending up with a large population of platies in your aquarium. The goldfish will take care of that. Water parameters and temperature needs are almost identical for both and that along with their healthy appetite make them a cool addition to a goldfish aquarium.
While almost all barbs are compatible with goldfish when it comes to water conditions, most of them make for poor tankmates as they are either aggressive or semi-aggressive with a penchant for fin-nipping. Most barbs will leave the goldfish without any fins overnight which is the last thing any hobbyist would want to see. However, Rosy Barbs are an excellent deviation from that rule. They are very docile and timid and won’t bother the goldfish. There is even a fancier variety known as the Longfin Rosy Barb which can give the goldfish a run for their money aesthetically.
To be more specific, Zebra Danios and Giant Danios make for great options as tankmates for goldfish. Zebra Danios are small but very active and can keep out of the way of the goldfish. Giant Danios, as the name suggests are larger. Both these fish are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least six. The only thing you need to look out for is to make sure that the goldfish get enough to eat as the Danios are even more active when it comes to feeding.
If you have large goldfish and a large tank then the Dojo Loach can make for an exciting new addition to the tank. Their eel-like features and fascinating mannerisms make them quite fun to watch. They have an easy-going temperament and won’t cause any problems for the goldfish. Just ensure that the aquarium has a sandy substrate as anything else will hurt the loach.
Corydoras Catfish are among the most popular freshwater fish but generally, they are quite small and their diminutive nature can make them vulnerable to being eaten by the goldfish. However, the Banded Corydoras can reach sizes of above 4 inches and they too thrive in similar conditions as goldfish do. They are excellent cleaners and can help with all the mess that goldfish tend to create.
It is worth remembering that these aren’t the only fishes that can be kept as tankmates for goldfish but these seven are a great place to start.