It’s possible to find a suitable tank mate for a goldfish but you can’t just add any species!
There are a few very important things to keep in mind.
First, any fish added to the tank has to thrive in the same environment as the goldfish, most notably in water temperatures of 65ºF to 75ºF.
Just as importantly, the fish have to get along. What exactly does that mean?
A few things: the new fish won’t harm the goldfish, the goldfish won’t be able to eat the new fish, and the goldfish will still have the space it needs to grow.
Table of Contents
What Fish Can Live With Goldfish?
If you’re thinking about adding tank mates to live with your goldfish, there are a few really great options. These fish can all thrive in a similar rank environment and can live alongside goldfish in peace.
8 Goldfish Tank Mates List
1. Other Goldfish
Adding another goldfish of the same size and variety is one of the easiest ways to add another fish to your goldfish tank.
Just remember that goldfish are omnivores and can be predatory. It’s important that tank mates are evenly matched.
Be very careful about size. Large goldfish will eat smaller ones so they should be roughly the same size.
Also, fancy goldfish tend to move more slowly than common ones and likely won’t be able to compete for food.
2. White Cloud Mountain Minnows
The main reason that white cloud mountain minnows are a good fit with goldfish is because they’re cold water fish that will do well in the same environment as goldfish.
They’re schooling fish and don’t do well on their own so you’ll have to add at least 3, although 6 is better.
White cloud mountain minnows are also really fast and can usually outswim goldfish which makes it less likely that they’ll become prey.
3. Rosy Barbs
Rosy Barbs like the same type of water as goldfish. They also grow to be able 4 to 6 inches long so they’re a good size match, too.
They’re not an aggressive fish and will leave your goldfish alone and they’re too big for your goldfish to eat.
Keep in mind that rosy barbs are schooling fish and get very stressed if alone or in small groups. They should be kept in groups of at least 6.
4. Rubbernose and Bristlenose Plecos
Both a rubbernose or bristlenose pleco make great tank mates for a goldfish. Plecos are calm fish who will generally leave your goldfish alone.
They spend most of their day eating algae from rocks and grass, which also helps keep your tank clean.
Stay away from common plecos as there are reports that they have a habit of sucking the slime coat off of goldfish.
5. Weather or Dojo Loaches
Weather Loaches, or Dojo Loaches, are another great choice because they’re cold water fish that thrive in the same type of environment.
These loaches need to be kept in groups of 3 or more and enjoy burrowing, so make sure they’re provided with fine gravel or sand substrate.
Loaches require a lot of space of their own, too, so you’ll need a pretty large tank to house them with goldfish.
6. Zebra Danios
A good match for regular goldfish since they like the same water temperature and are fast enough to outswim them if they get hungry.
That said, they shouldn’t be mixed with fancy goldfish because they’re so fast, they’ll likely eat all their food.
Zebra Danios are schooling fish and need to be kept in groups of 6 or more.
7. Apple Snails
One of the most common snails available in pet stores is the apple snail.
It’s one of few freshwater snail species that’s adapted well to life in captivity and it’s also great tank mate for a goldfish.
While a goldfish might be tempted to try to eat an apple snail, their hard shell and size make it next to impossible.
This pairing works best if the snail is introduced to the tank when the goldfish is young so it gets used to sharing its space.
8. Ghost and Cherry Shrimp
Shrimp are another animal that can do well with a goldfish, specifically ghost shrimp or red cherry shrimp.
Ghost shrimp are small and usually sold as food for other fish. They’re an interesting addition to any tank and won’t cause any harm to the goldfish.
Red cherry shrimp are a great choice because they’re algae eaters and can help keep the tank clean.
While red cherry shrimp breed quickly, they also serve as food for the goldfish so it’s possible to keep the population balanced.
When keeping shrimp in a tank with your goldfish, make sure to add a lot of caves and decorations. This gives them a place to hide and helps them survive as long as possible.
What Fish Cannot Live with Goldfish?
To understand what fish cannot live with goldfish, you have to consider both the environment that the fish thrive in and their personalities.
We’ve already mentioned that goldfish thrive in water temperatures ranging from 65ºF to 75ºF. This rules out any tropical fish as a potential tank mate because their temperature is just too low for them to thrive.
That said, it might be tempting to try to mix the two anyway by keeping the temperature somewhere in the middle of the ideal range for the two. This isn’t really a good idea as it doesn’t give any of the fish optimal living conditions.
Here are some specific types of fish to avoid and what makes them incompatible:
- Common Plecos. While rubbernose and bristlenose plecos seem to do just fine with goldfish, problems can arise with common plecos. They can take to sucking the slime coat off of goldfish. This leaves them at high risk for infection.
- Corydoras. There have been reports that corydoras are also prone to sucking the slime coat from the goldfish. They can also be quite aggressive which is something you should avoid when looking for a tank mate.
- Cichlids. Because they are aggressive predators, cichlids don’t mix well with goldfish. Though goldfish are predators, they’re not particularly aggressive and would be easy prey for a more hostile cichlid
- Bettas. In addition to preferring a warmer environment, bettas are a very aggressive fish that might attack the goldfish or, at the very least, nip at their fins.
- Other species of goldfish. More specifically, common goldfish do not mix well with fancy goldfish. Fancy goldfish are much slower and more fragile. They would struggle to get enough food and might even be targeted by a common goldfish.
- Tetras. Not only do tetras prefer warmer water, they also have a hard time living with messy goldfish. It’s not always easy to keep the water balanced in a goldfish tank tetras can have a difficult time coping.
- Mollies. Mollies are also a tropical fish that won’t get on with the cooler water that a goldfish prefers. They’re also very aggressive and will most likely attack your goldfish. Not only can this lead to injury, it will really stress the goldfish.
How Many Fish Should You Keep in Your Goldfish Tank?
Let’s start by taking a closer look at the size of tank you need for goldfish because the tank size directly affects how many other fish you can add.
Unfortunately, most people underestimate how much room a goldfish needs. A small fish bowl is not enough.
What Size Tank Do I Need for Goldfish?
Believe it or not, you need, at minimum, a 20-gallon tank for a goldfish. That might seem like a lot but considering they can live up to 20 years, it’s important to give them a home where they can thrive.
One of the main reasons goldfish need a bigger tank is because they’re messy. The smaller the tank, the more work you’re going to have to do to keep the water clean. That means more water changes and a consistently stressed out goldfish.
If you want to add more goldfish, you need an even larger tank. Add 10 more gallons for each goldfish you add.
As you can see, keeping only a handful of goldfish can actually require a pretty large tank! But why?
For one thing, goldfish are very bulky. They’re not thin and streamlined, they’re chunky and work a little harder to cut through the water. That means they use more oxygen. Goldfish also grow quickly and get pretty big which requires even more oxygen.
This is one reason that fish bowls are particularly bad for goldfish. There’s not enough oxygen for them and there’s not enough space to add the necessary filtration needed to keep the water clean.
So, what size tank should you get?
The best advice is to get the largest tank you can afford. A goldfish will do okay in a 5-gallon tank but they won’t develop properly and will have a much shorter life.
Goldish were designed to grow to be more the 8-inches long but will only get there if they’re given the right environment.
How Many Fish Can I Add to a Goldfish Tank?
So, once you have a tank that’s big enough for your goldfish, you’re probably ready to start adding its tank mates.
Overcrowding has a lot of serious health effects. The more fish you have, the faster the water quality goes downhill. Plus, fish start to get aggressive when they’re overcrowded which leads to injury and possible infection.
How many fish you can add to a goldfish tank depends on the kind of fish. The best thing to do is to spend time researching the fish you’re thinking about adding to determine how much room they need.
It’s a good idea to follow the rule for how much space your goldfish needs then add additional gallons to accommodate the additional fish. Why?
Because goldfish are a pretty messy fish, overcrowding will quickly lead to dirty water.
Carefully research the type of fish you’re thinking about adding and make sure they have the space they need, too. If you choose a schooling fish, make sure you add enough so that they’re happy in their new home.
It’s not easy to build a community tank around a goldfish but, with careful planning, it can be done. A carefully planned combination of fish in the right environment can make a successful aquarium that’s fun to watch.
The most important thing is to make sure you’re using a tank that’s large enough for all of your fish to thrive. Remember, goldfish require a lot of room for themselves. Keeping them in a tank that’s too small hinders their growth and shortens their lifespan.
I have a medium sized oranda goldfish (about 4″ long) in a 65gal tank. I would like to add a few apple snails and smaller fish to reek him company. How many white clouds, loaches, or cherry barbs would be okay in a 65gal with my sweet jiggly baby? Like, 3 loaches and/or maybe 5 white clouds?
Hi! I’m sorry this is late. But a 65 gallon is a really good sized tank for two goldfish. They really like being in pairs so you should put one more equal sized oranda in there. I just recently tried to put some minnows in with my two goldfish and they tried to eat them. I ended up having to move the minnows into my twenty gallon until they get bigger. I recommend getting some really large minnows around four inches if you want minnows in there. And make sure you only get around four. If you want dojo loaches make sure they are around four inches too. You should be able to put a rubber or bristle nosed pleco in there. Three loaches would be fine. Be careful with snails since they do tend to breed.
Really corydoras are aggressive they are a staple in the fish community because of them being extremely peaceful but suckling slime coat doesn’t sound to far though.
I bought 8 zebra danios to add with my 3 goldfish. The goldfish (who are well fed) ate them all within 8 hours. I don’t recommend.
there are a lot of variables I would imagine though when it comes to this type of combination….., ample hiding spaces for the Danios, the type of gold fish…. if its a lightning fast common gold fish there is probably much greater odds he’ll run something down vs a fancy etc……
Oh thanks I needed that I was thinking about adding the zebra danios with my three gold fish and my one goopy
Hello, I just started breeding gold fishes. Can I add guppy in an aquarium with 6 gold fishes.
I have had guppies with goldfish before and they were fine. However I know people whose guppies were eating by the goldfish. It depends on the size of the goldfish and what breed.
um… guppy’s need heaters+ they need to be in groups. You already have alot of goldfish wy would you breed more of them. i bet theyr in a 10 gallon.
Ur mom says
Gurl be quiet and spell correctly
how about you shut your mouth up idiot and she is correct guppies need heaters because they are freshwater fish
and they are also tropical they mostly come from south America try getting an aquarium thermometer and an adjustable heater OR else if you cant have an adjustable heater try having a warmer temperature on your thermostat so your fish can feel warm. 🙂 hope this helps!
kyle wright says
guppies dont need heaters at all unless u keep your house under 65 degrees all the time. they do best in groups but can be just fine by themselves. ive been breeding guppies for about 2 years and ive never used a heater for them. there are very little fish that actually NEED a heater.
yeah over here in California I have a female guppy tank and male tank and a baby guppy tank and the female and baby tank have heaters but the male tank don’t I also have goldfish in a 55
M Rodriguez says
I have two 4 inch goldfish and they live with 10 zebra danios with no issues they’re well fed and don’t mess with the zebras and they outswim them anyway. I haven’t found any other good choices yet to mix with them but zebras work well if they’re not too small I would not recommend babies as they’re tiny and will end up as prey
Corydora’s aggressive please… if a common goldfish was not happy with a cory as a tank mate, the corydora would be dead. You should be more worried about the corydora opposed to the goldfish; even the largest corydoras do not get bigger than 3-4 inches at the very maximum under optimal conditions. A goldfish would easily just smack it one time and bye bye corydora; don’t spread misinformation. Definitely be more worried about a cory over a goldy if you suspect one is being bullied, not the other way around. I have kept goldfish with schools of 6-12 various different types of corydoras and have been successful, although in anything smaller than a 29, it is very troublesome I will admit.
Hi ,I have three 8inch goldfish living with a loach and a kribensis for the last 5 years in a 4 ft tank with no heater , isn’t that a bit strange , but there doing great .
Considering they can live to 40 yrs if well cared for you won’t know if they are ‘doing great’ until they die prematurely at 5 or 10 yrs old- too late to do anything about it
I have a 30 g and I have 5 gold fish about 6 inch. And a dojo ???? also a koi that’s about 9 inch. I think I need to upgrade????. I had them for a long time with no problem.
I have a 10 gallon with 3 common goldfish what other fish could I add to the tank or snail ?
0, 10 gallons with even 1 gold fish is way too small for commons. I would recommend a 55 gal for 3 common’s. Still even with that amount you woulnt be able to add any more. So at least a 70 gal for extra
And 55g is a closet. I have 1, just one, in a 120g tank. And l can add a 2nd- with weekly water changes of 30-50%, not easy on a tank this big.
Ppl think goldfish and “goldfish bowl”- then roll their eyes when you explain a 60g for 2 is a minimum (it’s a closet, Harry Potter could have survived under the stairs too but would he have been happy?)
Sadly, when the fish dies after a few years they think oh he had a good run and on they go- not realizing that a goldfish can live 20-40 yrs if well cared for. FISH LIVE LONGER THAN THE AVERAGE DOG. Their mechanism for emotion is so similar to humans that they are used to test anti depressants (google fish depression is no joke -ny times article if you don’t believe me)
Just as bad as betas that ppl THINK can he kept in a 5 gallon.
PSA if you have a beta don’t go less than 20gallons.
Bettas can live in 5 gallons. I’ve had a betta live for 5 years and 2 months inside of a 5 gallon aquarium, which if I’m not mistaken is on the higher end of their lifespans. However, my very first betta (and also my first fish!) was in a 1 gallon and lived 1 year 5 months. I’m fairly certain my inexperience was a large reason it died so soon- I would never put a betta into a 1 gallon now- but I also think the tank size had to do with it too.
I have 15 black moors about 10 inch, have had them for 8 years, in a 90 gallon tank. Not too bad.????????
We got a common goldfish at the state fair. I have her in a 29 gallon tank. I’m thinking of adding a comet goldfish to it. Would that be a good tank mate? Could I also add 3 – 6 Zebra Danios or White Cloud Mountain Minnows?
I hope this isn’t an old comment. 29g is your minimum for the single goldfish you have. You can’t have anyone else unless you upgrade to a 60, then just 1 more.
Here is the best site to check if your tank will support your fish: AqAdvisor.com
I have 3 common goldfish in a 36gal bowfront tank. I would like to add another fish or two into the tank. Any recommendations? I was thinking maybe one rubbernose pleco. I dont want to over crowd the tank.
Brandon Schuster says
hey Paul i would tell you to add another fish but since goldfish get big and since you have 3 commons you would have to upgrade to a bigger tank if you want more fish and for 3 goldfish i would recommend 150gs because since you have 3 and if you want more fish thank you can add more fish and if you upgrade to a bigger tank than you could add a school of 5-6 barbs or mountain minnows and you could also put in a rubber nose pleco or you could add a bristle nose pleco
i have a 55 gallon tank with a koi and a common pleco they’re doing great and I’m thinking about adding some ghost and cherry shrimp along with a shubumkin Goldy with some apple snails and a school of 6 barbs
Nice I am looking for a fish to put in a 10 gallon tank with 2 comet goldfishes
Seriously? You’re torturing your fish. There’s no nice way to say this.
30g for a single goldfish. And that’s a minimum- it’s still small.
Hi! I have 2 common goldfish, just popped them in a 36gal bow front tank. Would love to add 2 fancy goldfish, a pleco and a few cherry shrimp, then done. Is that too many? If so, I’d like 2 fancies at a minimum. Would love your advice, I want them to have plenty of room to grow.
you should have 10 gallons per goldfish. i wouldn’t get anymore than 2 fancies.
How many Cory cats with 2 fancy gold fish and say Two loaches can I keep in 60 gallon tank is safe.
I have four comets and a calico fantail, and a black moore. They all get along great.
I have two 3 1/2 goldfish in a hexagon tank it’s really tall untill last week they were in a 10 gallon tank I’m not going to put anything else in there but they seem to be doing well.
How do you qualify doing well? I always wonder about that. They aren’t dead – for a fish that has been known to love to 40 years (20avg) – seems like too low of a bar, don’t you think?
Single goldfish, 30gallons minimum. And yes, that’s a minimum- still small.
Google fish stock aquarium and AqAdvisor pops right up- how do ppl not check first?
B D says
I have a medium sized goldfish in a 7 gallon tank and I want to add some more fishes to give it company… what fishes do you suggest?
A bigger tank. You need a **minimum** 30 gallon for a single goldfish.
Im looking at buying a 54 gallon tank, how many goldfish could I keep in there?Also if I could only keep one possibly two goldfish in that sized tank, could I put some smaller fish in there?
Based on the math provided, you could safely keep 4 fancies in there. Depending on how nice your filtration is, you could possibly add 1 more fancy or smaller community fish.
Having more filtration than necessary for your tank size allows you a little leeway when it comes to stocking, but its always better to be understocked than over.
Check AqAdvisor and take into account at least weekly water changes
The hobby has advanced more in the last 10 years than the last -0 decades. There are scores of reading material on the subject. From New Zealand gov (I get the impression they care about fish!) to MonsterFish Keepers and others
I have two fancy goldfish in a 37 gallon tank. I wanted to add maybe some small schooling fish, but I’m worried my goldfish won’t be able to compete for food. Any suggestions?
I have a 90 gallon tank with 30 different types of goldfish and they are well fed and taking care of but they are very greedy and aggressive. But they all just go on with they’re day and small little fish are so fast they can’t catch em. I’m learning as i go!
You NEED to get at least a 20 gallon tank before you add anything!
My children won a goldfish at a carnival, over two years ago! We now have him in a 25 gallon tank, filtered,with gravel and a few decorations. He had a goldfish buddy for about a year, but he got fin rot and passed away =(. We would like to put another type of fish in the tank, preferably one that cleans the tank. We have tried to put Apple snails, but he ate them! Then we tried corys and they would hide, as he is over 6 inches long. They are now in another tank with 1 Apple snail. We also tried a Bristlenose pleco. Unfortunately, he passed away, and the guy at the fish store said the goldfish probably killed him. Are there any other fish we could put in there, or should he just stay on his own?
Mrs Bogart says
Absolute No to Apple snails/mystery snails. It’s not fair to them in the slightest. Yes they ‘survive’ but they have to keep their tentacles in short to avoid bites, the fish just mouth things like babies but it hurts. A lot of the snails go nocturnal to avoid fish and have PTSD. Those snails specifically require a high PH, warm water and don’t care for algae and require their own food source which they then have to get to before the fish do… just not fair to them. Opt for nerites. As for shrimp… that is like keeping mice with snakes. Or goldfish with turtles. Bad recommendation.
I have 20 commons how many litres do I need
Lewis Cumming says
I’ve just bought a 105L tank and looking to start with a goldfish but don’t know what the best tank mates are for them. From reading above I could probably get 2 goldfish with that size of tank but would be hoping to add more to it
Hi all, so I just “won” my lovely goldfish at a funfair today. He was given to me in a really small tank, we’ve looked at other tanks and found 2 we felt would be good for him. He’s only small about 2 to 3 inches in size. The first tank is a regual rectangle long tank about 6Gallons in UK sizes and the other is a tall tank that we reckon would hold about the same, however it’s more narrow but very tall.
Do you have any advice? We’re at a complete loss and I just want to try and give the little guy the best life from the fair.
Min 20-30 gallon. You can probably find one used if in the USA there is offer up and Craigslist, Facebook has a lot of Local groups for buying/selling- look for one in your area.
Tehya Howell says
I’m planning on getting a fancy goldfish but all I can afford right now is a 10 gallon. Do you think it’ll survive until I can get a 20 gallon. Or is the 10 okay for now?
It will survive for a short while with regular water changes but check AqAdvisor- a 20-30g is minimum
I am thinking about getting some oranda goldfish and my dream fish… a pleco. Can i add another oranda and some other fish in an 80 gallon tank?
Felicia Blanco says
I have a 36 gallon tank and I have a oranda goldfish and I’m looking for some friends for her? And I don’t know how many I could fit in the tank with her
My dad got a common pleco and idk what to do. It’s also aggressive if my goldfishes go near it (2 goldfishes, 1 common pleco with a 5 gal fish tank) idk what to do:( also I’ve had 2 black goldfishes before but one of em’ got eaten by the pleco and one died because i guess it was too small?
I do things backassward. I wanted a water garden sooo fixed a big bowl planter. I used river rock on the bottom. Added a fountain pump. One water hyacinth and one mini cattail. I bought 6 feeder fishies and fish food. Sigh. Brain points out ammonia. So I added plants. I know, I know I need a water filter. Also purchased a heater. ???????? guess who is now going to need to put in a pond. Moan groan dig the hole.
Thanks for listening.
I did the same – got an 86 litre tub with 3 gold fishies, shoved in plants for days and a filter from amazon – I found a 150 litre tub I’m thinking of buying as an upgrade in the spring
So many mistakes in this article. Please correct errors. Corydoras are not aggressive at all and will not suck the slime coat off a goldfish. Even saying “you can keep a goldfish in a 5 gallon tank” is ridiculous. Goldfish can live up to and beyond 40 years. Shrimp will be eaten by goldfish. Cherry shrimp would make a very expensive snack for a goldfish and they require warmer water.