10 Best Tank Mates for Your Goldfish
Goldfish are beautiful, much-beloved creatures in the fish keeping hobby, but sometimes it can be nice to add a little variety to their aquariums. After many years of owning goldfish, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips and recommendations for keeping goldfish tank mates (including a few that you may have never considered before).
What Kind of Fish Can You Keep With Goldfish?
Here are some guidelines for anyone who has ever seen a cool fish or wondered how it would work with their goldfish.
– Avoid aggressive fish that will pick on your goldfish. In general, goldfish are peaceful animals that will not thrive with aggressive barbs, African cichlids, and other large cichlids. – Consider how fast your goldfish is. Common goldfish (also known as single-tailed or comet goldfish) are very fast swimmers and have a higher likelihood of swallowing things they shouldn’t. Fancy goldfish are slower, and so are more susceptible to being bullied. Avoid small, spiny fish. Fancy goldfish love to explore and take everything into their mouths, including food, substrate, and fish. The majority of species we avoid are too small for their mouths. We recommend that you consider the maximum size of your full-grown goldfish when selecting tank mates. Watch out for fish with spines such as cory catfish and otocinclus. They could become stuck in the goldfish’s gill plates if they swallow them. – Keep tank mates that can live in the same conditions as goldfish. Goldfish mainly prefer cooler temperatures from 50-70degF and can live at room temperature without a heater. This is the most comfortable temperature range for many of our fish. The tank mates should be able and willing to eat a diet that caters towards goldfish. The possibility of goldfish becoming constipated is increased if there is a hardcore predator who needs to eat meat.
With these ground rules in mind, here are our top 10 tank mates that we have personally tested and found to be compatible with goldfish:
1. Hillstream Loach
This amazing oddball fish looks like a miniature stingray and acts like a plecostomus (or pleco). It eats algae, scavenges for food scraps, and grips onto glass so tightly that goldfish can’t pluck them off. Best of all, they enjoy cooler temperatures just like goldfish do. This group of fish includes the reticulated mountainstream loach and Borneo sucker locach, Chinese butterfly loaf, and many other flat-bodied loaches.
Hillstream loach with a lot of care
2. Brochis multiradiatus
Cory catfish generally aren’t a good idea for goldfish tanks because they’re small enough to fit into a goldfish’s mouth and often have spines in their fins. What if you could get giant corydoras instead? The Brochis multiradiatus is also known as the hognosed catfish, or Corydoras multradiatus. This docile bottom dweller looks like an overgrown cory catfish that reaches up to 4 inches in size. They make excellent clean-up crew members because they enjoy digging through the substrate, vacuuming up leftovers, and are great at cleaning up after themselves. Although they do have spines at their dorsal and pectoral fins, they have not been found to pose a problem. They are too large to be used as food for goldfish.
3. Dojo Loach
Dojo loaches (or weather loaches) are like foot-long hot dogs with fins that love to swim around, burrow in the gravel, and eat anything you throw at them. These friendly creatures can thrive in cold water and are a popular addition for goldfish tanks. You can often find them at a low price, $5 for the regular version and $10 for the albino or specialty versions. If you’re looking for a tried-and-true tank mate for goldfish, you can’t go wrong with the dojo loach.
4. Bristlenose Pleco
Although this choice may be controversial, some online users claim that they can even eat the slime coat of a goldfish. We have found that larger plecos are more likely to suffer this because they aren’t eating enough (because the fish are eating everything). It’s easier to feed a bristlenose pleco and keep them away from their slime coats. The plecos will often be found munching on algae, driftwood and other small morsels that are hidden in the substrate. We recommend waiting until the lights dim and the goldfish are calm before you target feed the pleco a delicious meal of sinking wafers.
5. Rubbernose Pleco
Also known as the rubber lip or bulldog pleco, these plecostomus are very similar to bristlenose plecos, except they don’t have any bristles on their snouts. They are similar in size and require the same care. They can grow up to 5-6 inches long. Most of them have spots either on their face or covering their whole body and are commonly sold in pet store chains. If you’re looking for a pleco that doesn’t have “facial hair,” try this peaceful algae-eater.
6. White Cloud Mountain Minnows
Cold water minnows are a great option if you don’t have fancy goldfish. They are very affordable, can school together, and grow up to 1.5 to 2 inch in length. The fish will grow much faster than they are when you buy them. If you want to add them to your tank, consider growing them out and even breeding them. These fish will fit into goldfish’ mouths but are faster and more agile than the fancy goldfish. They can also be caught easily. (In the event that one does accidentally get eaten, it’s not harmful to the goldfish.)
There are many types of white cloud minnows, including gold and normal types. However, longfin varieties will slow down the minnows and increase their chances of being caught. These minnows add great activity to the aquarium, and they are fun to chase.
White Cloud Mountain Minnow
Amazing ricefish are also in the same family as white cloud minnows. This cold-water family is made up of many species, with different color variations, including platinum white, orange and blue. Although they aren’t as expensive as white clouds, they can breed easily and complement many other fish in this aquarium. Remember that they can add to the aquarium’s bioload (or total waste load), so ensure you have enough tank space to accommodate both the goldfish, and any tank mates.
8. Hoplo Catfish
This spiny and docile catfish looks a lot like an otocinclus. There are three species: the flag tail hoplo, Megalechis thoracata and Megalechis picta. Hoplo catfish have long whiskers which help them to scavenge food. Hoplos eat throughout the day, which is different from the rubbernose plecos and bristlenoses.
9. Variatus Platy
A livebearer (or fish that gives birth to live young) might seem like an odd choice as a goldfish tank mate, but we’ve enjoyed this match-up many times in the past. The variatus platy (Xiphophorus variatus), one of two types of platy fish can survive in cooler water. Livebearers can be a nuisance because they can produce so many babies. But in this instance your goldfish will happily eat all the fry to keep the population under control.
Platies come in many different colors and patterns, so if you’re looking for something to contrast your red, white, and orange goldfish, a school of blue or yellow platies might do the trick. Platies are great as a clean-up crew member, picking up algae and any food that may be hidden in the tank.
Metallic Blue Platey
10. Longfin Rosy Barbs
The article’s beginning recommended that we avoid aggressive and semi-aggressive Barbs. However, many barbs can thrive in cooler waters. Thankfully, there are some relatively peaceful barbs like rosy barbs that can coexist with your goldfish, as long as you follow a few simple rules.
Tip #1 is to get a larger school of rosy barbs to minimize any bullying. If you have a group of 10 or more (with more females than males since males are more aggressive), they tend to keep themselves entertained and leave your other fish alone. Tip #2 is to look for long-finned varieties of rosy bars.
The flowy finnage will slow down this speedy swimmer so that the goldfish get a fair share of food during mealtimes. Tip 3: Keep rosy Barbs with single-tailed, common Goldfish. They may still be too fast and not suitable for your fancy fish.
Longfin Rosy Barb
You can find many other tank mates for goldfish by following the examples and guidelines we have provided. Take into account the size, weight, nutrition, aggression, and temperature of the tank mate. If you find a species that fits all the right criteria, it may be the next perfect roommate for your goldfish aquarium!
You can find more information about fancy goldfish in our care guide. It covers their preferred living conditions as well as their favorite foods.