In my humble opinion, I think goldfish should be kept only with other goldfish. Taking this a step further, I actually feel more comfortable keeping goldfish with the same body types (egg-shaped or streamlined) together.
As you probably know, a goldfish with egg-shaped body tends to be a slower swimmer than one with a streamlined body. Keeping these together could pose the risk of the slower one not being able to compete for food.
Well, that’s my paranoia speaking.
I know of many fish keepers who have successfully kept their goldfish in a community tank. So if you are thinking about doing the same, which is to keep your goldfish with other fishes or aquatic pets, you can!… BUT at least ask these 5 basic questions when selecting the tank mates.
5 basic questions when selecting tank mates
Question #1: Do they dwell in freshwater?
Goldfish are freshwater fish. So they need to be in a freshwater tank. Any tank mates of theirs will need to be able to dwell in freshwater as well.
So the Nemo and Dory of the world (from the Disney’s movie) will not be a good fit. Nemo is a clownfish and Dory is a blue tang, and they are saltwater fishes.
Question #2: Do they share the same temperature requirement?
Goldfish are coldwater fish and prefer water temperature between 18-24°C. That being said, they do have a high tolerance for a bigger range of temperature.
I am from a tropical country and I have been keeping my goldfish in temperature higher than 24°C. Thailand, which is one of the biggest exporters of goldfish is a tropical country too, and they are very successful in breeding and raising goldfish in a tropical climate.
Warmer water contains less oxygen, so increase the water surface agitation for better aeration with an air pump.
Anyway, when selecting goldfish’s tank mates, they will have to share the same temperature requirement because you will be keeping them in the same tank.
Question #3: Can they fit into your goldfish’s mouths?
Healthy goldfish are like eating machines. They will attempt to eat anything that fits into their mouths. So choosing a much smaller tank mate that your goldfish can easily swallow may not be the way to go.
I had a situation once when I thought keeping an Otocinclus (a small algae eater) with my goldfish is a good idea. It is NOT! One morning I saw the Otocinclus’s tail sticking out partially from my goldfish’s mouth. Not a pretty sight, believe me!
Anyway if you already have these small fishes with your goldfish, I hope they are fast swimmers… well at least faster than your goldfish.
Question #4: Can your goldfish fit into their mouths?
Big fish eats small fish, this is really how nature works. So, as much risk as a smaller fish gets eaten by your goldfish, your goldfish too can become a meal for a bigger fish.
“If it fits into the mouth, it is food” – I think that’s what a fish will say if I am a fish whisperer. 🙂
So be careful not to place your goldfish with fishes that can just make a meal out of them… unless well, they are meant to be feeder fish.
Question #5: Are they aggressive?
Whether big or small, some fish species are known to be aggressive towards others. Goldfish in general are docile. Together with their fins and slow swimming nature (especially those fancy ones), they make the perfect target for these aggressive fishes.
All these aggression or bullying will create a lot of stress for your goldfish, and that never leads to anything good. Predatory and Cichlids species are definitely bad ideas. Betta and fin-nippers such as the Tiger Barb are really bad choices as well.
Oh… and you should be careful with algae eaters as well. I have seen Otocinclus, Siamese Algae Eater and Pleco attaching themselves to the goldfish’s body, sucking on their slime coat.
Although I think goldfish should be kept with their own species, many have kept goldfish in a community tank successfully. In the case of a community tank, special considerations should be done to ensure that the goldfish is compatible with its potential tank mates and vice versa. Bad compatibility will mean one being a meal to another, or diseases and deaths.
Hopefully the 5 questions above can serve as guidelines for your considerations. Some of the popular fish species that can make good tank mates for goldfish are:
- Rosy Barb
Anyhow, always do your own research before placing your goldfish into a tank with other fish species or aquatic pets.
So are you keeping your goldfish in a community tank? If so, what types of aquatic pets are your goldfish living with? Please share your experience in the comment section below!