10 Best Goldfish Tank Mates

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Goldfish are some of the most popular fish species out there. And it’s no surprise. They’re beautiful, easy to care for, and they have mild but fun personalities.

However, they don’t make the best tankmates for all fish species. Goldfish can grow quite large, between 4-8 inches. They’re also very curious and have big appetites.

They’re likely to eat smaller fish in the aquarium. And while they’re peaceful for the most part, they can get irritable in heavily populated tanks.

If you’re interested in a goldfish community tank, it takes a little bit of research to find the perfect tank mates for them.

But don’t worry! I’ve prepared a list of the 10 best tankmates to save you some time. These fish have similar water parameters, diets, and temperaments.

Keep reading to find the perfect match for your goldfish tank!

1. Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios (Danio rerio) make a great tankmate for your goldfish. First of all, danios are extremely peaceful, schooling fish. They’re friendly and with a mild temperament.

They’re unlikely to attack goldfish or any other species in a community tank. This species is such a goody-two-shoes that even in-group fights are rare.

When the fish school together, they establish their hierarchy through non-aggressive playful behavior.

Zebra Danios don’t grow that big, up to 2.5-3 inches at most. But they’re large enough that goldfish won’t mistake them for food.

They’re also pretty good swimmers. They’re fast enough to escape from curious goldfish chasing them around. Apart from their charming personality and good survival skills, Zebra Danios make compatible tankmates for other reasons too.

They’re very easy to care for. They’re omnivorous and can eat pretty much the same diet as your goldfish.

Zebra Danios are also flexible and can adapt to various conditions and water parameters. Goldfish and danios water parameters are similar enough that you can safely house the fish together.

This danios species prefers a water pH between 7.0-7.8 and water hardness between 50-140 ppm. The water temperature should be between 70-80°F.

2. White Cloud Minnows

White Cloud MinnowsThe White Cloud Minnow (Tanichthys albonubes) is another friendly, peaceful species. These fish like swimming in schools of 5-6 and they’re rarely territorial outside of mating season.

Another advantage of minnow tankmates is that they prefer swimming in the top layer of the aquarium. This makes them unlikely to intersect with your goldfish. Like danios, minnows are also quick and agile swimmers.

This gives them a good chance of surviving a ravenous goldfish looking for the next snack. However, this species is on the smaller side. A full-grown adult minnow is typically only 1.5 inches long.

Therefore, I’d recommend keeping them with smaller-sized goldfish. A considerable size difference will increase the chances of minnows getting eaten. Adding a few tall plants to the tank can help by giving the minnows a place to hide.

With regards to care, White Cloud Minnows are also a walk in the park. They can eat a wide omnivorous diet that includes pretty much anything.

Flakes, algae wafers, frozen or boiled vegetables, small crustaceans, insects, larvae, worms, you name it.

They’re also a hardy species. They prefer colder water but can survive in temperatures ranging from 50-72°F. The water pH can range from 6.0-8.5, while the water hardness can go from 5-19 dGH (soft to very hard).

3. Rice Fish

Rice Fish (Adrianichthyidae) make a sizeable family of fish species. The most popular of them is the Japanese Rice Fish (Oryzias latipes), also known as “medaka”.

There’s a lot of variety within this family. These fish can come in various colors and sizes, but most are quite small. The Japanese rice fish is usually under 1.5 inches long.

Their small size puts them at a disadvantage against larger goldfish. But in a tank with smaller goldfish, they should be fine.

This species is also very easy to breed. As long as there aren’t too many goldfish, the rice-fish are unlikely to get wiped out by their peckish tankmates.

Japanese rice fish are naturally peaceful and friendly. They get along with most species. The small size and mild personality also make them suitable for smaller tanks.

This is great if your community tank is already well populated. This species is also suitable for complete beginners.

They’re hardy, adaptable, and have a simple diet. They get most of their nutrition from foods like algae and phytoplankton, with small protein foods like plankton, insects, and brine shrimp thrown into the mix. Flake food is also good, as long as it’s small enough to eat.

When it comes to water parameters, they’ll survive in temperatures from 50–85°F. The ideal pH is 7.0-8.0. The water can be very soft to hard (4-18 dGH or 50-300 ppm).

4. Rubber Lip Pleco

rubber-lip-plecoThe Rubber Lip Pleco (Chaetostoma milesi) isn’t the first choice that comes to mind for a goldfish tankmate.

But hear me out. This pouty fish is a surprisingly good match for your goldfish. First of all, like most other fish on the list, this pleco species is very calm and peaceful.

They don’t go out of their way to intimidate or bother other fish. However, they know how to stand their ground. When threatened, they can demonstrate territorial behavior.

Besides their strong personality, they’re also on the larger side. This pleco species can reach 5-7 inches as a full-grown adult.

Pretty sure the goldfish will think twice before picking a fight with plecos. But there are many reasons why fights are unlikely to break out.

Rubber Lip Plecos are bottom-dwelling scavenger fish, and they’re most active at night. It’s highly unlikely for Plecos and Goldfish to intersect in the aquarium.

There’s also no reason for the fish to compete for food. Plecos can subsist almost entirely off of plant foods, especially algae. Their favorite foods include algae wafers, flakes, lettuce, spinach, peas, zucchini, and cucumber.

Rubber Lip Plecos are hardy. They prefer water ranging from 72-80°F, but can also survive in colder water. The ideal pH is 6.5-8.0, and the hardness can go from moderately hard to very hard.

5. Hillstream Loach

Hillstream LoachHere’s another unique exotic species. The Hillstream Loach (Sewellia lineolata) is a peaceful but strong fish. It’s a suitable tankmate for goldfish and other similar species.

The Hillstream Loach is usually friendly and doesn’t pose a threat for similar-sized tankmates.

However, when they feel threatened, they know how to stick up for themselves. They can keep the goldfish in check without much need for aggression.

This species grows up to 3 inches. That’s enough to deter most goldfish from eating it. Their streamlined, flat body shape and horizontal fins also give them an advantage.

Their unique body makes them quick and powerful swimmers. They can always flee from danger effortlessly. Loaches are adapted to fast-flowing waters.

This fish will stick to the corner of the tank with the most water movement. Goldfish, on the other hand, prefer slow-moving waters and will occupy the opposite side of the tank.

Loaches are omnivorous, but they’re especially fond of algae. They’ll eat whatever you feed to other fish. Insect larvae, brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, tubifex, flakes, pellets, algae wafers, frozen or cooked veggies, nothing’s off-limits.

But they mostly enjoy grazing on algae and biofilm growing in the tank. They have similar water parameters to goldfish.

This species prefers warm water with a temperature between 60-75°F. The pH should be 6.5-7.5. The water should be moderately hard to very hard.

6. Corydoras

There are multiple species of Corydoras you can choose from. They’re all peaceful and they make a great addition to any community tank.

Corydoras are a friendly schooling genus of fish. They like swimming in groups of 5-6 and they spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank.

They are on the smaller side, growing up to 1-2.5 inches depending on the species.

Some species, such as the hog-nosed catfish grow up to 4 inches. It’s best to house them in smaller tanks with similar-sized goldfish.

However, even if your goldfish want to go for a snack, Corydoras have unique means of defending themselves. They have spines on their pectoral and dorsal fins.

It’s not a guarantee, but these pointy spikes might deter goldfish from feasting on smaller corys. Besides their personality, corys also make good community tankmates due to their sturdy and adaptable nature.

They have a simple diet and they can survive in various water parameters. They’re suitable for beginner aquarists.

Depending on how many you keep, Corydoras can live off of just algae, debris, and leftover fish food. They’ll eat anything from brine-shrimp and worms to wafers, flakes, and vegetables.

You just have to ensure the food can sink to the bottom of the tank where they can reach it.

The water parameters might vary from one species to another. But overall, the ideal temperature is between 74-80°F, and the pH should be 7.0-8.0. Corydoras can live in soft to moderately hard water (54-180 ppm).

7. Dojo Loach

Dojo Loach

Dojo Loach (sourceCC BY-SA 4.0)

Now we’re entering the large fish territory. The charming Dojo Loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) is a big fish with an equally big personality.

It makes the perfect tankmate for goldfish of all sizes. I often say this long fish is like the dog of the aquarium world. It’s peaceful, very sociable, and always playful.

The Dojo Loach is a bottom-dweller, for the most part. This means it won’t bother the goldfish that like swimming in the middle and upper levels.

Sometimes though, loaches might go on a random jumping spree, so make sure your aquarium lid is in place.

When they aren’t jumping, you’ll see them rushing around, burrowing in the substrate, and stuffing their mouths with whatever they find. They grow to around 6-12 inches in length and they have more energy than a kid on a sugar high.

Suffice to say, the goldfish won’t have a go at this happy giant. Besides size, they’re also compatible in other ways.

The Dojo Loach is omnivorous and can eat the same things as your goldfish. Any excess food that sinks to the bottom of the tank will make a perfect meal for them.

Remember to feed them a balanced diet of protein-rich foods and plants like spinach, algae, zucchini, and peas. Both goldfish and loaches prefer slow-moving water and have compatible water parameters.

Loaches need a stable water temperature between 50-82°F and a pH between 6.5-8.0. The hardness can range from soft to very hard.

8. Hoplo Catfish

The Hoplo Catfish (Megalechis thoracata) is a gentle and sociable fish. It’s suitable for large aquariums with mid-sized fish like goldfish.

This one grows up to 6 inches long and has two long pairs of adorable whiskers to boot.

They’re bottom dwellers and they spend most of their time scavenging for leftover food. But even if they do cross paths with a goldfish, they are large enough to scare the goldfish away. They’re in no danger of getting eaten.

They aren’t territorial and they like swimming in big groups of 5 or more fish. They might go out of their way to interact with other bottom-dwelling fish due to their inquisitive nature.

However, as long as the other tankmates are large enough, the Hoplo Catfish won’t pose a threat. Their diet should be focused on protein-rich foods like brine shrimp, insect larvae, and various species of worms. They can also eat high protein flakes and pellets.

Just make sure the food can sink to the bottom of the tank. That’s where the catfish like to feed.

Although this species prefers a meat-heavy diet, including some plant matter is a good idea. Spirulina and other nutrient-dense algae flakes and wafers should be included regularly.

When it comes to water parameters, the Hoplo Catfish is highly adaptable. It can live in warm water, around 64-82°F. The pH can range from 6.0-8.0 and the hardness can range from soft to hard.

9. Rosy Barb

Rosy Barbs (Pethia conchonius) are a semi-aggressive species so you might be surprised to see them on this list. But the truth is that with some tweaks, Rosy Barbs can make decent tankmates for goldfish.

For starters, Rosy Barbs are medium-sized, growing up to 6 inches. They’re also quick swimmers and they can defend themselves against bullying.

Their aggressive tendencies are mostly towards slow-moving and long-finned fish. Otherwise, they’re mostly friendly and peaceful.

If you keep the barbs in large groups (10 fish or more), this will keep them busy. They’ll be less likely to go after other fish.

This is a good idea anyway since barbs love being in the company of other fish, especially quick-swimming fish.

I should mention that Rosy Barbs are energetic swimmers and they also like jumping. You’ll have to secure your aquarium lid for these guys.

Rosy Barbs prefer fast-moving water, but they can also live in slow-moving or even stagnant water. This makes them a great match for a goldfish aquarium.

With regards to water parameters, the ideal temperature ranges between 64-73°F. The ideal pH is 6.0-7.0, and the hardness should be soft to moderately hard.

Finally, their ideal diet is mostly similar to what your goldfish already eat. You can feed the barbs a variety of fresh, dried, and frozen protein and plant foods.

10. Paradise Fish

Paradise Fish (Macropodus opercularis), also known as “Paradise Gouramis”, is another surprising species you might have not thought about. These are semi-aggressive but can make decent tankmates for your goldfish (under the right circumstances).

This colorful species grows up to 2.2 inches on average. The larger fish can reach 4 inches tops. They’re feisty, territorial, and they swim in all tank levels.

It’s common for this species to attack, hurt, and even kill similar-sized or smaller fish. They don’t make good community fish for small aquariums. Paradise fish are mostly loners.

They can tolerate small groups but other semi-aggressive fish can set them off easily. The perfect tankmates for paradise fish would be large-sized, peaceful, non-timid fish that can defend themselves. Luckily, goldfish fit the description perfectly.

To minimize aggressive behavior even further, choose a heavily planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spots. The best part about paradise fish is its hardiness.

This species is virtually foolproof because they can survive whatever you throw at them. So, if water parameters are concerned, the two species are compatible.

Paradise fish can live in temperatures ranging between 61-79°F.

They’re highly flexible and can adapt to a water pH between 5.8-8.0. The water hardness can go from soft to very hard (5-30 dGH or 89-530 ppm).

Their preferred diet is similar to that of goldfish and other omnivorous fish species. They need a balance of protein-rich foods and plants such as algae and greens.

Conclusion

The ideal tankmate for a goldfish should, first of all, have similar water parameters. The ten fish on the list fit this criterion nicely.

Their ideal water temperature, pH, and hardness are similar to those of goldfish.

Other than that, a good tankmate for goldfish would have to be medium to larger sized.

Smaller fish such as danios, minnows, and rice-fish make up for their smaller bodies by being fast swimmers.

If you’re still worried that your goldfish might eat their tankmates, you can opt for medium to large-sized fish like rosy barbs, rubber lip plecos, hoplo catfish, or even hillstream loaches.

Finally, the ideal tankmate should also have a similar personality. Most fish on the list are friendly and peaceful.

Rosy barbs and paradise fish are semi-aggressive species but mostly towards smaller or slower-moving fish.

No matter which species you choose for your community tank, remember that goldfish need plenty of space and hiding spots to minimize territorial behavior.

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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