Pictus Catfish and Goldfish – Can They Live Together?

Disclosure: I may earn a commission when you purchase through my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. – read more

Pictus catfish and goldfish are two interesting species that many fish owners try to keep together. However, I would not really recommend keeping them together, and for many reasons.

I know that they make an interesting proposition when they are together, especially because of the colors and their style.

But you also need to keep in mind that these two species are somewhat different in terms of requirements, behavior, and tank specifications that they require to be kept together.

Firstly, the catfish will require significantly higher temperatures in the tank, while the goldfish are known for being relatively cold in terms of water temperatures. Both are freshwater fish species, but what separates them are the requirements.

There are also some other factors that keep them away from each other. The behavior of the pictus catfish is very different to the goldfish, as they are much more active.

They are so active that they might even stress out the goldfish in your tank. I would advise you that you look to other alternatives when it comes to tank mates for the catfish.

In this article, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know if you want to keep pictus catfish and goldfish together.

Why You Should Not Keep Pictus Catfish and Goldfish Together?

Let’s start with some factors as to why you should not be keeping these two fish species together. Note that these are only the biggest and main reasons, while there are also some smaller factors that decide this question.

I’ll also show you which fish species make for better tank mates for both the catfish and the goldfish, so that you’ll be able to make the decision easier.

Water Temperature Difference

Firstly, there are the slight water temperature differences that make these two species relatively different. Firstly, the goldfish prefer to live in temperatures between 68 and 74 degrees, Fahrenheit, which is relatively low compared to some other freshwater fish species.

On the other hand, the pictus catfish are known for loving slightly higher water temperatures. They will love to live in temperatures between 72 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

And while there is some scope where you could keep these two fish together (between 72 and 74 degrees), it’s incredibly hard to keep the temperature at that level at all times.

You would need constant maintenance (daily) and almost hourly checks of the temperature to really ensure the temperature is on those levels at all times.

That’s why it’s incredibly hard to keep these two fish species for the temperatures alone. The goldfish will have to adapt to slightly higher temperatures, while the catfish will need to adapt to lower temperatures.

While it can be done with a good heater or chiller that automatically adapts the temperatures, you’ll need to spend quite a lot one a device like that. But you’ll also need to make regular checks and measurements if you will want to stay within those temperatures at all times.

Behavior Difference

Secondly, there is also the huge difference in behavior that you should consider. Namely, the catfish are incredibly active fish, as they like to constantly swim around and move around fast. They love to swim in and around the plants, the rocks, and other internal decoration elements.

On the other hand, goldfish are pretty mellow in terms of behavior, especially when you put it side by side to the catfish. They are active at times, but they move around much more slowly, and they also prefer to live next to fish that will comply with their timid and slow-moving behavior.

While some fish species can live together, despite this fact, you’ll want to make sure that your goldfish are put next to some peaceful species in terms of behavior. With their active and playful swimming style, the catfish can present a real handful for the goldfish.

As they are used to more peaceful and slow-moving fish, they might get stressed by the catfish behavior. Both are non-aggressive to each other, but the quick movements of the catfish will likely stress out the goldfish.

Tank Mates for Goldfish

Now that I’ve established why the pictus catfish is not the best tank mate for the goldfish, let’s take a look at which fish are better alternatives for tank mates for the goldfish.

Ideally, you’ll want to have some fish that are peaceful, relatively similar in size to the goldfish, that prefer similar tank temperatures and conditions, and that they are fairly slow-moving. Here are some of the best tank mates for goldfish:

  • Zebra danios
  • Dojo loach
  • Hillstream loach
  • White cloud minnows
  • Corydoras

Tank Mates for Pictus Catfish

On the other hand, you’ll have to consider some more energetic fish that will get along with the catfish. Ideally, they should be non-aggressive, energetic, of a similar size or larger, and non-predatory. Some of the best tank mates for this fish include:

Can Pictus Catfish Eat a Goldfish?

When it comes to mature, fully-grown fish, they are not likely to attack each other or eat each other. We know that the pictus catfish can be aggressive especially towards smaller fish, as they will actively pursue them and prey on them.

That’s why you should be careful if you have some smaller goldfish babies in the tank. They might become prey to the catfish.

In that case, you’ll want to keep the small goldfish separate from the catfish, which is where you will probably need a smaller, separate tank to do so. When these goldfish are fully grown, you can start introducing them to the main tank with the catfish.


Owning catfish and goldfish together is not perfect. That’s due to many different reasons: one is the different temperature requirements, and another is the different types of behavior.

The catfish tend to be slightly more energetic, which can stress out the goldfish. I encourage you to consider other tank mates for the pictus catfish.

Author Image Fabian
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.
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *