10 Best Tank Mates for Your Goldfish

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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 keeping goldfish, we have put together a list of our top tips for keeping them mates.

What kind of fish can you keep with Goldfish and what kind?

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. Take into account how fast your goldfish swims. Common or single-tailed goldfish are fast swimmers, and they have a greater likelihood of swallowing things that they shouldn’t. Fancy fish are slower and more likely to be bullied by other fish. 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. Find tank mates who can live with goldfish in the same environment as them. They can be kept at room temperature and without heating. This environment is suitable for many fish. A diet that caters to goldfish must also be available for tank mates. The possibility of goldfish becoming constipated is increased if there is a hardcore predator who needs to eat meat.

These are the top 10 tank buddies that we tested and found compatible with goldfish.

1. Hillstream Loach

This bizarre fish is a miniature stingray that acts as a plecostomus or pleco. It eats algae, collects food scraps and grips glass tightly enough that goldfish cannot take them off. Best of all, they enjoy cooler temperatures just like goldfish do. This fish category includes the reticulated hillsstream loach (Borneo sucker loach), Chinese butterfly loach (and many other flat-bodied loaches).

Reticulated hillstream loach


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. But what if you could get a giant corydoras? 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. Because they love digging into the substrate and picking up any leftovers, they make great cleanup crew members. They do have spines on the pectoral and dorsal fins. However, we haven’t found this to be an issue as they are too large to be eaten by goldfish.

Brochis multiradiatus

3. Dojo Loach

Dojo loaches, also known as weather loaches, are foot-long, scaly dogs that love to swim, dig in the gravel and eat everything you throw at them. These friendly creatures are great additions to goldfish tanks as they thrive in cold water. You can often find them at a low price, $5 for the regular version and $10 for the albino or specialty versions. Dojo loach is the best choice for goldfish tank mates.

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. In practice, we find that this occurs more with larger plecos that aren’t getting enough food (because the goldfish are gobbling up everything). It is easier to care for a smaller species, such as the bristlenose pleco. They will often be found eating algae, driftwood, or morsels in the substrate. Our tip is to wait until the lights go out and the fish have calmed down before feeding the pleco sinking wafers and bloodworms.

Bristlenose Pleco

5. Rubbernose Pleco

These plecostomus, also known as the bulldog pleco or rubber lip, are very similar to bristlenoses except that they don’t have bristles on either their noses or snouts. They have the same traits and care requirements, and they grow to about the same size of 5 to 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. This peaceful algae-eater is a good choice if you are looking for a pleco without “facial hair”.

6. White Cloud Mountain Minnows

Cold water minnows are a great option if you don’t have fancy goldfish. They are inexpensive and can be schooled together. They grow to about 1.5 to 2 inches 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 varieties of white cloudminnows. These minnows add great activity to the aquarium, and they are fun to chase.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

7. Ricefish

Along the same vein as the white cloud minnows are the amazing ricefish. 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.

Daisy’s Red Ricefish

8. Hoplo Catfish

This spiny, but gentle catfish is similar to a large otocinclus. It can grow up to 5-6 inches in length. The flag tail hoplo is Dianema urostriatum, spotted hoplo and tail bar hoplo are all different species. Hoplo catfish have long whiskers that help them constantly scavenge for food. Unlike the nocturnal bristlenose and rubbernose plecos, hoplos eat during the daytime, so there’s no need to target feed them to make sure they get enough nutrition.

Hoplo Catfish

9. Variatus Platy

Although a livebearer is a fish that gives birth to young, it can be a good choice for a goldfish tank mate. We’ve had great times with this match-up in the past. Variantus platy (Xiphophorus variatus), is the only one that can live in cooler water. Some people don’t like livebearers because they can give birth to so many babies, but in this case, your goldfish will happily eat most of the fry and keep the population under control.

Platies come as a variety of colors and patterns. If you are looking for something to complement your orange, red, and white goldfish, a school blue or yellow platy might be the best choice. Finally, they serve as fantastic clean-up crew members, constantly picking at algae or excess food hidden in the tank.

Metallic Blue Platey

10. Longfin Rosy Barbs

We recommended that you stay away from aggressive and semi-aggressive barbs at the beginning of this article. Many barbs can live in cooler water, which is a shame. There are some peaceful barbs such as the rosy, which can be coexisting with your goldfish as long as you adhere to a few basic rules.

Tip #1 is to get a larger school of rosy barbs to minimize any bullying. You can have 10 or more members (more females than males) and they will be more interested in each other fish. 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 together with single-tailed common goldfish. The barbs might still be too fast to your fancy goldfish’s taste.

Longfin Rosy Barb

If you follow the tips and examples provided, you will be able to find other tank mates that are suitable for keeping goldfish. 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!

For more information on fancy goldfish, make sure to check out our full care guide that covers their desired living conditions and favorite foods to eat.