Goldfish Compatible Fish

Putting other coldwater fish in with goldfish is not just a matter of going to the petshop, buying anything that can survive in coldwater and putting it in with goldfish.  A whole world of problems is just around the corner for those who think it’s anything other than advanced goldfish keeping.

Before going on to different fish species, it is worth repeating the fact that narrow-bodied and fat-bodied goldfish varieties should not be kept together.  The narrow-bodied goldfish such as common, comet and shubunkin will have eaten all the food before the fat-bodied ones (most fancy goldfish) realise it’s feeding time.

Also, before introducing any new tank mates, make sure to quarantine them properly beforehand.  Non-goldfish tankmates for goldfish have the potential to cause enough problems already without disease being one of them.

Another thing to be aware of – if the other species of fish can fit into a goldfish’s mouth, it will end up in a goldfish’s mouth.

Hillstream Loach

The hillstream loach is perfectly adapted for latching onto a surface and facing into a strong current.  Their natural habitat is fast-flowing streams, and they have a perfectly streamlined body.  Their perfect tank environment has a strong pump creating a current.  Because of this it is impossible to keep both goldfish and hillstream loaches in their ideal conditions.  Goldfish are not built to deal with a constantly strong current.

Like all algae eaters, they need to be fed away from the goldfish.  The best plan is to feed the goldfish at one end of the tank, then drop in some sinking food for the loach at the other end.  A varied diet is best for them, but algae tablets and sinking pellets should form the basis of their diet.

One nice feature of the hillstream loach is its ability to change colour according to its surroundings.

Weather Loach aka Dojo

The weather loach is a slender, fast fish that can grow up to 6 inches long.  They scavenge around the bottom of the tank, and thrive where there is fine gravel to root around in.

They can dart extremely quickly and have been known to leap out of goldfish tanks.  Obviously this is fatal if not witnessed.  It is a good idea to have some sort of cover over the water to prevent this, and only to uncover as much of the surface as is necessary when performing any aquarium maintenance.

When weather loaches are not sitting at the bottom of the tank, they do enjoy swimming in and around tank ornaments.  These ornaments can cause injury to fancy goldfish that have protruding eyes.


Corys are a type of catfish, and there are over 10 common cory species.  They usually sit close to the bottom of the tank, not doing very much.  Occasionally they will go for a swim, but will usually sit about doing very little.

Most cory species sold for goldfish tanks are not the type of catfish that can grow bigger than a man.  In fact they will not usually grow beyond 3 inches.

Like loaches they are bottom feeders, and need sinking food chopped up small.  They generally get on well with goldfish, but if not fed properly will suck the protective slime coat off goldfish.  This is a disaster if it happens.  The slime coat protects against all manner of goldfish illnesses and diseases, and its loss can be catastrophic for goldfish.

White Cloud Minnows

White cloud minnows are small fish that grow to about 1 inch long.  They are social fish and should be kept in shoals rather than as individual fish.  This feature makes them an attractive addition to an aquarium.

They will eat the same food as goldfish, and do not need fed separately as they can swim fast and can compete.

One thing they do like is a hiding place somewhere in the tank.

The main problem with white cloud minnows is their size.  When goldfish grow big enough, they will almost certainly eat them.


There is one other species of fish that is often said to compatible with goldfish – the chinese algae eater.  However, it is a tropical fish and although it has been kept with goldfish with moderate success, it is not recommended.

The only other species that can be kept with goldfish are snails.  The most attractive one (subjective of course) is probably the golden apple snail.

28 Responses to “Goldfish Compatible Fish”

  1. pappyy3 Says:


    Thanks for the interesting article. I have been keeping and breeding a great variety of fish over the last 35 Years and would like to point out that some points outlined in your post, may be mis-leading to newbies in terms of compatible fish to keep with goldfish:


    There are no cories that I know of that are sold for goldfish tanks (nor should they be). They are tropical fish, and as such require warmer water thatn is normally recommended for goldfish.

    Kept correctly (in schools of 4 to 6 fish), they can be very active.

    They generally get on well with goldfish, if the goldfish are kept in a heated aquarium. I have NEVER experienced a Cory Catfish eating the slimecoat of Goldfish or any other fish for that matter. Not sure where you researched your information from.

    Chinese Algae Eater

    This is one fish I would definitely NOT recommend keeping with goldfish. They are fine when they are small, but become aggressive as they get larger, and these fish WILL try to eat the slimecoat on your goldfish! Definitely not recommended for Goldfish tanks.


    Unless you keep goldfish in heated aquariums, the Golden Apple snail will not survive. They require very warm water to thrive. In some common snails that are suited to coldwater tanks are the pond snails and the Red Ramshorn snails. The only drawback with these is that they overtake your aquarium (numbers) in a short space of time unless you keep them under control.

    Hope the above helps 🙂

  2. admin Says:

    Thank you for your comment pappyy3, it is very knowledgeable.

    Evidence for corys eating goldfish slime coat is anecdotal at best, we agree.

    However, corys have been kept alongside goldfish very successfully at temperatures of around 20-22 celsius, which is comfortable for goldfish.

    We also agree with the point you made about Chinese Algae Eaters. It was not made forcefully enough in the original blog post. They are totally unsuitable for goldfish tanks, and as you rightly stated will eat slime coat.

    Also good point about the snails increasing in number quickly. They are very easy to breed!

  3. Dee-Anira Says:

    You can keep slow or disabled goldfish with White Cloud Minnows. I’ve never had, say, a Black Moor try to munch on a minnow.

  4. matt Says:

    i’m looking for a pet to clean my tank that has one goldfish in it. the tank is 5 gallons, has live plants, and the temperature is between 72F and 82F. recent posts have talked about snails, but with certain specifications of the tank. does anyone have any suggestions for what kind of snail i should get?

  5. FilterGuy Says:

    A 5 gallon is way too small for a single goldfish.

  6. Holly Says:

    I have had a problem with the cory eating the coating off gold fish. It took us a couple of months and quiet a few fish to figure this out. The cory would suck on the fish as to cleaning the fish within two days the goldfish was dead.

  7. Mohit Chawla Says:

    Hi Guys,

    I have three gold fishes, 1 Black ghost, 1 Sucker, Few Pearl Scale gold fishes, 4 Angel and 2 Black Moor in a same tank.

    Today i found Black Moor dead as some other fish has eaten their fins and 6 Pearl scale were also dead. Please let me know which all fishes are compatible…..

  8. Jeff Says:

    In addition to my 7 fancy goldfish, I also keep white clouds, a plecostomus and have 5 female bettas. The water temperature is maintained at about 72-74 F, I have a well planted tank with lots of areas for the bettas to have a time out from the much larger (but much slower) goldfish. Their blue and red collors as well as their interactions with each other add a lot of interest to my aquarium. I believe the bettas would prefer a warmer temperature however they seemed completely normal and very active after about 1-2 weeks acclimitizing to the new tank.

    Good Luck!

  9. Nicole Says:

    Large Fancy Goldfish and Big Apple Snails Are Not Compatible:

    Hi All 🙂
    I had 3 fancy fantail goldfish (around 4 inches each), and I put a giant apple snail (he was the size of a tennis ball- VERY big) in the tank with the fish. The fish ate his tentacles and left his beautiful 6 inch tentacles as stubs!

    Thankfully, snails (and other mollusks) can regenerate body parts, so the tentacles grew back a few hours later (not AS long as they had been, but they grew to around 4″ or 5″ not 6″). I then separated the fish and snail, thus creating 2 tanks: 1 for fish, and 1 JUST for snails (and I bought other snails for the snail tank so that the first snail wasn’t alone).

    I’ve had SMALL goldfish (like mollys) in a tank with large snails, and everyone got along, but BIG fish seem to eat the snails’ tentacles, so I would not recommend putting large goldfish with snails.

    Just sharing my experience in case it can help anyone else 🙂

  10. Nicole Says:

    In case I was unclear about fish and snails, it seems that SMALL goldfish and mollys DO get along with snails, but it’s the BIG fancy goldfish (I had fantails) that will eat the snails’ tentacles.

  11. shawn Says:

    I got goldfish and a pencil fish in my aquarium. I am scared that the pencil fish is chasing my goldfish to snatch the tail. When I saw this action , I immediately kept the pencil fish out in another tank. I don’t know whether the pencil fish are aggressive or non aggressive. please help me to sort out this problem! and what kind of food do they like to eat? thank you

  12. Debbie Says:

    I have a small black moor, panda moor and a fan tail in a 10 litre aquarium with 2 red ramshorn snails. They all get on very well. The snails are as interesting to watch as the fish and very pretty. I was concerned about the snails breeding and overpopulating the tank. Being hermaphrodites, you only need one to reproduce. The snails have certainly had their moments of passion and a few batches of eggs have been laid but they only last a couple of days before either the fish or the snails themselves eat them. Even if they did hatch I think the goldfish would make short work of the babies as they almost did with a poor pond snail that snuck into the tank with a live plant before I rescued it and put it in the frog pond. They kept sucking it in & spitting it out because it was just a little bit too big too eat. And before anyone says the tank is overstocked, the fish will be moved to a larger tank as they grow.

  13. Megan Says:

    just a brief msg to ask can goldfishes can breed with loaches?


  14. Nafis Fuad Says:

    Can I put an Oranda with Angelfish & Tinfoil barb?

  15. frank Says:

    fantail goldfish are definitely not compatible with corys
    my fantail tried to swallow the cory today so you shouldn’t get corys if you have a larger species of goldfish

  16. Jodie Says:


    I have 5 goldfish and looking to get more! I have had mine for a good few months now and worried a new addition might cause some trouble! They are all fantail so what other fish would be compatible as I have been told no to fancy fantail as they will find it harder to get to the food and their fins will be eaten minnows because they are too small and will be eaten! So does anyone have any suggestions ?? 😀

  17. Manjunath Says:


    I recently bought an aquarium which is about 2ft in width and 3.7-3.9ft length. I have 6 gold fish, 2 tiger shark, 2 Yellow Gold Fish Carrasius auratus, 2 white fish, 2 black moor, 2 Ranchu Goldfish, 2 yellow fish with black wings and tail, 2 kissing gouramis, 2 sucker. I had an issue adding 2 Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami where in it used to attack gold fish and 4 of them died, 2 left over gold fish have couple of black spots and their tales are being damaged by Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami so took them out and put 2 kissing gouramis so want to know if they are compatible with other fish.
    I have also noticed some round flat worms which looks like waste and floats but I saw these on both the gold fish which died. Kindly help me.

  18. Leigh Says:

    Hi Manjaunath
    I’ve been reading up on goldfish for only a few days, having just got into the hobby myself – but I have found out that you can’t keep ordinary goldfish with other fancier types, and that your tank is too small for all these fish. Its probably not even big enough for just the six goldfish that you had originally. They will all get stressed and this may cause disease. I’ll leave the other problems for someone else to answer.

  19. Stacey Says:

    I have had goldfish mixed with tropicals for years. Most of the year, heating my 26 gal. tank is not necessary. I have a common goldfish that started this that my kids won at a carnival 4-5 years ago and it is bigger than a koi fish. He (we just call him he, we don’t know) has eaten my neon tetras that he lived with for over 2 years, 8 glowfish that he lived with for over a year, and any other fish that will fit in his mouth he will eat. I had black moors and they were fine, mixed with the fancy and common, but due to having 4 cory cats, 1 pleco and 4 goldfish and 2 snails currently, I have noticed that as a fish is dying, my plecos (have had more than one die on me) will at that point latch on and attack the slime coat.

    I was initially nervous about mixing plecos with goldfish or discus (don’t have, really want) due to their ability to attack the slime coats, but I feed a lot, my snails and corys (corys have NEVER attacked any of my fish) keep the bottom very clean and I provide algae discs for the pleco a few times per week at night which is when they feed. The plecos seem to sense when a fish is ill because I’ve only seen my fish looking sick and then shortly before they die the pleco will start to suck on them.

    I think a lot has to do with having an established tank and a working biological bacterial layer to break down the ammonia. Starting an aquarium with a lot of fish is not advised unless you are moving water into it from another healthy aquarium that you or a friend own to help the bacteria filter from more quickly. High ammonia levels, even in a planted tank will kill your fish.

    Currently, I’m looking for top swimming tropicals to go in my tank thanks to “Tanker” eating all my colorful smaller fish. If I did not have him, my preference would be glofish, fancy goldfish, my hubby likes guppies, but we like lots of small fish and frogs and snails. I am hesitant to put a frog in there because I think Tanker will eat him and the albino frogs which are neat to look at become very large and predatory themselves and can live for 5 years, the safest frogs are the very small dwarf frogs that have less toes and are colored.

    Hope the info helps. If anyone can think of something that I can add that won’t fit in the mouth of my 9-12 in goldfish, let me know 🙂

  20. gayathri Says:

    goldfish eat what kind of algae. And how we know all goldfish eat same amount of algae?

  21. aaron Says:

    Hello, I have a 5 gallon tank, Im doing a great job i guess cause ive got 1 rosy minnow, 1 Albino apple snail, 2 brown snails, 1 big goldfish, 1 feeder goldfish (best friends with the big one) 2 creek minnows i had cause and had for 2 months, 2 ghost shrimp, and 1 Hilstream Loach, Everyone seems to get along great and interact with one another. My only concern is that the big goldfish likes to pace back and forth, otherwise he seems happy.

  22. MasterHoyt Says:

    Fathead minnows, some sold as Rosy Reds, are great with Goldfish! I have 3 in with my 3 goldfish, and they are doing great and have been for over 3 years now. Goldfish have since gotten huge, over 10 inches! 10 gallon tank!

    Also, some fish called the “Rainbow Dace” is sometimes sold by goldfish suppliers and is a pretty red and blue color. I am attempting to buy some soon. I can try to keep you in mind when I do.

    Goldfish are great!


  23. aaron Says:

    I have recently moved my minnows and have 2 comets in the tank now, They are growing so Therefor I am moving them into a bigger tank, My hillstream Loach is doing great but i want him to be in a bigger tank, he loves to swim and its quite cool cause he is flat and round like a plate. But my only problem now is the comets are eating his food… But i beleive in a bigger tank he will be fine. The shrimp are getting bigger also, one of my snails got eaten by my goldfish jefferson…Sad… But all is working out great.

  24. Pamela Says:

    Not all goldfish are compatable with other goldfish. Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way.
    I had a beautiful Ryukin for 5 years in a 40 gal. tank. She grew to 6 inches. 3 weeks ago I decided to add a couple of Black moors no more than 2 inches in length. One turned out to be a male and chased the females non-stop. I had to separate the male from the females because the females became extremely stressed. I also noticed that my Ryukin’s tail had been freyed by the male and she was’nt swimming very well. 3 days later my beautiful Ryukin died.
    I recently found out that you’re not supposed to put narrow boddied goldfish in with the rounder boddied ones. I never knew this before but I do now.
    It helps to do several searches on the net about your species of fish and what aquariusts have to say because they have experience and can give you information that the retail sites do not.
    When looking up information on a site that sells fish and supplies they sometimes are not accurate with their information.
    And please do research before making a purchase at a pet store. Most of the employees in the pet store know nothing about the animals they are selling. I called several pet store in my area and they all told me that there is no way to tell the difference in sexes of goldfish. This is NOT true.
    And please do not add plecos with goldfish. As other posters have commented, thy will suck th slimy coat off the goldfish and the goldfish will become ill or die.

  25. Mackenzie. Says:

    Does anybody know of any catfish or fish of the sort (cleaners) that you CAN successfully keep with goldfish? I currently have a 3ft tank (140L) with 2 beautiful orandas (about 3in each), a calico fantail that is about 4in and quite a large white goldfish (not sure of the breed but isn’t a fancy) that is about 7-8in.

    These four get along very well and I want to add maybe 2 more fish and hopefully some catfish if I can find any that will live successfully with goldfish- I really don’t want to interrupt the peacefulness of my tank too much so I am doing my research prior to hitting the shops.

    I’ve been told that Pepper Catfish can go well with goldfish. My local pet store has them in with their goldfish and have them acclimatized to the cooler temperatures. Is this correct?

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

  26. big Al Says:

    have had for 3 years – 2 fancy fantail gold fish (now 4-5″ with very long fins), 1 albino dojo-now 5″, (originally 12 now 6) white clouds and 2-1″ snails. feed both floating flake and sinking pellets once a day. always have a bunch of fresh anacharis plant for green food in tank. change 1/3 of water every week. thin 1/2″ gravel. heavy quantity of artificial plants for looks and small fish protection. use marineland eclipse lid filter and wheel with 25 gal tank. have not had disease or bullying of any type.
    this time span seems to show that this mix of fish can grow and succeed with reasonable care.

  27. parna Says:

    can rosy barbs, widow tetra, and platy be kept in the same tank with goldfish? i have two tanks- one with tropical fishes like, rosy barbs kept in a school of 5, widow tetra kept in a school of 8, mickey mouse platy kept in a school of 5. in the other tank, i have 10 fishes- 2 milky carps, 2 mirela carps, 1 black moor goldfish, 1 red-cap oranda, 1 common goldfish, 1 shubunkin goldfish and 2 cory cats. I’m thinking of buying a large tank, if i can possibly keep all of them together. but firstly, i would need to know if any of the fishes i have mentioned would be aggressive against one another- i can handle the disease and its preventions and control the different temperature requirements. however, what i need to know if the fishes i’ve mentioned will be compatible with each other? please do suggest. thank you.

  28. jordan Says:

    i have 4 commen goldfish in 55 gal tank2 feet high 4 feet long and 1 foot wigth and i got a 30-60 filter sadley 2 passed but i have 4 left im hooking up my air today they been in there a couple weeks now i use table salt in the filter to hhelp pervent disease.

Leave a Reply