Goldfish are one of the most popular aquatic pets around. These low-maintenance animals are incredibly easy to care for, making them a good choice for beginners. What’s more, they’re fairly affordable, allowing you to stock a larger tank without breaking the bank. You also have a considerable amount of choice when it comes to vibrant varieties. There are hundreds of individual varieties of goldfish readily available, meaning you can really mix it up when establishing an aquarium for the first time.
However, some aquarists looking to broaden their horizons further may want to incorporate species that fall beyond the goldfish bracket. Although picking suitable tank mates for goldfish can prove tricky, following some basic guidance will help you minimise disruption to your aquarium.
Basic Checklist for Choosing Goldfish Tank Mates
The most important thing to remember when selecting tank mates for your goldfish is to avoid selecting species based purely on aesthetics. A vibrant looking cichlid might bring some dramatic flair to your aquarium, but it is likely to cause disruption to your setup with aggressive behaviour. Aggressive fish varieties should be avoided entirely if the bulk of your tank population is made of up goldfish. It’s important to remember the vast majority of goldfish species are docile and relatively peaceful aquatic animals. Avoid housing them alongside larger species that are likely to bother them.
You should also consider the agility of your existing goldfish when selecting tank mates. Common goldfish varieties or those animals with a single-tailed profile are generally fairly swift when it comes to swimming. A tank made of up of fast-swimming goldfish is generally easy enough to deal with, although you should expect some issues when it comes to feeding time. Faster fish will make it harder to compete for available food, so avoid introducing particularly nimble varieties to your tank if you’ve only stocked fancy goldfish species that move slowly through the water.
Although behavioural compatibility is important when selecting tank mates for goldfish, you should also ensure you are picking animals that can be kept in similar conditions. Most goldfish species thrive in fairly cool water temperatures. This is one of the reasons why are they so popular with newer aquarists. If your tank setup is a cooler one, without the additional of a heater device, you will need to ensure any animals you introduce into the mix can cope with these fairly modest temperatures. Dietary requirements should also be considered.
Ideally, you want to be picking fish varieties that can largely be fed the same food sources as your goldfish. If you need to provide for tailored diets that are rich in protein, you run the risk of your goldfish consuming such foodstuffs that aren’t really meant for them. Goldfish don’t do well with diets high in protein, with common ailments like constipation quickly becoming an issue.
The Best Tank Mate Species for Goldfish
There are many species of fish that will live happily alongside goldfish populations. One of the best options out there is the hoplo catfish. This catfish variety is incredibly docile and can grow to impressive lengths, allowing you to house an assorted population of aquatic pets. They are also fairly low-maintenance and will feed during the daytime, meaning you won’t need to facilitate a separate feeding schedule.
Coldwater minnows are another good pairing with goldfish. If you’re looking to keep to a budget, these diminutive minnows are a good option. However, they will need to be introduced in small groups to ensure they have a fighting chance at establishing themselves in your aquarium. That being said, they rarely grow longer than a couple of inches in length, meaning a small population of minnows won’t overtake your tank.
Looking for something more unusual to add to your fish stocks? The hillstream loach is definitely something to think about. Their distinct profile and colouring ensures they’ll stand out against your existing collection of goldfish, while they’ll also thrive in the cooler temperatures preferred by most goldfish varieties. Their natural behaviour will also help with tank maintenance. Hillstream loaches will feed on any algae within your tank, while their scavenging behaviour means any uneaten food debris is unlikely to have time to dissolve into your tank water and cause any issues.