Can Tetras Live with Goldfish?

Watching a fish swimming in a tank solely can be a bit sorrowful at times. Therefore, many fishkeepers aim to ensure their fish have partners to swim with. However, if you have been rearing fish for a while, you understand that not all fish can stay together.

Tetras cannot live with goldfish due to differences in temperature, diet, social habits, tank changes, and the spread of diseases. However, you can put them together at 4 months of age or when the goldfish have slowed growth. Guppies and bettas are the other fish that can’t live with goldfish.

In this case, tetra seems like a good match with goldfish due to their appealing look and bright colors. Here are several things to note if you try to situate tetras and goldfish together.

Can Tetras Live with Goldfish?

Can Tetras Live with Goldfish?

The two fish, tetra and goldfish, cannot live together due to the environmental and personality reasons listed below:

1. Temperature

Tetras do great in heat-up conditions. A tetras’ tank needs to be closer to 82.4-86oF. This will not be conducive to temperatures for the goldfish, whose best range is between 73.4 to 75.2OF.

Therefore, you should consider temperature as a critical factor when determining which fish to put together.

2. Diet

Tetras and goldfish enjoy different flavors of food. The main issue is that goldfish can eat tetras, a problem that should be mitigated to keep your fish safe. On the other hand, tetras are omnivorous fish that feed on color flakes, shrimp pellets, aqueous tropical flakes, and tropical granules. 

This diet variation makes these two fish species incompatible since they can’t share the same food. Besides that, goldfish can go for up to 15 days without food which isn’t possible with tetras who will quickly starve when food isn’t available.

3. Disease

Tetras easily transmit diseases to goldfish. Thus, you should avoid putting together tetras and goldfish to help your fish stay healthy and free from illnesses.

If you keep them together and notice your goldfish breathing fast, it can be a disease or an issue with the tank.

4. Social Habits

Tetras like to move about and interact with other tetras. They are pretty small fish, and goldfish outgrow them. Thus,  goldfish can easily feed on tetras, making them feel uneasy and stressed when they have to hide for their lives in certain parts of the habitat. 

This situation is not healthy for their lives. You should thus position them in areas where they can freely move with no fear. The two fishes can grow together sometimes, but once the goldfish start to outgrow tetras, you should separate them. 

5. Tank Changes

Goldfish produce a lot of waste in the aquarium which changes the nature of the fish tank. On the other hand, tetras prefer cleaner water and hence will suffer from the waste created by the goldfish.

When Can Tetras and Goldfish Live Together?

Most people have discovered that putting tetras and goldfish together when they are small can work well. However, goldfish are omnivores, and as they develop, you notice they possess some differences and behaviors from tetras.

Therefore, tetras and goldfish can be kept together in the following events:

1. At Four Months

At this age, tetras can live together with goldfish since goldfish aren’t too big at 4 months to create a mess. They can’t feed on their partners, the tetras, at this early age. 

However, as they get to 6 months, they begin to portray threatening behaviors, which becomes the best time to separate them. The goldfish should be removed and kept in big tanks and ponds since their bodies grow to be up to 2 inches long.

2. When You Realize Slow Growth in Goldfish

Goldfish are known to grow huge, with as long as 2 feet and short ones one inch. Therefore, small tanks threaten their growth since they are adaptive to extensive areas where they can quickly move freely and grow. 

Thus, as an owner, when you notice a reduced growth rate on goldfish, move them to large tanks or ponds.

Which Fish Can Live with Goldfish?

As an accountable fish owner, you have learned that putting tetras and goldfish together is unsuitable due to considerable differences. You should consider various helpful factors before putting fish with goldfish.

Luckily, if you feel the urge to put multiple types of fish together, here are the best fish that can live with goldfish:

Fish that can live with goldfishFish that can’t live with goldfish
Bristlenose plecosTetras 
Platy fishBetta fish
Rosy barbsGuppies 
Hillstream loachCichlids 
Zebra danios
Hoplo catfish

1. Bristlenose Plecos

Unlike tetras, plecos that appear to be the best match to goldfish adapt to temperatures between 70 to 80oF. They are 5 inches long, making it hard for the goldfish to consume them. 

Bristlenose Plecos love eating algae which helps keep your tank fresh and neat. Also, they barely feed on goldfish scales. Notably, Plecos prefer resting near the tank’s base, increasing interest in an area that could be empty.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

2. Platy Fish

Platy fish are small fish with multiple colors. Although they quickly breed and can give birth to dozens at a time, they appear to be a good match with the goldfish. These fish adapt well to temperature ranges between 64 to 77oF. Also, they are very peaceful and cannot harm your goldfish.

In addition, platyfish are big, making it hard for the goldfish to consume them. Notably, they are easy to maintain and are widely available in different patterns and colors. Finally, they grow up to 3 inches long, making it hard for goldfish to feed on them.

However, platies and goldfish aren’t an exact match and may be problematic to keep together in some cases.

3. Rosy Barbs

Rosy barbs are easier to maintain and have similar tank necessities as goldfish. These fish are of one character that they should not be alone. They are giant fish, and there should be no worry about the goldfish consuming them. Also, they grab food quite fast, making it easier to live with the goldfish.

4. Hillstream Loach

Hillstream loach is an excellent fish that feeds on algae and grasps on grass tightly such that the goldfish cannot pull them off. Typically, they are well-known to be adaptive to cooler temperatures like the goldfish. These fish may include Borneo sucker loach and other flat-bodied fish.

5. Zebra Danios

Zebra danios are an excellent companion to goldfish since they are small (2 inches long) but quick enough to outdo the sluggish goldfish. They quickly grab food before the giant goldfish, making them adapt quite well to the same environment. Notably, these two fish species adapt to cooler temperatures making it easier to interact.

6. Hoplo Catfish

Hoplo catfish grow up to 6 inches long, making it impossible for the goldfish to swallow them up. They clean and feed on scraps, appearing very peaceful when kept together with the goldfish. Finally, the hoplos do well in warmer temperatures, similar to the goldfish.

Which Fish Can’t Live with Goldfish

Generally, goldfish are peaceful and less aggressive. For your fish to stay in a comfortable habitat, avoid choosing combative mates and stick with the friendly ones. Therefore, here are some fish that can’t live with goldfish:

1. Guppies

Guppies appear not to be the best type of fish to blend with the goldfish. Unlike goldfish, this type of fish adapts well to warm temperatures. Also, goldfish grow so large that they consume the guppies. Finally, guppies are fin nippers that are dangerous and might damage the goldfish fins.

2. Tetras

Tetras fish do well in warm temperatures, unlike the goldfish that live in cool temperatures. They do not easily interact with the goldfish since goldfish view tetras as snacks and can easily harm them. Also, tetras are small fish, and the large sizes of the goldfish can cause harm to the tetras as they cannot feed together.

3. Bettas

Bettas are very aggressive fish and adapt well to warmer temperatures. Their hostile nature separates them from the peaceful goldfish. Therefore, you can’t conveniently blend these fish species with your goldfish in the aquarium.

Bottom Line

Mixing goldfish with other fish species can be a fascinating experience. However, not all fish can live with goldfish. Some can be too hostile, while others cannot survive under similar conditions. Also, goldfish can easily feed on other fish species. Therefore, you should consider choosing a suitable species compatible with goldfish.  Blend your aquarium now!


Ultimate Aquarium Services. Different Fish Types.

University of Michigan. Carassius auratus.

University of Florida. Pretty Fish in Cold Places: The Ornamental Fish Trade as a Pathway for Invasive Species in the Great Lakes.

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