Watching a fish swimming in a tank alone can sometimes be a bit sorrowful. 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. Goldfish can live with rosy barbs, zebra danios, and platyfish.

Tetras seem a good match with goldfish due to their appealing look and bright colors. However, these two aren’t compatible as tank mates. Here are several things to note if you try to keep tetras and goldfish together.

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 warm conditions. A tetras’ tank should be around 82.4-86°F. This will not be conducive to the goldfish, whose best range is between 73.4 to 75.2°F.

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 illnesses-free.

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 (1.5-2 inches), and goldfish (1-6 inches) 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 the tetras. You should thus position them in areas where they can freely move without fear. The two fishes can grow together sometimes, but once the goldfish 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?

Putting tetras and goldfish together is possible when they are both small. 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 scenarios:

1. At Four Months

At this age, tetras can live with goldfish since the latter aren’t too big at 4 months to create a mess. They can’t feed on 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 up to 2 inches or longer.

2. Slow Growth in Goldfish

Goldfish can grow up to 2 feet long. Therefore, small tanks inhibit their growth since they are adapted to large areas where they can quickly move freely and grow. 

As an owner, when you notice a reduced growth rate on goldfish, move them to larger tanks or ponds.

Which Fish Can Live with Goldfish?

If you want to put many 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 appear to be the best match for goldfish since they require temperatures between 70 to 80°F, which are similar to goldfish. They are 5 inches long, making it hard for the goldfish to eat or harass 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 for the goldfish. These fish adapt well to temperature ranges between 64 to 77°F. Also, they are very peaceful and cannot harm your goldfish.

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

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 needs as goldfish. These fish are of one character, that they should not be alone.

They are big fish, and there should be no worry about the goldfish consuming them. Also, they grab food quickly, making living with the goldfish easier.

4. Hillstream Loach

Hillstream loach is an excellent fish that feeds on algae and grasps on grass tightly so the goldfish cannot pull them off. Typically, they are well-known to be adaptive to cooler temperatures like 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 goldfish, making them adapt quite well to the same environment. Like goldfish, they also adapt to cooler temperatures quite well.

6. Hoplo Catfish

Hoplo catfish grow to 6 inches long, making it impossible for the goldfish to swallow them up.

They clean and feed on scraps, appearing peaceful when kept together with the goldfish. They also do well in warmer temperatures, similar to the goldfish.

Which Fish Can’t Live with Goldfish

Goldfish are peaceful fish. For them to stay in a comfortable habitat, avoid choosing combative mates and stick with the friendly ones. Here are some fish that can’t live with goldfish:

1. Guppies

Guppies appear not to be the best fish to blend with the goldfish. Unlike goldfish, this type of fish adapts well to warm temperatures.

Goldfish grow so large that they consume the guppies. Guppies are also dangerous fin nippers that might damage the goldfish fins.

2. Tetras

Tetras fish do well in warm temperatures, unlike 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.

Tetras are small fish; the larger goldfish can harm them as they cannot feed together.

3. Bettas

Bettas are very aggressive fish and adapt well to warmer temperatures. Their hostile nature makes them incompatible with the peaceful goldfish. It’s thus a bad idea to keep them together.

Bottom Line

Mixing goldfish with other fish species can be a fascinating experience. However, not all fish can live with goldfish. Some can be 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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