The short answer to the much debated question ‘can goldfish live with tropical fish?’ is that they can, but they shouldn’t.
Some fish keepers like to point out that they have been keeping goldfish with their tropical fish for years with barely any issues.
That doesn’t make it right though, does it?
The common goldfish has been around for years. The majority of us will have come home from a school fair clutching one in a plastic bag. Usually to the annoyance of an extremely irritated parent.
Some didn’t even make the journey home but others would live for years!
I remember winning a goldfish when I was about 8. The first thing my mum told me was that they die very quickly.
Remembering these words of caution, I didn’t bother naming him.
10 years later, he was still going strong. I think he lasted about 15 years in the end. He was obviously quite happy on his own with his little bridge and fake plants that we added to his (or her) tank.
Can Goldfish Live in a Warm Water Aquarium?
Goldfish are not tropical fish.
Depending on who you talk to, goldfish are described as either coldwater fish or temperate fish.
In truth, they come from parts of the world where the temperature changes from cold to temperate due to the changing seasons.
The term ‘coldwater’ is a smidge misleading when it comes to fishkeeping. It doesn’t mean that they are happiest in cold water. It means that they thrive, and are happiest in water that doesn’t require heating.
Ideal Temperature for Goldfish.
Goldfish have metabolisms that are better suited to cooler temperatures.
Their ideal temperature is between 65-74 degrees Fahrenheit (18-23 degrees Celsius).
Even though goldfish can survive in water warmer than their ideal range, they won’t be very happy, and are more likely to have a shorter lifespan.
If you keep goldfish in warmer water temperatures, it will affect their metabolism. This means they will need more food and oxygen, which will then result in them producing more waste-and they produce a lot in the first place!
Higher levels of waste will lead to increased levels of ammonia and nitrite which can be fatal to most species of tropical fish.
How will Goldfish React with Other Fish?
Goldfish are really peaceful chaps, and are not aggressive or territorial at all. They are quite happy on their own but are probably best with a few other goldfish as tank mates.
Goldfish can get stressed if a new goldfish tank mate is introduced after a while, so any friends are best being added to the tank from the start, or not long after.
The issue really is how will the other fish react to a goldfish.
Some different species, although known for being peaceful tropical fish, can sometimes gang up and bully a goldfish. They have been known to nip at their fins, especially if they have longer, flowing fins.
Some species of tropical fish, like some of the Cichlids and also Angelfish, will terrorise the mild mannered goldfish.
Don’t mix them. It’s as simple as that. Is it really worth potentially stressing your fish out by mixing species that are better not being mixed?
Do Goldfish Kill Other Fish?
Goldfish can kill other fish, but not due to aggression.
It will be due to the fact they are greedy buggers!
If they are living in a warm water tank, as I explained earlier, they will need more food. This could result in them eating too much, which leaves little or no food for his tank mates.
I am sure you will have all read or heard that you don’t put very small fish in the same tank as larger fish. If the fish are small enough to fit in the mouth of the larger fish, the chances are that is what will eventually happen!
Goldfish are omnivores, which means they eat protein, plants and carbs. This can make small fish fair game to them, although they are not particularly predatory.
Some smaller fish can be hoovered up quite by accident, when the goldfish is mooching around the bottom of the tank, looking for bits of food.
Can Goldfish Eat Tropical Fish Food?
Tropical fish food is in no way toxic or dangerous to goldfish, so is ok to give them in the very short term (like a day or two). I wouldn’t advise any longer than that though.
Goldfish require different food to tropical fish.
There is a difference in protein levels required by both species. Tropical fish need a higher protein level in their food than goldfish. Feeding either tropical fish or goldfish the wrong food will mean they will end up deficient in vital nutrients.
As well as this, tropical fish are top feeders, so they like their food to float at the top of the tank and they come up to get it.
Goldfish are the opposite. They like their food to sink to the bottom of the tank.
Add in the fact that if a goldfish can be a bit bigger than its tropical counterparts, some smaller fish may not get any food if the greedy goldfish gets to it all first.
What Kind of Tropical Fish can live with a Goldfish?
I’m saying none.
Are Goldfish Easier to Keep than Tropical Fish?
I wouldn’t say one is easier to keep than the other.
You may come across the odd issue in a community tank if the fish start to squabble, but, as long as you have your heater (or no heater for the goldfish), lighting and filter sorted correctly, and you are carrying out regular checks, maintenance and water changes, you shouldn’t have a problem with either. Both types of species should thrive in their respective fish tank.
In conclusion, goldfish need to be kept in a tank with species that require similar conditions to them, namely, other goldfish. This is how they will thrive and hopefully live a long, stress free life.
They tend to need more space in the aquarium than tropical fish as they can grow quite large and like to have some swimming space.