Goldfish are undoubtedly one of the most popular aquarium fish in the world and are typically the first that pop into the mind of beginners when they consider setting up a fish tank.
And for good reason. Goldfish are extremely common, making them cheap, easy to find and information about caring for them is readily available.
With that being said, people who would rather venture into the world of tropical fishkeeping are often left wondering whether a goldfish or two could survive in their tropical tank, and the answer, as with most things, is not that simple.
Can I Keep Goldfish In a Tropical Aquarium?
Technically, yes, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Goldfish have a metabolism that thrives at cooler temperatures than you would typically find in a tropical aquarium. They are also extremely messy fish, leading to ammonia and nitrate spikes that could potentially kill other fish in your tank.
Goldfish are incredibly hardy. They can survive in a wide range of water parameters (Keyword being ‘survive’, not ‘thrive’ which is what we should always aim for.)
With the amount of waste goldfish produce, the water parameters can change constantly, with ammonia and nitrate spikes occurring almost daily, which is fine for the Goldies.
Most tropical fish, however, aren’t that lucky, and the slightest changes in water parameters can lead to stress, an increased likelihood of disease, and potentially death.
Goldfish and Tropical Fish Require Different Water Temperatures
Goldfish have a metabolic rate that thrives at lower temperatures than their tropical friends, who will be healthier if living in warmer waters.
Keeping goldfish at warmer temperatures, again, is technically possible, but you will be severely stunting their life expectancy.
Goldfish will live much longer and will be much healthier when kept in water temperatures that they prefer, which is considerably cooler.
Goldfish Have an Uncontrollable Appetite
Unlike many tropical fish who will eat slowly and at their own pace, a goldfish will not think twice about gobbling up any morsel of food that is dropped into their environment.
They don’t take the wellbeing of their tank mates into consideration, they simply eat everything in sight.
The danger of this one is obvious. Your tropical fish may not get the necessary nutrition they need to survive, simply because they can’t get to their food in time.
To further this point, Goldfish grow very fast and are a large species of fish.
They can quickly grow to several inches, and some species can grow up to a foot long in certain conditions.
If you decide to keep smaller tropical fish in your tank that will never grow to more than an inch or two in size (Tetras, Danios and Guppies to name a few), don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning to find them all gone.
We weren’t joking when we said that Goldfish have an uncontrollable appetite!
Some Tropical Fish Can Get a Bit “Nippy”
While Goldfish are generally a very peaceful fish, some tropical fish are not.
It’s not that your goldfish will always be bullied by the tropical fish in your tank, but rather the long, flowing fins that some goldfish have will become the target for nipping.
Sometimes they just can’t help themselves.
Bullying is generally not something you should worry about when keeping goldies and tropical fish together, but it’s certainly not unheard of.
Larger fish such as Angelfish can be incredibly territorial, and won’t care how big your goldfish are before showing them who is boss.
Goldfish are Sociable (with other Goldfish)
Goldies are a sociable fish and they enjoy the company of other goldfish, so keeping them with different species of fish could cause them stress and wouldn’t provide them with the correct environment to thrive.
A goldfish will always be happier in a goldfish only tank, and vice versa.
So, In Conclusion…
While it’s technically possible to keep tropical fish and goldfish together, it’s just not recommended. It’s not safe for both of them (in most cases)
You’re far better off sticking to either a tropical aquarium or a coldwater aquarium (or both?)
Any excuse to have additional tanks is always a worthy excuse, in my opinion!
If you have any additional questions or need any further assistance on your Goldfish keeping journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook, or check out more of our Goldfish related articles.