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What Fish Can Live With Goldfish in a Pond? (7 Great Options)

What Fish Can Live With Goldfish in a Pond? (7 Great Options)

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Goldfish are one of the best options when it comes to pets for your pond. They’re incredibly friendly and quiet and come in many color variations.

However, after a while in the pond, you may notice that your pets are lonely. In that case, you’ll ask, what fish can live with goldfish in a pond?

So, let’s take a look at some of the species that can cohabitate with goldfish. We’ll also cover the importance of having a pond mate for your pet.

Goldfish Traits

Before you pick up a companion for your goldfish, there are a few factors to consider.

Goldfish Behavior

People have had goldfish as pets for many years. That’s most likely because these fish are beautiful and peaceful.

In fact, goldfish tend to be incredibly social and even friendly with other sea creatures. This will remain the case unless resources are scarce.

When your pond gets overcrowded, goldfish can become slightly territorial and aggressive. That’s especially true during mating season.

Other than that, goldfish are well-known foragers and diggers. They enjoy scraping the bottom of ponds and tanks, looking for food.

While this may be adorable, they usually end up making quite a mess.

Lastly, goldfish are early risers. They enjoy swimming around while the sun is out and go to sleep around sunset.

Goldfish Needs

Since you’ll be adding a new friend to the pond, you should be aware of your goldfish’s needs first.

Starting off with their nutrition, these fish need food about two or three times daily. This will depend on the temperature of the water.

The warmer the pond is, the more food the goldfish will need to survive.

Speaking of temperature, these fish need a stable, cool environment to thrive. Generally, anywhere between 60 and 80℉ should do the trick.

Finally, you should consider how much space each fish will need. To determine that, we can use the overall size.

For example, if your fish is one inch long, then it needs about 11 liters of water. Seeing how most goldfish are around 10 inches, they need a range of 110 to 115 liters of water.

So, before you move a new friend in, you have to double-check they’re compatible with these needs.

Benefits of Pond Mates for Goldfish

As humans, we prefer to live in communities for safety and faster development. We can share resources and chores to make sure our society is healthy.

The same concept applies to fish. While goldfish can take care of themselves pretty well, they need some help from time to time.

Depending on the size of your pond, the goldfish may not be able to keep it clean alone. So, you can add a few other species to the ecosystem to aid it to thrive.

In addition, introducing a new pond mate will help keep the population in control. Since goldfish can reproduce about twice a year, their numbers can increase rapidly.

Without competition, the pond may become overcrowded in no time.

On top of that, aesthetically speaking, the pond will benefit. It’s much more pleasing to watch multi-colored fish swimming around.

Fish That Can Live With Goldfish in a Pond

There are hundreds of species that cohabitate with goldfish. So, without further ado, here’s our list of some of the most popular pond mates.

1 – Koi

  • Scientific Name: Cyprinus rubrofuscus
  • Size: 12–15 in.
  • Temperature Range: 65–75℉

The first option on our list is koi, since they’re one of the world’s most popular pond fish. People with small bodies of water have been raising these creatures for years.

This is due to a couple of factors. Starting off with appearance, koi have striking, bold hues and are incredibly elegant. They can add a nice pop of color to any space.

Other than that, in Japanese culture, people consider koi to be a sign of good luck and prosperity.

Finally, these fish tend to be quiet, friendly, and mostly harmless.

That’s what makes them perfect companions for your goldfish. Even though koi are slightly larger, they’re not territorial.

So, both species can live together in peace.

2 – Longfin Rosy Barb

  • Scientific Name: Puntius conchonius
  • Size: 3–6 in.
  • Temperature Range: 64–72℉

If you’re looking for fish that look like your current pets, go with the longfin rosy barb. From a distance, they share a striking resemblance to goldfish, but they’re a little smaller.

On top of that, they also sparkle! Longfin rosy barbs have shimmery scales that catch the light and reflect a pink hue.

These are active species that love zooming up and down the pond all day long. You can spend hours by the water watching them dance together.

Longfin rosy barbs are friendly when they’re in packs. They keep each other safe and preoccupied.

However, when separated, these fish can get defensive and start attacking their neighbors. So, if you’re going to raise longfin rosy barbs, make sure to adopt an entire school.

3 – Stickleback

  • Scientific Name: Gasterosteidae
  • Size: 5–7 in.
  • Temperature Range: 40–80℉

Most fish are incredibly sensitive to temperature changes. They can quickly overheat or freeze if you don’t keep an eye on the pond conditions.

Fortunately, stickleback fish don’t have this issue and can survive in a massive range of 40 to 80℉.

That means you should be able to leave them out in the pond all year round.

Some of these fish also have interesting patterns, while others are solid shades. This can create an interesting mix of colors.

Because they’re almost the same size as goldfish, there’s no danger to either species. They may spar every once in a while, but neither fish is particularly aggressive.

In addition, stickleback fish tend to keep to themselves.

In fact, when the pond gets too busy, they may dig themselves under the bed for protection. So, if you have plenty of other fish, this species isn’t ideal.

4 – Bristlenose Pleco

  • Scientific Name: Ancistrus cirrhosus
  • Size: 4–5 in.
  • Temperature Range: 73–80℉

If you live in a warmer area, you may want to check out Bristlenose plecos. These fish enjoy swimming in ponds and open lakes.

At first glance, they don’t look particularly interesting. They’re black, green, or gray with small spots. However, as you get closer, you’ll see the intricate pattern across their scales.

Besides that, Bristlenose plecos are bottom-dwellers. That means they spend most of their time on the pond bed. So, they’ll be able to help your goldfish keep the water clean.

For the most part, Bristlenose plecos are friendly and docile. However, when males reach maturity, they can get slightly aggressive.

Luckily, this shouldn’t be much of an issue with goldfish. Since plecos are nocturnal, there’s usually no overlap between the two species.

Goldfish will swim in the morning, and Bristlenose plecos will take over at night. This will ensure that your pond stays beautiful all day long.

5 – Dojo Loach

  • Scientific Name: Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
  • Size: 9–12 in.
  • Temperature Range: 59–77℉

Dojo loaches and goldfish can live together in harmony for many years. Both fish like to spend most of their time on the pond bed, peacefully.

Even though they often cross paths, most of the time, each species will mind its manners.

Dojo loaches are relatively narrow, but they can grow up to 12 inches in length. That’s a bit larger than goldfish, which may lead to some competition.

To keep up with their growing bodies, loaches need plenty of food. When resources are scarce, some fighting can happen, but with no serious injuries.

Other than that, these fish make excellent pets and goldfish companions.

However, if you live in a cold area, dojo loaches may not be able to survive. As soon as the temperature drops below 60℉, the fish may freeze.

6 – Fathead Minnow

  • Scientific Name: Pimephales promelas
  • Size: 2–3 in.
  • Temperature Range: 77–86℉

If you want your goldfish to still have free rein over the pond, then check out fathead minnows. These fish are tiny in comparison, growing only to about two or three inches long.

Because of their size, this species can be shy. They like to hide under rocks and sometimes even dig small holes into the pond bed.

Fathead minnows will also steer clear of any other fish in their habitat. They’ll only engage with the goldfish when protecting their young.

Aside from that, they’re playful and compliant.

7 – Pond Snails

  • Scientific Name: Lymnaeidae
  • Size: 1–3 in.
  • Temperature Range: 65–83℉

While snails aren’t fish, they still make excellent pond companions for goldfish. That’s because they like to feed on algae and other microorganisms in the water.

This will ensure that the habitat remains intact for as long as possible. Plus, neither species will interact much with the other.

However, snails do like to eat a lot. Once they run out of food, they’ll start nibbling on any plants you have in the pond.

Final Thoughts

Figuring out what fish can live with goldfish in a pond may be tricky. That’s why there are few factors you should consider before you pick out a companion.

First off, you should ensure that they have similar behavioral patterns. The species have to be friendly and peaceful.

Other than that, make sure they can survive in the goldfish’s ideal temperature, which is between 60 and 80℉.

Koi, longfin rosy barb, stickleback, and fathead minnow all meet these criteria.


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