Compatibility Guide – Can Goldfish Live With Guppies In The Same Tank?

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At first glance, Goldfish and guppies may seem like an unlikely pair. The former is large, often reaching lengths of over a foot, while the latter is much smaller, typically only growing to be a few inches long. However, they’re both beautiful fish with dazzling colors that can add life and excitement to any aquarium. It’s natural to wonder, then, if these two species can coexist peacefully.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what Goldfish and guppies have in common and whether or not they can be compatible tank mates. We’ll also give some tips on how to set up a mixed goldfish and guppy aquarium if you decide that’s something you’d like to do.

Can Goldfish Live With Guppies?

Generally speaking, Goldfish can live with guppies as long as they are similarly sized. Both are peaceful fish with a calm temperament and should do well together in a community tank. Of course, these are just broad generalizations. There are many personality differences between individual fish of any species, so it’s always best to get to know your fish before adding them to your tank.

If you have easy-going fish of both species, they should be able to share the same space without any problems. On the other hand, separate tanks might be a good idea if you have a particularly aggressive goldfish, or find yourself with a school of guppies too terrified to feed or compete for food with their larger tankmates.

Another thing to remember is that huge size differences are never a good idea, no matter what type of fish you’re keeping. A large goldfish could easily eat a small guppy, so it’s best to avoid mixing these two species if there is a significant size disparity. Goldfish are opportunistic eaters and will take advantage of a chance meal, so it’s best to err on the side of caution!

Are Goldfish and Guppies Similar?

When trying to put different fish species together, it’s always a good idea to start by looking at what they have in common. This can give you some clues as to whether or not they’ll be compatible tank mates. Let’s take a look at some of these similarities below:

Personality and Temperament

Guppy fish are outgoing, social creatures that love swimming in schools. They are relatively easy to care for and make a great choice for beginner aquarists. Goldfish, on the other hand, are a bit more subdued. They are not as social as guppies and prefer to swim alone or in small groups. That being said, they are still well-known for their ease of care.

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The similarity between these fish species lies in their temperament. Both guppies and Goldfish are relatively peaceful fish that do not tend to be aggressive toward other tank mates. This makes them a good choice for community tanks, as they will not bother or harass other fish.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Fancy Goldfish, for instance, may act defensively toward their tank mates if they feel crowded or threatened. If you have guppies fond of nipping at the fins of other fish, they may also similarly harass Goldfish. These are just generalizations, however, and you should always get to know your fish before adding them to a community tank.

Water Parameters

Guppies are tropical fishes that hail from the waters of South America, where they live in slow-moving rivers and streams. They prefer warmer water resembling their natural habitat, with temperatures between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to pH, guppies prefer neutral water with a pH hovering around 7.0.

While guppies have specific temperature requirements, common goldfish are much more tolerant of different water conditions. They are cold-water fish native to Asia, and can tolerate a much wider range of temperatures. Goldfish can also adapt to a wider range of pH levels, from slightly acidic water hovering around the 6.0 mark to water that’s slightly alkaline.

Because of the Goldfish’s adaptability, guppies can get their needs for specific water parameters met in a tank that’s comfortable for their larger tank mates. This is one less thing you’ll have to worry about when setting up a community tank featuring both Goldfish and guppies.

Habitat Requirements

Every fish tank should provide both shelter and open space for swimming, but the amount required can vary depending on the fish species. A guppy fish tank, for example, should have plenty of live plants and other hiding places. This is because guppies are relatively small fish that could be easily eaten by larger fish.

On the other hand, a goldfish tank can be relatively bare if you wish. Goldfish have evolved to live in ponds and other open water sources, so they don’t need as much hiding space as guppies. Of course, they prefer some shelter in the form of plants or rocks, but these are not as essential as they are for guppies.

Meeting the tank requirements for both guppies and Goldfish is relatively easy. A goldfish will be content whether you have a heavily planted tank or a more open setup. They can adapt to the guppy’s needs for more shelter and hiding places. So, as long as you provide tons of hiding spots and adequate swimming space in your tank, you’ll be able to keep both species satisfied.

Dietary Needs

The dietary requirements for guppies and Goldfish are also quite similar. Both species are omnivores that require a diet of both plant and animal matter. Guppies and goldfish feed on small insects, crustaceans, and mosquito larvae in the wild. They also graze on algae and other plant material to get the nutrients they need.

You can replicate this diet in captivity by feeding your guppies and Goldfish a quality commercial food designed for omnivores. You can also supplement their diet with live or frozen foods, like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. Keep in mind that these live food sources should be seen as occasional tasty snacks rather than the mainstay of their diet.

A potential issue is that Goldfish are greedy eaters that may gobble up all the food before their smaller tank mates have a chance to get their fair share. To avoid this, you can feed your fish separately or feed a combination of sinking pellets and floating food. Goldfish are natural bottom-feeders and will be more likely to snag the sinking pellets, while the guppies will be able to grab the floating food before it sinks.

How To Keep Goldfish and Guppies Together

So, we’ve established that Goldfish and guppies can live together in the same tank. But there are a few things you need to do to make sure both species get their needs met. Here are some of the key things to remember:

Provide Plenty of Space

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The key to keeping any kind of fish in a community tank is to provide enough space for everyone to coexist peacefully. This is especially important when keeping Goldfish and guppies together. Goldfish, in particular, grow quickly, and it’s only a matter of time before your pint-sized juvenile fish turn into full-grown adults.

A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 10 gallons of space for each Goldfish in your tank. While you may get away with using a smaller tank during the early stages of your Goldfish’s life, you’ll eventually need to upgrade to a larger tank to accommodate their adult size. Therefore, we recommend biting the bullet and getting a larger tank.

Finally, choosing an appropriately-sized tank will not only keep your Goldfish happy but will also keep your guppy fish healthy. This is because a smaller tank is more likely to experience drastic changes in water quality, which can be fatal for both Goldfish and guppies. Keep things stable by choosing a tank that’s large enough for both species and all of their future growth.

Decorate Strategically

Many fish experts recommend strategically decorating your fish’s living space to meet their needs. For instance, pregnant female guppies may appreciate extra hiding spots to help them feel safe during this vulnerable time. On the other hand, Goldfish prefer open spaces where they can swim freely.

The best way to provide for both species is to decorate your tank with a mix of hiding places and open swimming areas. Include plenty of live plants, rocks, and driftwood for your guppies to hide behind. Then, leave some open space in the middle or top of the tank for your Goldfish to swim and play.

Fish Tank Plants Decor

If you’re aesthetically inclined, you can even design your tank to look like a natural freshwater pond. This will showcase the colors and patterns of your beautiful fishes while providing them with the ideal environment to stay healthy and happy. Creative choices such as opting for a dark substrate vs. a light-colored one can also affect how your fish look and feel in their home.

Maintain Stable Water Temperatures

We’ve previously discussed the Goldfish’s ability to adapt to a wide tank temperature range and recommended that you keep things at warmer temperatures to accommodate the guppy. However, the stability of the water temperature is just as important as the actual number.

Both Goldfish and guppies are sensitive to sudden changes in temperature, even if the change occurs within their ideal range. Sudden temperature changes can cause stress, which weakens the immune system and makes your fish more susceptible to disease. Fish that are plunged into colder water right after being in warm water can even experience shock, which can be fatal.

Keeping water temperatures stable is relatively easy if you have an indoor tank. Avoid placing your tank near windows, vents, or doors, as these can cause drastic temperature fluctuations. If you’ve decided to raise your Goldfish and guppies as pond fish, you may need to invest in a pond heater to keep things nice and warm during the colder months.

Avoid Huge Differences in Size

A cardinal rule for compatible fishes is to avoid pairing fish with huge differences in size. This is because smaller fish are often seen as prey by their larger tankmates, even if the larger fish belongs to a peaceful species. Of the many types of fish in the hobby, Goldfish tend to be some of the biggest offenders in this department.

Goldfish and Guppy Size Comparison

While it’s technically possible to keep Goldfish and guppies together, you should steer clear of guppy fry if you have full-grown Goldfish. The same goes for any other small, brightly colored fish that might be on your radar. Generally, it’s best to avoid keeping Goldfish with any fish that can fit inside their mouths.

By considering goldfish size, you also eliminate the risk of extreme competition for food. For instance, baby guppies are so small that even the gentlest Goldfish can easily outcompete them. As a result, the guppy fry may not get the food they need to grow and thrive. In this scenario, you would need to feed them separately, creating more work for you in the long run.

Keep Up With Tank Maintenance

Lastly, keeping up with your tank maintenance routine is vital when you have Goldfish and guppies living together. This means performing frequent water changes, keeping an eye on water conditions, and removing any uneaten food from the tank. An aquarium test kit and a turkey baster or micro siphon are good tools to have in your arsenal.

Tank maintenance is so important when keeping Goldfish and guppies together because of the difference in their waste production. Guppies are relatively small fish, so they produce less waste than Goldfish. However, Goldfish are notorious for being messy eaters, which means they can pollute the water rather quickly.

If the water in your tank becomes too polluted, it can lead to several problems, including disease and death. Guppies, the more sensitive of the two fish, are usually the first to succumb to these issues. This is why it’s vital to stay on top of your tank maintenance and ensure the water stays clean and healthy for all your fish.

When Shouldn’t You Keep Goldfish and Guppies Together?

In general, Goldfish and guppies can live together without too much trouble. However, if you have a particularly small tank, you might want to reconsider keeping these two species together. This is because Goldfish grow quite large, sometimes reaching up to 18 inches in length. Guppies, on the other hand, only grow about 2-3 inches long.

Another scenario where you might not want to keep Goldfish and guppies together is if you’re planning on breeding either species. This is because Goldfish are known to eat small fish, and guppy fry are the perfect size for a goldfish snack. If you’re hoping to breed either species, it’s best to set up a separate tank for them.

When in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. If you’re not sure whether or not Goldfish and guppies are compatible, it’s always best to consult with a professional before adding them to your tank. They can help you make the best decision for your fish and setup.

The Takeaway

We hope this article has helped you better understand the compatibility between Goldfish and guppies. While these two species can technically live together, there are some things you should consider before adding them to your tank. Do your research, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect fish for your setup.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please share it with your friends! Thanks for reading!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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