Home Fish Facts Can Plecos live with Goldfish? (Complete Explanation)

Can Plecos live with Goldfish? (Complete Explanation)

by gvald

The pleco is a tropical fish. It needs a water temperature of 25-26° minimum. The goldfish is a cold water fish. It is therefore complicated to have the two species cohabit for this reason. One of the two would end up not feeling well anymore, either because the water is too hot (for the goldfish), or it is too cold (the pleco).


Who can plecos cohabit with?

As plecos can grow up to 20 inches, we recommend keeping adult individuals in a minimum volume of 125 gallons. Apart from the space needed, this robust fish fits well in most tanks.


The presence of large rocks forming caves / hiding places is a great option. You can add large roots and plants. The larger males are territorial. If you keep several of them together, it is possible that they destroy part of the decor during their jousts.


Despite its size, it does not present any problem of cohabitation with small fish. However, be careful with the maintenance of larger individuals with small shrimps. This detritivore sucks the bottom of the aquarium and could capture them.


Mixing several species living in the same living area is not recommended if the volume is not significant. More generally, we do not recommend keeping it with other catfish species.


The cohabitation with other large fish is not a problem. It is absolutely necessary to avoid small fish that share the same living area of the aquarium such as Corydoras Panda, Pygmaeus, Paleatus etc … The power of Hypostomus plecostomus could hurt them at the slightest nervous movement.


It cohabits very well with the big Amazonian cichlids. It is most often found in aquariums with the Oscar fish or the terrible predator Piranha. It is also possible to have it in a large tank with Discus or Scalaria.


Who can the goldfish live with?

Sometimes a cohabitation can go well, sometimes it doesn’t work at all, even between two fish of the same species! This can go as far as the impossibility of two fish or two groups of fish living together.


The cohabitation of common goldfish, and Asian, with other species of exotic fish is strongly discouraged. This is largely due to the different requirements of water quality, temperature, pH, hardness, etc.


Wanting to have fish that do not have the same needs, nor the same geographical origins live together is not really a good idea. It is like having a zoo with only one enclosure for all species, you will have problems with predation, diet, care… The only co-tenants we recommend are the aquatic snails.


In case you still want to place fish other than goldfish in the aquarium, at your own risk:

  • Avoid aggressive fish or fish with an agitated temperament (e.g. cichlids)
  • Avoid very small fish, anything the size of a goldfish’s mouth is likely to be eaten some day
  • Avoid fish with long tails, this is a game for a goldfish
  • Always find out in advance the needs of the potential co-tenant (temperature, pH, water hardness, food…)


If you want an aquarium with a variety of fish species, we advise you to go for a tropical aquarium, you will have much more choice.



Snails are fun little animals. They move slowly through the water with their antennae out. Goldfish don’t mind them much, so they can wander around the aquarium at leisure. Smaller ones can eventually be swallowed, so you should not put snails smaller than the mouth of your goldfish. Snails are real little workers and each one has its own specialty, gardener, garbage collector, algae eater.


Physes for example are snails that can’t be bought in stores, but which are found by chance in your aquarium after the introduction of a new plant. They are small and are often eaten by goldfish. But it is not uncommon for some to escape the goldfish and become adult, they will then reproduce readily and quickly.


They often help by nibbling algae on windows, roots, rocks, but they are not garbage collectors! They turn what they eat into waste, so they should be considered in the aquarium population.


Exotic fish

No, they should not cohabit with goldfish. Exit the Tetra neons, the Guppy, the Ancistrus… If these fish attract you then make a tropical aquarium. They don’t have the same needs as our goldfish friends, fresh water for goldfish, warm water for tropical fish. And goldfish are big fish, too restless for small fish.



No, they should not be kept together with goldfish. Freshwater shrimp are too fragile to live with goldfish. Whether they are red cherry, or Amano shrimp (though a little bigger) a goldfish is able to eat them. Remember that goldfish are omnivores, a shrimp is a meal like any other…

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