Can Loaches Live with Goldfish: Compatibility Factors

Goldfish are a popular pet, but they can be very challenging to keep. They usually come in a variety of bright colors, such as orange, yellow, and green. Goldfish live in a tank and require low maintenance for the health of their environment, including filtration and temperature control, which makes them a suitable tankmate for loaches.

Loaches can live with goldfish. Larger fish such as loaches can live peacefully alongside goldfish, but some species are more comfortable than others. However, it is important to keep their feeders and aquariums well-maintained so that they don’t monopolize the food or territory resources.

Clown loach swimming in aquaria. (Botia macracantha).

What Makes Loaches and Goldfish Compatible?


Both goldfish and loaches can do well in colder climates. Goldfish are generally comfortable living in a fish tank that is between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 23 degrees Celsius). On the other hand, loaches can survive in a big range of temperature which can go low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) to as high as 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).

In addition, goldfish and loaches can live in a wide range of water conditions, including very hard water.


Goldfish don’t need plenty of space in their aquariums for them to move around and exercise. Loaches typically don’t need much space, either. Loaches are so small that they can be housed in a fishbowl or other smaller container, thanks to their slim size and unique swimming form. In addition to that, goldfish can also live in a simple fishbowl as long as you are feeding them enough food for nutrition.

Activity Levels

In large aquariums, goldfish usually do better than loaches. Goldfish love to swim, and some species of livebearers tend to wreck their tanks when they are in the mood for swimming. Loaches thrive on a reduced amount of activity because most tankmates require lots of exercises. Hence, they could be kept with active types such as goldfish.


Loaches need to eat at least once every day. In addition, they need a varied diet that includes insects, worms, and small fish. Goldfish also require a varied diet with plenty of protein-rich foods such as flake food or pellets. However, goldfish are not picky eaters; they can survive without food if necessary.


Goldfish are generally peaceful fish and require minimal care. At the same time, loaches are peaceful fish and will typically swim around without incident unless disturbed. They will enjoy a small space in your aquarium with plenty of plant life and hiding spots. Avoid adding too many other fish to your tank as they can become territorial and aggressive towards one another. Goldfish are not good swimmers, so be sure to provide an air pump or filter if you have a large tank or want to keep them healthy underwater.

Goldfish in aquarium with green plants

What Are the Best Tankmates for Goldfish?

You can keep a variety of different fish with goldfish, but some of the best options include loaches, catfishes, barbs, and danios. You should be careful when choosing which fish to keep with goldfish because some of them may be too large or aggressive for your goldfish tank. Here are some of the top picks as tankmates for your goldfish:

Hillstream Loach

The hillstream loach is a relaxed-looking and peaceful fish that prefers to swim in open water. Inertia capacity can determine how long it will stay still, so keep one of these tankmates if you want your goldfish to feel comfortable without disturbance or harassment. Hillstreams should be kept with larger compatible species such as corydoras catfishes and danios because they are physically larger, but otherwise, the two species will get along swimmingly.

Barbs and Other Danios

Many of the best goldfish tankmates are available as small catfishes such as danios, but here is another option for anyone who wants a peaceful-looking fish in their aquarium that travels around naturally and can keep up with your other livestock. One downside to these extremely active fish is that they may overpopulate your tank if you don’t keep them in groups of five or more. Barbs and danios are naturally territorial, so it is important before buying a new one to make sure there will be enough other goldfish members in the tank that won’t get harassed by this extra resident fish.

Dojo Loach

If you want your goldfish to feel comfortable, the dojo loach is an ideal tankmate due to its solitary nature. Because they are loners by nature, this fish likes a quiet environment and can also grow at a fast rate of up to 12 inches in length. This makes them suitable as small fry free-floaters for larger aquariums that don’t need any extra aggression from other members of the same species.

Rubber Nose Pleco

In many ways, the rubber nose pleco is similar to goldfish because they have flat bodies and round mouths that are difficult for other fish to contest. These tankmates swim in large shoals with their neighbors looking over them out of necessity due to their size. The rubber nose pleco is a popular fish option for those who want to keep plecos in their goldfish tank. This small species of pleco can grow up to 5-7 inches long and is easy to care for – just provide plenty of water, food, and a hiding place. They are not aggressive and will usually get along well with other fish in the tank.

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose plecos are similar in appearance to the rubber nose pleco, but they have a bristly coat of hair on their heads and bodies. This hair is used as protection from predators and also helps regulate the pleco’s body temperature. These fish can grow up to 3-5 inches long and typically live for about ten years in captivity. They are usually easy to care for – just provide plenty of water, food, and a hiding place.

White Cloud Mountain Minnows

The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a popular choice for those who want to keep plecos in their tank but are looking for an easier fish to care for. These small, common minnows can grow up to 1 1/2 inches long and require minimal water changes – just add fresh water every couple of weeks.

Rice Fish

Rice fish is a type of small, air-breathing fish that is popular among those who are looking to keep goldfish in their tank. These fish can grow up to 1.5 inches long and require minimal water changes. They prefer cooler climates so you may want to avoid keeping them if your home is on the warm side. Rice fish is an ideal choice for those who want a community tank – they can be paired with other types of small fish or even other goldfish.

Hoplo Catfish

The Hoplo catfish is one freshwater fish that is commonly found in the wild. The basic care for this small and easy-to-care-for species of freshwater pleco isn’t too demanding – just provide your tank with a couple of gallons of aquarium-quality filtered water along with some food, hiding places, and live plants. Whether at home or away, these species represent some of the most common choices for those who want freshwater insects, and live plants as companionship for their goldfish tank mate.

Variatus Platy

This is a small freshwater fish that lives in large groups. The Variatus platy tends to grow up to 6 inches long but most aquariums will only provide them with the bare minimum of space and water. A must-have for goldfish enthusiasts, these are ideal if you want something very similar in behavior and appearance to an “old world” pleco.

Longfin Rosy Barbs

The Longfin rosy barb is one such specimen and can grow up to 3 inches in length. They are peaceful by nature but will not tolerate added pressure from their community tankmates so you may need some space on your goldfish home aqua scaping if you want at least two of these in your tank. The longfin rosy barb is a freshwater species found all across the world, but it is usually neglected as an aquarium pet due to its small size and limited availability.

Cherry Shrimp

The Cherry shrimp is one type of freshwater accessory fish that has made a name for itself in the goldfish community. Originating from Southeast Asia, cherry shrimps are small and colorful with a delicate look to them. They will not tolerate being picked on or harassed so can be kept comfortably alongside other tropical species such as Plakat Catfish and Platy’s which are known tank robbers! Like their Platy cousins, cherry shrimps are very social by nature and will fill a tank rapidly if you have multiple water-mates.

Banded Corydoras

The Banded Corydoras is another voracious goldfish tank mate that is widely available through most fish shops. With its prominent black pattern, it stands out in the aquarium world, and finding them can be a challenge for certain environments that don’t cater to this form of freshwater ornamental creature. Unlike many other goldfish species, corydoras live mostly on plant matter such as algae or herbivorous foods so they are a great addition to any high-light aquarium.

Mystery Snail

The Mystery Snail is a species of snail found in Asia. They are terrestrial snails that live on land but can also move around quickly to escape danger. The mystery snail has a variety of colors including blue, green, brown, and black. These snails prefer damp environments which makes them an excellent choice for those who want to keep them in a community tank setting with other types of aquatic invertebrates.