Can GoldFish Live Alone? Is a Solitary Life Cruel?

To think that your Goldfish is becoming lonely and needs a partner is a very kind thought that comes to fish keepers. But do Goldfish actually feel the same way as we do? Well, I am here to explain what your Goldfish might be needing.

Have you been wondering whether or not your Goldfish needs a tank mate? Maybe give this article a read first before you go off buying more fish to keep with your Goldfish

Can GoldFish Live Alone

Goldfish are a very social species of fish. They move in shoals when they are in the wild, moving with the group in search of food and shelter. But things become different when they are kept as pets. To study the behavior of fish and Goldfish, in particular, researchers have been keeping them under observation.

Let me show you what they have found out.

GoldFish Behavior in Groups

If you have already a number of Goldfish living in your fish tank, you may have observed a few of the following things.

GoldFish Behavior in Groups
  • Extremely Social: Goldfish are very social when they are in groups. They tend to stay as a group and enjoy the company of other Goldfish around them. They even search for food together and move towards the food in a school just when you add food to their tank.
  • Happier: You may have noticed that in the right group, Goldfish are more active and jollier. Who doesn’t enjoy the company of good friends? Goldfish are very much similar for that matter, and will certainly enjoy good company, with other Goldfish, and other species of fish.
  • Copying: When in a group, if you notice a Goldfish doing something new, the other Goldfish will follow. They tend to copy each other when they are kept in a group.

GoldFish Behavior in Solitary

As much as Goldfish stay happier in groups, they do prefer to live alone. They are very different than us humans in this sense. Goldfish can enjoy the company of other fish but staying alone will hardly make them lonely. However, it has been observed that:

GoldFish Behavior in Solitary
  • Death of Fellow Tank Mate: If one of your two Goldfish or the fish other than your Goldfish has died recently, you may observe that your Goldfish is bored. Do keep in mind that it is not depressed because its fellow has died. Your Goldfish is rather bored that there is no one left to play with or spend time with. This in turn may make them depressed. But they will soon adapt to the loss and move on.
  • Companionship: Goldfish do not necessarily need a companion when it comes to living in a tank. We, as humans, need someone to be with us throughout our lives to have company. As for Goldfish, they feel a bit differently about this. They are sometimes happier in solitary than when in groups. So, they do not necessarily need a tank mate.
  • Longer Lives of Goldfish: It has been observed through studies, that Goldfish who live alone, tend to live longer than Goldfish who live in pairs or groups. This may be because of better water conditions or simply because they are having more nutrients through food to themselves. It is true that the lesser fish you have in your tank, the cleaner the tank will be. Good water conditions for your Goldfish are extremely vital for their survival and well-being.

Do GoldFish Get Lonely?

Doing a fair comparison of Goldfish living alone and in groups of their own species, and others, it can be observed that Goldfish stay happier in groups. This does not necessarily mean that they need a group or another mate to survive. They can live well on their own, but they live happier in groups, or in pairs.

Even with Goldfish enjoying their own company, like any other animal, they do enjoy themselves more with friends. Depression due to no company is less common in Goldfish, but it can still happen. It is, therefore, illegal to keep a Goldfish alone in Switzerland, as per animal rights.

A little company with other Goldfish or even other species of fish will not hurt your Goldfish. But you must ensure that the company you are choosing for your Goldfish is right for them.

7 Types of Fish to Keep with Your GoldFish

If you have decided on keeping a tank mate for your Goldfish, do make sure that you are choosing the right type of fish. Even if it is another Goldfish that you wish to add to the tank of your already existing Goldfish, you must choose carefully.

1. Fish sharing Similar Water Conditions

One may overlook the water requirements when adding a companion to your Goldfish tank. If you are adding another Goldfish, you do not need to check the requirements again. But if there is another specie that you wish to add, you must take care of the following:

  • Water Temperature: You must make sure that your new fish can survive the water temperature range that is suitable for your Goldfish. This range is from 60-74 °F.
  • Water pH: The pH range that your Goldfish thrives well in is 7-8.4. make sure that the species you are adding to your Goldfish’s tank also can live well in this range of pH.
  • Water Type: Goldfish is a freshwater species of fish, so you must ensure that you are not adding a saltwater fish to your Goldfish’s tank. This will kill off the new fish, as the temperature, pH, and other water conditions are not suitable for them.

2. No Fast Species

Some fish species are known for their speeds. If you have a fancy Goldfish, it must be slower and lesser active than the other types of Goldfish. Do not keep a fast-moving species of fish with your fancy Goldfish. This will not allow your Goldfish to compete well for food as the faster fish will definitely get to the food much quicker. This will not allow your fancy Goldfish to get the nutrients and feed that it needs, making it hungry and sick.

3. No Smaller Species

As you must know, Goldfish are omnivores. They tend to eat anything that they can easily fit in their mouths. If you are planning on keeping small fish in your Goldfish tank, do reconsider. You might just be adding food to the Goldfish’s tank instead of tank mates. Goldfish will eat up these poor fish in no time, especially if they do not have a space in the tank to hide.

4. No Small and Active Species

Some fish species are tiny and very fast. Keeping them in your Goldfish tank is a good option for these fish as they will not be eaten by your Goldfish, thanks to their speed. However, they might be of harm to your Goldfish, as they will find the relatively slower speed of your Goldfish a good chance to nibble on the Goldfish’s fins. If the smaller fish bite the fins of your Goldfish, your Goldfish may become infected and sick.

5. Peaceful Species

Goldfish are a relatively peaceful species of fish. If some other fish is not bothering them, they will not bother the other fish either. Some peaceful species that I would recommend keeping with your Goldfish are as follows:

  • Bristlenose Pleco: These fish can live in very similar tank conditions as your Goldfish, and are very peaceful in nature.
  • White Cloud Minnow: It is better than when keeping this specie with Goldfish, they should be about the size of the Goldfish. If they are smaller, the Goldfish might end up eating them.
  • Zebra Danios: These are very fast and can easily outrun the Goldfish if they are being chased by Goldfish. They are also easy to keep with Goldfish, as their environmental conditions match that of Goldfish.
  • Weather Loach: This specie is very social and friendly when it comes to having tank mates. They will most certainly not bother your Goldfish and will keep them in good company.
  • Bloodfin Tetras: They are regular-sized and very peaceful. Also, they are low maintenance and can pair well as tank mates with your Goldfish.
  • Checkerboard Barb: They do not need a lot of food to live. So, they will most certainly not be eating your Goldfish meals. They are also very peaceful and can be taken care of easily.
  • Gold Barbs: They not only match well with the Goldfish’s environment but also with the color of the Goldfish. They are generally peaceful but need a lot of food.
  • Swordtail Fish: This species can easily adapt to any type of water and can be a great companion for your Goldfish. They are very peace-loving and will not cause trouble for your Goldfish.
  • Corydoras: These fish are excellent to keep with Goldfish, as they eat the excess food off very quickly, thus maintaining the tank environment. They are also very peaceful and easy to take care of. But you must ensure that your Goldfish is not much larger than the Corydoras, or your Goldfish might try to eat them.

6. Omnivores

It is better to keep your Goldfish with fellow omnivores. This will help you in maintaining their diets and will also keep them from eating each other off. Moreover, fish do enjoy the company of other fish similar to their own species.

7. Snails

Adding snails to your Goldfish tank is also a good option, as they will eat off the algae in your Goldfish tank. They will also be peaceful and cause no trouble to your Goldfish. However, care must be taken that your Goldfish is not much larger than the snails, or they might eat the snails.

How to Add New Fish?

It may seem like a very simple task to add new fish to your Goldfish tank. Why should I be mentioning it then? Even if you are just adding another Goldfish for your already existing Goldfish, you must take care of how to add the new ones. Here are a few tips to add new fish to your Goldfish tank:

  • Quarantine: When adding new fish to your Goldfish tank, make sure that you quarantine the new fish first. It is ideal to quarantine your new fish for a month or so before adding it to the community tank. You must do this as your new fish may be bringing diseases to the tank, which will affect your Goldfish.
  • Tank Size: Goldfish need a lot of space to swim freely. So, if you are planning to add new Goldfish to your Goldfish tank, make sure that for each new Goldfish, you add a space of 10 gallons. Even if you are adding some other fish, make sure that you increase the size of the tank to make it big enough for all your fish.
  • One Fish at a Time: When adding new fish to your Goldfish tank, make sure that you do not add a lot of fish suddenly. Give each fish some time to adjust to the new tank environment. This will also help your Goldfish acknowledge the newly added tank mate, and make peace with it before any more new fish are added.
  • Check for Aggressiveness: Goldfish are territorial in nature. They are also peaceful, but some of the Goldfish may be aggressive. The aggressive ones find it hard to live with companions. You can only find out whether or not your Goldfish is aggressive, by allowing your Goldfish to interact with other Goldfish or fish. If your Goldfish acts aggressively towards its companion, make sure to separate them immediately. If you do not do this timely, the aggressive Goldfish may kill the other one.

The Bottom Line on Can GoldFish Live Alone?

Goldfish can live with other fellow Goldfish or different species. But if they are not causing you any trouble, and are not depressed, it is better to keep them alone. Being alone will allow you to tend to them better and will also increase their chances of survival. I, however, do recommend keeping your Goldfish in a pair, as it will help you breed them, and will also be much easier than keeping them in a group.

You may occasionally separate them if they are being aggressive. But who doesn’t like to have more of these beautiful creatures swimming about? So, If you want to keep them in a group, and with other species, you now know how that can be done!

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