Can Guppies Live With Goldfish?

Jaime Douglas
Jaime Douglas

Writer at The Aquarium Keeper

You might find yourself having an interest in keeping goldfish and guppies at the same time, but don’t have the resources to have multiple aquariums for these species. There is also a chance, that you have probably seen somebody else keeping goldfish and guppies in the same tank, and now are wondering, if these two different fish can live together. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know when it comes to guppies living together with goldfish.

Table of Contents

Are Guppies and Goldfish Compatible?

Guppies can definitely live together with goldfish in the same aquarium if the conditions are right. Firstly, both species like slightly different water parameters, but there is a middle ground, that guppies and goldfish can tolerate. Secondly, you have to consider the size of the goldfish. 

school of colorful guppies in aquarium

Bigger species will eat guppies without a second thought because that is their nature. Goldfish eat literally anything that fits in their mouth. If you want to keep guppies and goldfish, try going for the smaller species mentioned below:

  • Bubble Eye Goldfish
  • Celestial Goldfish
  • Veiltail Goldfish
  • Telescope Goldfish
  • Ranchu Goldfish

These goldfish species are one of the smallest, and can easily coexist with guppies. Although it is important to understand, that even these goldfish species might try to eat guppies when it reaches adult size. Most goldfish are at least twice as big as guppies. To minimize the chances of this happening, follow our guidelines, on how to set up a proper aquarium for both species.

You might also like to read: Do Goldfish Eat Shrimp? Compatibility Guide

Conditions for Keeping Guppies and Goldfish Together

There are a lot of things that need to be done right in order to successfully have guppies living with goldfish together. Water parameters, tank size, equipment, decorations, and plants all affect the living conditions of these fish species.

Water Parameters

To begin, goldfish enjoy living in colder waters, while guppies are tropical fish, that need warmer water to thrive. Another thing that is important is water pH. Goldfish can do just fine in water, that is acidic (pH is lower than 7.0), while guppies need alkaline water. Nevertheless, there are water conditions, that both species can do just fine in:

  • Water Temperature: 21 – 23 °C (70–74 °F)
  • pH: 7.0

Water should stay between 70 and 74 Fahrenheit because if it goes lower, guppies will have a harder time living in your aquarium. Guppies can survive in lower temperatures, but they should be kept in warmer water. Guppies become more prone to diseases, and eventually, stop breeding in colder water. At the same time, if the water is higher than the optimal range, goldfish will become more active, than usual. This prolonged activity will require more oxygen in your aquarium, which can stress out your goldfish, and they can easily fall ill.

When it comes to pH, it should always stay at 7.0, because then the water is neutral (not alkaline and not acidic). Both species can live in neutral water, and you can easily measure pH with a simple aquarium water test kit. The most basic test kits are available online or in almost any pet store.

Tank Size and Setup

Guppies are small fish, that really do not require a lot, but goldfish are known for being “water pigs” because they produce a lot of waste. You would need at least a 30-gallon aquarium to house one goldfish of your choosing, and a group of 4-6 guppies. It might be an aquarium, that is slightly too large at the beginning, but taking into account, that goldfish grow very fast, this is a perfect size to start.

Another important factor is the aquarium filter. We highly recommend getting a filter, that filtrates at least twice the amount of water quantity, that your aquarium can hold. In this case, you would need a filter, that can circle about 60 gallons of water per hour. Of course, you can go for more filtration if you like, but two times the amount of aquarium water quantity is enough. Goldfish can’t live without proper filtration, simply they just poop too much, and that waste would eventually kill them if not taken care of.

Moving on, an air pump would also be necessary for a goldfish-guppy tank. It is just a safety precaution because your fish need oxygen to thrive, and an air pump moves the water around, bringing oxygen into your tank. You could also be just fine without an air pump, but I would pay the extra money to keep my fish safer.

Lastly, lightning is not a big factor in a goldfish-guppy tank. Of course, you need an aquarium light in your tank, because that replicates your fish’s natural environment, and at the same time, you need to see your fish. You can go with the simplest aquarium light if you like, but if you are planning on having plants in your tank, it is better to invest in a slightly better light.

Decorations and Plants

When it comes to decorations, almost everything can go in a guppy-goldfish aquarium. One thing to keep in mind when choosing decorations is that goldfish are known for being slow and clumsy swimmers, so avoid anything that has very sharp edges, because your fish might become injured because of that decoration. Nevertheless, you can easily have driftwood, rocks, ceramic decorations, plant pots, and other creative visuals in your aquarium.

I would also highly recommend having a bunch of aquarium plants in your guppy and goldfish aquarium. Plants could create amazing hiding spots for guppies if they felt threatened. Also, aquarium plants make aquariums look much better and more naturalistic, and at the same time, they help clean the aquarium water. Here is a list of aquarium plants, that would do well in a guppy-goldfish tank:

  • Anubias
  • Bucephalandra
  • Java Fern
  • Amazon Sword
  • Salvinia
  • Vallisneria
  • Hornwort

If you are planning on having aquarium plants in your aquarium, be sure to do a little research on how to take care of them. There can be a lot of reasons, why your aquarium plants would start dying, but the most common one is a lack of nutrients. I highly recommend getting a nutrient-rich substrate for plants and using root tabs and liquid fertilizer to boost the number of nutrients. The plants mentioned in this list are hardy, but they grow better if there are a lot of nutrients in the water.

Diet and Feeding

Both goldfish and guppies are omnivores, which means they need meat-based and plant-based foods in their diet. The good thing about this combination is that there are really no problems feeding goldfish and guppies together, both species can eat the same food. You can easily feed your goldfish and guppies fish flakes, sinking pellets, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae. You can feed a guppy-goldfish tank one time a day, but don’t overfeed your fish, put enough food, that would get eaten in 2 minutes.

When it comes to plant-based foods, both species can get their needed nutrients from the aquarium itself. Goldfish and guppies occasionally graze on algae or dying plant material. If you want to spoil your fish, you could also feed them blanched vegetables (zucchini, spinach, carrots), just don’t do it too often, because vegetables can’t be the only food they eat.

You might also like to read: Can Guppies Eat Betta Food? Guppy Food Guide

How to Protect Guppy Fish Fry From Goldfish?

If you have ever kept guppies before, you know that they breed a lot. Guppies are livebearers, which means that the females do not lay eggs, and simply give birth to baby guppies on the spot. Guppies can easily breed multiple times a year, and bring a bunch of babies into the world. Baby guppies are very small, and can easily be eaten by any size of goldfish. If you want to prevent this from happening, there are two things you can do:

  • Install a breeding box in your aquarium. The pregnant female (who has a noticeably big belly) should be separated from other fish. When she gives birth, the guppy fry should be kept and grown in the breeding box, until they become large enough to live with goldfish.
  • Create a breeding tank. This option is very similar, but you can simply have a smaller aquarium, in which the guppy fry could peacefully live until they grow large enough for the guppy-goldfish aquarium.

Goldfish are opportunist fish, that will happily devour guppy fry. If you can’t have a breeding box or set up a separate tank, I would recommend adding even more aquatic plants to your tank. This action would reduce the chances of your guppy fry getting eaten.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Guppies Fin Nip Goldfish?

In most cases, guppies are peaceful small fish, that do not fin nip others. If your guppies are being kept in stressful conditions, they might start fin-nipping goldfish. Stress can occur, if the aquarium is too small, the water parameters are not right, or the aquarium is simply overstocked. If fin nipping is present in your aquarium, separate the fish immediately.

Can Guppies Eat Goldfish Food?

Guppies have the same dietary requirements as goldfish, so they can easily eat goldfish food. Just be sure to feed your guppies a different variety of foods, because as omnivores, they need to mix up their diet.

Writer's Thoughts

In my opinion, this combination is not the greatest one. You will need to constantly monitor your aquarium water parameters, and always check if your goldfish is not going after the guppies. I believe, that there are simpler combinations, that would be even more fun to keep, compared to a guppy-goldfish tank.

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