If there are a few things as different from each other as chalk and cheese, one of them surely is the case of goldfish and guppies.
These two kinds of fishes are just not good to go together.
Check out this small video to be a little enlightened. You may know why.
Disappointed? Well, you really can’t expect all your favorite fish to live happily ever after in one fish tank. That would be a bit ambitious, for sure!
Having said that, it is not an absolute ‘no’ to keep the goldfish with the guppy.
You can still keep them together, if you really must, but with a lot of restrictions like maintaining an optimal water temperature, regular tank cleaning regimes, close watch on your fishes to check if they are harmoniously coexisting or if there are signs of trouble, etc.
If you have the time for all these and more, feel free to keep the goldfish and guppies together. The only thing you would need then is, perhaps, just a bigger fish tank.
Now, for a while, stop to reflect – why this question in the first place? Why is it not about just any other fishes? Why are questions of coexistence between the goldfish and the guppy so common?
The answer is perhaps simple: They are a problematic combination, for all you know.
So, even though it is not entirely impossible to keep the goldfish and the guppies together, it is generally advised not to keep them in one fish tank.
Fish experts have put forth plenty of observations regarding these two kinds of fishes that would make it clear why you should try not to keep the goldfish with the guppy.
Here are some of the most important reasons:
Understanding the Goldfish Behavior
The goldfish is a freshwater fish, which is also an aquarium favorite for many. They are one of the most regularly kept aquarium fishes.
They are tropical fish, but unlike other tropical fishes, goldfish need cooler waters to thrive properly.
The ideal temperatures that a goldfish needs is between 65 °F and 75 °F (or between 18 °C and 24 °C).
The average size of a goldfish is 4 inches or 10 centimeters, although they can grow bigger to about 7 or 8 inches (18 to 20 centimeters) depending on the available space in the fish tank. And if they are living in a large pond, they can even grow to 12 inches (that is, over 30 centimeters).
Their general lifespan is between 10 and 15 years. However, well-nurtured goldfish can live up to 20 years and more.
Goldfishes are omnivorous and can eat anything from flake food to plants and even live food like earthworms and smaller fishes.
They need several feedings every day and are infamous for their frequent excretions.
They are notoriously dirty, pooping all over the aquarium all through the day. Oops! That only increases work for you, isn’t it? More cleaning and more maintenance if you have a goldfish for a pet.
What about Guppies?
The guppy is one of the commonest kinds of livebearer tropical fishes for fish lovers worldwide.
Like typical tropical fishes, the guppies enjoy warmer water temperatures. Ideally, the guppies thrive well between 72 °F and 85 °F (or between 22°C and 28 °C).
They come in many colors and designs, due to which they are also known as rainbow fishes. The guppies have yet another special trait – their tendency to grow in numbers.
Yes, if you keep a male and female guppy together, you will have many more guppies in no time! They love to reproduce. For this reason, they are also called the million fish.
Guppies are very tiny fishes. Their average size is between 1 inch and 1.5 inches. While male guppies are generally 1.2 inches in size, females can grow a little bigger, up to 1.5 inches. From a baby guppy to a full adult, it takes them about 6 months to mature. They are hardy fish and live long. So these are good for beginners.
Guppies generally love to eat frozen food, spirulina tabs, live food, veggie flakes, and also raw vegetables.
However, keep rotating their food as they love variety in their menu. Also, it is never a good idea to overfeed them. Once a day feeding is okay for guppies.
The brightest part is that guppies do not need too much space to live healthily and they do not generate too much bioload.
The Differences Between Goldfish and Guppies Habitat
As mentioned above, water temperature is the major point of difference between guppies and goldfish.
Although both are tropical varieties, goldfish love cooler waters, while guppies like it when put in a tank with toasty warm water.
Naturally, therefore, keeping the guppies and goldfish together in one fish tank would mean you have to maintain a temperature balance between what the guppies need and what the goldfish love. That is tricky, but not impossible.
So, if you can maintain the water temperature at 70 °F, this will neither be too warm for the goldfish, nor too cold for the guppies. They will possibly survive.
Water pH level
Aquarium enthusiasts often overlook the water pH balance needs of different fish. This can pose trouble for the tank inmates.
So, if you are planning to keep the goldfish and guppies together, this is definitely an important area to cover.
You need to provide the right pH level for the fishes, as much as the right water conditions.
While guppies prefer alkaline water, goldfish prefer acidic water. Guppies need a water pH of 6.8 to 7.8. Goldfishes have a pH range of 6.0 to 8.0.
Therefore, you must strike the middle ground and maintain a pH level of 7.0, if you are keeping the guppies with the goldfish in the same tank.
Their water hardness range also varies. These are as below:
- Goldfishes: 5-19 dGH
- Guppies: 8-12 dGH
While goldfish need space, guppies are not too fussy about space and can even survive in small tanks.
So, when it is a matter of putting the goldfish and guppies together, you must choose your aquarium size right. Best is to go for larger tanks to allow free movement for your fish.
If you have observed the video shared at the beginning of this article, you would know what guppy protection means as a point of consideration while setting the guppies and goldfish together.
Yes, the truth is that the goldfish is the gluttonous kinds and they eat about everything that fit their mouth. And guppies being small fishes, are always at a life risk from the big goldfish.
Especially the innumerable guppy fry often fall prey to a goldfish’s hunger pang. The goldfish happily snacks on them before the fry even get a chance to grow bigger. Goldfishes even gobble up smaller size adult guppies.
You wouldn’t want that, would you? So, the best way out is to use separate tanks for the guppy fry and the goldfish.
You may also use a breeding box and keep the female guppy and the fry isolated till they are big enough to be safe from the goldfish.
Water cleanup and changes
Goldfishes generate a lot of waste and are messy aquarium inmates, while the guppies are not.
So, to provide healthy fish tank environments, it is important to clean up and/or change the water periodically. If you’re keeping goldfish, weekly water changes are a must.
The waste increases the water toxicity and hence, needs change. If the aquarium does not have too many fish, it is okay to change only 30% of the water weekly.
But if you have too many for the capacity, maybe you should change water for the whole aquarium, no matter how cumbersome that is.
Also, using a water filter and live plants are recommended, if you want the guppies to coexist with the goldfish. These reduce toxicity and maintain good oxygen levels.
Competition for food
When you offer food to your pet goldfish and guppies, chances are that the guppies wouldn’t get a chance to fill their belly when the goldfishes are busy eating. Goldfishes are gluttonous and finish food faster than the guppies.
This may be a strong reason why guppies and goldfish should not coexist in the same tank.
The guppies have different disease tolerance than the goldfish. Your goldfish may be affected by a disease that has entirely zero impact on the guppies.
Therefore, they are different in many ways.
Now, all the above points are indications enough that a goldfish-guppy combination is never a winning combo.
Although there are hobbyists who still keep them together, it is recommended that you keep your goldfish and guppies separate to allow healthy and customized environments for both.
Guppies live well with schooling fish like mollies, neon tetras, platys, Cory catfish, etc.
Interestingly, the best tank mates for goldfish are other types of goldfish.
Although some other creatures that live harmoniously with goldfish are the rosy barbs, loaches, and freshwater snails.