How to Buy Goldfish Tank Mates

Three Parts:Figuring Out Proper Tank MatesPurchasing Tank MatesIntroducing Your Fish

Do you have a goldfish and enjoy it so much that you want to give it a mate or mates? It may seem as simple as going to your local pet store and buying a few fish, but goldfish are as sensitive to their surroundings as other animals. In fact, not buying the right tank mates can lead to problems including death.[1] But by figuring out proper companions and purchasing healthy fish from a reputable retailer, you can easily get tank mates for your goldfish.

Part 1
Figuring Out Proper Tank Mates

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    Consider your wishes—and limitations. Are you hoping for a tankful of goldfish or other color fish? Consider what your optimal tank looks like and if you can accommodate it. This can help guide you to get the right tank mates for your gold fish.[2] Ask yourself some of the following questions when considering buying tank mates for your goldfish:
    • How many fish do I want?
    • Can my tank house this many fish?
    • Can I afford to properly care for so many fish?
    • How much time will I need to devote to my fish?
    • What types of fish do I want?
    • Are the types of fish I want compatible with goldfish?
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    Keep in mind goldfish behavior when considering mates. You might think your goldfish wants a mate, but they are actually perfectly happy to be on their own. You may also simply want to enjoy the beauty of multiple fish. Thinking about goldfish behavior can better inform you on what types of tank mates to buy.[3]
    • Remember that goldfish make a lot of waste and require at a 55-gallon tank for two fish. As you add more fish, you’ll need more space to maintain the health and wellbeing of your fish.
    • Be aware that goldfish require a steady water temperature of 65 to 75 degrees. Tank mates should have the same temperature requirements.[4]
    • Consider that goldfish need plenty of space to swim in order to maintain their health. Other types of bigger fish may crowd your goldfish and cause aggression.
    • Be aware that goldfish will nibble at or eat fish smaller than 2 inches in length. Larger fish may nibble at goldfish and cause them stress which can lead to fights between fish.[5]
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    Recognize optimal mates. Although it can be tricky to figure out what tank mates to buy, there are many different options for your goldfish. Consider adding the following to your tank with goldfish:
    • Hillstream loach
    • Weather or Dojo loaches
    • Corys
    • White cloud minnows[6]
    • Rosy red or fathead minnows
    • Zebra danios
    • Apple snails
    • Goldfish of similar breeds[7]
    • Rubbernose and bristlenose plecos
    • Rosy barbs[8]
    • Ghost shrimp
    • Red cherry shrimp[9]
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    Avoid potential mismatches. Just as there are great tank mates for goldfish, there are also some that may cause problems. This includes fish smaller than goldfish and other species of goldfish.[10]
    • House goldfish of similar species together. Don’t keep narrow-bodied and fat-bodied goldfish, sometimes called “fancy goldfish,” in the same tank. The narrow-bodied goldfish will eat all of the food before their fat-bodied or fancy fellows. This can harm the fat-bodied or fancy goldfish.
    • Remember that potential tank mates should also require water temperatures between 65 and 75. Likewise, fish sensitive to ammonia and other types of waste are also probably not compatible with goldfish, which produce a lot of waste. Look to find fish that can thrive in a pH balance of 7.0 to 8.0, which is also optimal for goldfish.[11]

Part 2
Purchasing Tank Mates

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    Compare different retailers. There are a large variety of places that you can buy fish. From big box stores to specialty fish breeders, visit different retailers and compare what they offer. This can help you buy the best quality tank mates for your goldfish.[12]
    • Find out if the store has captive-bred or wild fish. In general, captive-bred fish are hardier than their wild counterparts. Be aware that captive-bred fish may cost more, but have a higher survival rate. This means you won’t have to spend as much replacing dead fish.
    • Examine how well maintained the store and potential tank mates are. You want to ensure that the fish are healthy and if they’re in the back of a filthy store, that could indicate that the fish were not well taken care of or maintained and may. This may lead to lower life span.
    • Ask the retailer about refund or return policies. If fishes die within a certain time after you’ve purchased them, some retailers may refund your money or give you a replacement fish.
    • Consult online reviews of potential retailers to spot any potential problems with them.
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    Check the health of potential tank mates. Before you buy a tank mate and introduce it to your goldfish, it’s important to make sure the fish is healthy. This can prevent the introduction of illness and even death to your goldfish.[13]
    • Look for obvious signs of disease by examining the fish’s body and watching its behavior. Signs of physical disease include: white spots or velvety patches on the body, missing scales, incomplete fins, cloudy or bulging eyes, ulcers or other lesions, rapid breathing and shaking. Behavioral signs of disease may include: scraping against the tank, erratic swimming, listlessness, gasping at the surface, or sulking in a corner.
    • Make sure you check the other fish in the tank as well. Even if your potential tank mate doesn’t show obvious signs of disease, other diseased fish in the tank could indicate a potential problem. In these cases, even a healthy-looking potential tank mate could introduce disease to your goldfish.
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    Watch the fish feed. A fish that refuses to eat is a clear sign of illness or stress. This can be a potential problem if placed in a tank with your goldfish. Don’t be bashful in asking the retailer to feed the fish in front of you. If the retailer refuses, consider buying at another place.[14]
    • Be aware that eating in front of you is not a guarantee that you will not have problems with the tank mate down the road.
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    Make your final selection. Once you’ve had a chance to consider all of the variables of giving your goldfish tank mates and assessed their health, select a few options that you’d like to buy. Consider trying one or two different types to add to the tank to see how your goldfish reacts.
    • Ask your retailer any final questions you have about putting your selections with goldfish. Discuss any feeding and maintenance requirements and ask any questions you may have about this.

Part 3
Introducing Your Fish

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    Give yourself time. There is no rush when introducing new tank mates. The longer you take to introduce new tank mates to your goldfish, the more likely you are to avoid disease, rejection, or other problems.[15]
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    Quarantine new tank mates. Any time you buy a new tank mate for your goldfish, you will need to quarantine the fish from each other for a couple of weeks. This will help the tank mates get used to new water and ensure that no diseases are transmitted to your goldfish.[16]
    • Provide the new tank mates a separate quarantine tank. Use the same water in which your new fish came to keep it comfortable. Make sure the quarantine tank has plenty of hiding spaces and keep the water quality clean. This will help maintain the wellbeing of the new fish during this stressful time.[17]
    • Watch to make sure the new fish isn’t exhibiting any signs of disease or stress. If this happens, consider taking it back to your retailer for a new fish.
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    Get your goldfish ready for its new mate. Just as the new tank mates need to get used to their new surroundings, your goldfish will also need to get ready for a new tank mate. Taking steps to distract your goldfish and prevent aggression can prevent potential problems between the fish.[18]
    • Rearrange any decorations in the tank. This can distract the goldfish and remove any established territories. This can help the fish get along better because they will be on equal footing.
    • Feed your goldfish before acclimating the new tank mates and setting them free. This can help reduce any aggression your goldfish may feel towards its new tank mates.
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    Acclimate the new fish to the water. Once you’ve ensured that your new fish is healthy and ready for its new tank, you’ll need to acclimate it to the new tank water. This can help ensure a smooth transition for your new fish and the goldfish or any other fish you have in the tank.[19]
    • Float a sealed bag in your tank. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes before opening it so that the temperature in the bag adjusts gradually. Then cut open the bag and allow your new fish to swim free.
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    Observe fish closely. For the first couple of weeks, make sure to watch how your new tank mates and goldfish are doing. Check to see if you can detect any diseases or behavior issues between the fish. If there is a problem, consult your retailer to see how to deal with them or consider returning the new tank mates if you can for an alternative.
    • Watch for symptoms of of physical disease such as parasites, white spots or velvety patches on the body, missing scales, incomplete fins, cloudy or bulging eyes, ulcers or other lesions, rapid breathing and shaking.
    • Look for behavioral signs of stress or disease such scraping against the tank, erratic swimming, listlessness, gasping at the surface, or sulking in a corner.[20]

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Categories: Goldfish