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Can Guppies Live with Goldfish? What Nobody Tells You

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By Lindsey Stanton

silver and orange guppy

“Can guppies live with goldfish?”

You may have seen it work for others. But is it a good idea for you? I give you the breakdown in today’s post.aquarium plant divider

The 5 Benefits of Guppies in Your Aquarium

1. Tank Aesthetic

Image Credit: Zucky123, Pixabay

I bet you’ll agree with me when I say that the mix of smaller fish with larger goldfish is pretty classy. And if you go for the more exquisite fancy guppies, it can look downright awesome!

The movements of the fast, small schooling fish compliments the slow, graceful swimming patterns of the goldfish. And it breaks things up. Guppies come in literally a rainbow of colors, so you’re sure to find just what you like.

2. Aquarium clean-up

Did you know guppies actually eat some biofilms (like the gunk that cakes on the outside of filters and tubing)? Some people report they can help consume certain kinds of algae as well.

3. Peaceful

Guppies are typically non-aggressive fish that do well in community tanks. Most of the aggressive behavior you may see comes during mating time between male and female guppies. They tend to leave goldfish alone.

4. Mosquito control

big koi pond
Image Credit: Michelle_Raponi, Pixabay

For the indoor tank this might not be much of a benefit, but if you have something like an outdoor patio pond, mosquitoes can be attracted to the water.

Good news: Guppies have been used as a form of natural mosquito control for thousands of years – thereby helping control the spread of malaria (source)! They consume the larvae as a food source.

5. Prolific

Guppies are pros at populating (under the right conditions). They are live-bearing fish, meaning they don’t lay eggs – but baby fish that instantly swim after birth. While static eggs of other fish may be eaten, baby guppies are fast and great at hiding. The more protection they have in the tank (such as from live plants like hornwort) the better the chance of survival.aquarium plant divider

The Best Kinds of Goldfish to Keep with Guppies

Can goldfish live with guppies?

Depends primarily on 2 things:

  1. Size of fish
  2. How modified of the fish/activity level of fish

Does it always work? Probably not. But it often does, and there are many fishkeepers who mix these two species successfully long-term.

1. Smaller Goldfish Work Well

Jikin Goldfish
Image Credit: Koifish, Shutterstock

Let’s face it: the bigger the fish, the bigger the mouth. So, that means the better the chance that mouth will fit around your little guppy friend.

Large goldfish may pretty much inhale guppies. So, younger or smaller goldfish (of any variety) are much less likely to be able to eat your guppies just because they are too big for them to eat. Slim-bodied fish that are smaller (under 4″) generally cohabitate nicely with many other kinds of freshwater fish. It is true that large, fast goldfish with big mouths may make short work of all guppies.

Fast + Big = Guppy Snack

These can include fish such as comets, shubunkins and commons. Again, I’m talking about BIG, full grown fish here. With that said, sometimes the adult guppies will still survive with them and it’s just the fry that get eaten.

In some cases, large fancy goldfish that are faster moving such as fantails, orandas, and ranchus may also eat the adult guppies if they are faster swimmers. But not always. Not all goldfish get large either. And sometimes the goldfish only snag one or two now and then, which can help to control their population somewhat. Which brings me to my next point:

2. Many Fancy Goldfish Work Well

black moor
Image Credit: cherukuri rohith, Shutterstock

More physically impaired fish such as veiltails, black moors/celestial eyes, jikin often do not bother the guppies or fry as they are too slow to catch them.

Full grown adult fancies are often (depending on the breed and physical traits) less active than slim-bodied fish. This works to the guppy advantage. Guppies may be small, but they are quick.

It can (and does) happen that the guppies continue to populate because the goldfish are too lazy to do anything about it, meaning you must periodically thin out the guppies yourself to avoid overpopulation.

Occasionally, it happens that a goldfish figures out how to catch the guppies, and when that happens all the guppies may disappear over a period of time. Again, this is generally more common with the less physically impaired fish.

Finally, to ensure higher survival rates for the fry, providing more hiding places is a good idea.

If you're new to the world of goldfish or are an experienced goldfish keeper that loves to learn more, we recommend you check out our best-selling book, The Truth About Goldfish, on Amazon.

From diagnosing illnesses and providing correct treatments to ensuring your goldies are happy with their setup and your maintenance, this book brings our blog to life in color and will help you to be the best goldfishkeeper you can be. 

FAQs: Guppies & Goldfish

Q. Don’t guppies require warmer temperatures than goldfish can be comfortable in?

A. Guppies do quite well in a temperature range that is ideal for goldfish, which can be anywhere from 68-82F (but ideally between 70-74F for both species). The cooler temperatures do slow down their reproduction but has no impact on health, provided the guppy is healthy to start with. Neither are true cold or warm water fish.

Q. Don’t guppies require a lower pH?

A. Guppies (like goldfish) are actually quite flexible in terms of pH. They even prefer water conditions that are most like what goldfish prefer – slightly harder water with a pH of about 7.4.

Q. Do I need to quarantine the guppies?

A. Ideally yes, all new fish should be quarantined before adding them to your fish tank. Guppies, like many other freshwater fish, can carry disease that can transmit to the goldfish. Buying your guppies from a trusted breeder helps eliminate some of that risk.

Q. What do guppies eat?

Good food will promote higher survival rates and better breeding among the guppy crew. I feed my guppies Hikari Fancy Guppy food. The guppies are much faster than the goldfish and get their food first. They learn fast where the food comes from. They will also feed on algae and microorganisms in the tank.

Q. How do I stop the fry from being eaten by the goldfish?

A. Providing lots of hiding places is a good place to start via the use of live plants. You can get even higher survival rates of the fry by putting the expecting female guppy in a breeder box when it’s time for her to deliver. The fry can then be released when they have grown bigger.aquarium plant divider

Wrapping It Up

Mixing species can be a controversial topic when it comes to keeping goldfish with other fish. Hopefully, you’ve seen for yourself today that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. But maybe this post can encourage you to broaden your horizons.

Thanks for reading!

See Also:

Featured image credit: Tony Stock, Shutterstock

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