Can Goldfish Live Alone? (And Do Goldfish Get Lonely?)

Last Updated on 2023-10-23

Have you ever wondered whether your goldfish can live alone? Or if goldfish get lonely? Well, because we can’t know exactly what they’re thinking, it can be difficult to tell! However, there are clues. In this article, you’ll not only find out whether goldfish can live alone and if they get lonely, but you’ll also learn:

  • Whether goldfish are schooling fish
  • What to remember if you’re choosing a tank mate for your goldfish
  • And some great tank mate choices!

So keep reading to find out everything you could possibly want to know!

Key Takeaways:

  • Goldfish can live alone, but some may prefer the company of other tank mates.
  • Whether goldfish get lonely is a subject of debate, but they may be happier with companions.
  • Goldfish are not schooling fish but are social and tend to stick together when kept in a group.
  • When considering tank mates for goldfish, factors to consider include tank size, temperature, pH, temperament, size compatibility, and dietary preferences.
  • Some suitable tank mates for goldfish mentioned on the page are Rosy Barbs, Zebra Danios, Giant Danios, and certain snails.

Can Goldfish Live Alone?

To answer the question: Yes, goldfish can live alone. In fact, many goldfish can live long, healthy, happy lives all on their own. Just remember, though, not all goldfish will be happy on their own, and some would prefer the company of other tank mates.

This video by True Aquarium answers that question further:

Do Goldfish Get Lonely?

A better question to ask yourself is, “do goldfish get lonely?” Decisions are divided on this, some people believe they do, and others believe they don’t. However, personally, I’ve noticed my goldfish seem a lot happier when they’re kept with others.

If you can’t keep your goldfish with other fish due to size restrictions, then you need to make sure that you’re giving them enough mental stimulation. If they don’t have mental stimulation, they can become bored and depressed.

How Do We Know That Goldfish Don’t Get Lonely?

There’s no surefire way to tell if goldfish get lonely. I mean, we can’t exactly read their minds, can we? But truth be told, it’s quite unlikely that goldfish experience loneliness.

Goldfish and us humans, are not on the same page when it comes to socializing. They don’t get bored or crave company like we do. In fact, many of the oldest goldfish we know of have spent their lives solo, and they seem perfectly content.

Are Goldfish Schooling Fish?

Goldfish are not schooling fish; however, they are social, and you’ll find that when you keep multiple goldfish together, they’ll stick around each other. If they like each other enough, you’ll also notice that they’ll follow the same direction as the other goldfish in their tank.

Lastly, goldfish also tend to mimic each other. If one goldfish starts doing something, it’s a lot more likely than the others as well.

So while goldfish aren’t schooling fish, they’re still very social and can often be seen shoaling together.

Related Articles:

Can Goldfish Get Depressed If The Other One Dies?

It’s highly unlikely that your goldfish will be depressed when the other one dies because they’re sad. However, they could become bored if they’re not in the tank anymore. Remember, goldfish need lots of stimulation to make sure they’re not getting bored. And if they get bored, they may end up becoming depressed.

Should You Give Your Goldfish A Tank Mate?

While it’s not an absolute necessity, the chances are giving your goldfish a tank mate is going to improve their happiness. They’ll be a lot more stimulation in the tank for them, and it’s a lot less likely either of them will get bored.

What To Consider When Keeping Other Fish With Your Goldfish?

If you want to keep other fish with your goldfish, there are a few factors to be aware of. Without knowing this, your tank may run into a lot of trouble!

Here are the things you need to bear in mind.

The Tank Size

The first thing to take into consideration is the size of the tank. A single goldfish needs a tank that’s 30 gallons in size, with each additional goldfish needing another 10 gallons. When considering tank mates, you’ll need to ensure that each fish has the right amount of space.

If they don’t have enough space, the tank will become overcrowded, which can result in aggression, a build-up of ammonia, and general unhappiness in all fish.

Also, if you put fish in a tank that isn’t big enough for them, their growth can become stunted. This can cause a whole range of health problems in the future.

Temperature & pH

You also need to make sure that the temperature and pH needs of the fish you’re adding also match the temperature and pH needs of your goldfish. This is simple enough if you’re adding other goldfish, but different tank mates will have different needs.

Goldfish typically need water that’s between 60-74°F, depending on the type of goldfish you have. When it comes to pH, different breeds prefer different pH levels. But in general, the pH level they like falls between 7.0-8.4.

So when you’re picking tank mates for your goldfish, make sure that their temperature and pH needs are also being met!


If you’re going to add fish other than goldfish to your tank, make sure that their temperaments are similar. Generally speaking, goldfish are quite calm and lack aggression, although when there’s a lack of space or food, this can change.

When you’re choosing fish to add, make sure you’re picking generally peaceful fish, but that will also not allow themselves to be bullied either!

Pick Bigger Fish

If you’re going to add fish to your tank, make sure you’re picking fish that are a similar size to your goldfish. While goldfish aren’t aggressive, they’ll eat anything in the tank they can. So if you’ve added smaller fish, there’s no guarantee they’re going to survive.

Not only are they going to eat smaller fish, but they’ll also eat other fish’ offspring and eggs too.

Also, bear in mind that some fish that can live well with goldfish are going to grow a lot bigger than them. If this is the case, make sure you have a tank that can accommodate them.

Try To Pick Omnivores

While this isn’t absolutely necessary, it’s often better to pick omnivores so that your fish are never competing for the food they need. For example, if you add a carnivorous fish to the tank, your goldfish may eat their food as well. Meaning they’re not going to get the nutrition they need.

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Tank Mates That Can Live With Goldfish

If you were curious about tank mates that can live with goldfish, here are a few great choices.

Tank MateKey Information
Rosy BarbsTemperature and pH compatibility, peaceful, requires school
Zebra DaniosSmall, fast, compatible temperature and pH, omnivorous
Giant DaniosLarger, group-friendly, similar requirements as goldfish
SnailsConsider size to avoid being eaten, watch growth rate

Rosy Barbs

Rosy barbs are a great tank mate for goldfish. They have similar temperature and pH needs, and they also grow up to 6″ in size, so there’s no risk of your goldfish eating them. They’re great beginner fish as well because they’re easy to care for, and they’re also quite peaceful.

If you’re going to keep rosy barbs with your goldfish, you need to make sure you’re keeping them in schools of at least 5. As well as this, you should also be aware that they can be fin nippers when they aren’t happy, so keeping an eye on them is paramount.

Zebra Danios

Because of their small size, you may think that zebra danios aren’t going to be a good choice for your tank. However, you also need to take into account that they’re incredibly fast fish as well. The chances are your goldfish would never be able to catch up with them if they did want a snack.

On top of this, the good news is that zebra danios have the same temperature and pH level requirements as goldfish, and they’re also omnivores as well! This means it’ll be much easier to make sure their nutritional needs are being met.

(Find out about 7 more great danios.)

Giant Danios

Another great choice of danios is giant danios. And if you’re worried about your zebra danios getting eaten, then these ones are going to fair a lot better. If you plan on keeping giant danios with your goldfish, then make sure you’re keeping them in groups of 5.

Just be cautious when you’re feeding both fish. If you’re not, your giant danios may end up outcompeting your goldfish for food.


If you’re not sure about getting a fish, there are plenty of snails you can add to your goldfish’s fish tank as well. The type of snail you choose doesn’t really matter. The only thing you need to be aware of is that if the snail is small enough, your goldfish will eat it.

As well as this, you should also be cautious about the rate at which snails can grow. You may only introduce one or two to your tank, but before you know it, your tank could be swarming with them.

Related Articles:


Now you know that the chances are your goldfish doesn’t get lonely. However, with that being said, adding more tank mates to the tank is going to stimulate them and help them stay happy. If you’re going to add tank mates to your tank, just make sure they share the same water parameters temperaments and that they’re not too small.

Lastly, if you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website; otherwise, have a great day!


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