Do Goldfish Eat Other Fish and Each Other?: 5 Best Goldfish Tank Mates

golden fish

Many new goldfish owners keep complaining that their goldfish are missing from the aquarium, especially the smaller ones. That brings us to one crucial question, “Do goldfish eat other fish?” Also, people ask, “Do goldfish eat each other?”

Well, to put it shortly, no, goldfish don’t eat other fish and each other except for a few exceptions. In fact, goldfish are good at living in a group and having a social life. However, giant goldfish can sometimes eat up the small goldfish or the eggs. The similar is true for other smaller pieces, but these are rare occasions.

So, as a goldfish owner, you need to know how to choose the suitable tank mate for the goldfish and prevent any occasional fight between the fish species. These are vital since goldfish are often expensive, and it takes time to reach adulthood.

And for your convenience, we will discuss all of these in today’s goldfish discussion.

Table of Contents

Do Goldfish Eat Other Fish?

Naturally, goldfish aren’t predator and aggressive. So, the general perception is that goldfish won’t eat each other and other fishes as well. 

But there are occasions when you will see goldfish living on smaller fishes and even on their species. So, why does this happen?

Let’s find the answer. 

Goldfish usually browse for their food in the aquarium and would live on anything that fits their bite-size. These are often morsels or anything that is in real life edible for them. 

But there’s a twist. 

When the goldfish comes in close contact of any baby fish that is catchable and fits their bite-size, goldfish won’t perhaps hesitate to eat them. The same goes for baby goldfish. However, this happens at rare times. 

But the greatest concern comes during the goldfish mating. 

Yes, you heard it right. 

Goldfish are infamous for their non-parental attitude. So, when the female goldfish hatches thousands of sticky eggs, the chances are high that they will eat most of them. It is valid for the eggs of other fishes as well, only if they can sneak close to the eggs. 

However, if the fish babies can swim, goldfish won’t show interest in chasing and catching them to make a living. 

So, in short, we can sum it up-

A goldfish will rarely eat other fish species during their larva and babyhood. Also, they are evidently non-concerned about their species and will eat the babies and eggs if they can catch them. 

Are Goldfish Naturally Predators?

No, goldfish aren’t natural predators. So, naturally, they won’t attack other fishes. 

But they aren’t fussy about their food habit as well. Also, goldfish is a hungry fish and are always in search of food. You can find their continuous hunger whenever you go close to them. They will wiggle their fin to express their longing, which many people mistake as an expression of love. 

However, goldfish is far from being like a betta,  which would eat on anything they get around them. So, if you are thinking about rearing grown-up fish species with goldfish, they are absolutely safe. 

When and Why Goldfish Attack Other Fishes?

Likewise, their lovely appearance, goldfish is, in general, well behaved and friendly. So, they will attack other fish species rarely. 

In fact, most goldfish loves the companionship of their tank mates- both goldfish and other species. But this doesn’t rule out that they will never attack the different fish species in the tank. When this happens, you should know that something unusual has occurred in the tank. 

Now we will discuss the unusual circumstances under when a goldfish becomes aggressive and look to attack other fish, including their counterparts. 


Likewise, every fish species, goldfish also like ample space to live happily in the tank. Ideally, a fully grown goldfish requires 15 gallons to 20 gallons of tank water to swim and live happily without any competitions. 

But, most owners don’t follow the rule and likely to overcrowded their goldfish aquarium. So, space becomes a constraint for the fish, and they will start showing territorial behavior like the bettas. At this point, they will begin competing for ample in the tank and begin attacking the tank mates to establish their dominance in the tank. 

Food scarcity:

Very few people would probably know that goldfish don’t have a stomach. 

Are you surprised to know that? 

Well, goldfish have a basic digestive system. It is adapted to absorb only the most essential nutrients from the food ingredients and leave away the larger portion of the food unattended. 

So, you will see many wastages accumulating in the tank. However, the basic digestive system means that the goldfish is ALWAYS HUNGRY. 

So, they are always in search of food. So, as an owner, you need to feed the goldfish regularly to stop their ever-expanding hunger. But if you fail to provide the goldfish with proper food at regular intervals, these fish will unleash their predatory instinct for food. 

They will become aggressive if there is any food scarcity in the tank. The fish will start chasing over other tank mates, and if they fit in the mouth, goldfish will definitely eat them too. 

Dirty water:

Goldfish is extremely sensitive against any change in the tank condition. Also, they produce a lot of wastage due to their basic digestive system, which rapidly turns the tank water dirty. 

Whenever the tank becomes dirty, goldfish become restless and start chasing each other as part of their stress. So, dirty tank water will most likely cause the goldfish to attack other tank mates in the tank. 

Mating rituals:

If you look closely at the goldfish behavior, you will see the male goldfish chasing the female one during the mating session. 

If this happens, don’t worry.

It is part of their mating ritual. The male goldfish chase after the female to make her exhaust before mating. 

However, you need to worry if you see an adult goldfish chasing after and attacking the other adult male goldfish. It is a sign that the ratio of male and female goldfish in the tank isn’t in ideal proportion. Perhaps, there are way more male than female goldfish. 

If this happens, the male goldfishes will engage in intense fights to win over the female. So, you should maintain the proper ratio of male and female goldfish, which is one female for two males. 

Finding the Solution to Prevent Goldfish From Eating Other Fish and Fry

Fry refers to the baby goldfish. Since goldfish is devoid of any parental care, they will happily live on the fry or baby goldfish. So, these are infamously known as cannibal fish. 

And it is even more prominent for the bigger goldfish species such as Shubunkins, Oranda and Lionheads.  So, how do you stop the goldfish from eating his babies and attacking other fishes in the tank?

  • It would help if you separated the goldfish babies as soon as the female gives them birth. It will save a massive number of fries from being eaten by the adult goldfish. Also, you don’t need to keep the babies in a large tank. A tank with 1o gallons to 20 gallons of water will do finely. 
  • Goldfish attacks other species mostly when the tank is overcrowded. So, we suggest you provide ample space for each fish in the tank. Ideally speaking, an adult goldfish will need 20 gallons of water. But you need to add 10 gallons more for each extra goldfish in the tank. So, if you are looking to keep 4 to 7 goldfish together, opt for a tank around 50 gallons of water capacity. 
  • Goldfish becomes most aggressive when they are hungry.  At this time, they will eat anything without further discrimination. So, feeding the fish regularly is the best possible solution to stop goldfish engaging in fights and eating other fishes. 
  • Lastly, maintain a proper ratio of male and female goldfish so they can mate easily. When goldfish finds scarcity of mating partner, the males will engage in fights and bite each other. It will damage their fins that lower the beauty of goldfish. So, keep one female for two male goldfishes in the tank. 

Five Suitable Tank Mates For Goldfish

Since you now know that goldfish will rarely attack and eat the other fish species in the tank, you might be interested in keeping other fish with them. So, this brings us to the all-important questions, “Which fish makes the best tank mates for goldfish?”

To put it shortly, any small fish species that is non-aggressive and live mostly on their own will be a great tank companion for the goldfish. You will have to leave away the aggressive fishes such as guppies and bettas while choosing the tank mates for goldfish. 

We have searched the net and put our observation into practical life to pick the five suitable tank mates for goldfish. These are:

  • Rosy Barbs:

Rosy Barbs is a beautiful fish with a bright golden appearance. They are a perfect size match for goldfish with an average of 4 inches to 6 inches measurement. What’s more, they live in the same water parameters as the goldfish. 

The Rosy Barbs is a non-aggressive fish and won’t show any interest to goldfish. They will happily swim around the tank. But you need to keep at least four to six Rosy Barbs together since they are schooling fish. If you keep them alone, they will feel stressed and get sick. 

  • Zebra Danios:

Zebra Danios thrive in a similar water environment as the goldfish. Also, they have a similar sizing. So, they will live happily with goldfish. 

However, we suggest you rear the Zebra Danios with regular goldfish and leave the fancy ones. The fancy goldfish are fast eaters, and so, they will consume the food for the Zebra Danios as well. Also, these are schooling fish and lives in a group. 

  •  White Cloud Mountain Minnows:

These are one of the most suitable tank mates for goldfish because they are cold-water fish. So, they reside in the same water condition as goldfish.  Additionally, the White Cloud Mountain Minnows is a fast swimmer and so, won’t fall prey to an aggravated goldfish. 

These are too schooling fish, and so, you should keep them in the group- at least three together. 

  • Red Cherry Shrimp:

Red Cherry Shrimp is a popular aquarium choice for fish keepers mainly because of their vibrant red appearance. Luckily, these are also a great tank companion for goldfishes. 

The best part about red cherry shrimp is that they are algae eaters. So, they help you in keeping the goldfish tank free of any algae invasion. Moreover, the shrimp babies will serve as a dependable nutrient source for the goldfish. 

  • Weather Dojos:

Dojo or Weather Dojos is another schooling fish that make a great tank companion for the goldfish. They are cold-water fish and lives in the same water environment like the goldfish. 

However, they need extraordinarily large space in the tank, and so, you will need a large tank for them. This can sometimes be a drawback for the Weather Dojos.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Will goldfish eat dead fishes?

Answer: Yes, goldfish will happily at any dead fish if found within its grasp. While eating goldfish doesn’t believe in discrimination and will eat everything that fits in their mouth. However, we suggest you remove the dead fishes from the tank since these aren’t ideal for goldfish. These can cause serious health issues for the goldfish.

2. Will goldfish attack a larger fish?

Answer: No, a goldfish won’t attack anything more extensive than his size. Goldfish is significantly size concerned, and the only attack those they can tackle without a problem. They won’t engage in fights with larger fish species, and so, larger fish species are suitable tank mates for them. 

The Bottom Line

So, here’s our top picks on the question, “Do goldfish eat other fish?”

Goldfish won’t attack other fishes unless there is food scarcity or space constraint in the tank. But, the goldfish isn’t picky about its feeding habit and so, will eat baby goldfish or fry if they get the chance. Also, if any fish is small enough to fit the goldfish mouth, they sometimes try to eat them, but it happens seldom. 

Also, choose a sized match companion for goldfish to ensure that the goldfish don’t become prey for the other fish species. 


  • Russel

    Hi, my name is Russel and I am the founder of I am an ardent fish lover, professional angler and writer, and I hope to share my passion with you.

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