Do Goldfish Get Lonely? {Do They Need Company}

Do you only have one goldfish and are you wondering do goldfish get lonely?

Do they need company or will they be ok on their own?

Find out below.

Do Goldfish Get Lonely

Yes, Goldfish are social animals and can exhibit signs of loneliness or boredom if kept alone without any companions. They are known to be more active and display natural behaviors when they have other goldfish or compatible tankmates to interact with.

Having companions stimulates their natural social instincts and can contribute to their overall well-being.

It is generally recommended to keep goldfish in groups or pairs to prevent them from feeling lonely and to provide a more enriching environment for them.

Do Goldfish Get Lonely

Signs Your Goldfish is Lonely

Loneliness and boredom tell greatly on the health of goldfish. Although goldfish rarely become lonely, when this happens, it affects the fish’s health. It is why you always have to check and avoid your goldfish from becoming lonely.

Signs that a goldfish may be feeling lonely or isolated include:

1. Lethargy

A lonely goldfish may appear less active or show reduced interest in swimming and exploring its environment.

2. Lack of Appetite

Loss of appetite or decreased interest in food can be a sign of stress or loneliness in goldfish.

3. Aggression or Bullying

A solitary goldfish may become overly aggressive towards other tankmates or exhibit territorial behavior.

4. Listlessness

Lonely goldfish may exhibit a lack of interest in their surroundings, often staying in one area of the tank for extended periods.

5. Fin Clamping

Clamped fins, where the fins are folded close to the body, can be a sign of stress or discomfort, potentially caused by loneliness.

6. Excessive Hiding

A lonely goldfish might seek shelter and hide more frequently, attempting to find security in the absence of companions.

7. Unusual Behavior

Lonely goldfish may exhibit unusual behavior, such as pacing the tank, rubbing against objects, or scraping their bodies on surfaces.

Is It Ok to Have Only One Goldfish

Schooling fish live in groups, which means you can find them in a group, but it does not mean they cannot live in singles. Likewise, solitary fish live singly, but they can also live in different groups that include the same fish species. Goldfish are not an exemption in this case; they are not social fish, which means they can live alone, and they can also live in groups.

Can a Goldfish Live Alone

Goldfish are not schooling fish, which means they can live alone without problems. But taking deep research into them, you will notice they are happier when they are amidst other goldfish. It shows they can live alone, but it is better when you keep them in groups.

Do Goldfish Get Lonely if One Dies

Goldfish can experience a change in behavior when a companion fish dies. While they may not feel the same emotions as humans do, they can exhibit signs of stress or become more subdued after the loss of a tankmate.

They may display some of the signs mentioned earlier, such as lethargy, decreased appetite, or increased hiding. Introducing a new compatible goldfish or providing other forms of stimulation can help alleviate their potential loneliness and provide a more enriching environment.

Do Goldfish Need to be Kept in Pairs

Goldfish can live alone in tanks because there are some benefits they enjoy while living alone. Goldfish are hardy, which means they can withstand harsh conditions and interact well with their owners. Still, when they are merged with aggressive tank mates, they start exhibiting other behaviors. Staying alone in the tank saves the goldfish from the stress of having tank mates.

Do Goldfish Need to be in Pairs

However, when you pair your goldfish with tank mates, there are more benefits than when it lives alone in the tank. It is vital to provide your goldfish with a partner because it helps the goldfish interact and reduces the chance of loneliness. Also, it is good to have at least one suitable tank mate with your goldfish.

It is even illegal in some countries like Switzerland to keep only one goldfish in a tank. You can decide to keep one goldfish in a tank, but it is best to keep them in groups. The more the number of fish, the better your goldfish interactions.

Do Goldfish Get Lonely When One Dies

Like humans, fish have an advanced nervous system that helps them understand and perceive complex emotional feelings. It allows them to perceive feelings like the death of a tank mate or friend. This ability allows them to enter a mourning mood for losing a close one and telling on their health.

Goldfish also have this complex system that makes them understand the feeling of losing a close one. This feeling is also similar to what the fish feel when you remove a tank mate from the tank. Goldfish understand and have the emotional feeling of the death of a tank mate or friend.

So when one of your goldfish dies, the other one feels and mourns the death of the other. At this point, the goldfish will show signs of loneliness, probably because it is in a mourning state. The loneliness of the fish might wear off after some days or weeks.

It is advisable to keep the goldfish happy by replacing the dead tank mate. The happiness of your goldfish should be a priority.

How Do You Keep a Single Goldfish Happy

Keeping a single goldfish happy involves providing them with a suitable and enriching environment. Here are some tips:

  • Appropriate Tank Size: Ensure that the goldfish has ample space to swim and grow. A larger tank or pond is preferable to allow for more freedom of movement.
  • Water Quality: Maintain clean water by regularly testing and monitoring water parameters. Perform partial water changes as needed to keep the water clean and free from harmful substances.
  • Filtration and Aeration: Use a reliable filtration system to remove waste and maintain water quality. Aerate the water to ensure adequate oxygen levels.
  • Enrichment: Provide a variety of decorations, plants, and hiding spots in the tank to create an engaging and stimulating environment for the goldfish. This can help prevent boredom and provide mental stimulation.
  • Balanced Diet: Feed the goldfish a balanced and nutritious diet specifically formulated for goldfish. Avoid overfeeding, as excess food can lead to water quality issues.
  • Regular Maintenance: Perform routine tank maintenance, including cleaning the tank and equipment, removing any debris, and checking for any signs of illness or stress.
  • Monitor Behavior: Observe the goldfish regularly to ensure it is active, eating well, and displaying normal behavior. Any changes in behavior or health should be addressed promptly.

Are Goldfish Schooling Fish

Goldfish are not strictly schooling fish like surgeonfish or rabbitfish. They are fish that like having other fishes around. These fish like to stay in groups, but they can also stay in single units without any problem.

Are Goldfish Schooling Fish

Staying in groups gives the goldfish more to do and provides many things to interact with, including other goldfish. They enjoy groups of other goldfish as you will sometimes see males scuffling amongst themselves during feeding and other activities.

The fish love to stay in groups, but they are not schooling fish; they are more of single free-living fish than schooling fish.

What are the Best Tank Mates for Goldfish

Several tank mates are suitable and compatible with goldfish. Goldfish are not aggressive, and they can perfectly live in community tanks, which make it very easy to pick compatible tank mates for them. They can live perfectly with a wide range of fish varieties, as long as the fish is compatible with them.

The fish’s non-aggressive quality allows it to fit with several species of fish. Below are some compatible tank mates of goldfish;

Zebra Danios

The zebra danios are a peaceful, easy-going fish with an easy-care level. They are fast-moving fish. The fish can tolerate and thrive in the same water conditions as goldfish, making them a highly compatible tank mate. They are fast swimmers and can dart swiftly, which makes them safe from goldfish attacks.

Rosy Barbs

The rosy barbs are very easy to care for and only grow to about 6 inches. Rosy barbs are schooling fish, and it is best to keep them in groups of five or six. Ensure you keep watch because barbs like to nip at fins, but the larger the fish group, the more likely they will concentrate on themselves and not goldfish.

White Cloud Mountain Minnows

The white cloud mountain minnow is also a small fish that can thrive in the same water condition as goldfish. They have to rely on speed to outrun goldfish from eating them. These fish are very fast and are compatible tank mates of goldfish.

Dojo Loach

Dojo loaches are peaceful, easy-to-care-for fish. They are bottom dwellers and also like to burrow, saving the substrate of uneaten foods. Goldfish and dojo loaches are compatible tank mates, but you will have to do a lot of filtration because of their large waste discharge.

Giant Danios

The giant danios are easy-going omnivorous fish; they are closely related and are the bigger relative of the zebra danios. You have to keep them in schools because a small number can cause them to become aggressive and stressed. They are suitable tank mates of goldfish, but you have to make sure the danios do not outcompete them for food due to their fast speed.


Platies are peaceful tank mates of goldfish that you need to keep in a ratio of two females to a male. They are hardy fish and can thrive in the same water conditions as goldfish, making them highly compatible tank mates. Platies are voracious eaters and fast swimmers, so you should make sure your goldfish get something to eat.

Banded Corydoras

Banded Corydoras are species of the South American catfish. They are very peaceful, and you should keep them in groups of five or more. The fish are great cleaner fish and are very compatible with goldfish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are common questions about goldfish;

Is it ok to keep two goldfish together in an aquarium?

Goldfish like to stay in groups, which means they will like to be in the company of other goldfish around them. It is good to keep two or more goldfish in the tank for proper interaction.

What do Goldfish like to play with?

Goldfish can play with the grains of sand at the bottom of the tank. They can also play with plants that are in the tank.

How to entertain goldfish?

You can entertain your goldfish with decorations and other items in the tank. You can also make gestures to them to interact and entertain them. Most times, goldfish can have fun with plants and small items in the tank.

Do goldfish recognize their owners?

Goldfish have hidden depth knowledge that make them recognize and remember the human face. They can recognize their owners, and you will notice their happiness and jovial demonstration when they see their owners.



Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.