Do Goldfish Get Lonely? Do They Need Company?

Goldfish is one of the most common freshwater fish that belongs to Cyprinidae, known as the carp family. It is the smallest member of this family but well-known for its colorful appearance. The goldfish is slightly different from most fishes in the carp family because it does not possess mouth barbels.

Goldfish are not schooling fish and they enjoy the company of other goldfish. They can grow tired of the tank when they are the only ones there, which means they can get lonely. Goldfish can get bored, but this is not very common.

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.

There are several ways you can tell if your goldfish is lonely or bored. There are signs your fish gives when it is lonely. These signs help you to keep track of your goldfish health.

  • Appearance: The appearance of your goldfish tells a lot about the extent of its loneliness. Goldfish usually have bright colors, but when you start noticing flat areas on the scales or the eyes, it shows that the Goldfish is not feeling too well and is mostly lonely. Ensure you find a solution to the fish’s loneliness when you notice a change in its appearance.
  • Loss of appetite: Another sign you will notice is that your goldfish stops eating regularly. It develops loss of appetite and starts being picky with foods. It would be best if you started looking for a solution for your fish’s loneliness when you start noticing these signs.
  • Swimming activities: Goldfish are active and happy swimmers. When lonely, you will notice they are not swimming as they do, and they tend to float, sink, or stay in one position. Ensure you look for a way to get rid of the loneliness to keep your fish happy.

Can a Goldfish Live Alone?

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 Need to be 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.

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

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.