Can Cherry Barbs Live With Goldfish?

A school of cherry barbs can live with one or two small goldfish, but having these species in the same tank might not be advisable. Goldfish prefer slightly cooler water temperatures than cherry barbs, and there is also a risk that large-sized goldfish might eat the cherries.

Before putting different fish species in the same tank, one should know how compatible the creatures are with one another. The following information will assist aquarium hobbyists who are perhaps contemplating keeping cherry barbs with goldfish.

Cherry Barbs Can Live With Goldfish In Certain Conditions

There is a possibility for cherry barbs (Puntius titteya) to live a healthy, happy life in a tank with goldfish (Carassius auratus).

Both fish varieties belong to the Cyprinidae family. Their tank requirements are also sufficiently similar to make it possible to keep these fish in the same aquarium.

There are, however, specific variables that aquarium enthusiasts must consider if they want these fish to co-habit harmoniously:

  • water temperature requirements
  • size of the fish
  • number of fish

Here is a brief explanation of these variables and their significance for cherry barbs and goldfish living in the same tank.

Goldfish vs Cherry Barbs: Preferred Water Temperatures

Goldfish are temperate fish, unlike cherry barbs which are a tropical species. This distinction means that goldfish prefer slightly cooler tank water temperatures than cherry barbs.

An ideal temperature range for goldfish is between 68F and 71F (depending on climatic and seasonal fluctuations). Goldfish can tolerate water temperatures up to 82F, with the perfect temperature for C. auratus being around 74F.

The optimal water temperature for cherry barbs is between 73F and 81F.

Despite this difference in preferred water temperatures, P. titteya and C. auratus are hardy species. These fish will tolerate temperature ranges extending beyond their optimal water parameters.

Due to their hardiness, goldfish can live in the same aquarium with cherry barbs. The caveat is that the water temperature stays between 70F and 74F and does not drop below 65F or rise above 75F.

Be aware that it is more challenging to maintain stable water temperatures in a small tank. Goldfish in a nano tank might not thrive unless one can consistently keep the water cool enough for this species.

By sannse [CC BY-SA 3.0]

The Size Of The Goldfish Matters

The size of the goldfish is a crucial variable that determines their compatibility with cherry barbs.

One can keep cherry barbs with small goldfish.

The goldfish should be about the same size as the cherry barbs. It is not, however, advisable to have cherry barbs with mid to large-size goldfish.

Goldfish can be territorial and sometimes act aggressively. These fish are also notorious for swallowing animate and inanimate objects.

Due to these characteristics, there is a risk that goldfish might try to eat the minuscule and peaceful cherry barbs.
When goldfish are significantly more massive than cherry barbs, this size differential will likely embolden C. auratus. If the goldfish are large enough to accommodate a cherry barb in their mouth, they should not share a tank.

Average Sizes Of Cherry Barbs And Goldfish

Cherry barbs are diminutive fish with an average length of two inches at maturity.

Goldfish can grow considerably more massive than cherry barbs.

In an outdoor pond, most goldfish varieties have the potential to reach a length of 12 inches or more. Comet and shubunkin are some of the most massive goldfish, usually growing to about 14 inches long.

Fortunately, goldfish do not get this big when kept in aquariums. The size of captive goldfish depends on the size of their tank.

In a nano tank (30 gallons or less), goldfish usually do not grow more than one to two inches long. When kept in larger tanks, these fish typically reach a maximum length of about six inches.

The critical lesson is that cherry barbs have a better chance of living happily with goldfish in smaller tanks. The limited size of the aquarium will ensure that the goldfish don’t get big enough to eat the cherry barbs.

Pay Attention To The Number Of Cherry Barbs VS Goldfish

The ratio of cherry barbs to goldfish in a tank is another critical factor influencing the compatibility of these fish varieties. It is essential that the cherry barbs significantly outnumber the goldfish.

Cherry Barbs are schooling fish. Being in a school provides the barbs with multiple benefits, including protection from larger predators.

In the wild, cherry barb schools often consist of hundreds of fish. When kept in an aquarium, cherry barbs should be kept in groups of at least six individuals or more (depending on the tank size).

One or two cherry barbs will be unsafe in a tank with goldfish. When there are six or more cherry barbs, goldfish will be less likely to bother them.

Goldfish are also schooling fish. Still, their size and boldness mean that the fish can live alone or with one or two other individuals.

So, it is advisable to have a ratio of roughly six cherry barbs to one goldfish. This ratio will ensure that cherry barbs and goldfish can live happily and healthily in the same tank.

What Can Cherry Barbs Live With?

Having established that cherry barbs can live with goldfish under certain conditions, it is worth briefly highlighting other potential tank mates for P. titteya.

Here are some examples of excellent tank mates for cherry barbs:

  • tetras (such as neons and embers)
  • cory catfish
  • bristlenose plecos
  • guppie
  • platys
  • gouramis
  • rasboras
  • mystery snails

These freshwater creatures are minuscule and peaceful, so they are naturally suited to reside with cherry barbs. Indeed, they are generally more compatible with cherry barbs when compared with goldfish.

In addition to these mollusk and fish species, aquarium hobbyists can also keep shrimp with cherry barbs.

Amano shrimp are superb tank mates for cherry barbs. Shrimp and cherry barbs will live in harmony in the same tank and will not trouble each other or compete for food.


Cherry barbs can live with goldfish under certain conditions, but it is probably not advisable. If the goldfish are too big, they might eat the cherry barbs, especially if there are too few barbs in the aquarium.

Remember also that goldfish prefer slightly cooler water than cherry barbs. Maintaining the optimal health of goldfish might be more challenging in nano tanks than in larger aquariums.