Can Cory Catfish Live With Goldfish?

Goldfish are not considered to be good tank mates for cory catfish. While both species of fish are not aggressive, the aquarium conditions under which they need to be kept differ, and there may be issues should you decide to keep them in the same aquarium as one another.

Although cory catfish and goldfish are not the most suitable tank mates for one another, it doesn’t mean that they cannot be kept together under certain strict conditions. If you decide to try and keep these two species in the same aquarium as one another, it is best to take certain precautions before deciding to do so.

Why Getting Cory Catfish To Live With Goldfish Is Challenging

Although some successfully keep cory catfish and goldfish together, it is not recommended to keep these two species together in the same aquarium. Each fish species prefers different water conditions and thrives in different aquarium setups, making it difficult to accommodate the preferences of each species in the same aquarium.

Aquarium Water Temperature

The preferred water temperature of cory catfish and goldfish differs, making it one of the factors why these two species of fish are not suitable for one another as tank mates.

Cory catfish tend to prefer a warmer water temperature of between 72- and 78-degrees Fahrenheit. Goldfish tend to prefer cooler water temperatures between 65- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit.

Although you can adjust your aquarium’s water temperature to accommodate both species of fish, it is not recommended as both fish will not be within their ideal water temperature range.

If you adjust the temperature to accommodate both species, it will result in the temperature being slightly cooler than the preferred temperature that cory catfish need to thrive and slightly warmer than the preferred temperature for goldfish.

Corydoras fish

Aquarium Water Conditions

Cory catfish tend to be bottom-dwelling and spend most of their lives scavenging for food in the substrate of your aquarium. Goldfish tend to dwell more in the middle and upper levels of your aquarium looking for food and are messy eaters that tend to produce more waste than many other species of fish.

Another reason why cory catfish and goldfish do not make good tank mates for one another is that the amount of mess and waste that goldfish produce makes the water quality of the aquarium that they live in degrade quite quickly. This makes it less suitable to live in for species of fish, such as cory catfish, which thrive in good water quality conditions.

The large amount of mess and waste produced by goldfish results in a much higher nitrite and ammonia level in the water, which can result in many health issues for cory catfish, which are kept in the same aquarium as they do not cope well with poor water quality.

Aquarium Size

Due to the significant difference in size between goldfish and cory catfish, it is important to consider what size aquarium is best for keeping each fish species.

Goldfish grow much larger than cory catfish and need more space to swim around and thrive. Conversely, Cory catfish grow to much smaller sizes than goldfish and therefore require much less space to swim around and thrive.

This means that goldfish require a much larger aquarium than cory catfish to thrive. Should you place a goldfish in an aquarium that is not large enough, they may not have enough space to swim around comfortably, which can result in the goldfish becoming stressed.

If your goldfish becomes stressed, it will harm its well-being, resulting in poor appetite and a weak immune system which may cause your fish to be susceptible to illnesses and have a shorter lifespan.

Feeding Habits Of Cory Catfish And Goldfish

Cory catfish are bottom feeders that spend most of their time sifting through the aquarium’s substrate in search of food. Goldfish dwell mostly in the upper regions of the water in the aquarium and tend to look for food on the surface of the water.

If cory catfish and goldfish were to be kept in an aquarium together, the goldfish would eat as much food as they can from the surface of the water before it can sink to the bottom for the cory catfish to be able to reach their food, leaving the catfish with little to no food to eat.

Over time, this may result in the cory catfish being underfed, which may lead to issues with their metabolism, causing them to become less active and potentially ill due to being malnourished, and they will eventually die due to lack of food and nutrients.

Gold fish or goldfish floating swimming underwater in fresh aquarium tank with green plant. marine life.
Gold fish or goldfish floating swimming underwater in fresh aquarium tank with green plant. marine life.

How To Keep Cory Catfish And Goldfish Together

Although there are many reasons why these two species of fish do not make good tank mates for one another, they can live in the same aquarium under certain conditions where the aquarium is regularly and well maintained.

Choosing The Correct Size Aquarium

For cory catfish and goldfish to happily co-exist in the same aquarium, you must ensure that the size of the aquarium that you choose to keep them in is large enough to accommodate both species of fish living in it.

Although cory catfish are a small fish species and do not require much space, getting a fairly large aquarium that can accommodate the larger-sized goldfish is essential. To get an idea of what size aquarium is adequate to accommodate both species, you should generally have an aquarium with at least 10 gallons of water per cory catfish and 20 gallons per goldfish.

Ensuring that you have a big enough aquarium allows each species of fish to be able to have space to grow and thrive peacefully with one another without them having to cross paths too often.

Setting Up The Ideal Aquarium Environment

When keeping cory catfish and goldfish together in the same aquarium, you need to add some live plants and aquarium ornaments to your setup. These plants and ornaments will serve as hiding places for your cory catfish and allow them to stay out of the way of goldfish, who may try and bully your cory catfish occasionally.

It is also important to add a soft, finely ground substrate into your aquarium so that your cory catfish can rest on the bottom of your aquarium without being harmed by sharp or rocky substrates and so they can sift through the substrate to look for food.

Choosing The Correct Temperature For Cohabitation

Although goldfish prefer cooler water temperatures and cory catfish prefer slightly warmer water, they can co-exist when the water temperature for the two species is set properly to accommodate both their preferences.

Cory catfish prefer water temperatures between 72- and 78-degrees Fahrenheit. Still, they can survive in slightly lower temperatures as long as the temperature does not fall below 68 degrees. Goldfish prefer water temperatures between 65- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit but can withstand temperatures up to 74 degrees.

Therefore, you should set your aquarium’s water temperature to between 70- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit to accommodate both species of fish in your aquarium.

Choosing The Correct Feeding Methods

To ensure that your cory catfish and goldfish are both adequately fed, you must feed them using different methods. Although both fish may enjoy live foods and can feed on one another’s diets, it is important to feed them using different methods daily to ensure that both species of fish are adequately fed.

This means you should feed goldfish with floating foods, such as pellets or flakes, while feeding your cory catfish sinking pellets or wafers simultaneously. By doing this, you can ensure both species of fish are adequately fed, as the goldfish will focus on eating the floating food and leave the bottom-feeding catfish to enjoy their sinking pellets or wafers at the bottom of the tank.

Maintaining The Correct Water Quality

Due to the high amount of waste that goldfish produce, it is vital to ensure that you have a good filtration system to filter out all the harmful chemicals and toxins that may cause issues for your cory catfish. It is also important to do regular water changes to ensure good water quality.


Although cory catfish and goldfish may not make the best tank mates, they can certainly co-exist peacefully under the correct aquarium conditions. To allow for successful cohabitation, you must ensure that you have the correct size aquarium set up and environment, maintain good water quality and choose the correct feeding methods and water temperature.