Can Plecos Live with Goldfish?

Some types of plecos can live in harmony with goldfish in the same tank. However, you need to adjust the water parameters to make sure that they suit both fish species. 

Goldfish aren’t the easiest fish to pair in a tank despite being friendly. This is why you need to be careful about the types of fish you consider to become their tank mates.

In our article, we’ll dig deeper into this topic and explain how to introduce plecos to a goldfish tank. So, keep reading.

Can Plecos Live with Goldfish?

Goldfish aren’t aggressive fish, but they’re messy and produce a lot of waste in a freshwater tank. This is why finding the best tank mates for goldfish isn’t always an easy task.

Some types of plecos can live peacefully with goldfish. Having both fish will create a balanced aquarium, and they’ll both co-exist in peace. However, you need to make sure that the tank and water parameters are adjusted to suit both species.

In general, bristlenose plecos and rubber lip plecos can become good goldfish tank mates. Bristlenose plecos don’t grow to be too large and rubber lip plecos are tolerant of cold temperatures.

Bushymouth Pleco

Why Should You Keep Plecos and Goldfish in the Same Tank?

Plecos are dull-colored fish, unlike attractive goldfish. Yet, having both fish in the same tank creates a balanced ecosystem.

Plecos eat the algae in your tank, keeping it clean. Algae don’t harm goldfish, as long as you’re providing them with enough food. Moreover, you won’t spend enough time cleaning your tank.

Can Goldfish Eat Plecos?

Goldfish aren’t able to eat plecos. Goldfish can reach a length between 8 and 12 inches, so they can be smaller or the same size as most plecos.

Some tiny plecos can be smaller than goldfish, but still, they won’t attack them. Goldfish are generally friendly fish, and plecos are covered in bony plates that protect them from bites.

Can Plecos Eat Goldfish?

Plecos are friendly and don’t usually attack other fish. They can get territorial when they become too large and might start attacking members of their own species. However, they rarely attack other fish, including goldfish.

In very rare cases, larger plecos might start sucking on the slimy skin of goldfish. This might happen if you’re not providing your plecos with enough food. Plecos feed on algae, but they need other types of food, like live food.

Moreover, as they grow older, plecos tend to prefer other types of food over algae. Plecos might eat goldfish only when they’re dead and decomposing.

Why There Might Be Problems if You Keep Plecos and Goldfish in the Same Tank?

In an aquarium, plecos and goldfish might not be the perfect tank mates for several reasons. However, adjusting the tank requirements for both fish species can stress them both.

  • Some types of plecos will only survive in warm water. Goldfish, on the other hand, prefer to live in cold water.

This is why you need to choose a cold-tolerant pleco for your tank.

  • Some plecos can suck the slime on the goldfish’s body. However, this only happens when plecos aren’t fed properly.

This is common at night when the nocturnal plecos are active and the goldfish are resting. This slime protects goldfish from bacterial infections, so the removal of this slime coat can kill the goldfish.

  • Goldfish can cause a lot of waste in your tank, and together with plecos, they can cause ammonia and nitrite spikes. Your tank will get contaminated easily, and regular water changes can become time-consuming.
  • Plecos prefer fast-moving waterbodies and need to feel strong currents in a home aquarium. However, goldfish prefer to live in gentle currents.

How to Introduce Plecos to a Goldfish Tank

Although they’re not entirely compatible, you can add plecos and goldfish in the same tank if you follow certain steps.

Pick a Big Tank

Since both fish species require plenty of space, you need to pick a big tank to house your pleco and goldfish. Both fish species will thrive in a large tank where there will be enough oxygen for both of them.

Living in a small tank will stress both species and lead to excessive aggression.

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.

Adjust the Temperature

In addition to getting a cold-hardy pleco, you need to make sure that the temperature won’t exceed 74 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, goldfish thrive in temperatures below 74 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the minimum temperature required for plecos.

Most plecos prefer warmer water, so you need to be careful about the type you pick.

Add Enough Plants and Driftwood

Both plecos and goldfish need to live in a planted tank. Plants provide the needed shade and hiding places where these shy fish can spend most of their time.

Plants also provide food and oxygen for both fish, keeping your tank clean and healthy.

Driftwood provides both fish species with plenty of hiding spots, but plecos also feed on it. It’s essential for the development and health of their digestive system.

Install a Filter

Since these two species are messy, you need to install a high-quality filter. It will be able to handle the waste produced by both species, so you won’t have to worry about changing the water that often.

Introduce Plecos to the Tank When They’re Small

For the best results, you should introduce plecos to the freshwater tank when they’re still small. This will minimize the risk of aggression between goldfish and plecos and will allow them to get used to the presence of one another.

If you introduce a large pleco to your tank, it will probably scare your goldfish, even if it won’t attack it.

Provide Plecos With Enough Food

Plecos are generally friendly and won’t attack goldfish unless you don’t provide them with enough food. Without enough food, plecos can suck on the slime coating that covers the goldfish’s body.

Wrap Up

Smaller types of plecos can be good tank mates to goldfish. They won’t attack one another since they’re both friendly.

However, you need to make sure that the tank’s setup is suitable for both species to help them live in harmony.