Both the goldfish and the platyfish are considered beginner-friendly—ideal for those just starting fishkeeping a hobby. Since they both have easy care requirements, some may think these two fish could be compatible and live together.
Goldfish and platies can live together but should not because their requirements in water conditions do not match. Also, their behaviors may cause incompatibility, and large goldfish could mistake smaller platies for food.
In this article, we will discuss why goldfish and platies should not live together and how these two fish can be kept together if you so desire. We will also cover considerations to make and suggestions for choosing good tank mates for goldfish and platyfish.
- 1 Why Goldfish and Platies Should NOT Live Together?
- 2 Tips for Keeping Goldfish and Platies Together
- 3 Choosing Compatible Tank Mates
- 4 Conclusion
Why Goldfish and Platies Should NOT Live Together?
The simple fact is this: goldfish and platies are not suitable tank mates. There are arguments made for a successful cohabitation of these two fish types, which we will look at a little later. The reality is the requirements for keeping each fish are too different for both to be in their comfort zone at the same time.
Perhaps the most significant difference observed is their water temperature requirements, but these are not the only reasons to keep goldfish and platies apart, as you will soon see.
They Prefer Different Water Temperatures
Though both of these are freshwater fish, the temperature of the water is what is important here. Most platies are tropical fish that enjoy warmer waters ranging from 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 25.5°C) and sometimes even a little warmer. Even temperate platies will prefer waters close to these temperatures.
On the other hand, goldfish are tempered water fish that like the water to be a bit cooler than the platies like it. Depending on the variety, temperatures between 60°F and 74°F (15.5°C and 23°C) are best to keep goldfish happy, healthy, and indeed, alive.
Forcing either type of fish to adapt to the other’s ideal waters will eventually cause serious health problems that could potentially be fatal.
Goldfish Need Bigger Tanks
Goldfish live long and grow large. It is a myth, and yet an unfortunately common misconception that goldfish can be kept in small aquariums—or worse, those tiny, round bowls. Goldfish can grow as big as 12 inches (30 cm) in size and require a spacious 50-gallon (189-liter) aquarium or larger.
Platy fish do not grow nearly as big as goldfish, reaching no more than 2.5 inches or a little over 6 centimeters at best. They can live happily in the smaller 10-gallon (38-liter) aquariums, with a larger school enjoying up to 29-gallon (110-liter) aquariums.
Maintenance Filtration Differences
A strong filter is a must for any goldfish aquarium as goldfish produce large amounts of waste. This rapidly changes the water chemistry; most commonly, ammonia will spike. This happens much quicker in smaller-sized tanks and can lead to health problems or even death (to any fish) without regular water changes and proper maintenance.
While a filter is recommended for platies as well, you can keep them without a filter with the right plants and a controlled number of fish in the aquarium.
Platies Are Very Lively
While platies are not considered to be aggressive fish, they are a little more boisterous than goldfish prefer in their tank companions.
Though platies are, in general, peaceful and tend to keep to themselves, it is possible for them to take an issue with other fish. If this happens, you could end up with physical contact in the way of pushing or even fin nipping. Platies have even been observed chasing goldfish around their tanks, as though they were bullying them.
Platy fish move much faster than goldfish. When it is feeding time, the faster-moving platies will quickly eat most of the food provided, leaving the goldfish hungry, unhappy, and before long, malnourished.
Today’s Friend Is Tomorrow’s Food
It is not unheard-of for larger goldfish to eat platyfish, and they most certainly will gobble up platy fry on sight. Goldfish will eat their own eggs, and adult platies can eat even juvenile platies, but simply due to the size difference, all platies will be under threat from a large enough goldfish.
Tips for Keeping Goldfish and Platies Together
Though the general consensus says these two fish should not live together, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just requires heightened attention to your aquarium so that you meet the needs of both the goldfish and the platies at the same time. Know that not everything is guaranteed to go as you may have planned despite all your efforts.
Here are five top tips for keeping goldfish and platies together:
- Keep them in a large tank. This way, the goldfish have plenty of room to reach full size. Also, it reduces the chance of fin nipping and other negative interactions.
- Keep the water temperature regulated. It needs to be cool enough for the goldfish but not too cold that your platies suffer. This is critical, and the shared range of acceptable water temperatures is tiny.
- Keep on top of maintenance to ensure good water quality. This will mean more time spent keeping the environment ideal.
- Keep an eye on mealtime. You will have to watch to see who is eating what to make sure no fish is left without food. Feeding routines may need to be adjusted to accommodate this.
- Keep in mind that platies reproduce at exponential rates. A healthy female can give birth to anywhere from 8 to 40 fry every month. Furthermore, goldfish will eat them up without thinking twice. Platy fry will need to be separated to survive, or you can allow this to ensure that goldfish get enough food. The choice is up to you.
Choosing Compatible Tank Mates
Opposites do not attract. Not when it comes to fish compatibility, anyway. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep different species together—of course, you can. However, there are a handful of factors to consider when choosing good tank mates for your fish.
First and foremost, fish sharing an aquarium should also share a preference for the same water conditions. This includes water temperature, pH and hardness, fresh or saltwater, and even tank size. You should also consider fish with similar behavior; peaceful fish should not be kept with aggressive fish, for example. Also, look into the dietary needs of each fish as well as their susceptibility to disease.
Taking the time to research good tank mates will spare you from the issues that come with pairing incompatible fish together, including health and nutrition problems, injury, or even death.
Friends for Goldfish
There is no shortage of variety when it comes to goldfish, and you have plenty of options for compatible tank mates. Some of the better options include:
- Bristlenose plecos
- Rubber nose plecos
- Cloud mountain minnows
- Rosy barbs
- Zebra danios
Friends for Platies
Platies are peaceful fish that are also active, so their tank mates should have a similar temperament. Matching the warmer water requirements is also essential. For this reason, many tropical freshwater fish will make good tank mates for platies such as:
- Neon tetras
- Zebra danios
Did you notice some fish were listed as good companions for both goldfish and platyfish? Further evidence that you can make it with proper research, so the right varieties of goldfish and platies can live together happily and comfortably.
It is not recommended for goldfish and platies to live together because they like different water conditions. If you are keeping these two fish together, you must keep conditions ideal for both fish simultaneously, which can be a difficult task.
Luckily, there are plenty of compatible tank mates for both fish to choose from. However, with the proper research and diligent care and maintenance, you can make it possible for these two species to cohabitate successfully.