aquarium guide: Can Platy Fish Live With Goldfish?

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Choosing the right fish for your freshwater aquarium takes some careful planning and consideration. If your fish don’t get along, fights could break out and what’s more, not all fish can live in the same conditions. But what about platyfish and goldfish; can they live together?

While platies and goldies are both popular beginner fish, you will need to choose between them. It is possible to house them together in the same tank but this isn’t the best idea. Not only will these fish not get along very well but they also have different needs in terms of water conditions.

If you like the idea of caring for platies and goldfish then we would suggest setting up two separate aquariums to ensure that both species’ needs are adequately met.

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Problems With Keeping Platy Fish And Goldfish Together

Many people like the idea of taking care of platyfish due to their beautiful appearance and goldfish are among some of the most popular freshwater fish on the planet. They are both excellent beginner species but unfortunately, they should never be kept in the same aquarium. This is largely because they both have very different needs when it comes to water conditions and general care. It would be very difficult for either of these types of fish to adapt to the needs of the other. If you want your fish to be as comfortable as possible, you will need to house them separately.

There are many things that make these fish incompatible and we would like to go into a little more detail surrounding this to help you better understand some of the problems you are likely to face when keeping them together.

Tank Size

Platies are relatively small freshwater fish that don’t typically grow much larger than two and half inches, and this is at the extreme end of things. On the other hand, the goldfish is a larger fish and some specimens can grow as large as twelve inches!

For this reason, goldfish need a much bigger tank than their platy counterparts. In most cases, we would recommend at least a large 50-gallon tank for goldfish only. If you did put platies into this tank, they wouldn’t have a problem with how spacious it was but if you tried to put a goldfish into a smaller tank designed for platies, it wouldn’t be happy. Platy tanks are generally anywhere between 15 and 20 gallons, so much too small for a goldie.

It is often believed that goldfish can be kept in a bowl but this is a very outdated and false concept. These fish have rather long lifespans and need a home where they can thrive and be comfortable. Moreover, a goldfish will produce considerably more waste which will mess up the balance in a smaller tank.

Water Temperature

One of the reasons that so many people think you can keep goldfish and platyfish together is that they are both freshwater species. But they come from vastly different climates and water types and adapting to each other’s conditions would be nigh on impossible.

The platy is a tropical species that comes from warm waters up to 78ºf whereas goldfish live in much cooler waters. The goldfish will be happy in water with a temperature as low as 60º, although going up to 74º is possible. Since platies can survive in water as cool as 72ºf, many people think that this makes them a good match. But the goldfish’s highest temperature falls at the lower end of the pilates requirements.

If you tried to keep a goldfish in a heated tank, it wouldn’t be happy and this could also lead to health problems.


As we have already discovered, the goldfish will produce a lot more waste than the platy. Now, if you’re willing to perform a lot of maintenance then keeping them in a smaller aquarium might seem like a good idea. But we must point out, once again, that goldfish need more space.

If the goldfish tank is not correctly maintained then the water chemistry will quickly be thrown out of balance and you may end up with dangerous spikes in ammonia. This is especially true of smaller tanks. You will need to make sure that you have a reliable and strong filter to keep the water clean and you’ll also need to perform regular water changes.

On the other hand, platies are sometimes OK to keep in a tank without a water filter. Of course, this does depend on whether the tank is heavily planted and how many other fish you are keeping in there.

Feeding Time

One of the most important things to think about when pairing any fish is whether they will get on at mealtimes. If one species is more aggressive than the other then the more timid fish may miss out on food and important nutrients.

The goldfish is a very timid and reserved fish that should never be kept with aggressive tank mates. While the platy is not considered to be especially aggressive, it certainly has a much more vibrant personality than the goldie meaning that it may become dominant when feeding.

The platies may gobble up the food before the poor goldfish have even realized that you’ve put it into the aquarium.


In the previous section of this post, we detailed how the platy is a lot more outgoing than the goldfish. Kept on their own or with other similar temperamental fish, they come across as very peaceful and don’t really cause too many issues.

However, throw them in with a less dominant fish and they may begin to create some problems. They probably won’t attack any of the other fish in the tank but they could assert themselves a little too much.

Another issue comes with breeding. If your platyfish spawn then the large goldfish are likely to accidentally eat the young. They won’t necessarily do this knowingly so it is best to avoid keeping them together at all.

What Fish Should I Keep With My Platy And Goldfish?

You should spend some time thinking about the right types of fish to put with your goldies and platies. It is important to think about water conditions and tank size as well as how compatible certain species are based on their temperament and behaviors. Many aquarists also pay attention to the types of foods that fish eat as it is often easier to keep fish with similar dietary requirements.

Goldfish pair well with things like rosy barbs, zebra danios, tetras, bristle nose plecos and cloud mountain minnows. On the other hand, if you are looking to find a good tank mate for your platyfish, you might consider species such as swordtails, guppies, neon tetras, mollies, and gouramis. Goldfish require peaceful fish that will live alongside them quietly and with no issues. Platies should be paired with species that have very similar behavior as them.


For beginners fish keepers, it can be tempting to just go for some of the most popular aquarium species and bung them all into the same tank. However, this is not always a good idea as some fish do not get on very well with others.

While goldfish and platyfish are both popular with newcomers to fish keeping, they should not be kept together. This is due to the fact that they have differing needs and may not get along in terms of behavior. If you wish to keep both species you should set up two tanks and keep them separately.

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