What Do Goldfish Like in their Tank? (9 Must-haves for a Happy and Healthy Goldfish)

Yesterday, I was planning to make some improvements in my Goldfish tank and wondering what do Goldfish like in their tank?

Obviously, they can’t talk so they cannot tell me what they actually like. 

But based on my experience of several years, I think there are few things that Goldfish really enjoy and that are actually beneficial for them.

And in this post, I am going to talk about them.

Goldfish like plants, variety in their food, a large, clean tank with a stress-free environment, lots of oxygen in their tank, nice cold soft water, other Goldfish as mates and some decorations in their tank.

Most of these things are actually beneficial for them because it contributes to creating a healthy environment for them in the tank.
What do Goldfish Like in their Tank?

What do Goldfish Like in their Tank?

What do Goldfish Like in their Tank? (9 Must-haves for a Happy and Healthy Goldfish) image

1. Plants

Plants are great to put into an aquarium. It not only enhances the look of the fish tank but also helps to increase oxygen in the fish tank.

Goldfish really like plants. 

As they are omnivorous sometimes they munch on them.

And plants also provide a shelter for them and they really like to sleep besides plant because it provides them a sense of security.

While selecting plants for your Goldfish aquarium you should ensure that the plants are compatible with your Goldfish, the water temperature and the soft water that Goldfish like.

There are few plants like Anacharis plant, Anubias plant, Java fern, and Java moss, which are really good for Goldfish.

I have talked in detail about these plants in my other post.

2. Food variety

Goldfish are omnivorous scavengers. They like to feed on insects, bloodworms and sometimes they like to snack on plants.

So you should feed them a variety of food.

Fish flakes and pellets usually fulfill their non-vegetarian diet.

You can also feed them bloodworms, insects, etc.

For a vegetarian diet, you can feed them chopped apples, grapefruits, blueberries and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, etc.

You should feed two to three times per day to your Goldfish.

It is very easy to overfeed a Goldfish.

Goldfish don’t have a stomach so overfeeding can be fatal.

So you should feed them the amount of food they can consume within 2 minutes.

Or you should feed them food equal to the size of their eyes.

Another thing to keep in mind while feeding a Goldfish is, you should pre-soak the food before feeding the Goldfish.

Take a plastic cup fill it with aquarium water, add some fish food in it, stir it well and then give it to the Goldfish.

If you give food this way, then it will not dry up their swim bladder.

Dry swim bladder can be very severe and can even cause death!

3. A large tank

Goldfish can grow very big so they require a large tank for their proper growth.

Also, Goldfish produce a lot of bioloads which produces a lot of ammonia.

And in a small tank, the ammonia level can really get high very quickly, which is very harmful to your Goldfish.

So you should put your Goldfish in a large tank.

20 gallons for Goldfish is a good rule of thumb to follow.

If you have a small Goldfish then 5 gallons per inch is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Also, don’t ever put Goldfish in a fishbowl, because fishbowl cannot provide them a healthy environment for their optimum growth.

Also, don’t put your Goldfish into the Goldfish starter kit because it is very small for even a single Goldfish.

Overall, put your Goldfish in a large tank. Goldfish really like a rectangular tank because it provides them a lot of room to swim.

4. Clean tank

It is pretty obvious, every fish require a clean and healthy fish tank.

Clean tank not only looks good but it is also good for your Goldfish.

To maintain a clean fish tank you should use a high-quality aquarium filter.

Aquarium filter do physical, chemical and biological filtration.

If you have a small aquarium (maybe up to 20 gallons) then a powerful HOB filter is sufficient.

But if you have a large aquarium then just a HOB filter cannot handle it. 

If you have a budget then you should go for a canister filter.

You can also use a siphon to clean debris, uneaten food and other waste trapped in the gravel. Check out our recommended Vaccum Cleaner or Siphon

How often you will need to use a siphon is really depends on if your tank is planted or not and if yes, then how thickly it is planted.

For example, if your aquarium is very thickly planted then you will not need to ever use a siphon to clean gravel because plants will take care of gravel cleaning.

But if it is not thickly planted then you should use siphon frequently (maybe once a week) to clean your tank.

You can also put Pleco fish and Cory cats with your Goldfish to help keep your aquarium clean.

Pleco fish feed on algae and Cory cat is bottom feeder so it will keep the gravel clean.

5. Stress-free environment

You should always keep track of the ammonia levels in your aquarium.

Because ammonia is very harmful to your Goldfish and it makes your fish stressed.

The bioload produced by your Goldfish, decayed plants, uneaten food creates ammonia in the aquarium.

Ideally, your aquarium should not contain any ammonia.

Even 2 PPM of ammonia can cause fish to die in your aquarium.

So you should always keep track of the ammonia levels of your aquarium.

The simplest way to test the ammonia level in your aquarium is by using an ammonia test kit. Check out our recommended Test Kit

If you noticed a high ammonia level in your aquarium then there are several ways you can use to lower or remove the ammonia completely from your aquarium.

Ways to reduce or get rid of ammonia in your tank

  1. Firstly, you should put your Goldfish into a cycled aquarium.
  2. You can do a partial water change up to 30% frequently (on a weekly basis) to reduce ammonia in your aquarium.
  3. Uneaten food usually causes high ammonia in the aquarium so you should remove it using a fishnet or by using a siphon.
  4. Also, if you found a lot of uneaten food then you should reduce the quantity of food you feed to your Goldfish.

6. Oxygen-rich tank

Oxygen is very important for not only Goldfish but any fish.

Goldfish is a very active fish and it requires a good amount of oxygen levels in the aquarium for its proper growth.

The low oxygen level can cause serious breathing disorders in your Goldfish.

There are various signs that can tell you if your fish tank has a low oxygen level or not.

Signs of low oxygen in the tank

  • If you noticed your Goldfish is coming on the surface gasping for air then your tank has a low oxygen level.
  • If you noticed your Goldfishmoving around less and eating less then this could be a sign that your fish tank has a low oxygen level.
  • If you noticed the rapid movement of gills of your Goldfish then your aquarium has a low oxygen level.

What causes the low oxygen level?

Overstacking- As mentioned above Goldfish require a lot of space so if you are putting many Goldfish in a small aquarium then this can cause a low oxygen level in the aquarium.

High water temperature- If your aquarium has a high water temperature then it causes a low oxygen level in the aquarium. Because high-temperature water cannot hold as much as oxygen as cold water.

Lack of water movement- If your aquarium has very less water moment then this can cause low oxygen levels because it is the movement of water that helps to create the aquarium.

Low lighting- If you have a planted Goldfish aquarium then the plants require a sufficient amount of light for photosynthesis.

If it doesn’t get a sufficient amount of light then instead of releasing oxygen it starts releasing carbon dioxide which decreases oxygen levels in the aquarium.

Chemicals and medications- If you are using a lot of chemicals or medications in your tank then this could be the reason your aquarium has low oxygen levels.

How to increase the oxygen level in your aquarium?

If you noticed a low oxygen level in your aquarium there are several ways to increase oxygen in your tank.

1. Pour down water from some height

The simplest way to increase the oxygen level in your tank in an emergency is to simply pour down the water of your aquarium using a jar or pitcher from some height.

When you do that the water will get exposed to the air which helps to oxygenate the tank.

2. Use an air pump 

Installing an air pump in your aquarium is the simplest and most reliable way to increase oxygen in your aquarium.

Check out our recommended Air Pump

3. Large water change

A partial large water change up to 50% can also instantly helps to increase the oxygen level in your tank.

4. Ice cubes

If the oxygen level in your aquarium is low due to high water temperature then by lowering the water temperature you can increase the oxygen level in your tank.

To do that, put some ice cubes in a zip-closed bag and hang it inside the aquarium, it will cool down the water and increase the oxygen level in your tank. Because cool water can hold more oxygen compared to high-temperature water.

5. Use a HOB filter

If your aquarium has low oxygen levels due to lack of movement of water then using a HOB filter can help to increase water movement, which will ultimately increase the oxygen level in your aquarium.

6. Use a battery-powered air pump

If you are facing a low oxygen level problem in your aquarium during power cuts, then using a battery-powered air pump can keep the oxygen levels up during power cuts.

7. Use a spray bar

You can also use a spray bar to increase the oxygen level in your aquarium because the spray bar will expose water to the air that will help to aerate the aquarium.

8. Use a fountain

If you are facing a low oxygen level problem in your pond then using a fountain is a great way to increase oxygen.

7. Water quality

Goldfish are cold-water fish. In their natural habitat, they live in cold rivers, ponds or lakes.

So you should emulate the same water quality in your aquarium.

Some Goldfish like Fantail Goldfish are sensitive to very cold water.

So if you have a Fantail Goldfish then you should not keep them in too cold water for a prolonged period of time.

Also, if you put Goldfish in high-temperature water then it can cause nerve damage.

The ideal temperature for Goldfish is about 62 to 72-degree Fahrenheit.

So you should regularly check the temperature of your aquarium.

If you noticed high water temperature then there are several ways to decrease the water temperature in your aquarium.

Ways to decrease the water temperature of your fish tank

  1. First of all, you should turn off the lights of your aquarium and open its lead.
  2. Then you should put a table fan near the aquarium in such a way that it will blow air on the surface of the aquarium.
  3. You can also put some ice cubes in a zip-closed bag and hang it inside the aquarium to lower the temperature.
  4. If your aquarium is directly exposed to sun rays then you should move your aquarium into a room where there are no sun rays.

Goldfish thrive in soft water so you should maintain a 7.0 to 7.4 pH of your water.

8. Mates

The ideal mates for your Goldfish are other Goldfish.

You should try to put the same breed of Goldfish in a tank but you can also put other breeds as well.

As mentioned before, you can also put Pleco fish and Cory cats with your Goldfish.

They also help to keep your aquarium clean.

Besides, you can also put Zebra danios, Rosy barbs, Bristlenose plecos with your Goldfish.

9. Decorations

Goldfish really like the decorations. They are very active fish and they really enjoy decorations.

In their natural habitat, Goldfish sleep near plants or stones and in the aquarium, they like to sleep near decorations.


So basically Goldfish like a healthy environment and other things like a variety of foods that actually is beneficial for them.

Goldfish like plants and decorations that offer you to give your aquarium a unique and interesting look.

Photo of author
Prathmesh Gawai
He is the main author and editor at Aquagoodness.com. And he loves to share helpful information on aquarium and/or fishkeeping hobby. Prathmesh has over five years of aquarium and/or fishkeeping experience. Currently, he has a Betta fish tank. He has written hundreds of articles on various aquarium fish species and on fish tank maintenance over the last five years. Connect with him on YouTube here. Learn more about him here.

4 thoughts on “What Do Goldfish Like in their Tank? (9 Must-haves for a Happy and Healthy Goldfish)”

  1. Thanks for all the info. Article provided so much I didn’t know. Like keeping corys & a Pleco in the tank with the 3 fancies I’ve had since December 2019. I thought they were strictly tropical fish. The goldfish are in a 30 gallon vertical tank; I know it’s not ideal. But, it’s what I already have, unused, in addition to a 55 gallon tank, I’ve maintained for years as a tropical tank.
    The goldfish are doing really well; I’m sure they’ll do even better when I put some other suggestions in place! Like mixing their food w/ water before feeding. How is nutrition absorbed if they don’t have s

    • Hey, Mary. Glad you found the info helpful.
      Yes, you can keep corydoras and pleco with goldfish. Just to let you know, the ideal temperature range for corydoras is between 60 to 75 ° Fahrenheit and for pleco, it is between 72°F and 86°F.
      So you can easily keep cory with your goldies. But keeping pleco is a bit tricky as they require slightly warmer temperature.

  2. All good info! I do think it should be pointed out that you need to be very careful when choosing a pleco to go with your goldfish. Some types are ok, however, common plecos get too big for most tanks. Also, many ple is, if underfed, might suck the slime coat off of your goldfish. And with corydoras, you need to be very careful as well, due to their spines. Goldfish get quite large and once they are big enough, they often try to eat corydoras. The cory’s spines will cause it to get stuck in your goldfish’s mouth, and they are extremely difficult to remove without killing one or both fish. Not everyone has these issues, but I have seen enough posts in my goldfish groups to know that these are real issues and happen a lot. So, I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m just saying please do your research, know your risks, and make an educated decision when choosing what fish you get.


Leave a Comment