No, they can’t. Parrot fish are tropical and goldfish are cold-water fish, which means they are incompatible.
Sure, having both in the same tank would be a lovely sight, but you would only be making them suffer by trying to make them live together.
Nevertheless, some people think parrot fish can live with goldfish if you control some outside factors, but should you try it?
Let’s discuss this in detail, so you can make a well-informed decision regarding raising these two intelligent species in the same tank.
Can You Fulfill the Needs of Parrot Fish and Goldfish under the Same Roof?
No. It’s extremely difficult for parrot fish and goldfish to thrive when put together in a tank.
Parrot fish, being a tropical species, prefer a temperature range between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas goldfish thrive in cooler water, around 68 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, some parrot fish are hostile and get irritated quickly. The poor goldfish will probably face endless biting, nipping, and bullying in the tank.
Worst-case scenario, your goldfish may become a delicious snack for the parrot fish.
Bottom line: you can’t fulfill the needs of tropical and cold water fish in the same tank.
You may come across people who tell you success stories of raising parrot fish alongside goldfish but remember that these cases are anomalies.
The two species may survive if outside factors are controlled, but you can’t expect them to thrive.
Why Can’t Parrot Fish Live with Goldfish?
Let’s explore why you shouldn’t keep parrot fish and goldfish together.
- Their Water Temperature Needs Are Entirely Different
As mentioned above, parrot fish live in warm water. If you put them in cold water, their metabolism will slow down, and they will become passive.
On the other hand, goldfish are accustomed to cold water. Keeping them in warm water will increase their metabolism unnaturally and pose health risks, such as suffocation.
Parrot fish require water temperature of at least 76 degrees Fahrenheit and goldfish can live in water temperature up to 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
Owing to this, some people think it might be okay to keep both species at 75 degrees Fahrenheit because it’s so close, right?
It may sound like a smart thing to do, but it’s not. When maintaining the water temperature for any fish, the rule of thumb is to stick to the middle range.
74 degrees Fahrenheit is the highest limit for goldfish, and 76 degrees Fahrenheit is the lowest for parrot fish.
Exposing your fish to extreme temperatures can be fatal in the long run, if not immediately.
- They Don’t Get Along
Goldfish are one of the gentlest species. They love living in groups and interacting with other fish, which is why most people prefer raising them in community tanks.
On the contrary, parrot fish are notorious for being extremely territorial. They are aggressive and get irritated easily, which is why death by bullying is common in their tanks.
As we mentioned, goldfish are likely to suffer physically and mentally if kept in the same tank as parrot fish.
There won’t be a moment when they are not stressed—you will see them swimming in erratic patterns, crashing at the bottom, or rubbing their body against rocks and gravel.
Parrot fish may also nip at their long fins. And in the worst-case scenario, your goldfish (if small in size) will become the next meal of parrot fish.
- Maintaining the Tank Environment Will Be a Task and a Half
If you’ve ever raised a goldfish, you would know how big of a mess they make with their bio-load production.
Parrot fish are no different.
Now, imagine the havoc these two will wreak if kept together. You will have to deal with a buildup of nitrate, ammonia, and nitrite in the tank every few days.
Goldfish start losing the mucus on their slime coats when stressed and uncomfortable, which can pollute the water.
You may notice these signs of ammonia poisoning in your fish: panting, lethargy, bleeding or purple gills, red streaks, and clamping.
On the other hand, nitrite poisoning will show as listlessness, gills turning brown, and rapid gill movement.
Your goldfish might be able to tolerate the toxic buildup in the tank to an extent, but the parrot fish won’t do well in an unbalanced environment.
Dirty water is known to increase the chances of fish developing various diseases.
The point is, you will have to change the water in the tank a lot more frequently than you think—and there won’t be any room for mistakes.
Still Want to Keep Parrot Fish with Goldfish? You Need to Know This!
As explained above, keeping parrot fish and goldfish together is not a good idea.
However, some experienced fishkeepers report that they have had a fair bit of success raising the two species under the same roof.
The key is to choose the right tank size, know your fish’s temperament, and stay on top of tank cleanliness and maintenance.
That said, here are a few important considerations for keeping parrot fish and goldfish together.
- You Will Need a Huge Tank
There are about 80 identified species of parrot fish, and they are observed to be less than 1 to 4 feet in length.
Goldfish, on the other hand, grow up to 14 inches in a pond. The ones kept in an aquarium are up to 6 inches long. However, if you put them in a small tank, yours will stay about 1-2 inches.
Ideally, a 20-gallon tank is needed for a single goldfish, and parrot fish requires a minimum tank size of 30 gallons.
Not to forget, parrot fish need extra space because they can be extremely territorial.
If you want to keep both species in the same tank, you will need a big tank. Think at least 100 gallons.
A cramped tank won’t allow them to grow properly, and compromise their swimming abilities. Health risks will also be high, considering the accumulation of bio-load in the tank.
The tank must also have plenty of plants and decorations to allow the goldfish to hide whenever the parrot fish stresses it out.
Of course, a bigger tank means you will have to invest your money in bigger equipment and fulfill all the responsibilities that come with it. If you think you can afford it, give it a shot.
- You Must Maintain Balanced Water Parameters for Both Species
Parrot fish are not aggressive all the time. Given that you have a big tank, you can encourage them to live peacefully.
What’s more important is that you must achieve balanced water parameters for parrot fish and goldfish if you want them to thrive in the same tank.
Otherwise, your fish may fall ill or die from the toxic buildup or unfavorable temperatures.
That said, it’s best to choose a mid-sized goldfish like the butterfly or ryukin to ensure it won’t grow too big to live with a parrot fish.
- You Must Have Significant Fishkeeping Experience
If it’s your first time bringing fish home, we won’t recommend you take the chance to keep parrot fish and goldfish together.
Your inexperience could translate into a tank disaster in no time.
At the very least, you must have proper knowledge of maintaining the right pH and water temperature in the tank, and conducting frequent water changes.
With the right knowledge/experience and tenacity, you may be able to pull it off and give both species the wonderful life they deserve.
Just be mentally prepared to deal with your fish falling ill or dying unexpectedly (especially if it’s a young goldfish that the parrot fish decides to devour for its next meal).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q.1 Do Parrot Fish and Goldfish Need to Be Fed the Same Food?
No, parrot fish and goldfish do not need to be fed the same food, although they are both omnivores.
Parrot fish eat a coral diet primarily of algae extracted from coral reefs. On the other hand, the staple diet of goldfish consists of pellet or flake food.
It is important to feed both species various foods to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.
2. Do I Need to Add Extra Filtration for Parrot Fish and Goldfish?
It is important to add extra filtration for parrot fish and goldfish. Parrot fish are messy eaters and produce a lot of waste, so a powerful filter is needed to keep the water quality high.
Goldfish also produce a lot of waste and should have a large enough filter to handle the amount of waste they produce.
The Bottom Line
Parrot fish can be kept with goldfish, but they are not ideal tankmates. They come from different parts of the world and have contrasting water chemistry needs and temperaments.
Parrot fish, hailing from the tropics, need warm water to thrive, while goldfish are cold-water fish.
Besides, goldfish will have difficulty adjusting to parrot fish because of the latter’s aggressive and territorial nature.
If you’re adamant about keeping the two species together, you must have a large tank and plenty of hiding places for your goldfish.
Also, both fish can be quite messy, so you should be prepared to do regular water changes to maintain water quality.
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