Do goldfish get lonely by themselves?

Last Updated on November 26, 2021 by cmoarz

Have you recently lost a goldfish and now you’re wondering if goldfish get lonely if one dies? or maybe you’ve always had just one pet fish and you are wondering if you need to get a tank mate or other fish to keep your goldy company?

This answer aims to answer your questions about what to put in your goldfish tank and whether or not goldfish get lonely on their own.

Is my goldfish lonely?

Right off the bat, We should identify that goldfish are not shoaling (schooling) fish. But that doesn’t mean they are solitary fish, like bettas.

Goldfish, in fact, are quite social creatures. They could get lonely if one dies and they are the only remaining goldfish in the tank. Whether they grieve the death of others is an unknown to us at this time. It’s quite possible as it has been witnessed in similar species.

They like to interact with their environment and are constantly looking for attention from other goldfish or even you!

It’s important to note that goldfish memories are much longer than 3 seconds as the common myth goes. In fact, it’s been shown they have a memory of up to 5 months.

As far as suitable tank mates go, there should be more than one fish in a goldfish tank.

Some goldfish can get quite large, larger than koi, and should be housed appropriately.

Goldfish produce a lot of waste so keep that in mind when deciding to get another goldfish or a bigger tank.

Other fish species can also keep one goldfish occupied, But it’s still better to have two goldfish of the same species or similar traits and size than one goldfish that’s small and one that is large or an entirely different subspecies.

Goldfish do very well on koi ponds with other similarly sized koi, and seem to be just as social as the (very intelligent) koi itself.

They are very active fish and tend to come up to the edge of the pond or stream to see their owners pass by.

They socialize with both the koi and humans, as well as the other goldfish.

Do goldfish get depressed, Do fish grieve?

It might be strange to think goldfish can get depressed. And really it wasn’t long ago that most people would instantly say “no” fish don’t really have these feelings.

Well, a researcher named Julian Pittman, a professor at the department of biological and environmental sciences at Troy University says they not ONLY suffer from depression, But it’s easy to diagnose!

It turns out that quite a few things can make a goldfish depressed.

  • Not having other tank mates
  • same plants all the time
  • bad tank water parameters and water temperature
  • not enough space, the tank size isn’t appropriate for how big the goldy is
  • No proper feeding time schedule

As a social fish, it’s important there’s other fish in the tank to keep goldfish happy, In a well-decorated tank that’s big enough for goldfish living in it.

They should be pit put on a proper feeding schedule so they get enough food on a predictable timescale.

It’s clear that these creatures are more intelligent than first thought. They continue to surprise us with their abilities and behaviors.

If you want to keep your goldfish happy, it’s best to not only have at least one other fish in the tank with them but be sure they can communicate well by giving them active, healthy socialization.

Is it cruel to keep a goldfish alone?

It’s cruel to keep schooling fish alone, and it’s our opinion that it’s also cruel to keep a social fish like goldfish alone.

Of course, Most pet stores won’t tell you this. They just want to sell sell sell, But it’s important to give your goldfish company permanently.

It’s your responsibility to ensure they have a healthy environment and proper tank mates, even when you leave for the holidays or on vacation.

It’s also your responsibility to keep them in a larger tank with room for many other fish.

Goldfish benefit from live plants and toys but should also have at least one other fish as a tank mate, preferably of the same species to keep them busy and active.

Goldfish are hardy fish, but a single goldfish live alone won’t be nearly as happy as one with another goldfish tank mate swimming around with him in the same tank.

Needless to say, If you’re going on vacation or leaving town for any amount of time, you will need someone to feed your goldy every day, or consider getting an automatic fish feeder that can be set on a timer and schedule.

If you are unable to get a second goldfish (because of their size), and for some reason can’t upgrade to a big aquarium, consider some other compatible tank mates such as:

  • Ricefish
  • Corydras
  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Platties
  • Hoplo Catfish
  • Rubbernose Pleco
  • Dojo Loach
  • Hillstream Loach
  • etc

Goldfish are fairly slow laid back fish, so if you intend on having more fish in the tank, consider only getting slower, peaceful fish.

When one fish swims around above another, Goldfish have been known to get flustered and confused. They will often not know which direction to swim, or erratically dart across the tank.

Faster, smaller fish (such as zebra danios) will also force the goldfish to race for food, which can cause stress and malnutrition.

However, In a big enough tank, goldfish don’t have to compete for food. It’s important they have plenty of room to feed and swim around where they feel calm and relaxed

Related Questions:

Are goldfish tropical fish?

How to Cure Goldfish Depression

You can cure goldfish depression by having a well-planned, clean tank that is large enough for the goldfish. If it’s alone, Add another of its species. Check water parameters often and add a heater and stone if you don’t have one. Always use substrate. Naked tanks cause anxiety in goldfish.

Do Depressed Fish Need Medication?


Owner of and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!