Bristlenose Pleco and Goldfish Do They Make Good Tankmates?

Last Updated on February 28, 2022 by cmoarz

Bristlenose Pleco and Goldfish do they make good tankmates? Bristlenoses are one of the most popular freshwater fish in the aquarium trade, right alongside goldfish. So it’s no surprise that some people would like to mix the two in the same tank.

But are they compatible with each other as tankmates, or will there be trouble?

Can a Bristlenose pleco live with goldfish?

Yes, in general, there should be no problem for a goldfish and a bristlenose pleco to live together in the same tank, assuming it’s large enough for both species. Both species enjoy the same environment and don’t inhabit the same tank space.

(Be sure to read the warning at the bottom of this post for clarification on the dangers)

Plecos tend to stay at the bottom of the tank and scavenge for food, while goldfish will swim about in the middle and top levels, rarely going to the bottom of the tank.

So provided there is enough space for both to live comfortably, they should get along fine.

Are Bristlenose Plecos aggressive?

Bristlenose plecos can be a bit territorial and may become aggressive towards other fish if they feel their territory is being threatened.

But typically they are not aggressive towards other fish and should not present a problem if housed with goldfish in an adequately sized tank.

It’s important to remember that both goldfish and plecos are relatively large fish and need a lot of space to themselves, so a big tank is absolutely necessary.

If you are thinking of adding a bristlenose pleco to your tank, be sure to keep an eye on him and remove him if he starts to become aggressive towards the goldfish.

I heard the plecos will suck the slime off a goldfish, is this true?

Yes, it’s true that plecos will suck the slime off a goldfish, but only if the pleco is starving.

A well-fed pleco should have zero interest in going near a goldfish.

It’s absolutely IMPERATIVE that if you are going to mix these 2 species together in the same tank that the bristlenoses are kept well fed with a 20% protein 80% algae mix. (algae wafers are good with the occasional shrimp wafer).

So if you’re providing enough food for both your fish, you don’t need to worry about the pleco sucking the slime off the goldfish, which could cause injury and death to the goldy.

Words of warning!

The goldfish should always be bigger than the pleco until they are both sufficiently large enough to not bother each other. A baby pleco will start out about 1.5 inches and a baby goldfish will be about .5 inches so provide accordingly.

Not all goldfish and not all plecos can live together!!!

Both species have very different needs and only a few subspecies cross over in environmental habitability.

Some plecos are also more aggressive than bristlenose plecos and could be aggressive towards a goldfish.

If you are thinking of adding a pleco to your tank, be sure to do some research on the specific subspecies of pleco you are considering to make sure they are compatible with the goldfish species you have.


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!