Can Goldfish Live With Red Eared Slider Turtles?

Can Goldfish Live With Red Eared Slider Turtles?

A red eared slider makes an amazing pet, though their requirements can be complicated and unique. So, if you are planning to bring a goldfish into the tank, you need to be extra careful. But is it a good idea to bring these two animals together?

A red eared slider makes an amazing pet, though their requirements can be complicated and unique. So, if you are planning to bring a goldfish into the tank, you need to be extra careful. But is it a good idea to bring these two animals together?

Keeping goldfish and red eared slider turtles together can be bad news for both. Or, the turtle will simply be unaware of the goldfish as it keeps hiding away.

But if you are planning to keep the goldfish and the red eared slider together, here are a few things you need to know. Let’s get started!

Can Goldfish Live With Red Eared Slider Turtles?

No. Goldfish and red eared turtles are not the best of friends. Rather, a red eared slider turtle will see a goldfish as a snack. Especially if it is a smaller goldfish, your red eared turtle might gobble it up.

Bigger or mid-sized goldfish might be a better choice. But they might bully a smaller turtle. Older turtles turn herbivores and tend to avoid eating fishes. Also, if you are keeping a red eared slider and a goldfish together, choose a big tank with powerful filtration.

Otherwise, the poop released by both the animals will fill up the tank to make it uninhabitable.

How Can A Goldfish Live With A Red Eared Slider?

You can put a goldfish with a red eared slider if the former is at least six inches long. The tank has to be big enough to hold a minimum of 100 gallons of water.

In any case, species like red eared sliders or red-bellied turtles are more compatible with goldfish than musk turtles or snapping turtles. The last two species are serious biters.

There is also a common belief among aquarists that introducing goldfish to the turtle tank will invariably lead to missing or injured fishes. On the other hand, turtles might not be that aggressive if they are introduced in the habitat of fishes.

It is hard to give a definite answer to whether your goldfish will stay happily with your turtle or not. Now, red eared sliders are naturally territorial in nature and that can cause certain issues. They might try to nip or scratch with their claws on purpose. The turtles might chase after the goldfish and eat them afterward.

At the same time, many fish keepers claim to have kept their turtles and fishes together. They have said that their slider turtle is oblivious to the existence of the goldfish.

So, you can try to keep a red eared slider and a goldfish together. But make sure to take the precautions as you will read below.

Should Red Eared Turtles And Goldfish Live Together?

Ideally, a red eared turtle and a goldfish should not stay together for several reasons like:

  • They belong in separate tiers of a food chain.
  • The water parameters needed by both are vastly different.
  • Both turtles and goldfish produce an enormous amount of water daily. So, it needs a huge amount of labor and maintenance.

Factors To Consider When Keeping A Goldfish With A Red Eared Slider

You will also have to consider the following factors when keep the turtle and the fish together.

Tank size

You will require a big tank to keep your goldfish and red eared slider together. The tank needs to have sufficient space to keep the turtles away from your smaller and younger goldfish. Since you are planning to make them coexist, give the goldfish ample places to hide.


A young goldfish is the ideal size for a snack for red eared sliders. Therefore, the turtles tend to eat up the goldfish in most cases. But a larger goldfish is too big for a majority of turtles to eat up.

Also, keep in mind that older turtles typically move on to a vegetarian diet. It is the younger ones that are keener on trying fish as their food. So, it is better to keep adult turtles and adult goldfish together.


Goldfish are jokingly called the turtles from the fish world. They keep pooping an enormous amount at a constant rate. And that leads to ammonia build up in the water. Think of the amount of poop your turtle will add to that, and you have a super dirty tank in hand.

Goldfish release a huge amount of ammonia in the water on a regular basis. Due to the increased ammonia level present in water, you’ll need to fit a powerful and large filter in the tank. The idea is to maintain a favorable bacterial colony. The absence of a proper filter that works continuously can make the turtle catch diseases.

Another issue is that your filter might wear out soon because it will be overworked in that tank. Repairing pumps and filters can be pretty expensive. Thus, you will have to be somewhat ready for extra expenditure in that direction as well.

Species size

Bigger goldfish species tend to grow by a minimum of ten to fifteen inches in length. Such a big goldfish is not possible for the turtle to snack on. But bigger goldfish should stay in outdoor ponds instead of tanks. Here are the top four goldfish species you can consider for this:

  • wakins
  • comets
  • shubunkins
  • orandas

There is a catch here! Such bigger goldfish might end up bullying your young turtle and torment the poor soul in some cases. So, if you are torn between whether to go for a smaller or a bigger fish, go the midway. Choose species like ryukins or butterfly goldfish. Give ample space in the tank and these mid-sized species will hide away.

However, it is still not possible to name one species that will live happily with the turtle. Remember a goldfish is a yummy snack to your red eared slider – not a friend. Therefore, either they will be oblivious to the fish or gobble it up. There is hardly any midway to this situation. Do not expect them to swim around together in the tank.

The main thing you need to remember is to keep your turtle well-fed. If your turtle gets hungry, it will start running after your goldfish.

What Happens When A Turtle Eats A Goldfish?

Turtles are made to eat feeder fish but the problem is with goldfish. Goldfish are full of spiny bones that might damage the intestines and throat of the turtles when they start snacking on these fishes. Even then, having one goldfish will not cause that much of an issue. Eating multiple goldfish can lead to a problem.

Moreover, goldfish have higher fat content and that is not good for turtles. When turtles have an excess quantity of fatty foods, they get vitamin E deficiency. Chronic deficiency of vitamin E can lead to several complications, such as a slower healing mechanism, weaker bones and shells, and eye infections.

Therefore, goldfish are not the kind of feeder fish you will choose for the turtle. They are also pretty conflicting as a tank mate to a turtle.

If your turtle ends up eating the goldfish, make sure to closely monitor the turtle for a few days. In case there is any change in behavior, get in touch with a vet right away.

Can I Keep Other Fish With A Red Eared Slider Turtle?

If you want a red eared slider to stay with fishes, choose other alternatives to goldfish. Before bringing a goldfish, add guppies, zebra fish, or tetra fish in the tank. Let your turtle get used to having fishes in the territory. But as mentioned before, the tank has to be big enough for everyone to have ample space.

So, a red eared slider turtle is best kept away from a goldfish. If you still want to keep these two together, follow the guidelines mentioned above closely.

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