A Guide (+ Chart) to Choosing Glofish Tank Mates

You’ve been enjoying the magnificence of your Glofish for some time, but now you’ve decided to add some diversity to the picture.

Choosing good tankmates for Glofish-based aquariums usually results in a fairytale-like aquascape.

However, not all beauties of the water world want to be part of that. For example, can Glofish live with goldfish without tearing each other apart?

Are there general rules to follow when coming up with a companion?

There are 4 types of Glofish so far – black skirt tetra, zebra danio, tiger barb and the rainbow shark.

These are the species genetically modified with “fluorescent genes”.

The modification only concerns the color of the fish.

This means that their typical distinctive behavior remains the same as their non-glowing counterparts.

A 2011 study established that transgenic (genetically modified) fluorescent fish are more vulnerable to predators in the wild.

Careful selection of companions in captivity, however, can provide them with a long and happy life.

Picking the right Glofish tank mates

There’s a general rule to selecting compatible Glofish tank mates:

In short, it depends on which kind of Glofish you have or want.

Small tropical schooling fish from communities such as gouramies, guppies, rasboras, dwarf cichlids and others are a reasonable fit in general.

Bear in mind that peaceful bottom-dwellers such as loaches and plecos should not be put along with a Glo shark.

On the whole, Glo Danios will enjoy the company of other fast swimming community fish and so will Glo tetras.

Glo sharks are a little more aggressive in their nature so they should be kept along with other tough or fast fish.

Below you can see my 4 hour-long effort to craft a detailed chart where you can check compatible mates on the go.

You can bookmark this page in your browser if you think you’d want to look at it again later.

Take a look at the full Glofish compatibility chart here:

Tank mate: Compatibility by glofish type:
Tetra Glofish Danio Glofish Tiger Barb Glofish Rainbow shark Glofish
Angelfish Yes Yes Caution Caution
Barb Yes Yes Yes Yes
Betta Yes Yes No Caution
Catfish (bigger ones) No Caution Caution Caution
Cichlid (Malawi) No No Caution Caution
Cichlid (Tanganyika) No No Caution Caution
Cichlid (African) No No Caution Caution
Cichlid (New World) Caution Caution Caution Caution
Cory cat Yes Yes Yes Caution
Danio Yes Yes Yes Yes
Discus fish Yes Yes Caution Caution
Goldfish No No No No
Gourami Caution Yes Yes Yes
Guppy Yes Caution Yes Caution
Hatchet Yes Yes Caution Caution
Killifish Yes Yes Caution Caution
Loach Yes Yes Yes Caution
Molly Yes Yes Yes Caution
Minnow (other) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Platy Yes Yes Caution Caution
Pleco Yes Yes Yes Caution
Rainbowfish Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rasbora Yes Yes Yes Caution
Shark (other) Caution Yes Yes Caution
Swordtail Yes Yes Caution Caution
Tetras Yes Yes Yes Caution

Did you find what you were looking for? Good.

But I will not stop here as I know we fish keepers would like our fish to be happy.

At least, I know I want mine to be.

Though compatible, some tank mate choices could be better than others.

Therefore I find it necessary to share with you what I’ve found are the best companions for every single type of Glofish.

Best fish tank companions for a Glofish Tetra

Black Skirt tetras (or Widow Tetras) are schooling fish that are comfortable living with others of their kind.

If you’re aiming at Glofish tetras you should acquire at least 5 of them.

Whenever the school is not large enough this species can become aggressive.

Lonely Glo-tetras are known to nip the fins of long-finned fish like bettas or angelfish.

This is, however, easily avoidable if you keep them in a school large enough.

Provided they are in a group of no less than 5, Glofish tetras would love to hang out with:

  • Neon Tetras
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Black Neon Tetras
  • Tiger Barbs
  • Plecos
  • Danios
  • Dwarf cichlids
  • Rasboras

Best fish tank companions for a Glofish Danio

Glofish danios are quite the active swimmers.

They will restlessly dash through the aquarium.

They are also schooling fish, which means that they don’t like to be alone. Keep them in groups of at least 6, to suppress their semi-aggressive personalities.

Small community fish are perfect as companions.

Here’s a list of Glofish danio tank mates that will ensure a happy aquarium:

  • Guppies
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Swordtails
  • Barbs
  • Rainbows
  • Gouramis (similar size)
  • Tetras
  • Loaches
  • Plecos
  • Corydoras
  • A single small shark

Best fish tank companions for a Glofish Barb

The Glofish tiger barb is a well-known fin nipper.

Aggressiveness can be significantly reduced if you keep them in a school though.

From what I’ve seen a group of 7 is enough for them to only pay attention to themselves.

The temperament of the Glofish barbs varies so if you’re lucky enough to get the more peaceful ones – a school of 5 may be appropriate.

They should still be kept with caution though.

I am recommending that you house them with slightly larger fish as Glo-barbs will be less likely to attack and chase.

Avoid keeping them with anything long-finned such as bettas, goldfish or long-fin tetras.

Here are some well-fitting tank mates for your Glofish barbs:

  • Mollies
  • Corydoras
  • Platies
  • Plecos
  • Tetras
  • Danios
  • dwarf Cichlids
  • A single rainbow shark
  • A single red-tailed shark
  • Other barbs

Best tank companions for a Glofish Shark

These guys are something else.

Glo-sharks (same as their non-glowing counterparts, the Rainbow sharks) can be really aggressive and are very territorial.

They will “claim” parts of your aquariums such as artificial caves and tunnels.

By definition, the Glofsh shark is somewhat a bottom-dweller.

Avoid housing them with other bottom-dwellers, no matter what you’re being told at the fish store.

Plecos and loaches, for example, may be large enough to not get eaten but they will become stressed from the chasing.

On the other hand, these small sharks will get along with schooling fish that prefer roaming the middle to top aquarium space.

Putting other members from the aquarium shark “crew” with a Glo-shark is, again, not at all recommended.

That is unless you can provide them with a huge heavily planted tank (aquariums over 100 gallons).

Have a look at a list with suitable Glofish shark tank mates below:

  • Rainbowfish
  • Danios
  • Barbs
  • Gouramis
  • Rasboras

Just in case – more Glofish care tips

As you can tell 3 of the 4 types of Glofish are schooling fish.

If it’s not the shark you’re after, then you should, in all cases get at least 5 of the same species.

Schooling fish will become aggressive and depressed if they’re forced to live a solitary life.

Don’t overstock your aquariums and provide your Glofish with no less than 15 gallons of habitat, but my personal advice is that you buy the biggest tank you can afford.

In case that’s still not a big tank at the moment, I wrote a pretty straight-forward guide on understanding the minimum Glofish tank size (click the link for that).

Keep in mind that danio Glofish are super active and would prefer a long tank.

In conclusion

There is plenty of fish that will compliment your Glofish in a peaceful manner, as long as you go by a couple of very simple rules.

Soon after you get to know them you’ll be able to trust your guts and accurately make general predictions for a good tank mate. Tell me, who did you pick?

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Sandy Hamilton
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Sandy Hamilton

I just upgraded to a 29gal. tank. I have 4 danios, 2 glo fish,2 mollies, a zebra loach, and a bristlenose. The glofish is fighting with the danios now. My water is good. Should I add a couple more glofish to see if that will stop the. aggression?

Kayla
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Kayla

Hi i have 5.5 gallon glofish aquarium. I put 5 neons (those neon tetra fish) in there for my daughter. Thats the only fish in there. All but 2 died. Is the neon light to bright for the fish or something? All they do is hide and 3 died in a month. Is there more active fish that can with stand that really bright blue light?

Tiffany Jackson
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Tiffany Jackson

How many would you recommend for a 90 gallon tank?