Triops (aka tadpole shrimp) are hardy little buggers that have survived as a species for over 200 million years. So they can put up with a few goldfish, right? If you take the right precautions and provide proper care for both species, triops and goldfish can be amicable tank mates.
Water Quality for Goldfish and Triops
Room temperature fresh water is ideal for goldfish and triops. Triops need water between 72 and 86 F, and goldfish prefer water between 68 and 75 F. If you keep your aquarium between 72 and 75 F, both species should be comfortable. The ideal pH range for triops and goldfish also overlaps. Goldfish enjoy a pH of 6.0 to 8.0, and triops prefer 7.0 to 9.0. So a pH between 7.0 and 8.0 works well for both.
Although the triops will clean up leftover food in a jiffy, they're also constantly producing their own waste. If you're keeping triops and goldfish together, test your water quality frequently, perform partial water changes twice a week, and clean detritus from the tank floor regularly.
Triops stick to the aquarium floor and goldfish are constantly swimming, so they can share a living space without much interaction. Goldfish need at least 10 gallons of water per fish so they have enough room to swim and grow. Triops don't need much water or space to thrive, so the right aquarium for your fish is more than adequate for your triops.
Sand is the best substrate for triops. Goldfish aquariums usually use gravel, but you can also use sand in a goldfish aquarium. Some filtration systems are too strong for triops -- they can be sucked into the system and killed. A corner filter with an easy flow should be gentle enough for your triops but strong enough to keep the water clean and aerated for the goldfish.
Feeding Goldfish and Triops
Both species eat relatively the same things -- vegetation, commercial fish food, and other small animals, like bloodworms and krill. Triops are bottom feeders, they're always hungry, and they're not picky. They do a great job of cleaning up food particles that make it to the bottom of the tank. They'll also chomp their way through any live aquatic plants. If you intend for your aquatic flora to grow and flourish, triops are not a good choice for you. They'll start at the roots and keep nibbling until the whole plant is gone. Remember, they're always hungry!
The Circle of Life
If you want to breed goldfish or triops, it's best to separate the eggs and babies from the grown-ups, who look at their kids the same way they do their lunch. To a comet or fantail, triops offspring look like tasty snacks. Full-grown triops will also eat the smaller ones, as well as any fry or goldfish eggs they come across on the aquarium floor.
To give your triops the chance to reach adulthood, hatch your triops in one tank, let them grow to at least an inch in length, and then transfer them to the goldfish aquarium. This will give the little "living fossils" a chance to compete with fast-moving, predatory goldfish.
Madeline Masters works as a dog walker and professional writer. In the past she has worked as a fitness columnist, fundraising copywriter and news reporter. Masters won two Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Awards in 2009. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.