Can Betta fish live with Goldfish?

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Bettas and goldfish can easily be regarded as two of the most popular fish in the fishkeeping
hobby. But can Betta fish live with goldfish?

Yes, betta fish can be kept in the same tank as goldfish but neither of them will thrive as they have different requirements in respect of tank size, diet, water conditions and tank mates.

To help you understand why they should not be kept together we will discuss each aspect more thoroughly:

  • Water Temperature
  • Aggressive Betta
  • Compatibility
  • Water Cleanliness & Flow
  • Tank Mates
  • Tank Size & Layout
  • Diet

All Bettas Are Not the Same

Before discussing each category, it’s important to realize that not all betta fish are the same, there can be a lot of variety.

Some betta fish are very laid back and are calm and peaceful while others are extremely aggressive and will attack and kill any living thing in their tank.

So, personality plays a huge role in whether your betta can even tolerate tank mates to begin with.

Water Temperature Differences

The first major difference between betta and goldfish comes from their varying
temperature requirements.

Since betta are considered tropical fish and goldfish are generally considered cold water fish, putting the two together could have some serious consequences.

Keeping fish at their optimal temperature will avoid unnecessary stress and will give them the best opportunity to stay healthy.

If a fish is kept at the wrong temperature, betta and goldfish will be prone to parasites and general infections.

So, what are their temperature requirements?

The temperature recommendation for goldfish is between 60 and 75 degrees°F (15.5 – 23°C). Betta fish, on the other hand, need a minimum of 75 degrees with a preferred range from 80 to 85°F (26 – 29°C).

You may be thinking, “But if I kept my betta and goldfish at 75°F, surely they would both do
well?”

Ignoring the other reasons they don’t mix well, you should steer away from aiming
to keep your tank at either the top end or bottom end of your fish’s happy range.

This leaves you no ‘play room’ if you are having issues with your heater or have any
temperature fluctuation.

Let’s say your heater isn’t giving off enough heat, your goldfish will be quite happy for it to cool down to 60°F, but your betta won’t be as receptive.

Temperature shock is a serious threat to any fish’s well-being and a sudden temperature
change can prove fatal.

Aggressive Betta

One of the first things you will learn about betta fish is that they are aggressive, hence the
name they are often referred to as, Siamese Fighting Fish.

That doesn’t mean that certain bettas can’t live with company (if they aren’t on the more aggressive side of the scale) but who you pair your betta with is a big deal.

When pairing your betta with other fish, you want to avoid anything that has flowing fins. This can do two things, the flowing fins can make your betta mistake it’s tank mate for another male betta or your betta can start to fin nip the other fish.

Bettas (along with fish like barbs and loaches) are notorious fin nippers.

Fin nipping is painful for other fish and will also leave them more susceptible to illness,
this can ultimately kill the nipped fish.

can goldfish and betta fish live together

Compatibility

Is there a chance of a betta killing a goldfish?

Probably not but that doesn’t mean they go well together. As I have already mentioned, fin nipping can result in death so while your betta may not kill your goldfish due to direct injury, you may still lose fish.

The added stress of living with incompatible tank mates could also affect your betta in the long term.

Stress is something you want to keep to an absolute minimum if you want to keep your
fish as healthy as possible.

Another thing to keep in mind is the appetite of goldfish.

A good rule of thumb is if your goldfish can fit something in their mouth, they will. That could include an unlucky betta if your goldfish was big enough!

Since goldfish can reach very large sizes, this is a real possibility.

Water Cleanliness & Flow

If you have kept goldfish before, you will know that they are very messy fish.

They produce a lot of waste which directly increases the ammonia levels in the tank.

This can lead to other fish suffering from ammonia poisoning if exposed to these spikes which you should try your best to avoid.

To keep up with these messy guys, goldfish tanks generally require a large filter with a strong flow.

Since bettas aren’t the strongest swimmers, they will find it difficult to move around a tank with a lot of water movement.

Tank Mates

Betta fish are quite content with living a solitary life but, with careful thought, they can be
paired with successful tank mates.

Goldfish love companionship and should be kept in groups (or at least a pair) to ensure their social needs are met.

Goldfish that live alone can lack sufficient stimulation which could impact their health long term.

Tank Size & Layout

It goes without saying that if you can size up in a fish tank you should. Fish will rarely have an issue with too much space.

But that being said, betta fish will be quite content in a 5-gallon tank whereas goldfish (comet and fancy goldfish to be specific) require a minimum of 75 gallons for one fish.

Each additional goldfish should add another 50 gallons to the tank size (ie 2 comets need a 125-gallon tank).

Another thing in regards to tank requirements is the different environment preferences of
each fish.

Bettas enjoy tanks with plenty of hiding spaces (if you can add lots of plants,
even better) whereas goldfish like as much space to swim around as possible.

They are much less likely to seek out a hiding spot.

goldfish with betta fish

Diet

It may surprise you to find out that bettas and goldfish actually have widely differing
dietary requirements (and no, not because of the size difference).

Betta fish are carnivorous whereas goldfish are omnivorous.

This means that bettas require more protein in their diet than goldfish do hence their needing specially formulated food.

Why would this be a problem? Couldn’t you just feed them separately pellets or flakes?

Well, in theory, you could but if you have ever witnessed goldfish feeding you will see that they
are generally rather enthusiastic about the whole affair.

Your betta fish is unlikely to want to get in the middle of this which can lead to nutritional deficiencies if they aren’t getting enough, or the right, food.

You would also have to be cautious of the goldfish eating too much betta food.

The high protein content could negatively affect their health.

Conclusion – Can Betta fish live with Goldfish?

In conclusion, betta fish and goldfish should not be kept together.

It is not in their best interests due to the differing requirements.

Their preferred temperatures will have one of them either feeling slightly too warm or too cold.

Their personalities may clash.

They require different sized tanks.

Goldfish are messy and this means a strong filter which doesn’t suit betta fish.

They have different dietary requirements, and finally… there are far more compatible tank mates for each of them!

So there really isn’t any good reason to try and pair the two together.

The next article to read if you want to buy a Betta fish is – Betta Fish Types

FAQ’s

Will a goldfish eat a betta fish?

If your goldfish is big enough then it will eat your betta fish

Can female betta fish live with goldfish?

No, they cannot for the same reasons listed in the article

Will a betta fish kill a goldfish?

No, a betta fish will not kill a goldfish but it is still not a good idea to house them together

Can a fantail goldfish live with a betta?

No, they cannot as the betta fish will nip at the goldfish’s flowing fins and tail

Can comet goldfish live with betta fish?

No, they cannot. No species of goldfish should live with a betta

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AUTHOR

Irma Bense is the founder of BetterFishkeeping.com. She has over 42 years of experience in keeping fish.She has kept both freshwater and saltwater fish through the years.She has extensive knowledge in breeding numerous species of fish from Show Guppies, Cory Catfish, German Blue Rams to Apistogrammas.You can learn more about Irma on the 'About' page.

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