can betta fish live with goldfish header

You might have heard of a few stories of betta fish and goldfish living together harmoniously and acting like pals.

But, there is more to living together than just getting along. Even though goldfish are one of the most popular fish, there are numerous reasons why these two species should not live in the same tank.

So the short answer is, no, bettas and goldfish should not live in the same tank.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why these two species shouldn’t be tank-mates.

betta fish and goldfish tank mates

Reasons Why Betta Fish and Goldfish Should Not Live Together

1. Aggression and Fin-Nipping

Bettas are popular aquarium creatures that are known to be aggressive and territorial that can attack each other when housed in the same tank. The same goes for anything the betta views as a threat. A goldfish in the same tank is likely to spook the betta, and cause an aggressive reaction.

Goldfish are known as fin-nippers, which is a terrible thing to keep with a betta fish, since their fins absolutely must be kept in immaculate condition.

So, if you keep them together in the same tank, there is a huge probability that your betta will get its fins nipped. And if your goldfish is not a fin nipper, the betta fish might end up attacking him.

2. The Temperature Difference

Betta fish are tropical creatures that require warm waters to be happy and thrive, while goldfish are colder water fish. Goldfish prefer water temperatures between 68 and 74-degrees Fahrenheit while betta fish thrives in temperature between 76 and 82-degrees Fahrenheit.

This is quite a considerable difference, and you might think that they both can thrive in the middle (75-degrees Fahrenheit), but that is not recommended.

76-degrees Fahrenheit is the borderline temperature in which betta fish can survive. Therefore, FMP suggests that you should always keep the temperature for bettas’ tank at 78-degrees Fahrenheit. And any further temperature drop can be hazardous to your fish.

At low temperatures, your betta will go into temperature shock before its metabolism slows down. A slower metabolism means that your fish can get swim bladder disease and constipation, among other illnesses. Your betta fish will become prone to fin rot and become lethargic since the blood won’t flow to the outer regions of your fish. Instead of their happy self, bettas tend to just stay still when the temperature gets colder.   

Alternatively, in high water temperatures, goldfish can also experience temperature shock. If they survive the temperature shock, then increased metabolism will stress their bodies resulting in their health deteriorating. An increase in temperature can reduce the lifespan of a goldfish dramatically.

3. Goldfish are Too “Dirty” for Bettas!

Another reason why they can’t live together is the fact that goldfish are “dirty” creatures. Goldfish tend to increase the ammonia level in the water. Bettas are generally clean creatures that don’t do well in dirty water. The high ammonia level in the tank can kill your betta fish.

Goldfish tanks may have you replacing the water frequently. These frequent water changes can end up stressing your betta and eventually affecting his immunity. So you will have to choose between not replacing the water regularly and risk ammonia poisoning or keeping the tanks clean and stressing your fish.

Other than frequent water changes, you can also use strong filters to reduce the ammonia level in the water. However, swimming can be a challenge for betta fish with filters.


4. Goldfish Require a Big Tank

If you already have a betta, chances are that you are housing him in a roughly 5 gallon tank. If you plan on adding a goldfish, you will need a 30 gallons tank, and that is because of their size difference.

In an aquarium, a goldfish can attain a maximum length of about 6 inches while in the wild they can reach 12 inches. So, it would be best if you accounted for their overall length when fully grown. Therefore, the price of keeping both of them is quite high, since you will end up having two tanks.

5. Bettas Are Smaller in Size

You might have only seen goldfishes when they have not fully grown, but when fully grown, they are bigger than bettas. As we have just mentioned, goldfish can attain a maximum length of over 12 inches in the wild. Most goldfish reach a maximum length of 6 inches when in an aquarium.

Bettas can only attain a length of about 3 inches when fully grown. And since a goldfish can eat anything, there is a huge probability that if they attain their maximum length, they can end up eating your betta fish when hungry.

6. Goldfish Are Fast and Can Eat Anything

Besides being bigger than bettas, goldfish are fast opportunistic eaters that can consume everything you put in the tank, including betta’s food. So, it’s either your betta won’t be well fed or your goldfish will end up being overfed. And neither of these two options is good.

Plus, bettas are carnivorous creatures, while goldfish are omnivorous. And if they end up consuming each other’s food, that could create a lot of problems. Your betta could eat too much vegetation while your goldfish could consume too much meat. The lack of a balanced diet can result in numerous health issues.

Can You Keep Them Together Temporarily?

In extreme circumstances, you can technically keep your goldfish and betta can together, but only for a very short amount of time.

However, this is HIGHLY not recommended. Set up a transfer tank or a hospital tank if you need to swap one of them out of their usual tank. Don’t just put one in with the other for convenience sake. If they don’t wind up hurt or dead, the shock of the different water and ecosystem can cause long-term harm.


Keeping these two species in the same tank for an extended period is NOT recommended.

And that is because they all have different needs.

Bettas are carnivorous fish that require warmer water than a goldfish to survive. On the other hand, goldfish is a quick eater that requires a bigger tank.

It’s not easy to get a tankmate for Bettas, and they are better left alone most of the time. That being said, there are numerous species that are an excellent fit for your goldfish. And the only way you can make these two happy is by giving them the best tankmates. But, in extreme situations and for a very short period, these two can live together.

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