Betta fish are also known as siamese fighting fish because they can be aggressive, especially around certain fish species, so it’s understandable that you might ask whether betta fish can live with goldfish.
Betta fish can live with goldfish, but it is not recommended. Betta fish and goldfish are not very compatible for several reasons, such as their differing water temperature and diet requirements. Betta fish are tropical fish that like tropical temperatures and diets.
So can betta fish live with goldfish or not? This article explains the compatibility issues related to goldfish and betta fish and why they are not a perfect match. It shouldn’t stop you from pairing them up in the same tank if that’s what you want, but you will be much better informed.
If you are worried your betta fish may get lonely, read my article: Do Betta Fish Get Lonely Or Bored On Their Own?
Can Betta Fish And Goldfish Live Together?
Betta fish and goldfish are both hardy fish that can tolerate conditions outside of what they prefer, which is one of the reasons you can pair these fish together. However, many more suitable fish species can live with betta fish without sacrificing living conditions.
Although you can make compromises to match the requirements of your betta fish and goldfish more closely, it would mean that neither would be able to thrive and live their best life possible.
The following section will cover the main differences in what betta fish and goldfish require.
Betta Fish VS Goldfish
Below is a chart that will help you compare the needs of betta fish and goldfish at a glance.
|Water Temperature||Preferred Temperature – 78°F and 80°F|
Can tolerate – 72°F and 86°F
|Preferred Temperature – 68°F and 74°F|
Can tolerate – 50°F and 80°F
|Water Type||Slow-moving or still water||Moderate current|
|Water Hardness||Soft to Medium||Medium to Hard|
|Water pH||6.5-7.2 pH||7-8.4 pH|
One of the most significant differences between bettas and goldfish is their water temperature requirements. Betta fish are tropical fish that need warm tank water to thrive, while goldfish prefer cooler water as they come from colder climates.
You can see that both fish have vastly different water temperature requirements, although betta fish and goldfish can tolerate temperatures outside their ideal range.
Betta fish can tolerate temperatures between 72°F and 86°F, while goldfish can tolerate cold and warm water temperatures between 50°F and 80°F. As you can see, there is an overlap where both can tolerate the same temperature.
Just because both fish can tolerate similar water temperatures doesn’t mean they should have to, and it is also not healthy for either fish in the long term. Ideally, a betta tank will need a heater to keep its water at the ideal temperature.
Most fish can adjust to different temperatures because of the changing seasons in their natural environments, but these temperature changes are only for short periods.
A fish outside its optimal temperature range can suffer lethargy, dietary issues, and impaired immunity. An example is betta fish constipation, a common problem for bettas living in colder climates due to their digestive system slowing down.
Betta fish are also prone to many fungal, bacterial, and parasitic infections, such as:
- Betta fin rot – A fungal infection.
- Betta white spot or ich (ick) – Parasitic infection.
- Betta fin clamping or curling due to stress.
- Betta stress stripes are also due to stress.
- Betta Swim Bladder Disease – Caused by many underlying conditions, including constipation.
Goldfish suffer from many of the same diseases and illnesses but not usually to the same degree as betta fish.
It is also worth noting that fancy goldfish which are a modified breed, are more accustomed to the living conditions of tropical fish, so tolerate warmer temperatures better, but it is still not ideal.
Water Flow Rate
Betta fish and goldfish have different requirements regarding water flow rate and current.
Betta fish are unhappy living in fast-moving water currents, whereas goldfish prefer slightly stronger currents. Goldfish are extremely dirty fish that excrete a lot of ammonia-causing waste, so a more substantial filter flow rate is necessary to reduce waste buildup and avoid ammonia poisoning.
Again, you can find a happy medium that suits both fish by reducing the filter flow and cleaning your tank more often. Alternatively, you can provide areas that are better protected from strong currents for your betta fish to hide, but these tradeoffs are better as short-term measures.
Water Hardness and pH
Betta fish and goldfish prefer to live in different water types. Goldfish typically prefer hard water with a pH between 7 and 8.4, while betta fish prefer softer water with a more neutral to slightly acidic fish tank pH of between 6.5 to 7.2.
Water hardness and pH are not major factors that can stop these two fish species from living together as most fish, including goldfish and betta fish, can adapt quite well to different water types without any ill effects.
Both betta fish and goldfish can adapt quite well to different water conditions, although goldfish are slightly better at it, so keep them closer to what a betta fish prefers.
The main consideration for both of these fish is that the water type they live in remains stable. Fluctuating temperatures, hardness, and acidity will stress both of these fish which is not healthy. Stable conditions will not be a problem for either fish.
Betta fish have very different dietary requirements than goldfish as bettas are predominantly carnivores requiring a high protein diet. Goldfish are omnivores that require a good mixture of protein and plant-based food.
If you have betta fish and goldfish living in the same tank, separating their food won’t be easy as both fish will eat whatever enters the tank.
If you feed your goldfish first, the betta fish will consume this food, becoming too full to eat its protein-rich food. If you feed your betta first, the goldfish will eat the betta food leaving little room for their food source.
Neither fish will die from eating the wrong food, but they may suffer dietary issues in the long term, and they will not thrive or be at their healthiest.
It would be unfair for either fish not to live a full life because they have to make sacrifices with dietary requirements and other conditions.
So what do goldfish eat, and what do betta fish eat? These are important questions if you plan on keeping either fish.
Below are some recommended guides I have written about betta fish, covering feeding and issues around eating.
Betta fish are not as big as goldfish and are generally not quite as active, so the ideal betta tank size is around 10 gallons. The minimum tank size for a betta fish should be no smaller than 5 gallons.
Goldfish can be pretty active, so the ideal goldfish tank size will be 20 gallons minimum, with an extra 10 gallons for other goldfish.
With both fish living together, you will need to provide plenty of space for a goldfish to swim freely and for your betta to have its territory.
Providing plenty of space for a betta fish that is well planted and has plenty of hiding spots is key to avoiding conflicts with other fish and can help a betta fish be more compatible with a goldfish.
Betta fish are known for their aggression and are likely to fight other betta fish, but goldfish are quite a bit bigger than betta fish, which usually put them off.
Betta fish are pretty territorial by nature, so they like their own space, and goldfish are quite laid back and gentle, making them quite compatible with betta fish.
Personalities vary with individual fish, and a goldfish that is curious, persistently moving into the betta’s territory will cause the betta fish to become stressed. If you notice your betta fish hiding away more often, it is usually because they feel threatened.
The video below explains some of the reasons why betta fish and goldfish are not the best match.
In the next section, I will cover the potential risks of betta fish and goldfish fighting.
Will Betta Fish Fight With Goldfish?
Can betta fish live with goldfish without fighting, or is it likely to get messy, as betta fish don’t often back down when they are staking out their territory?
Betta fish typically won’t fight with goldfish because of the size difference, but fighting can occur if a goldfish consistently invades a betta’s space. Betta fish can be very aggressive and have small teeth that can tear delicate fins.
Unlike betta fish, goldfish are usually very peaceful, but they can be fin nippers which would be a nightmare for betta fish due to their very delicate fins, which are easily torn.
Do goldfish have teeth? Absolutely, but they are not as sharp as betta teeth because they are used for chewing and grinding, whereas bettas need sharper teeth to tear the meat that they eat.
When looking for suitable betta tank mates, you need a period of settling time to see if they are compatible because even the most peaceful fish can become a target for an angry betta fish, or can be fin nippers themselves.
For goldfish, compatible tank mates are easier to find as they will get along with most other peaceful fish. It is much harder to find compatible tank mates for betta fish because even peaceful fish that enjoy similar conditions can become a target for bullying.
Will A Betta Fish Kill A Goldfish?
It is unlikely that a betta fish will kill a goldfish based on the size difference, although most fish that fight with betta fish don’t die from the fight itself; they die from infections occurring at injury sites.
Excessive damage to the tail and fins caused by an overly aggressive betta fish can become infected with bacteria and fungus, which will need treatment.
If the fighting becomes regular, a goldfish will be unable to heal and eventually become so sick that it will die.
This scenario is unlikely, as most betta fish will shy away from a confrontation of this size.
Can Female Betta Fish Live With Goldfish?
Female betta fish have the same requirements as male betta fish, so there are still compatibility issues with goldfish surrounding diet and water conditions. On the plus side, female betta fish are much less aggressive than male bettas, so there will be less risk of fighting.
You would never put two male betta fish together in the same tank because of their aggressive nature, whereas female betta sorority tanks are quite common and can house a number of females quite peacefully if done correctly.
I have also written a guide answering the question, “Can male and female betta fish live together?” which is an interesting read and appropriate to this article.
Do Betta Fish And Goldfish Eat The Same Food?
Betta fish and goldfish overlap in dietary requirements, so they can eat the same food to some degree. Both fish require proteins such as insects and small fish, and both will eat plant-based foods. Betta fish only eat plant-based foods to aid their digestion, but it isn’t required.
Specialized betta food will have a high protein content, and they also like to be fed live or frozen shrimp or worms such as Bloodworm, Brine shrimp, and Mysis shrimp as part of their weekly diet.
Can Betta Fish Eat Goldfish Food?
Goldfish food, such as commercial flakes or pellets, usually contains a mixture of proteins and plant nutrients. A betta fish can gain some value from eating it; however, the protein content will probably be too low for a betta to thrive.
Goldfish food is also much bigger than betta food, so pellets will often swell up inside a betta’s stomach as it absorbs fluids, which can cause constipation and bloat to the betta’s belly.
Goldfish flakes will be suitable if crumbled into small pieces, but you must ensure that your betta receives extra proteins instead of feeding it exclusively on goldfish food.
Although this article is relatively short, I hope it has given you some good examples of the compatibility between betta fish and goldfish. As you can see, the question “Can betta fish live with goldfish” has no straightforward answer.
Technically, betta fish can live with goldfish with careful compromises, but is it fair to fill your fish’s life full of compromises that stop them from enjoying a full and happy life.
Plenty of fish species are much more compatible and would make good tank mates for betta fish and goldfish.