Can Betta Fish Live With Goldfish? (Will a Betta Fish Kill a Goldfish?)

Wondering if betta fish can live with goldfish? This guide is for you!

Betta fish and goldfish can live together only under exceptional circumstances. These two fish species have such diverse needs that it would be ill-advised to put them together.

Betta fish thrive in warmer temperatures than goldfish. Also, bettas are very sensitive to temperature and cleanliness changes. Finally, goldfish require a larger living space – as much as a 30-gallon tank – compared to betta’s modest housing needs. For these reasons, bettas and goldfish do not make the best of tank mates.

Some keepers contend that goldfish are ‘dirty’ fish while bettas are a ‘clean’ species. Additionally, goldfish have a habit of nipping the fins of their tank mates.

From this, you can tell there are more disadvantages than advantages to keeping these two together.

Betta fish can live with goldfish for limited periods, only when there’s no other option.

betta fish and goldfish

Can Betta Fish Live with Goldfish?

If you’re still looking for reasons to put your bettas and goldfish in the same tank, we’ll give you more reasons why you shouldn’t.

Let’s have a look at the critical differences that make it a bad idea to keep bettas and goldfish together:

Different Temperature Needs

Bettas are natives of tropical lands. As such, they need warm waters to thrive.

If you want your betta fish to be happy and healthy, you should ensure the tank water temperature is between 240C and 280C (760F and 820F).

On the other hand, goldfish prefer cooler waters. For example, a goldfish is happy in water temperatures between 200C and 230C (680F and 740F).

This is a huge difference considering that any temperature fluctuation puts the betta fish in grave danger.

Once the temperature falls below 240C (760F), its body starts shutting down.

If this is not corrected immediately, the betta fish may undergo a temperature shock, from which it may not recover.

Subjecting bettas to low temperatures invites swim bladder disease because of constipation. In addition, such temperatures stress the betta fish, which leads to many other conditions and diseases.

On the other hand, goldfish are averse to very high temperatures. Therefore, a temperature of about 280C (760F) will adversely affect the goldfish’s ability to function.

If either fish is subjected to temperatures higher than their normal range, their metabolic rate increases dramatically.

Their life spans are shortened, and their immune systems are compromised.

Betta Fish Basics

Bettas’ original home is in the South East Asian countries of Cambodia and Thailand. Since they have been bred for the sport of fighting, they are also known as the Siamese fighting fish.

Wild bettas are primarily found in Thailand’s Mekong and Chao Phraya river basins. However, they thrive in the slow-moving waters of marshes, floodplains, and rice paddies.

Because of their origin, bettas are tropical fish and do well in warm freshwater.

There are about 73 different types of betta fish in the world today. Of these, a good number are bred in captivity.

Years of selective breeding have produced a wide array of beautiful bettas that radiate colors.

Bettas have developed a unique breathing system that allows them to draw air from the surface because of their proximity to the water’s surface.

They are ‘labyrinth breathers’ – meaning they can survive quite well in low-oxygen waters. However, this is not to say that bettas need little water to survive.

Contrary to what some people think, bettas are uncomfortable being kept in cups and bowls. A betta fish needs at least 3 gallons of water to live well.

Goldfish Basics

The goldfish has been a popular species for centuries. The aesthetic appeal of this fish means that it’s available in almost every pet store across the globe.

The 125 different types of goldfish worldwide have been produced through captive breeding. Like bettas, the goldfish prefers slow-moving water in ponds, ditches, and rivers.

Unfortunately, both species have suffered under the hands of keepers who falsely believe that bettas and goldfish can survive in cups and bowls.

Unlike bettas, goldfish are big fish – they can grow up to 12 inches long. This means they need a large tank to accommodate their various needs.

Goldfish and Betta Fish Basics: a Comparative Table

PARAMETERS BETTA FISH (Betta splendens) GOLDFISH (Carassius auratus)
Lifespan Up to 3 years Up to 15 years
Temperament Aggressive Friendly, docile
Care Level Easy Easy
Appearance Colorful with flowing fins Bright colors with big eyes
Size 3 inches max 12 inches max
Diet Carnivorous Omnivorous
Tank Setup Freshwater, plants, substrates Freshwater, gravel, substrate
Also Known As Siamese fighting fish Carassius auratus
Family Osphronemidae Cyprinidae

Why Bettas Should Not Live with Goldfish

Betta Fish vs. Goldfish: Tank Requirements

Bettas require about 3 to 5-gallon tanks to feel safe, happy, and comfortable. Putting your betta in anything smaller than 3-gallon tanks would punish this fish for no reason.

Small tanks harm your betta because they force this fish to live unnatural lives.

Apart from getting dirty a lot more quickly, small tanks confine your betta’s movements, and this fish does not grow as it should.

For this reason, you should never follow the notion that bettas can thrive in cups or bowls. That’s a fallacy that holds no water in the nano-keeping hobby.

If you want to keep goldfish, you have to go bigger in terms of accommodation; goldfish grow much bigger than bettas.

An adult goldfish of 12 or 14 inches needs to be housed in a 30-gallon tank or larger. So for every goldfish you add to this community, you need an extra 12 gallons of water.

This is a good reason you can’t keep bettas and goldfish together. Their housing needs are too divergent to support having the two in the same tank.

Betta Fish vs. Goldfish: Dietary Requirements

Being carnivores, bettas thrive on live, frozen, feed-dried insects and insect larvae. They also enjoy a meal of betta flakes and betta pellets.

Although bettas are ravenous eaters, it is reasonably easy to control their feeding habits when they are on their own.

You just need to ensure you feed them once or twice a day, with one day a week set aside for forced fasting.

On the other hand, goldfish are opportunistic eaters. Being omnivores, these fish eat anything they come across.

They will likely gobble up betta’s food. In dire times, the goldfish may eat the betta as well.

This is not far-fetched, considering goldfish grow much bigger than bettas. Also, goldfish have the nasty habit of nipping at their tank mate’s fins.

So, you’ll never know for sure if the betta fish is safe in the goldfish’s company.

The other problem is that the two may end up eating each other’s food, which is detrimental to their health.

If bettas were to eat the goldfish’s omnivorous diet, it might give rise to health complications. But, on the other hand, if the goldfish were to eat betta’s diet, the betta would end up emaciated.

Betta Fish vs. Goldfish: Life Expectancy

The lifespan of bettas and goldfish is different. While betta’s live for 3 or 4 years under the proper care, goldfish live to 15 or even 20 years.

This means they have different outlooks as far as their life expectancy is concerned.

However, one thing about both fish is that they require good care to live their lives to the fullest. Therefore, both must be kept in clean environments with the temperature and pH conditions well taken care of.

Unfortunately, the two have different temperature requirements. If you put them together, one will suffer and have their lifespan compromised.

You need to keep these fish separate to cater to their individual needs. However, since the two are far apart in life expectancy, each has unique needs that should not be compromised.

Creating the wrong living conditions for either will severely compromise their life expectancy. You may be at a loss on which of the two you should pay attention to when they’re together.

For example, since goldfish are omnivores and bettas are carnivores, what kind of diet will you serve in the tank?

Also, considering their different water temperature requirements, how will you control the temperature simultaneously to suit the needs of the two?

A lousy environment for either may turn fatal. This is not what you’d like for the goldfish or the betta fish.

Betta Fish vs. Goldfish: Personality and Temperament

Bettas have very few friends, and it is hard to get a suitable tank mate for this fish. This is because bettas believe that any fish is more colorful than they are their enemy.

They like to dominate any tank spaces they find themselves in. They are highly aggressive and often fight each other to the death.

On the other hand, goldfish is a docile and friendly species that can live peacefully in any environment.

Putting a betta fish and a goldfish in the same tank for long is asking for trouble. Bettas will attack goldfish, especially if they are still small.

If you must keep the two in the same tank, divide it, so they do not come into contact with each other.

Betta Fish vs. Goldfish: Habitat

The décor requirements for the tank would not be appealing to both species. The goldfish and the betta fish have different tastes regarding plants, hideouts, and decorations.

Betta loves plants and decorations. It likes an environment with lots of rocks and driftwood.

On the other hand, goldfish like open spaces where they can swim unhindered. This is another discrepancy that makes it unlikely for the two species to live harmoniously in the same tank.

Each needs to be provided with an environment that caters to its specific needs. This is what responsible pet parenthood is all about.

Betta Fish vs. Goldfish: Water Flow

Another area of discord between a betta fish and a goldfish is the water currents in the tank. Bettas cannot be said to be the best swimmers.

They enjoy moving around in calm waters. But, on the other hand, goldfish can hold their own in relatively strong currents.

Actually, goldfish enjoy the challenge of swimming in bubbling water, as long as the current is not too strong.

As a keeper, you may be in a dilemma on what type of filtration system to install to clean the tank if the two species are housed together.

Can Bettas and Goldfish Share Living Conditions?

Because goldfish don’t have stomachs, they tend to produce a lot of waste. As such, their tanks have high levels of ammonia.

On the other hand, bettas are very sensitive to ammonia and other toxic waste products. As such, keeping bettas and goldfish in the same tank can be very stressful for the former.

The betta’s immunity and overall well-being are likely to be compromised, leading to poor quality or shortened life.

The solution would be installing powerful filters to eliminate all the ammonia. However, strong filters render bettas unable to swim properly, making their life more complicated and unpleasant.

This, combined with the fact that the two have different temperature needs, makes bettas and goldfish unlikely tank mates.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can bettas and goldfish share the same water conditions?

Bettas and goldfish cannot share the same water conditions because their temperature requirements differ.

Being tropical fish, bettas thrive in temperatures between 240C and 280C (760F and 820F). Unfortunately, this is too warm for the goldfish, which does well in temperatures between 200C and 230C (680F and 740F).

If the betta fish is subjected to temperatures outside its range, it will suffer stress and may even die.

Do I need a water heater for my goldfish?

Goldfish are hardy animals and can tolerate a wide range of temperature fluctuations. This species is far more enduring than betta, a delicate fish.

Goldfish tolerate temperatures as high as 350 C (950 F) and as low as 00 C (320 F). This means the goldfish do not need a heater even when the betta needs one.

What’s the best tank size for betta fish?

Being a nano fish, a betta grows to about 3 inches in full maturity. So providing this fish with a 5-gallon tank will make him very happy indeed.

For a single betta, any tank above 5 gallons provides him enough space to swim, hide, and rest.

Can I keep my betta fish in a bowl?

It would be a serious mistake to confine your betta fish to a bowl or cup. Bettas kept in bowls or cups don’t last long; their lives are severely compromised.

What’s the best tank size for a goldfish?

Goldfish are prolific swimmers. They like large water spaces to move around and explore. A single goldfish needs about 20 gallons of water.

For every additional goldfish, provide an extra 10 or more gallons.

Can betta fish live together with goldfish?

Both species have different health, dietary, and environmental needs. As such, it is not wise to keep the two in the same tank.

Putting betta fish and goldfish together will shorten the lifespan of one or both.

Can goldfish eat betta fish food?

A little bit of betta fish food is suitable for goldfish. Betta fish food is an excellent source of protein, and goldfish can benefit from it.

However, too much of this food will likely cause swim bladder infection and kidney failure.

Can betta fish eat goldfish food?

Bettas thrive on insects, insect larvae, and other proteins. As such, goldfish food may not fully meet betta’s dietary needs.

The betta fish can feed on some of the goldfish’s food. However, this choice is limited and should not be encouraged.

Can I keep betta fish and goldfish together temporarily?

Betta fish and goldfish can stay together for very short periods. However, this should happen only when the situation is dire.

For example, if the tank of either fish breaks down for whatever reason, the betta fish can put up with the goldfish as the broken tank is restored.

The conditions where you keep them should be favorable to the betta fish as it is the more sensitive fish of the two.

The two should be separated as soon as the proper conditions in the broken tank are restored.

Do goldfish and betta fish get along?

While bettas are naturally aggressive, goldfish are docile, friendly, and peaceful. Therefore, you must carefully study the betta’s personality to determine its suitability to cohabit with the goldfish.

Since some bettas are calm and peaceful, don’t be surprised to find a match between the two.

Will a betta fish kill a goldfish?

Since goldfish grow faster than bettas, it’s unlikely that a betta will kill a goldfish. However, keeping the two together is ill-advised since a lot could go wrong.


Betta fish can live with goldfish in the same tank. However, this can only be a temporary arrangement before you establish a home for either of them.

The needs of the two fish are diverse, and they should be treated as such. Putting the two fish together for long would compromise the life of one of them, if not both.

Also, remember to provide adequate water space for both, as neither can thrive in a cup or bowl.

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