From our experience, becoming a fish parent has its upsides and downsides. It’s never easy to decide on fish species as plenty of fish may interest you, but not all of them can live together. Therefore, most fish parents often struggle around the question “can betta fish live with goldfish?” as these two are the ones that people care about the most.
Yes, betta fish can live with goldfish, but it’s not advisable due to their different habitat requirements. Moreover, they have different dietary requirements, which makes feeding them in the same tank a bit difficult. Goldfish are also known as “dirty fish” as they produce a lot of waste that results in ammonia spikes that can hurt your betta.
Betta fish are prevalent due to their looks. Their bright colors and edgy temperament made this species quite a desirable one for keeping. But, due to their temperament, they don’t get along with lots of other fishes. Upon getting your very first betta, you’ll probably think your new pet needs some company.
Goldfish belongs to a group of possibly the most popular fish for keeping available. However, goldfish may not be the appropriate friend choice for your betta. In some cases, these two fish can coexist, but there are many things you should investigate and learn before deciding if that’s the match you’d want to make.
Even though both goldfish are betta are hardy fish, keeping them together in the same tank may not be the best idea. We’ll help you understand all the differences between them. Moreover, we’ll talk about how betta and goldfish can live together even though it’s not the best choice you can make.
See other common questions about betta fish here.
Can Betta Fish Live With Goldfish?
Yes, betta fish can live with goldfish, but there are things you must keep in mind before you decide to bring them both into the same tank. This article will go over all of the things you need to know before deciding to keep them together.
Betta Fish Vs. Goldfish
Both bettas and goldfish are friendly and enjoy interaction with their humans, and that’s the only similarity that they share. In this article, we’ll go through an in-depth comparison between goldfish and betta fish to help you understand what makes them so different. Hopefully, you’ll come to a conclusion if betta fish and goldfish can live together.
Betta Fish Basics
Siamese fighting fish, known as the betta fish, belongs to the Osphronemidae family. Bettas originate from southeast Asia, meaning they’re tropical fish. Even though there are 73 known types of betta fish, most are hybridized (captivity breeding), resulting in stunning colors and beautiful fins that fish owners care about.
The river basins of Chao Phraya and Mekong in Thailand are home to the wild population of betta fish. Bettas inhabit slow-moving, shallow waters like floodplains, marshes, and rice paddles. They’re known as “labyrinth breathers.” This means that bettas have developed a unique breathing organ allowing them to gulp the air from the surface.
The incredible organ allows them to survive in waters with low oxygen levels caused by dry seasons. Fish keepers believe that because of this evolutionary quirk, bettas can live in small bowls or tanks because they can catch air from the surface, but that’s not true. Bettas need at least two gallons with heating, lighting, and filtration.
Betta Fish (Betta splendens)
|Appearance||Vibrant colorations with long flowing fins|
|Lifespan||Up to 3 years|
|Size||2 ½ inches (tail length varies)|
|Tank-Setup||Freshwater with substrate|
|Alternative name||Siamese fighting fish|
The popularity of goldfish made this species available in almost every pet store worldwide. Goldfish ancestry goes back to wild Prussian carp (Carassius gibelio) that originates from Central Asia. There are around 125 types of goldfish, all of which are produced through captive breeding.
Goldfish also prefer slow-moving waters like rivers, ponds, lakes, and ditches. Unfortunately, like captive bettas, most goldfish owners keep their pets in small tanks or bowls without an efficient filtration system in place. Lack of filtration system is especially bad for goldfish since they produce incredible amounts of waste.
Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
|Temperament||Peaceful / Friendly|
|Appearance||Vibrant orange, red, gray, yellow fish with big eyes|
|Tank-Setup||Freshwater with pebble or gravel substrate|
|Alternative name||Carassius auratus|
Aside from thinking about if a goldfish can coexist with a betta, fish owners also care to learn more about their lifespan. The answer depends mainly on the species, but the general rule is that larger fish usually live much longer than smaller ones. Also, species that give birth to live younglings live shorter than the ones that lay eggs.
Even though bettas and goldfish are among the most popular fishes to keep as pets, they are far apart when it comes to their lifespan. Goldfish can live for about two decades, while bettas live between two and four years. Betta’s lifespan depends on the environment they live in, and if you watch their diet and keep the tank clean, they can live a long life.
Goldfish are in a completely opposite lifespan spectrum. There are numerous documented cases of goldfish living for 25 years. Goldfish serve as an excellent example of how a lousy environment in tanks shortens the lifespan of a fish. Unfortunately, most pet goldfish won’t live long in an inadequate environment.
Additionally, if goldfish don’t get the care they need, their lifespan will be no longer than a couple of years. Therefore, do everything in your power to help them live a long life so you can both enjoy each other’s company for many years.
Bettas don’t prefer plants as they are carnivores which means their diet is meat-based, and they require lots of protein, unlike goldfish that are omnivorous. As omnivores, goldfish prefer to chomp on both meats and plants.
Feeding your betta with goldfish food or the other way around can have devastating results as it significantly influences your pet’s health. Even though bettas enjoy plants in the aquarium, they’ll rarely touch them or eat them. On the other hand, goldfish will eat specific plants that they come across within your tank.
When it comes to bettas’ temperament, they live by a single rule: anything that swims is my enemy! However, there are some exceptions, like Otocinclus catfish (Otocinclus affinis) and some types of tetras.
Bettas are also known to attack other bettas, but they’ll attack the majority of other fishes too. A solution to this requires you to block your betta from other fish by dividing the tank in half.
Unlike bettas, goldfish is an incredibly docile fish that swims peacefully among other species. That’s one of the reasons a lot of people prefer keeping goldfish among all others. Remember that goldfish are omnivores, so avoid housing them with tiny fish that they could swallow.
The same aquarium décor won’t satisfy both goldfish and betta fish as they prefer different types of décors. Bettas prefer a heavily planted tank that provides numerous resting places and hideouts, while goldfish enjoy open space with lots of room for swimming.
If you’re still wondering if betta fish and goldfish can live together, please keep in mind that lots of rocks, plants, and driftwood may be the perfect décor and environment for your betta, but it’s not something that goldfish enjoys at all. Becoming a responsible fish parent means tending your pet’s needs completely.
A goldfish aquarium requires an excellent filtration system that’s capable of cleaning water in your aquarium efficiently so your goldfish can live in a healthy environment. Such filtration systems will create a water flow so strong which isn’t suitable for your betta fish.
As a reasonably small fish compared to goldfish, swimming isn’t bettas’ stronger suit, and that’s why bettas prefer incredibly low current or even no current at all. You should consider using a gentle bubbling sponge filter that’ll work great in a betta aquarium.
Living Conditions: Water Temperature
Even though bettas may seem like tough fish, don’t let their appearance fool you into believing they can survive harsh temperature conditions. As tropical fish, bettas require water temperature anywhere between 75° and 85° F. Please note that any temperature outside of this range will stress out or even kill your betta.
Goldfish, in contrast, are mostly considered cold-water fish, and they thrive the most in water with temperatures anywhere from 65° to 75° F. However, goldfish won’t suffer even if their water temperature is outside this range.
Goldfish are adaptable and can easily tolerate temperatures as low as 32° F or as high as 95° F. From this, it’s understandable that you don’t need a water heater for your goldfish, but your betta needs one for sure.
Living Conditions: Water Cleanliness
There’s one more thing you should know, and it’ll help you understand if goldfish and betta fish can reside in the same tank. It’s about aquarium hygiene. Goldfish are known as incredibly filthy fish. It’s not about their manners but about their biology as goldfish don’t have stomachs; they drop a lot of waste, increasing ammonia levels.
Even though bettas are tough, they’re pretty susceptible to ammonia poisoning. If it gets poisoned, your betta can quickly die. Besides the ammonia poisoning, there’s another issue you should know about.
As goldfish drops a lot of waste, your aquarium requires frequent water changing and cleaning. All this can also affect your betta’s health as it’s very stressful and can hurt bettas’ immune system.
Therefore, you’ll have to decide whether you shouldn’t clean your tank frequently and risk the ammonia poisoning of your betta. Alternatively, if you clean it often, you’ll stress your betta out, which will cause further immune system complications.
There’s a solution to this issue, but it isn’t a perfect one. You can clean your aquarium but not too often. In that case, you must have a powerful filter that’ll help reduce the ammonia levels. Even though goldfish don’t mind strong filters, your betta will undoubtedly have difficulty swimming, which may also stress out your pet.
Living Conditions: Tank Size
Bettas are relatively small species that usually reach somewhere between 2 and 3″ in their maturity. Therefore, providing a 10-gallon tank for your betta will make it a very happy (but still angry) fish as it’ll have lots of space to swim, hide, and rest.
Even though bettas are pretty small, it’s just not right to keep them in a tiny bowl since they prefer exploring their environment. A 2-gallon tank is a bare minimum in which you can keep your betta. However, providing your tropical fish with a 5 or 10-gallon aquarium will make it a much happier pet.
When it comes to goldfish, some of them can easily reach 6″ or even more in maturity. Having one goldfish means you’ll need to provide it with a 20-gallon aquarium and remember to add 10 more gallons for every additional goldfish within the same aquarium.
Moreover, plants in a tank with goldfish won’t survive for long as goldfish can be pretty destructive. They tend to uproot the plants and forage through the substrate to locate any remaining food scraps.
Is It Worth Keeping Betta Fish and Goldfish Together?
If you think about everything we’ve mentioned so far, the answer to the question “can betta fish live with goldfish” should be as clear as day. Both fish have very different dietary, health, and environmental requirements. Therefore, it’s not a great idea to put them together in the same aquarium.
There’s a widespread belief that goldfish will grow to fit their surroundings, and this is true to an extent. However, it’s absolutely not a good thing since this will shorten their lifespan, and they’ll become more susceptible to various diseases. In conclusion, it’s not a humane way to keep your pet.
Is It Possible to Keep Your Goldfish and Betta Together as a Temporary Solution?
Suppose an emergency arises, like the filtration system failure. In theory, your goldfish and betta can reside together in the same tank for a day or two until you replace the filter. If you want to avoid stress and risky situation, you should get a quarantine tank and temporarily move your fish there.
Will a betta fish kill a goldfish?
No, a betta fish won’t kill a goldfish, and they can live together. However, there are numerous reasons because of which these two fish shouldn’t be in the same tank that you should keep in mind.
Do goldfish and betta fish get along?
No, goldfish and betta fish don’t get along for numerous reasons. It’s not about their personalities, but more about the different habitat environments they’re used to, among other things.
Can betta fish eat goldfish food?
Yes, betta fish can eat goldfish food, and it doesn’t have a problem digesting it; however, don’t feed your betta with goldfish food too often. Betta’s diet requires lots of protein, and goldfish food won’t satisfy betta’s dietary needs.
Can you feed goldfish betta fish food?
Yes, goldfish can eat betta fish found but not frequently and not in large quantities. Even though betta fish food is a good source of protein for your goldfish, it can cause kidney failure, swim bladder infection, and intestinal gas because the goldfish digestive tract is incredibly small, and it’s not capable of digesting large quantities of protein-rich foods.
As you can see, betta fish can theoretically live with goldfish in the same tank. Still, there are many things you must be aware of and too many obstacles to handle. Even if you believe that you can manage it all, in the end, it’ll be undoubtedly stressful to juggle between all these things simultaneously.
More importantly, it’s somewhat risky for your pets as well. By all means, don’t put betta fish and goldfish in the same tank. Instead, get two appropriate tanks and have them both in their perfect environments. Both of them are remarkable, and they’re excellent pets to have. Have you decided yet which one best fits your needs and which pet fish you’ll get?
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