Can Betta and Goldfish Live Together?

Most aquarium enthusiasts love to keep goldfish and betta since both fish species are stunning and hardy.

However, if you’re thinking of keeping both these iconic species in the same home aquarium, think again!

Keep reading to find out why keeping a betta and a goldfish in the same tank is not the best move!

Can a Betta Fish Live with a Goldfish?

So, can betta fish live with goldfish? The short answer is no, betta and goldfish can’t live together!

Even though betta and goldfish are exceptionally popular, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t keep them as tank mates.

For instance, betta fish need warmer temperatures than goldfish. They also need clean water, while goldfish are notoriously dirty.

Plus, goldfish need larger tanks and are quick eaters, while betta fish are moodier, picky eaters.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at why you should not keep your bettas with your goldfish!

Why Betta and Goldfish Can’t Coexist

Here are some reasons why you should think twice before trying to make your betta fish live with your goldfish:

They Prefer Different Water Temperatures

Bettas are tropical fish that need warm water to thrive and remain healthy. Meanwhile, goldfish are classified as borderline cold-water fish.

To put things into perspective, a betta needs to live in water between 76-82°F, while a goldfish prefers temperatures between 68-74°F.

If you think that you can find the middle ground and keep the aquarium water temperature at 75°F, it’s best if you don’t try that.

It’s because 76°F is already the borderline temperature at which bettas can stay alive. Ideally, you should keep their tank temperature at 78°F.

Once the temperature falls below 76°F, it will cause a lot of health problems for your betta.

Your fish might go into temperature shock, which can be fatal. The low temperature might low down its metabolism.

When that happens, your fish becomes more likely to get constipated. It might stop eating and become listless.

Its compromised blood circulation might lead to health issues, such as fin rot. It might also suffer from swim bladder disease.

The drop in the water temperature will also stress out your betta. It can lead to a whole host of illnesses. It will also become lethargic, which will lead to fit rot as blood will not flow to the fins.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can’t keep goldfish in temperatures that are hotter than their livable range.

It’s because they might also suffer from temperature shock. Even if they don’t succumb to temperature shock, they will experience an increase in their metabolism, which will lead to unnecessary stress.

It can cause various diseases and reduce the lifespan of your goldfish.

Goldfish Are Dirty Tank Mates and Bettas Thrive in Clean Water

Goldfish are large, exceptionally dirty fish that produce high quantities of waste. Since they don’t have a stomach, all the food they eat passes right through them and out into the aquarium.

This waste creates a toxic spike in the levels of nitrate and ammonia in the water.

And even though bettas are hardy fish, they are exceptionally sensitive to ammonia spikes and can succumb to ammonia poisoning.

Additionally, a tank containing goldfish requires regular water changes to ensure cleanliness. While goldfish don’t mind the partial water changes, they can stress out your bettas.

The stress can compromise their immune systems and leave them susceptible to attack by parasites.

So, you can’t change the water frequently as it will stress out your betta.

But you can’t keep it dirty either due to the risk of ammonia poisoning. It leads you into a challenging lose-lose situation.

They Require Different Flow Rates

To control the pollution that goldfish create in their tank, you need to install a strong biological filter system.

It will keep the levels of nitrate and ammonia under control and ensure your fish remain healthy. However, using a strong filter will lead to a fairly strong water flow in your aquarium.

Goldfish are big fish that can manage the stronger water flow and might even enjoy playing around in the bubbles.

However, this environment will not be suitable for your betta fish as they are not strong swimmers. Bettas prefer a low to zero current and a gently bubbling sponge filter.

The current generated by the strong filter in the goldfish tank will cause your bettas a lot of stress.

They will also have trouble swimming around in the tank.

On the other hand, a weaker sponge filter system will not be able to handle the copious amount of waste that goldfish produce, making the water unlivable for betta fish.

Goldfish Are Opportunistic Eaters While Betta Are Picky Eaters

Another major issue in keeping betta and goldfish together is that goldfish are voracious, opportunistic eaters, while betta fish are notoriously picky eaters.

A mature, full-sized goldfish can even try to eat your betta fish and seriously injure it in the process.

Plus, on top of eating their own food, your goldfish will also eat your betta fish’s food. It will lead to a twofold issue.

Your voracious goldfish will end up overeating, and your moody betta will remain underfed. What’s more is that goldfish are omnivores, while bettas are carnivores.

It means that if they eat each other’s food, it can cause health problems for them.

Your goldfish might end up having too much meat in its diet, while your betta fish might end up malnourished or with too much vegetation in their system.

They Have Different Temperaments

When keeping any fish together, you have to make sure that their personalities are compatible. That is certainly not the case with betta and goldfish.

Betta fish are notorious for being aggressive, while goldfish are widely known for being fin nippers.

Male betta fish can be highly territorial. They will defend their patch to the death if needed.

On the other hand, goldfish have a relaxed demeanor, but they do nip the fins of other fish. Plus, they grow a whole lot bigger than betta fish.

If you keep these two fish together, the chances are that your betta’s gorgeous, flowing fins will be a prime target for your goldfish.

Even if your goldfish don’t nip its fins, your betta fish might end up attacking your goldfish due to their aggressive, territorial nature. Confining a fin nipper and an aggressive fish to one environment is like inviting carnage into your aquarium.

They Prefer Different Habitats

Goldfish can grow up to 12 inches in size and require a tank that is at least 30 gallons or bigger.

Meanwhile, bettas can easily thrive in a 10-gallon tank, which will be too small for a mature goldfish. Additionally, goldfish and bettas have different habitat preferences.

For instance, goldfish prefer open waters with ample swimming space. Meanwhile, betta fish like a vigorously planted aquarium with lots of resting places and hideouts.

They prefer ornaments and driftwoods that they can explore while patrolling their territory.

Additionally, some goldfish species, such as the fantails, are poor swimmers who wobble around their tanks, bumping into the decoration and uprooting plants.

Goldfish can also uproot plants while foraging through the substrate for food scraps.

So, decorating your aquarium with driftwood, rocks, and plants might be ideal for betta fish, but it will not work for your goldfish.

They Have Different Tolerance Level to Water Hardness

Water is described as soft or hard, depending on its mineral content. Fish use the minerals in the water as part of their nutritional requirements.

However, different fish species have different mineral requirements and tolerance levels to water hardiness.

For instance, betta fish require soft water that hardly contains any calcium. The lower the level of calcium, the lower the water pH or hardiness will be. Bettas require a water pH level of about 7.0 to truly thrive.

Meanwhile, goldfish prefer their water to have a higher calcium content.

They require waters with a greater pH level, preferably between 7.2 and 7.6. This degree of water hardness is not ideal for bettas, and it can be harmful to them.

Can You Keep Your Betta Fish And Goldfish Together Temporarily?

If you have absolutely no other alternative, you can keep your goldfish and betta together for a short amount of time.

However, you should only do this under extreme circumstances, such as filtration failure or heater issues.

Even in such instances, it’s better if you house your betta in a quarantine tank rather than putting them with your goldfish.

The Bottom Line

To sum it up, betta fish cannot live with goldfish due to a wide array of reasons, such as:

  • Bettas are tropical fish that prefer to live in warmer, soft waters, while goldfish thrive in colder, hard water.
  • Goldfish are exceptionally dirty fish that need regular water change and a strong filter. Bettas dislike water change and string water current. They are also susceptible to high levels of ammonia.
  • Betta fish are aggressive while goldfish are fin nippers, making them highly incompatible.
  • Goldfish need ample swimming space and larger tanks, while bettas can thrive in smaller tanks. They also need lots of plants, ornaments, and hiding spots.
  • Goldfish are large, voracious eaters and can even eat or injure your Bettas. Meanwhile, betta fish are picky eaters.

Even though you might get away with putting your goldfish and betta together in dire situations, it’s best if you find an alternative solution to your conundrum.

It’s because these two stunning fish species are not compatible for coexisting in the long run.

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