Can Goldfish Live with Betta Fish? Important Information

Can Goldfish Live with Betta Fish_ Important Information
The reasons why goldfish and betta fish cannot coexist


Betta fish and goldfish are two of the most popular aquarium fish species to keep as pets, especially for beginners. With their beautiful fins and wide variety of colors and tail types, betta fish are some of the most eye-catching fish available. Goldfish, meanwhile, have been a mainstay in home aquariums and ponds for centuries. Their recognizable orange and black colors make them a classic choice.

One question that arises is “Can Goldfish Live with Betta Fish?” since both bettas and goldfish seem to be good choices, but can these fish be safely kept together in one aquarium? The answer is no. Bettas and goldfish have very different habitat and care needs that make them incompatible as tank mates. This article by BettaFishy will explain the key reasons why mixing bettas and goldfish does not work, and recommend proper setups for keeping each species happy and healthy.

Can goldfish live with betta fish? Reason

Can goldfish live with betta fish? Reason
Betta fish and goldfish are incompatible tank mates

No, goldfish and betta fish are generally not compatible tank mates for several reasons:

Betta fish need warmer water than goldfish.

Bettas and goldfish require very different water temperatures to thrive. Bettas are tropical fish that prefer warmer water between 78-82°F. This warm, stable temperature allows bettas to be active, display vibrant colors, and have a strong immune system.

In contrast, goldfish are temperate fish that do best in much cooler water from 65-72°F. Goldfish evolved in cooler climates and higher temperatures cause them stress and increase their oxygen needs. Goldfish thrive at temperatures slightly below tropical levels.

Housing bettas and goldfish together means keeping water at a temperature unsuitable for one or both fish. Bettas kept too cool become lethargic, stop eating, lose color, and become prone to disease. Likewise, goldfish kept too warm struggle to breathe and are at risk of heat stress, organ damage, and infection.

For the health and wellbeing of both fish, bettas and goldfish should be kept in separate tanks with temperatures suited to their natural requirements.

The Different Space Needs of Betta Fish And Goldfish

Bettas and goldfish have vastly different space requirements when it comes to aquarium tanks. Bettas are able to thrive in relatively small tanks, needing a minimum of 5 gallons of water. This allows them adequate room to swim and exercise. Goldfish, on the other hand, require much larger tanks. For fancy goldfish varieties, the recommend minimum is a 29 gallon tank. But for common goldfish or comets, experts recommend a minimum of 55 gallons.

The reason goldfish need such large tanks is because they are prolific waste producers. Their digestive systems are not efficient, so they create a lot of ammonia. Goldfish tanks require very strong filtration to help process all this waste. Small tanks would quickly become toxic. Goldfish also grow quite large, up to 12 inches for commons. They require a lot of swimming room to stay active and healthy. Combining a goldfish’s waste output with a betta in a small tank would create poor water quality, leading to infections and disease.

Betta fish’s aggression toward goldfish

Bettas are known to be aggressive toward other fish with long, flowing fins. This includes fancy varieties of goldfish like fantails, orandas and ryukins that have prominent fins and tails. Male bettas in particular are territorial and may see the goldfish’s fins as a threat.

The betta is likely to chase, nip and attack the goldfish’s fins and tail. This harassment can stress the goldfish to the point of illness. Nipped fins are also prone to fin rot and infection, which can be fatal if left untreated.

While the betta cannot actually kill or eat the goldfish due to size differences, the constant fin nipping can be very damaging over time if both fish are forced to live together.

The Best Tank Mates for Bettas

The Best Tank Mates for Bettas
The Best Tank Mates for Bettas

Bettas can live happily with many small, peaceful fish species that do not resemble bettas. Good betta tank mates include:

  • Small tetras like ember tetras, neon tetras, and cardinal tetras
  • Rasboras such as harlequin rasboras, lambchop rasboras, and chili rasboras
  • Corydoras catfish and otocinclus catfish, which stay towards the bottom of the tank
  • Snails like nerite snails and mystery snails are excellent tankmates as they help eat algae
  • Shrimp like ghost shrimp, amano shrimp, bamboo shrimp, and red cherry shrimp (but bettas may eat smaller shrimp)

When selecting tank mates, avoid fish with flashy fins or bright coloring. Stick to schooling fish under 2 inches in size that do not resemble bettas. Avoid aggressive or fin-nipping fish like tiger barbs. These peaceful community fish will live happily with bettas in a moderately planted tank of at least 10 gallons.

Good Tankmates for Goldfish

Good Tankmates for Goldfish
Good Tankmates for Goldfish

Goldfish do best with other similar sized fancy goldfish varieties, but only if kept in a very large tank. As a general rule, goldfish need at least 20 gallons for the first fish, plus an additional 10 gallons per additional goldfish in the tank. This is because goldfish are very messy fish that produce a lot of waste. They require powerful filtration and frequent water changes, so overcrowding will foul the water quickly. Ideally, fancies should be kept in at least a 55-75 gallon tank.

Some fast-moving fish like danios and White Cloud Mountain minnows can make good goldfish tank mates. Their speed allows them to avoid getting picked on by goldfish. Smaller fish should be added to the tank first and given time to establish their territory before adding the goldfish.

Bottom-dwelling fish like plecos and snails are compatible with goldfish. Their different habitat needs and behaviors prevent competition. Shrimp may get eaten, so provide plenty of hiding spots. Nerite snails are too big for goldfish to eat. Overall, go for peaceful community fish that thrive in similar water conditions as goldfish if you want to add tankmates.

Fast schooling fish like minnows, danios, and barbs do well with goldfish.


Bettas and goldfish are incompatible as tankmates due to differing needs. Bettas require warm tropical conditions (78-82°F), whereas goldfish need cooler water (65-72°F). Space requirements also vary; bettas can live in 5-gallon tanks, but goldfish need at least 20 gallons with strong filtration for waste management. Moreover, bettas may harm goldfish by nipping at their fins, causing stress and potential injuries.

For harmonious tank environments, bettas pair well with small tetras, rasboras, cory catfish, as well as snails and shrimp. Goldfish, conversely, are compatible with other fancy goldfish, quick-swimming fish like minnows and danios, and certain invertebrates. Understanding these distinct requirements ensures healthy living conditions for both fish types.


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