Betta Vs Goldfish (Which Is Best For You)

Have you had your eye set on an aquarium? Let me tell you about two of the most popular fish breeds out there, Betta fish and goldfish. They’re pretty, and taking care of them is quite simple when compared to other kinds of fish. When it comes to buying fish, it can seem as simple as getting them from the store and putting them into a bowl. But we can assure you that there is more to it than that.

Keep reading to know more about the various characteristics that these fish have, how they are different from each other, and whether or not they can be kept in the same tank. In the end, we also hope to help you decide which of them would be a better fit for you while outlining a bunch of factors that you should consider before you decide which one you want to get.

Betta Fish Facts

Betta fish are one of the most popular tropical freshwater fish breeds around. The most attractive thing about them is their impressive blend of colors. They are hardy fish and can survive in less than optimal conditions. They can also survive low levels of oxygen in the water. Nevertheless, it is still advised to take good care of them to ensure a healthy lifespan.

Unfortunately, their ability to survive in such confines is what has made them so popular. Their sale brings quick money to people without them having to actually pay for proper storage costs, as they can survive long enough to be sold on.

Here are some things you should know about betta fish:


This is the most important characteristic of betta fish; they are highly territorial. Males will attack one another until only one is left alive. Females are able to live in groups but not with males. Even before courtship, males and females start their interaction through fighting. Females even attack their own eggs; it is the males’ job to protect the eggs in this scenario.


Betta fish are carnivores; they prefer to be fed brine shrimp and bloodworms, and they can also be fed specific pellets that are made especially for them. You should also make sure that they don’t overeat, as they have a tendency to do so as a survival mechanism. This can be done through strict eating schedules and counting the number of pellets each fish has.

A closeup shot of sick betta fish in an aquarium


There is a common misconception among people that fish aren’t that smart. This is not true, especially in the case of betta fish. In fact, they can even be taught to do minor tricks such as jumping, and after spending enough time with them, catering to their needs, they’ll even begin to recognize the owner.

Mirror Aggression

Betta fish see their own reflection as a threat and will constantly try to attack it. This has to be prevented with the help of a sticker that blocks out their reflection from all but one side to help minimize this tendency. If you don’t cater to this, your fish may become stressed and exhausted physically and mentally.

Tropical Environment

Betta fish live in a specific tropical environment, and ideally, a temperature of 80 Fahrenheit suits them. For this purpose, it would be useful to employ a heater to help them survive. It should also be noted that they require the ideal PH level to be managed; it should range between 6.5 and 7.5, and you should be using a PH monitor.

Life Span

Bettas can live up to 4 years of age, but in some cases, they can live longer if given exceptional care. A healthy environment in terms of temperature regulation and PH maintenance can go a long way in ensuring a healthy life span for the Betta. You can use different additional facilities such as limestone to control PH levels and heaters to do the same for temperature.

Many Species

Actually, betta fish is an umbrella term used to define over 70 different types of fish. They all have common characteristics, but only a few of them can live inside a fish tank. They can also vary in terms of color and visual appeal, which are also quite important factors when making buying decisions.

Goldfish Facts

The goldfish that most people are familiar with is just one of the many types of fish. These are also an appealing option when people don’t want to pay for a fish tank, so they just keep one in a bowl. Goldfish also require lots of care and will die if not provided with their basic necessities. Most types of goldfish can grow up to be quite large.

Goldfish can be hard to maintain because due to the fact that they don’t have a stomach. Food passes through them at a much faster speed, and they spread waste quickly, which also means you might find yourself cleaning more often than you’d like.

Here are some things we think you should know about goldfish:


Goldfish are very smart in the sense that they are able to recognize their owners. Science also suggests that they have an impressive memory span of three months. Many people think of goldfish as dumb, but this could not be further from the truth.


Goldfish are able to perceive more colors than humans, both ultraviolet and infrared colors. This helps them to understand and perceive the environment more effectively. While they may be better at perceiving colors, they are not as good when it comes to actual vision, as they can only see a short distance.

This is further aggravated because they have a blind spot in the front of their face owing to how their eyes are positioned.

The Scales Are Important

The rings around the scales of the goldfish are not random; they develop as the age of the fish increases. This can be an important fact to know so you can determine the exact age of your goldfish. You should keep this in mind when you go out to buy one, as a smaller fish with more scales can sometimes mean sub-optimal care. Just remember that you’ll need a microscope to actually see these scales properly.

Their Color Is Not Actually Gold

Did you know that goldfish get their color as a result of the light hitting their skin? If the lights were shut off completely, their skin would have nothing to cause pigmentation resulting in them turning completely white. If you don’t believe me, you can google this. If you already have a goldfish, turn the lights off for a truly terrifying image.

Don’t Underestimate Their Growth

While the common image of goldfish is associated with being small, they can actually grow up to a foot long. This growth is often stunted because of the small size of the fish or a reduction in the quality of the environment in which they are being raised.

Know that sometimes goldfish can become too big for their tank and will have to be moved to a bigger one to ensure their healthy lifespan.


If you have watched Finding Nemo, you might remember how the mother laid so many eggs, but only one survived. Similarly, in reality, they lay close to 1000 eggs, and many are lost to circumstances, and some are eaten by the goldfish themselves. They can reproduce surprisingly quickly, as observed in an experiment when they spread across a lake in a matter of days.

Goldfish Eating Habits

Goldfish are omnivores and eat just about anything they can fit into their mouths. This is something you should consider when deciding which other fish you want the goldfish to accompany inside the tank.

Goldfish don’t have a stomach, which causes them to keep eating, and since they can’t actually feel their stomach getting ‘full,’ they can eat themselves to death. This is why you should feed them through a strict eating schedule to ensure their safety and survival.

Different colored aquarium fishes in fish tank with plants

Differences Between Goldfish and Betta Fish

These two are one of the most popular fish breeds in the world right now. They are not without their differences, and we will discuss some of them with you here. In this comparison, we will be assuming that these fish have been provided optimal levels of care, and some behaviors may be different if circumstances change.


The goldfish is the smaller one of the two, and it can grow up to around 12 inches. The Betta is definitely the bigger one, growing up to be around 26 inches, and can even go up to 30 inches, depending on the level of care it has been provided with. These considerations are not just important for your personal taste but also for the size of your current tank and whether or not you can afford to have a bigger one in the future.


Goldfish will live longer, between 10 and 15 years of age. The betta fish will live for a considerably lesser length of time, between 3 to 5 years. In outlier cases, the goldfish has lived up to a stunning 40 years, while the Betta went down at 10 years. In most outlier cases, exceptional levels of care were ensured, and of course, luck also played a part.


They are different in the sense that betta fish are carnivores, while goldfish prefer and thrive on a plant-based diet with some meaty treats thrown in there every once in a while. If you do plan on keeping both in the same tank, note that your goldfish may eat more than your betta fish, and this could even cause a feeding deficit on their part.

Optimal Conditions for Health

The water temperature for the goldfish should be between 65 ˚F and 75˚F, while the Betta prefers a slightly warmer range of 75˚F to 81˚F. The PH ranges suited to each of them also vary; the goldfish lives well within 7.0-8.4, while the Betta thrives within the range of 6.5 to 7.5. As you can see, one begins to thrive exactly when the other starts to become irritated, both in terms of temperature and PH.


On their own, it is relatively easy to keep them, and there is nothing too complex about what they need to grow healthy. However, they can be difficult to blend with other fish. One important thing you need to remember is to do extra cleaning on your part; the waste can also cause implications for PH levels as the waste releases chemicals such as ammonia that reduce the PH level.

Betta fish require warmer temperatures, so more care in that department is also required, perhaps in the form of a heating system. This, of course, would equal more money spent on your part.


Goldfish are peaceful and will eat anything that they can fit into their mouths, including other fish. Betta fish are a different story; they are ultra-aggressive and will attack most other fish. The only ones they can live with are shrimp, tetras, snails, and a few other docile creatures. Betta also needs help dealing with their reflections, as mentioned before.


This will be the most important factor for many, as visual appeal is the first thing a lot of people consider. Goldfish get their pigmentation and colors in response to light and are in a range of gold, orange or yellow, considering the light is present. There are over 70 fish that are categorized as Betta, and therefore their colors range from black, turquoise, yellow, green, and even albino. These can sometimes be in double and even triple color schemes.

betta care facebook group

Can Goldfish and Betta Fish Live Together?

Goldfish are peaceful fish in most cases, while bettas are aggressive. It is unlikely that bettas will be able to eat the goldfish, and persistent attacks may cause death. The next thing to consider is food- bettas may eat some of the goldfish’s food if the food is their type. This concern is aimed more towards the goldfish as they’re omnivores and will eat the food of the bettas. Their feeding problem can also be an issue.

As female bettas aren’t as aggressive, you may ask if they can live with goldfish. The answer is still no; the concerns about feed are still there.

Plus, goldfish are also used to colder water than betta fish. The things that could go wrong are too many. So, it is easy to understand why keeping goldfish and Betta in the same tank is not a suitable option. The most important factor here is water.

Betta vs. Goldfish, Which Is Better for You?

Betta fish can be a good option for you to consider if you’re keeping it as an individual fish. The pretty colors can be an attraction as well, as they are multicolored and can add an aesthetic look to your fish tank. For many people, this is the primary reason to get one of these. Betta fish are also hardy fish; they’re not too sensitive and can survive long enough to be considered a viable option.

Just one consideration to make is their aggression and whether or not you are prepared to deal with it. It can be difficult to keep them along with other fish. The goldfish are mildly more accepting of other fish. The only difference is that having goldfish in your tank will mean that you’ll be cleaning your tank more often as they tend to have more waste than other types of fish, as mentioned previously.

When it really comes down to it, if you have a smaller tank, somewhere around the 10-gallon range, go for the Betta, as they can flourish within smaller confines. If you’re thinking about something bigger than that and are prepared to spend more time on the tank, go for the goldfish but know that a tank with several goldfish can have you working quite a bit.

Conclusion and Recap

There is no doubt that both these fish are attractive options for your aquarium, but it is important to make all of these considerations when you decide to go for either one. You would do well to understand the basic characteristics of both of these fish to decide whether you would prefer having one over the other; you might make a better decision when thinking about it from that perspective.

If you’re still not sure about which one is the right choice for you, we advise you to read the section on the differences between betta fish and goldfish, as this helps to highlight some of the ways in which you’ll be catering to them, more importantly, the differences in care and considerations.

If you’re still not convinced, think about the amount of time you are willing to spend on this hobby. A shorter length of time means you’ll be better off with betta fish and vice versa.

About the author

Hey there! I'm Antonio, the passionate owner and chief editor of Betta Care Fish Guide. With over half a decade of hands-on experience, I've become your go-to expert for all things betta and tropical fish.

Over the past 5 years, I've not only kept bettas and other tropical fish but also connected with a diverse network of hobbyists, seasoned fishkeepers, and even veterinarians.

Now, I want to help other beginner fish keepers who had the same questions as me when they were just starting out! So they can save themselves a ton of time and keep their fish happy and healthy!