Can A Betta Fish Live With Goldfish?

When you first get your betta you may be wondering what fish can live with it. Goldfish are some of the most popular fish around so you may be wondering “Can a betta fish live with goldfish?” While they’re both hardy fish, keeping them together may not be such a good idea. Keep reading to find out why you may want to avoid keeping a betta fish and goldfish together!

Can A Betta Fish Live With Goldfish? (The Short Answer)

Due to the fact betta fish need warmer temperatures than goldfish, they need clean water (whereas goldfish are extremely dirty), goldfish need much bigger tanks (30 Gallons+), and also because goldfish are quick eaters, and fin nippers its definitely not recommended to keep bettas with goldfish. However, for short periods of time and in extreme circumstances cohabitation is possible between the two species, although this should only be in dire times.

Betta Fish And Goldfish (A More In-depth Look)

If you’re still not happy with the answer you’ve been given then here’s a more in-depth reason why you shouldn’t keep goldfish and bettas together!

The Temperature Difference

Betta fish are true tropical fish, needing warm waters to survive and be happy. On the other hand, goldfish are borderline cold water fish. To put in perspective, bettas can survive in water between 76-82°F. However, goldfish prefer temperatures between 68-74°F. As you can see, this is a big difference.

You may be thinking that you can just meet in the middle at 75°F, but this is definitely not recommended.

76°F is already the very borderline in which bettas can survive and ideally you want to keep the temperature in their tank at 78°F. Once the temperature falls below 76°F it’s going to start doing a lot of damage to your betta.

If he doesn’t go into temperature shock (which is often fatal) then his metabolism will slow down. A slow metabolism means he’s much more likely to get constipation and swim bladder disease. It will also increase stress which can cause a whole range of illnesses. He’ll also become much more lethargic and prone to fin rot. This is because blood will have trouble flowing to the outer areas of your betta.

On the other hand, if a goldfish is kept in temperatures that are too hot then they’re also likely to suffer from temperature shock. And if they don’t succumb to temperature shock then their increased metabolism is going to create a lot of stress in their body. Which can also result in illness or disease of some kind.

Lastly, an increase in metabolism due to extreme heat will reduce a goldfish lifespan dramatically.

Goldfish Are Dirty (And Bettas Need Clean Water)

Another problem is goldfish are extremely dirty fish. Having a goldfish in a tank increases the chances of ammonia spikes dramatically. And while bettas are hardy fish, they’re extremely susceptible to ammonia poisoning which can quickly kill them.

But it’s not just the ammonia poisoning that can be a problem. Keeping the tank clean in itself can often affect your betta. Due to how dirty goldfish are, they need frequent water changes. These frequent water changes are going to stress your betta out, and affect his immune system. So as you can see, you’re going to have to choose between keeping your tank water clean (and stressing your betta) or not cleaning it as often (and risking ammonia poisoning).

As well as keeping the tank clean, you’re also going to have to have a strong filter to help reduce the amount of ammonia in your tank. While goldfish don’t mind a stronger filter, your betta will have trouble swimming and be more stressed out.

But Do Betta Fish Get Along With Goldfish?

You’ve already heard two reasons why you should avoid keeping bettas and goldfish together. But you may still be wondering “do betta fish get along with goldfish?”

One thing to remember when keeping any fish together is that it always depends on the individual. Bettas are known to be aggressive, however, there are many peaceful ones that can live with all types of fish. On the other hand, some fish that are described as peaceful can often be extremely ornery.

Unfortunately, though, bettas are known to be aggressive and goldfish are known to be fin nippers. If you keep your betta in a tank with goldfish then there’s a strong possibility that he’ll end up getting his fins nipped. And even if your goldfish isn’t a fin nipper, your betta may end up attacking him for no reason at all (it’s what bettas do).

So to answer the question “Do betta fish get along with goldfish?” The answer is most likely not.

Knowing the different behavior, tank requirements and diets of multiple fish is a difficult task to accomplish. In fact, there are fish that can live with your betta you haven’t even thought of yet! If you want to know about every fish that can live with your betta then click here.

Goldfish Need Big Tanks

If you’re already housing a betta hopefully you’re keeping them in a tank which is 5 gallons in size or bigger. (As anything smaller than that will result in him being unhappy. Want to know why smaller tanks are harmful to your betta?) If you plan on keeping goldfish then you’ll need to go a lot bigger. Common goldfish can grow up to 12″ in size and require a tank that’s 30 gallons or bigger, with each new goldfish requiring another 12 gallons.

From a price point, it also doesn’t make sense to keep bettas and goldfish together. The chances are you’ll have to end up buying a much bigger tank anyway, and with two tanks, there’s no point keeping yout betta with goldfish.

Goldfish Are Big Fish

You may have only seen goldfish when they’re juvenile and not fully grown. However, as previously mentioned goldfish can grow up to 12″ in size. At their biggest, bettas can grow up to 3″ in length (however, this isn’t common).

The problem with the size difference is that goldfish will eat ANYTHING. If you keep your betta in a tank with a goldfish that grows to full size, then there’s a good possibility that he’ll end up becoming food.

Goldfish Eat Anything (And They’re Fast)

If all of this wasn’t bad enough, goldfish are also opportunistic eaters. Whatever you put in your tank is going to be eaten (including your bettas food).

This creates two problems. Your goldfish is either going to end up getting fed too much, or your betta isn’t going to be fed enough. Neither one is good.

And to make matters worse, goldfish are also omnivores, whereas bettas are carnivorous. If they do end up eating each other’s food then it could cause trouble. Your goldfish may end up having too much meat in his diet, whereas your betta might end up getting too much vegetation.

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Can You Keep Bettas And Goldfish Together Temporarily?

If you had absolutely no other choice it is possible to keep bettas and goldfish together for a short amount of time. After all, goldfish are unlikely to trigger aggression in your betta and a couple of days of warmer temperature won’t kill your goldfish.

However, you should only consider doing this in extreme circumstances. For example, the heater in your tank has broken, or you’ve spilled something into the tank that shouldn’t be there.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide about Betta fish care, click here!

Unfortunately though, apart from these extreme circumstances, it’s not recommended to keep bettas and goldfish together.


As you can see it’s better to avoid keeping bettas and goldfish together. While it can work short term, long term it’s destined for trouble. Here are the main points to remember.

  • Bettas and goldfish require different temperatures to survive. Bettas need a temperature between 76-82°F (with 78°F being the ideal). Goldfish prefer temperatures between 68-74°F. While they can survive in warmer temperatures it’s not good for them.
  • Goldfish are extremely dirty fish, so they need regular water changes as well as a strong filter. Both of which your betta will dislike.
  • If you don’t perform enough water changes your betta may get ammonia poisoning.
  • Goldfish are fin nippers, and bettas are often known to be aggressive.
  • Bettas can survive in tanks as small as 5 gallons, whereas common goldfish need a minimum of 30 gallons.
  • Goldfish can grow up to 12″ in size, and at full size, they’re big enough to eat your betta.
  • Goldfish are fast eaters, that will eat your bettas food. Oftentimes, your betta will be underfed and your goldfish will be overfed.
  • It’s possible to keep bettas and goldfish together temporarily for a couple of days in extreme circumstances.

If you liked this article make sure you check out the rest of the website. And if you’re interested to know more about tank mates that can live with bettas then you have to check out the Ultimate Betta Tank Mate Guide. You’ll learn about 68 different tank mates that can live with your betta, as well as fish to avoid. You’ll also learn how to create the perfect environment for mates, how to introduce tank mates and much more! So check it out!

Betta Tank Mate Guide

Other Common Tank Mate Choices

Unfortunately, while it’s not the best idea to keep bettas and goldfish, luckily there are plenty of other fish that you can keep with bettas!

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!

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