Can Betta Fish And Goldfish Live Together? 9 Reasons Why Not!

Can betta fish and goldfish live in the same tank? We'll go over all the requirements of both fish and find out the truth once and for all!
Betta Fish vs Goldfish
Betta Fish vs Goldfish

Betta fish and goldfish are both very popular in the fishkeeping hobby and many people wonder if they can be kept in the same tank together.

Can a Betta Fish Live With Goldfish?

The quick answer is no betta fish and goldfish shouldn’t live together, there are a variety of reasons why you shouldn’t put a betta and goldfish in the same tank.

I’ll go over in much more detail below why they are not suitable tank mates.

Betta Fish Overview

Types of Betta Fish
Types of Betta Fish

Betta fish come in a whole array of vibrant colors, so you are sure to find one you love the look of.

They are great beginner fish that don’t need a huge tank and are easy to take care of.

I’ve done a much more in-depth betta care guide if you are considering buying one of these wonderful fish.

  • Scientific Name: Betta splendens
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Maximum Size: 3 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Water Temperature: 78°-82° F / 25.5°-27.5°C.
  • pH: 6.5-7.5

Goldfish Overview

Types of goldfish
Types of Goldfish

Goldfish have been one of the most popular pet fish for decades.

They come in a ton of different varieties, from the common goldfish to the elaborate fancy goldfish with long flowing fins and the cartoon-like celestial eye goldfish.

Most varieties are suitable for beginners, but you need to be aware that they need a much larger tank than most people realize.

  • Scientific Name: Carassius auratus
  • Care Level: Easy-Intermediate
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Maximum Size: 14 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20-30 gallons
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Water Temperature: 65°-72° F / 18°C-22°C
  • pH: 7.0-8.0


Betta vs Goldfish Temperament

Betta Fish Temperament

Betta Fish are also known as the Siamese fighting fish, so that gives you a big clue that they can have an aggressive temperament!

They prefer to live by themselves rather than with tankmates.

Goldfish Temperament

Goldfish have a peaceful temperament and will happily live with other similar goldfish or fish that have a peaceful nature.

One thing to note, goldfish will eat any smaller fish in their tank, so make sure any fish you add will not fit in a goldfish’s mouth, as it may become a tasty snack!

Life Expectancy

Betta vs Goldfish Life Expectancy

Betta Fish Lifespan

Pet betta fish generally live 3-5 years.

Goldfish Lifespan

Pet goldfish generally live 5-10 years, but they can often live much longer.

My first ever pet fish was a goldfish called Moby and he lived to be 15 years old, and the oldest ever recorded goldfish lived to the ripe old age of 43!


Betta vs Goldfish Diet

Betta Fish Diet

Bettas are carnivores and should be fed a wide and varied diet of meat-based foods.

A specific betta fish food pellet is a great place to start, plus some additional protein like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia will be eagerly gobbled up.

Goldfish Diet

Goldfish are omnivores, so eat a varied diet of plant and meat-based foods. They enjoy shelled peas, blanched zucchini, and lots of other vegetables.

Protein should make up around 30% of their diet.

Goldfish are very greedy and eat ravenously, this can lead to buoyancy issues because they gulp in too much air as they eat food floating on the surface.

You may find your goldfish floats at the surface after eating, this should correct itself within a couple of hours.

I’ve covered in more detail how to fix buoyancy issues in fish in my post on swim bladder disease.

Fish Size

Betta vs Goldfish Size

Betta Fish Size

Pet betta fish grow to around 3 inches, males have long flowing fins, whereas females have much less elaborate fins.

Goldfish Size

There are many varieties of goldfish, the bubble eye is one of the smallest types of goldfish growing to around 4-5 inches, whereas a comet goldfish can reach 12-14 inches.

Tank Size

Betta vs Goldfish Tank Size

Betta Fish Tank Size

A 5 gallon tank is the minimum sized tank I recommend for a betta fish.

Betta fish are often photographed in small bowls and vases, but it’s almost impossible to keep the water clean and safe with such a low volume of water, not to mention there’s hardly any space for them to swim.

Goldfish Tank Size

Goldfish need a much bigger tank than the small bowls you often see them in, goldfish are social and prefer to be kept in groups of a least 3.

Goldfish can grow up to 14 inches depending on the type you buy.

A general rule of thumb is 20-30 gallons for 1 goldfish plus an additional 10 gallons (minimum) for every other goldfish added, depending on the variety.

A tank with a larger footprint is recommended for goldfish (longer and wider rather than tall and narrow).

Water temperature

Betta vs Goldfish Water Temperature

Betta Fish Water Temperature

Bettas are tropical fish and like to be kept in a tank that has a water temperature of around 78°-82° F / 25.5°-27.5°C.

Goldfish Water Temperature

Goldfish prefer cooler water temperatures of around 65°-72° F / 18°C-22°C


Betta vs Goldfish Habitat

Betta Fish Habitat

Native to Asia where it is warm year-round, betta fish are found in the shallow waters of rice paddies, ponds, and slow-moving streams.

When setting a tank up for a betta fish, make sure the water is warm and that there are no sharp objects that can rip their delicate fins or injure their eyes.

They appreciate live plants to hide and nestle amongst, some great choices are anubias nana, Java fern, duckweed, and water sprite.

Goldfish Habitat

Native to eastern Asia, goldfish are found in most freshwater bodies of water.

When setting up a tank for goldfish, you don’t need a heater, some varieties can happily live outside in a pond, even during winter.

They like plenty of open swimming space, rather than a tank packed with decor.

The addition of an airstone or 2 to help increase oxygen levels is recommended in goldfish tanks.

Avoid any decor that has sharp edges as it may rip their fins and fancy varieties like the bubble eye goldfish can injure their eyes on sharp or protruding objects.

Water Cleanliness

Betta vs Goldfish Cleanliness

Betta Fish Tank Cleanliness

Bettas aren’t particularly messy fish, and it’s easy to keep their tank clean with a sponge filter and regular water changes.

As with any fish, make sure your tank is fully cycled before adding your betta.

Goldfish Tank Cleanliness

Goldfish are known to have a high bio-load, they are large fish with a healthy appetite and what goes in must come out!

The tank must be fully cycled before you add your goldfish, or you will quickly end up with ammonia poisoning on your hands.

It can be tricky to keep the tank clean and water parameters at safe levels for goldfish, especially if the tank is too small or overstocked.

Goldfish need a good quality filter and regular water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrate levels in check.

Water Flow

Betta vs Goldfish Water Flow

Betta Fish Water Flow

Because betta fish have such large fins, they can struggle in a tank that has a high water flow.

I recommend using a sponge filter for betta fish.

If you have a HOB filter, try and reduce the flow rate if your fish is struggling. 

Goldfish Water Flow

As with betta fish, fancy varieties of goldfish with large flowing fins, and round bodies can struggle in a strong water flow.

Common or comet varieties of goldfish that are faster swimming and slender can cope with a higher flow rate.


Some frequently asked questions about bettas and goldfish are:

Will a Betta Fish Kill a Goldfish?

No, a betta fish will not kill a goldfish.

They may fin nip and harass a goldfish, but due to goldfish being much larger it’s unlikely this would lead to death.

What Fish Can Live With Goldfish?

Peaceful fish, non-fin-nippers, and fish that can tolerate cooler water.

If you have fancy goldfish, you need to choose slow-swimming fish, that won’t outcompete your fancy goldfish for food.

Some of the best goldfish tank mates are:
Bristlenose pleco
Dojo loach
Hillstream loach
Platy fish
Rubberlip pleco
White cloud mountain minnows

What Fish Can Live With Betta Fish?

Bettas can be very picky as to whether they will tolerate a tankmate or not, I’ve had bettas that have been fine with a tankmate and some bettas that will not tolerate anything else in their tank!

I wouldn’t add a tank mate unless your betta tank is 15 gallons or larger, to give each fish its own space.

Some of the best tank mates for betta fish include:
Bristlenose pleco
Corydoras catfish
Green neon tetra
Harlequin rasbora
Khuli loach
Mystery snail
Pork chop rasbora

Do Betta Fish Get Along With Goldfish?

They are both fin-nippers so are likely to harass and nip each other if kept in the same tank.

Can Goldfish Eat Betta Food?

Yes, goldfish can eat small amounts of betta food, but because betta fish are carnivores and goldfish are omnivores a betta fish diet would be too protein rich for a goldfish.

Can Bettas Eat Goldfish Food?

Yes, bettas can eat some goldfish food, but a goldfish diet doesn’t contain enough protein for a carnivorous betta fish to survive and be healthy.

Final Thoughts On Can Betta Fish and Goldfish Live Together…?

I think it’s obvious by now that you can’t put a goldfish and betta together in the same tank, due to them needing very different tank setups, diets, etc.

Both fish are very popular and make great pets in their own right, just not in the same tank!

Check out the freshwater section for more compatibility guides.

Picture of Paul


Hey, fellow fish enthusiast 👋! I'm Paul and I've been an aquarium addict since I won my first goldfish at the fair many years ago. Let me share with you the knowledge that I've gained along the way (and avoid the mistakes I've made!), so you too can create an underwater paradise for your aquatic friends.