Main Reasons Why Goldfish Cannot Live With Bettas

Image of a goldfish in a tank

Goldfish cannot live with bettas because of the following reasons:

  1. The habitat needs of goldfish and bettas differ. As tropical fish, bettas need warm water while goldfish are cold-water fish.
  2. They have different temperaments. Goldfish are easygoing and friendly, while betta fish are aggressive and short-tempered.
  3. Goldfish and bettas have different nutritional requirements. Goldfish are omnivorous, while bettas are carnivores.
  4. Goldfish produce excessive ammonia-rich waste and dirty the tank. So, they need a strong filter or frequent water changes. The cleaner betta fish do not like frequent water changes nor strong filter currents.

So, bettas and goldfish do not make good tank mates. Let’s talk about each of these points in greater detail now to understand why goldfish and bettas cannot live together.

Why Goldfish And Bettas Can’t Be Kept Together?

It is easy for fish owners to manage an aquarium when the fish come from similar environments and have the same needs.

Unfortunately, the goldfish and betta fish do not belong to similar geographies. So, their habitat needs are different.

Given below are the main reasons why goldfish should not be kept with bettas:

Temperature Requirements Of Goldfish And Bettas Are Different

Betta fish are tropical fish that live in warm temperatures. They live in water with temperatures of 76°F to 82°F.

While goldfish belong to lower temperature zones where the water temperature is below 74°F.

Now, suppose you had to keep the two fish together.

The ideal temperature range for the betta and goldfish are entirely different.

So, you must either choose a temperature that is higher than ideal for a goldfish or lower than is ideal for a betta.

If you opt for a low temperature, the betta will be vulnerable to fin rot, constipation, and other health conditions.

Its metabolic rate will decrease, and the fish will be under stress.

Instead, if you raise the temperature, the goldfish can go into temperature shock.

The risk of your goldfish falling ill is higher, and it can suffer from conditions like swim bladder disease.

Water pH And Quality Varies For Goldfish And Bettas

Betta fish thrive in soft water with low pH levels. They also like water with no calcium content.

While goldfish need moderately hard water with high pH levels.

The higher calcium content of such water is not suitable for the betta fish.

Next, let us look at water quality and cleanliness.

Interestingly, the goldfish and betta fish are on opposite ends of the scale. While betta fish are clean, goldfish are very messy.

Goldfish produce a lot of waste, which can cause ammonia levels in the water to increase.

Although goldfish are affected by dirty water, betta fish are more vulnerable to high ammonia levels.

They cannot tolerate it for a long time.

Goldfish tanks need frequent water changes or efficient water filters to stay clean.

When a betta fish occupies the same space, it will be disturbed by the frequent water changes.

The other option is to use a high-quality filter, but they will automatically increase the water current in the tank.

Unfortunately, betta fish are slow swimmers. They cannot handle strong water currents.

So, they prefer gently bubbling filters. However, these filters cannot eliminate the copious amount of goldfish waste.

Feeding Habits Are Different Of Goldfish And Bettas

The nutritional requirements of goldfish and bettas are entirely different.

Goldfish are omnivorous fish with enormous appetites. They will eat anything that fits their mouths.

If you have a goldfish, you will find it always digging the substrate and feeding on the food that they find there.

Although goldfish eat both plant and animal matter, their diet is primarily composed of vegetation.

However, bettas are carnivores. They need more protein than goldfish.

So, the same type of food is not suitable for goldfish and bettas.

If goldfish eat too much of betta food or bettas eat goldfish food, they cannot meet their nutritional needs.

Feeding the two fish in the same tank is another challenge.

The goldfish will shoot for the betta food even if it has just had its food.

Bettas will not appreciate this behavior. They will become aggressive and attack the goldfish.

Apart from the habitat needs, compatibility issues also arise because of the distinct behavior traits of these fish.

Let us explore this interesting subject in closer detail.

Temperament Issues Of Goldfish And Bettas

Did you know that the Betta fish are also called Siamese fighter fish?

Bettas are tough and short-tempered creatures. They flare up at the slightest provocation.

Even while spawning, they tend to be aggressive. So, you cannot expect a betta to warm up to its tank mates.

Male betta fish are particularly aggressive and highly territorial.

They will chase and attack other fish for the smallest reasons. This fish uses its tiny, sharp teeth for biting and attacking.

Aggressive bettas may even bite you if you put your hand into their tank.

While goldfish are pleasant and easygoing community fish, they can be a source of stress for bettas.

Some goldfish tend to be fin-nippers. This trait can cause the betta to get defensive and aggressive.

If the fish attack each other, either or both may be wounded.

Another cause for concern is that goldfish will eat anything they can find. It goes for smaller fish too.

And some varieties of goldfish can become very big. If the betta is very small, your goldfish may try to eat it.

So, bettas and goldfish do not make good companions and are best not kept together.

But, if you still want to keep goldfish and bettas together, here are a few things you can do…

How To Keep Goldfish And Bettas Together?

A few fish hobbyists have attempted and succeeded at keeping goldfish and bettas together.

Here is what makes the combination work in these rare cases:

  • The bettas are kept with smaller goldfish that do not grow too big and intimidate the betta fish.
  • The fish get along because the goldfish are not too curious, and the bettas are not aggressive.
  • Tank conditions are adjusted to suit both fish. A small heater warms up the portion of the tank where the betta resides while the goldfish have cool water in the rest of the space.
  • There are plants and plenty of hiding spaces in the tank, which helps the betta feel more secure.
  • The betta fish receive floating fish food while goldfish get sinking pellets. So, each fish heads to its designated location to find its food.

Related Questions

Can goldfish live with guppies? Guppies and goldfish are community fish that can coexist peacefully. Both fish have pleasant temperaments and similar habitat needs. However, since guppies are small fish, you shouldn’t keep them with big goldfish. Goldfish tend to eat anything that fits their mouth, including their young and other small fish. It can be risky for guppies and guppy fry.

Should bettas be kept alone? Betta fish don’t get along with most types of fish because of their aggressive and territorial behavior. Big fish frighten them while they tend to chase and attack small fish. Bettas do not mind being alone in a tank. However, they can live with certain types of fish like mollies, platies, and certain catfish. Female bettas generally tolerate tank mates better than males. Avoid keeping a betta with other aggressive types of fish, or your aquarium will most likely become a battleground.

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