It's sometimes true what they say that in a relationship opposites attract.  But as far as the betta fish world is concerned, it's not the case.  That's the reason why you can't mix betta fish and goldfish together.  You see they are just not compatible with each other on so many levels.  

Fact is these two species of fish have fairly diverse requirements for thriving in a home aquarium that are poles apart. If goldfish are from Venus, then bettas are certainly from Mars.  They both basically require different conditions to thrive underwater.  If you don't believe this, then read on to find out how this odd couple makes for an irreconcilable pair that goes beyond simply being an odd couple. 

Incompatible Thermostat Settings
For starters goldfish are cold water creatures while your average fighting fish is planted firmly in the tropical fish family.  So while goldfish love to frolic in the cold, bettas prefer the warmer waters.  For this reason goldfish need to be housed in an environment with a temp of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit while bettas prefer living with a heater keeping the water at 76-82 degrees.  

So putting a goldfish in a heated tank would be like wearing a fur coat under the blazing heat of the midday sun.  It clearly isn't comfortable.  On the other hand, subjecting your betta into an unheated tank (unless the tank is in a really warm room) would only serve to freeze them out which can quickly lead to many unpleasant diseases. 

Incompatible Waste Management
A bigger reason why bettas can't live with goldfish is because the latter are quite notorious for producing prodigious amounts of toxic waste.  And if you carefully did your research on betta fish care, you should know that these finny divas have a low tolerance for waste and toxins in their water.  So while goldfish don't mind swimming through their own poop bettas would.  In fact, they tend to die off if they are exposed to even slight amounts of ammonia and nitrates in the water.  

Sure you might be able to properly filter the water.  But it's another strike against this unholy union.  Since bettas cannot tolerate the strong current without swimming themselves into a frazzle due to all that exposed finnage. 

Incompatible Housing
Granted goldfish may be tiny at first.  But given the right conditions they might grow as big as a foot long. For this reason it is recommend that you house a select few goldfish in 75-gallon tanks.  So if you don't intend to get a (much) bigger tank then don't keep a gold fish at all.  

Bettas on the other hand belong in the smaller fish category.  They can do quite well in five gallon housing.  

Plus while at first these feisty guys may be fond of picking on the tiny goldfish ultimately the tables will turn as these tiny goldies turn into plus sized adults.

Incompatible Dining Preferences
Goldfish and betta fish prefer radically different diets.  So if the previous problems haven't convinced you this isn't a match made in heaven the varying menus sure should.  Goldfish tend to dine more on the vegetarian side while bettas are meat eaters.  What this means is you can't give goldfish betta fish food or they will find it hard to digest it. In much the same way you can't feed goldfish food to bettas since such food may not be able to meet these diva's daily nutrient requirement.  

Hopefully these incompatibilities have convinced you this isn't anywhere near a good idea.  These two species simply can't occupy the same space.  There are other fish bettas can live with.  Just do your research well and you'll be able to create a healthy community tank with everyone getting along.  More or less.

RESOURCE BOX: Doesn't matter if you're talking male bettas, betta health, or what to feed them the place to go is If you need more on betta fish care click here. Or if you are looking for more on betta fish diseases that's the site for you. No matter the topic you'll find a wealth of helpful ideas and betta care advice.


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    April 2012