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Gouramis vs. Bettas (The Key Differences and Similarities)

Gouramis vs. Bettas (The Key Differences and Similarities)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Both gouramis and bettas are incredibly popular fish. These two fish are quite common, and you might even be wondering about owning both of them.

In some ways, gouramis and bettas seem to be similar. They do have many things in common, but they’re different in some important ways.

Read on to learn about gourami fish and betta fish. You’ll learn about the ways that they’re similar as well as how the two fish are different.

Also, you’ll get the answers to common questions such as whether these two types of fish can live in the same fish tank. This knowledge will make it easier to keep your aquarium in order.

You might not know this, but gouramis and bettas are actually related. They come from the same scientific family of fish known as the Anabantidae fish family.

More commonly, these fish are referred to as labyrinth fish. Labyrinth fish all possess a special organ known as the labyrinth organ.

This organ allows fish such as bettas and gouramis to breathe oxygen at the surface of the water. These fish go to the surface briefly to get oxygen.

Typically, fish such as this like to stay toward the top of the fish tank. This type of lung organ makes the fish very unique.

Gouramis and Bettas Are Both Hardy

It’s good to know that both bettas and gouramis are very hardy fish overall. Both of these fish are capable of surviving in less than ideal conditions for a good amount of time.

Since they’re both labyrinth fish, they can even survive outside of water for a little while if you keep them moist. That doesn’t mean that you should do this to your fish to test that theory, of course.

Both bettas and gouramis are considered to be good fish for beginners. They’re hardy enough that they shouldn’t die if you make a few mistakes.

You’ll have an easy time getting used to caring for these fish. It makes sense why some people might be interested in keeping both bettas and gouramis in the same tank.

They’re similar enough that you might think it’s a good idea. While they’re both hardy fish, you might want to hold back on the idea of keeping them in the same aquarium until you read the information below.

Despite the similarities, these fish can be quite different from each other. It’s good to appreciate the differences as well as the similarities.

Betta Fish Aren’t Good Community Tank Fish

Gouramis have a reputation for being good community tank fish. They’re often placed in community aquariums with other appropriate freshwater fish.

Betta fish aren’t good community tank fish overall. These fish have a reputation for not being able to get along well with many other fish.

This doesn’t mean that betta fish can’t be put in community fish tanks. It just means that you don’t have as many options to choose from.

Betta fish can be put in community tanks with fish such as Kuhli loaches and Cory catfish. These are peaceful fish that generally occupy different sections of the aquarium than bettas.

Some have found success putting bettas in tanks with Ember Tetras as well. So you certainly can create a community tank with betta fish involved.

They just don’t have the best temperament. Gouramis are much easier to put in community aquariums since most of them are very peaceful overall.

You’ll have so many options to consider when looking for good gourami tank mates. Of course, there are many types of gouramis out there, and you need to pick tank mates based on the specific species of gourami fish that you’re caring for.

Can Gourami and Betta Live Together?

It would not be a good idea at all to keep bettas and gouramis in the same fish tank. These fish are simply not compatible tank mates.

Even if you pick the most peaceful types of gouramis, it’s not going to be a good situation. Both of these fish are known to be aggressive and territorial in certain ways.

When it comes to being put in the same tank with other labyrinth fish, it’s not going to work out. The two fish would wind up fighting, and it wouldn’t be a situation that you’d want to put the fish in.

Your goal is to create a peaceful community tank that you can enjoy. If you have to worry about the fish harming or killing each other, then that’s not going to be ideal.

Many types of gouramis are significantly larger than betta fish. Some aquarium enthusiasts have seen certain types of gouramis chase betta fish and attempt to kill them.

Gouramis are faster than bettas, too. They’ll defend their territory from the bettas by nipping at their fins.

These fish might be more aggressive toward each other because they’re so similar. They see each other as competition, and this brings out the desire to attack the invading fish.

Can Female Betta Live with Dwarf Gourami?

Female betta fish won’t have any better luck when trying to live with gouramis. Some people have said that it might be possible for female bettas to live with dwarf gouramis, but this simply isn’t true.

There is some false information out there about female gouramis being less aggressive than males. Honestly, the females have the potential to be even more aggressive than males under the right circumstances.

If you think that aggression might help the betta fish to survive, then you’re mistaken. The gouramis are simply more capable than the bettas, and it’s very likely that the gouramis will injure or kill the female betta fish.

Even in situations where you have a large fish tank, it’s not guaranteed for you to find success. Some enthusiasts have noted that gouramis have killed groups of female bettas in 50-gallon tanks that have lots of aquatic plants.

Choosing to put bettas in with gouramis will be cruel. It’ll only lead to the death of the bettas, and that’s not something that you want.

Of course, there are enthusiasts out there who claim to have had success keeping these two fish together. Understand that this isn’t a common situation.

The vast majority of people should avoid keeping bettas with gouramis. The two fish aren’t compatible, and the most likely outcome is that the gouramis will kill the betta fish.

Can Gourami and Betta Crossbreed?

It isn’t possible for gourami fish and betta fish to crossbreed. Thinking that it might be possible isn’t too far-fetched since the two fish look similar, and they’re both labyrinth fish.

However, these two fish come from different lines. Bettas belong to the Betta genus whereas gouramis belong to the Trichogaster genus.

In simple terms, it means that the two aren’t genetically compatible enough to be able to mate. They won’t be able to produce betta and gourami hybrid fish.

It’s also so rare for bettas and gouramis to be able to get along at all. Most of the time, bettas will get killed by the gouramis.

There are experienced enthusiasts who have had minor success keeping the two fish in the same tanks. Since this is such a rare situation, it’s unlikely that two fish would get along well enough to even attempt to mate.

Add that to the fact that they aren’t genetically close enough to produce offspring and the hopes of a betta and gourami crossbreeding experiment become dashed. You shouldn’t keep these fish in the same aquarium let alone try to get them to breed.

Final Thoughts

You might find that you will want to buy both betta fish and gouramis for your aquarium. This is fine, but it’s best to keep each of these fish in separate fish tanks.

Bettas and gouramis are similar in many different ways. They’re both labyrinth fish and many gouramis have a similar look to betta fish.

It’s simply not possible to keep them in the same fish tank without problems. Generally, the two fish will wind up fighting, and the gouramis will always get the upper hand.

Gouramis can get the better of the bettas due to being faster and larger. The betta will almost surely get injured by the gouramis, and they might even wind up getting killed.

If you think that putting female bettas in with a peaceful species such as dwarf gouramis will work, then you’re mistaken. This will not be a good situation either, and you could wind up getting the poor female betta fish killed.

Both betta fish and gourami fish can be a lot of fun to own. They’re great fish that will look good in your fish tanks.

You’ll just need to keep them in separate tanks so that everything will go smoothly. Betta fish don’t have as many possible tank mates as gouramis, but you can still find good options.

Get some Kuhli loaches or some Cory catfish for the tank. Ember Tetras should work out just fine in a community tank with betta fish, too.

You won’t have any trouble finding good tank mates for gouramis. Just be sure to pick appropriate tank mates based on the specific species of gourami fish that you’re caring for.

Now that you know everything that you need to know about bettas and gouramis, you can make your final decisions. Do your best to take care of these fish separately so that you can enjoy both of them for a long time.

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