Betta Splendens, commonly known as “Betta,” is a favourite fish in the aquarium trade and hobby. Bettas are highly territorial and aggressive to its species and will fight each other if housed in the same tank. Similarly betta fish are aggressive to some of the tropical fish having these characteristics: colourful, long fins and slow swimmers especially fancy guppy fish so avoid these fish as betta tank mates.
Harlequin Rasbora, Tetra fish like Neon Tetras, Glowlight Tetras, Ember, and Cardinal Tetras, makes great Betta fish tank mates because of their speed. Even if betta shows a little aggression, these fish will be able to outswim betta every single time. Other best betta tank mates are Mystery Snails, Cory Catfish, Ghost Shrimps, Clown Plecos, Otocinclus Catfish, and Kuhli Loaches because they’ll never get in each other’s way, some of them will clean your betta tank, and they require same water parameter as betta needs.
Most of the people want to see a tank with lots of fish. It is important to know that Betta Splendens do not usually require a tank mate. They are perfectly fine living alone on their own. If you are adding tank mates for your Betta fish, it is because you want to.
You see that betta is kept in a small container at your local pet shop or on the internet. It’s important to know that betta fish requires at least a 5-gallon aquarium with a proper filtration and heating system to live a healthy life. And increase the volume by one-gallon for every inch of tank mates you add to the tank.
Betta fish has a reputation of being territorial and aggressive towards its tank mates. However, it does not mean that they cannot have tank mates. You need to be careful about choosing the right fish for a betta tank mate. Few rules might help you keep another fish as betta tank mates.
Let’s start with the tips to keep betta fish tank mates.
Tips For Choosing Betta Tank Mates
Every Betta fish has its own personality. If you have a friend, who is keeping his fancy guppies as betta’s tankmates, does not mean it will work for you.
- First, buy a big tank 40-gallon tank will be better to start with. As betta are territorial fish, they require more space if you want to house another fish with the betta.
Here is a guide to set up a betta tank properly.
- Don’t keep bright coloured fish or veil-tail type fish as betta tank mates. Betta gets attracted with long fins and bright colour, which will end in the death of the coloured or long fins ones.
- Although tetra makes a great betta tank mates, you need to watch betta’s behaviour for a couple of days. If everything goes fine, you can relax and watch them.
- Small tank mates can get bullied by the betta. So, avoid fish smaller than 4-5 centimetre as betta tank mates.
- Keep those fish that requires water parameter the same as betta needs. If you are planning to keep goldfish as betta tank mate, then keep in mind that goldfish requires cooler temperature while betta requires a little warmer temperature. Cooler temperature can weaken betta’s immune system, making the fish vulnerable to diseases.
- Try to keep beta in a community tank in its young age possible. It is more likely that the situation in your community tank will be peaceful.
- Rather than adding a tank mate in the betta’s tank, add a betta to the community tank. Because bettas are territorial fish, when you add a new fish to betta’s tank, most of the time the new fish will get bullied and will have its fins nipped. Nipped fin might lead to fin rot disease.
Best Betta Fish Tank Mates
Here, I have the list of some of the best fish you can keep with your betta in a community tank. These fish are on the list because of their peaceful nature; they don’t attack you betta fish. Moreover, they don’t interfere with the beta fish, and some of them are colourful that might get bullied by the bettas but are fast enough to out swim betta fish.
Here is the list of fish that you can keep as a tank mate with betta fish with reasons.
By far the most common fish you see in the pet store is tetra fish. Talking about the compatibility of tetra fish with your betta fish, you see, there is a misconception that all tetra will go along peacefully with your betta fish. However, there are species of tetras like black phantom tetra, blue tetra, black skirt tetra are known to be fin nippers. These fin nipper tetras are no good to a community tank with betta fish. So, here are some of the types of tetra you can keep with your betta fish.
Neon Tetras fish are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish in the hobby. These tetras are shoaling fish they stay in a group, and you need at least 5-6 neon tetras to watch them schooling. Though betta can live alone in a tank, it is boring to watch a small tiny fish swim alone in the tank. So, neon tetras are a great species to add in a betta’s tank. They are fascinating to watch as they swim together in a group.
The bright shiny neon blue and red stripe that shines as they move will catch eyes of any person which makes them so unique in a betta tank.
Despite advising betta owners to avoid tank mates with bright colour, the neon tetra can do well as a betta tank mate, due to their speed. They move really fast, and can easily out swim every betta’s attack. They require similar water parameter as the betta, feeds on the same diet as the betta, and are really quick is what makes them a great addition to betta’s tank.
Glowlight Tetras are small tank species of Tetra Family. What makes them a fantastic fish is the nice glowing orange-red stripe along with its head to its tail. They are schooling fish, for a social reason they stay together and the group swims in the same direction in a coordinated manner.
Glowlight tetras are peaceful and require similar water parameter as the betta fish does. Although betta is attracted to these shining glowlight tetras, what makes them the best betta tank mate is its speed. Every time betta tries to attack these tetras; these fish will be able to outswim betta every single time.
Embers are another species of the tetra family and have a lifespan of 4-5 years in captivity. They are also one of the types that move in a group and requires at least Six Ember tetras for schooling.
Ember tetra prefers the mid-section of the tank whereas the betta often prefers the top-half, which helps in the territorial issue in betta fish. And even if the betta shows a little aggression towards the fish, it can simply out swim betta fish. Other things that make them compatible with betta fish is that they require similar water parameter as betta fish and feeds on the pallets that betta eats, therefore, no need of extra fish food for the tetras.
Cardinal tetra is quite popular among hobbyists with a community tank. These schooling fish are quite similar to neon tetras. Due to their bright colour, your betta fish might get attractive and aggressive to cardinal fish but due to their speed, you betta fish can do no harm to cardinal fish which makes them one of the best betta fish tank mates.
Silver Tip Tetra
Silvertip tetra is a quick sleep tetra with a max size of 2 inches. They are one of the best tetras for a community setup. Being lively, peaceful, quite colourful they are a good addition to betta tank as its tank mate. One thing to keep in mind is that they are little nippy if kept alone, so it’s better to keep silvertip tetra in a group as its behaviour is reduced dramatically when kept in a group.
Rummy Nose Tetra
Rummy Nose Tetras are small tetra fish with a bright red colour on its head with black and white strips on its tale and silver body. As they are peaceful in nature and quite a quick swimmer they are also a good addition to a betta tank.
Bottom Dwellers are my favourite kind of fish. As they are good cleanup crew, I believe that the best aquarium setups have a variety of bottom dwellers. As these fish are peaceful in nature and live most of their life in the bottom of the tank doing their work, they won’t interfere betta fish which makes bottom-dwelling fish a good betta tank mates.
Otocinclus catfish are amazing scavengers. Bust buddy to clean up algae in your tank especially soft algae. What I love about this fish are its size, its personality, and the way they eliminate algae from your aquarium. These tiny creatures are calm and won’t attract your betta’s attention which makes it a perfect betta tank mate.
Various other loaches go along as a betta’s tank mate. However, Kuhli Loaches is the winner. They make an excellent tankmate because they spend most of their time hiding in your substrate. They don’t have attractive colours; no long fins which betta won’t notice Kuhli Loaches is in the tank.
There are many varieties of corydoras catfish you can choose, and all of them make a great betta tank mates. They are easy to care for, and they require similar water parameter as betta which makes them the best tank mates for betta fish. Corydora Catfish are bottom dwellers, meaning, they spend most of their time in the bottom of your tank. They don’t get in the way of betta fish which makes them safe from the betta.
Albino Corydora is one of the strongest bottom dwellers. They can adept wide range of aquarium parameter and are peaceful in nature as they keep themselves busy cleaning the mess which makes them a good choice of betta’s tank mate.
There are different varieties of plecos in the market you can buy. But dwarf plecos is an excellent addition if a betta tank because, bigger the plecos bigger the tank you need. So, dwarf plecos are perfect as a betta tank mate. Some of them on my list are Clown Pleco, Bristlenose Pleco, Rubbernose Pleco, and Hillstream Sucker.
Plecos are a great algae eaters, and it will help you clean your betta’s tank. Like other fish on the list, dwarf plecos are easy to care for. They have tough skin so even if your betta attacks your dwarf plecos, plecos won’t bother. Since plecos are peaceful in nature, they won’t hurt your betta fish or become a treat to them.
At a quick glance, a beginner aquarist might think rasbora as one of the types of tetra fish, both rasbora and tetra are characteristically and visually similar. However, they are from different families, tetra belongs to Characins and rasbora belongs to Cyprinidae.
Harlequin Rasbora is a freshwater aquarium fish in the family Cyprinidae. Among all rasboras, harlequin rasboras are the best-known rasbora in the hobby and are one of the most popular aquarium fish. They have an orange-pink body and distinct black triangle shape its body with red hue fins.
Harlequin Rasboras are shoaling fish; they need to be kept in a group of six or more hence, requires at least 20-gallon fish tank for both betta splendens and rasbora to stay together.
Harlequin coexists with the betta fish in the wild; this makes them a great betta’s tank mate to other species in the list. Harlequin Rasboras are peaceful in nature, so they are not threats to the betta fish. If you decide to keep them together, then, rather than adding rasbora to the betta’s tank, add a betta to the well-established community tank housing harlequin rasbora.
Fire Rasbora are peaceful fish but can be a victim of bullying. However, if you give enough attention to the fish just so that it can retreat if stressed. As in a group, I don’t believe it will be picked on.
Galaxy rasbora is colourful fish having a dark purple background with white spots on their sides resembling galaxy to the red colouration on its fin. They are gorgeous fish addition to betta’s tank.
Some of you might think that I have gone crazy adding fish like guppies and mollies to this list. However, if you choose the fish correctly and enough room play, they will be more than acceptable as betta’s tank mates. However, avoid any fancy guppies or any other livebearer fish with long fins. Read the little bits of information about the fish I added to the list to find out why I have added these fish.
Guppies (Feeder guppies or Female only)
I don’t really need to talk about fish as everyone knows about this fish. As I have stated, only feeder guppy of females, this is because, male guppy uses its tail to display to attract female guppies, the same way that betta fish do. This action of a male guppy fish will be seen as a threat to betta fish so there will be high chance that the betta fish will kill the males. However, feeder guppies have small tail and are quite quick swimmers and can out swim bettas attack.
Mollies are one of the most common livebearer freshwater fish. They are very peaceful in nature and can protect themselves so they can be suitable as a betta’s tank mate. Mollies grow to an average size of 4 inches and require similar water parameter as the betta. You can get many varieties of mollies but choose only the standard finned varieties. The veil tails or other varieties like sail-fins have a high chance of being nipped and bullied at.
Platyfish is similar to swordtail but lacks a sword at the bottom of their tail. The other thing that makes platy with mollies, swordtail, is that platy is also species of livebearers. The platyfish is a small but active fish that does excellent in a group. They are peaceful in nature, can protect themselves from any threat, and requires similar water parameter is what that might make platies a great betta tank mates.
Lastly, we came to the section where I will be talking about creatures that aren’t fish and fish that I haven’t tested myself for its compatibility with betta fish.
Caridina multidentata or Amano Shrimp is one of the most popular shrimps in the fishkeeping hobby. Amano Shrimp is named after the greatest aquarist Late Takashi Amano because he brought the shrimps popularity in the hobby. Amano Shrimp is reputed for controlling algae in the aquarium, and it also keeps the tank from debris free.
Therefore, Amano Shrimps acts as a helping hand and a betta’s tank mate when keeping the betta tank clean. Another reason is that the shrimp are big enough to be eaten by your betta fish and are peaceful enough to leave your betta fish alone.
Snails are a great addition to your betta’s tank. They don’t bother bettas, while betta won’t bother Snails. In case if the betta attacks snail, it has its shell to take cover. So snails are one of the best betta tank mates. There are a different variety of snails you can choose. The ones I like are Nerites snail, assassin snails, mystery snails, and Gold Inca Snails. They all will act as a cleanup crew in your tank.
Here are my favourites with reasons.
Nerites Snails: Nerites snails are most popular among freshwater aquarium snails. They are available is various shell shapes, colours, patterns, and texture. Nerites Snails are the best algae eaters; you will notice at least a pair in every planted aquarium.
Mystery Snails: One of the most common snails, found in any pet store is Mystery Snails. I like the dark textured with brown colours and stripes in their shell. Their main diet is algae and dead or decaying plant matter.
Assassin Snails: If you have a planted aquarium, there might be some unwanted snails that end up in your tank mistakenly. And you cannot control the reproduction of this snail then assassin snail is your buddy. They are small in size with great spiral pointed shell structure. Assassin snails will hunt the post snails and will kill them for you.
Gold Inca Snails: Like other snails in my list, Gold Inca Snails are great tank cleaners. Also called apple snail, they are most common and lost you less penny. I like its size and the yellow coloured shell. I find them very attractive.
Ghost shrimp are commonly known as glass shrimp due to its transparent body. Due to its see-through appearance, ghost shrimps are virtually invisible in the tank. Since these shrimps are an excellent cleanup crew, they might be a great addition to your betta tank. They are scavengers who always look for food to eat. Due to their size, you need to add 6-8 ghost shrimp to your tank.
African Dwarf Frogs
The reason that the African Dwarf Frogs in on the list is because of its size and peaceful nature. They grow up to 2.5 inches in length and live on an average of 5 years. African Dwarf Frogs are relatively easy to care for, so any beginners could house them in their new tank.
Much like tetra fish, Zebra Danios are hardy fish. They are very popular among beginner freshwater fish hobbyist because of their ease of care. These fish are recognised with their attractive stripes on its body.
It is said that zebra danios are a threat to betta fish but, I have successfully kept them with betta fish many times but they need 20-gallon or larger tank to house. This is only the reason that zebra danio is in the last position on my list. I find these little fish very peaceful in nature; they are fast swimmers, so they out swim every betta attacks, and accept any pallets that you provide them. Zebra might nip betta fins and tail so take a close look at them.
The above-listed fish are all that I have successfully added in betta’s tank as betta tank mates. I didn’t have any problem while keeping these fish together with my betta fish. If you have anything to add to this list, please feel free to send me a message, and I will add them to the list if they are compatible.
Betta Fish are popular freshwater fish, especially among beginner aquarists. These species of fish are territorial hence will fight any fish interfering on their way. This is the reason you see betta fish in a tank for itself. Betta Splendens do not usually require a tank mate. They are perfectly fine living alone on their own. If you are adding tank mates for your Betta fish, it is because you want to. And it is also false that Bettas must live alone. That being said, you need to be very careful selecting your betta tank mates.
If you’ve got any of your success stories, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you.