Considering the highly aggressive nature of betta fish, it is difficult to decide what fish can live with bettas in the same tank. Even bettas are always fighting each other if kept together in a tank. Therefore, there is a need to pay attention when choosing tank mates for your betta fish. Of course, that is if you want peace to reign!
Betta fish can live with several peaceful fish such as shy fish, feeder guppies, the harlequin rasboras, and glass catfish. While these are the popular fish tank mates for your betta fish, there are others such as neon tetras, zebra danios, mollies, and pygmy corys. Some of these species may require certain tank conditions to live together with betta fish. Apart from fish tank mates, there are other species such as African dwarf frogs and mystery snails that can live with bettas.
There are certain aquarium conditions that must be met to ensure that your betta fish would accept tank mates. Hence, there is more to keeping a betta with other fishes than just choosing a fish.
Fish Tank Mates for Bettas
Due to their incredibly high levels of aggression, you must never put two male bettas in the same tank. This is dangerous and likely to result in the injury or death of one or more of the fish. Bettas are very territorial and not all fish can safely live amongst them. It is a mistake, however, to think that you must keep bettas alone and never with other fish. There are a number of different fish and animals that can live with bettas without issue.
Basically, bottom feeders and non-aggressive fish and aquatic animals are the best choices for tank mates for a betta fish. There is a lot of different fish that meet these criteria, and we will touch on some of the most common fish and animals that are used as tank mates for bettas.
Neon tetras are tiny little fish with brilliant colors that are almost glowing. These tiny fish do not display aggressive behavior and tend to stay in the mid-level of the tank, which is not the preferred space for the betta. Ember tetras also make good tank mates for betta fish. Like the neon tetra, these are tiny, shy, and brightly-colored fish. They are a brilliant orange-red color. Tetras are a shoaling fish so you will want to have at least half a dozen per tank. Like bettas, they enjoy live aquatic plants like betta fish and will also eat brine shrimp.
Shy fish that tend to keep to themselves like the bristlenose plecos also make good tank mates for bettas. Plecos are a reclusive fish and they tend to stay near the bottom of the tank, feeding on algae.
Glass catfish is another potential tank mate for bettas. These are a very unique type of fish as they are almost transparent. You can actually see their internal organs through their body. These fish are shy and quiet. Many advise having plecos in small groups. They tend to congregate together and enjoy the cover of aquatic plants.
Feeder guppies can safely be kept with betta fish. These are fully-colored fish and they tend to be shy. Guppies can live alone or in groups of other feeder guppies. They have short and stubby fins and tails and are not aggressive. The feeder guppy is a hardy fish that can handle the unique environment the betta requires.
The Harlequin Rasbora is one of the few brilliantly-colored fish that will cohabitate with bettas. They prefer to live in schools, so you will want about half a dozen per tank. These fish will peacefully live with bettas and they tend to stay within their shoal. Both rasboras and betta fish love frozen brine shrimp, so they can be fed at the same time as well.
Other Species that Make Good Tank Mates for Your Bettas
African dwarf frogs
African dwarf frogs are another animal that makes a good tank mate for betta fish. The partnership works as they eat largely the same food. Ghost shrimp are another animal that can live successfully with betta fish. It is recommended that you have about 10 ghost shrimp per tank. Most of the time this partnership works, but you will need to keep an eye on the situation at first to make sure that there is not a lot of undue aggression towards the shrimp.
Mystery snails are a unique creature that also makes a good tank mate for betta fish. In addition to making great tank mates, mystery snails also help to keep the water in the tank clean. They will feed on uneaten food scraps and algae, helping to keep the tank clean and the water clear. Bettas may be curious and even a little unsure about the mystery snail at first, but they can retreat into their shells at any sign of danger, so they come with their own protection.
Bettas make stunning and unique pets. They display novel behaviors like intense aggression and bubble nesting. This makes them incredibly interesting as pets. Once we stopped fighting bettas, selective breeding for tail and fin configuration and color began in earnest. This is why we find such a dramatic variety of different colors and types of betta today. Since they are known for their aggression, it is a bit tricky to find good tank mates for them.
While you cannot have multiple male bettas in the same tank, there are a number of other fish and aquatic animals that can safely live with male or female bettas. From small, shy fish that tend to stay with their kind, to dwarf frogs that have much the same diet, there is a whole host of potential tank mates for your betta.