Betta fishes, also known as Siamese fighting fish and sometimes Japanese fighting fish, are known for their long, elaborate, and colorful fins. These small fish are among one of the most common household pets, especially for beginners.
In history, breeders raised betta fishes for their territorial aggression. Until now, this trait has never gone away, leading people to have the conception that bettas need to live alone. However, this idea is both true and false.
Whether they can live with other fishes or not depends on the betta fish’s personality. Some bettas are too aggressive and territorial, making cohabitation impossible. However, some bettas are calm and serene that sometimes it’s the other fishes that will pick on them.
If you wonder what kind of fish can live with a betta, this article can help you out.
Do betta fishes need tank mates?
It depends on your betta’s personality and temperament.
Some betta fishes are too aggressive and territorial, leading them to fight or even kill their tank mates. With this personality, it’s better to keep them on their own.
On the other hand, bettas also need a source of entertainment to prevent them from getting bored. While you can curb this boredom by adding mirrors and plants, tank mates bring a different kind of entertainment.
Nevertheless, remember that before you add a tankmate, make sure that your fish tank is big enough to house them all.
Moreover, test your betta’s ability to live with others first. Many fish owners like to add tank mates that they don’t mind losing, like cheap shrimps to determine. As such, there wouldn’t be such a costly loss if your betta fish does kill them.
Can two bettas live together in the same tank?
As a rule, it’s not a good idea to house two betta males together. These fishes will end up fighting and injuring others because of their territorial natures, as cohabitation will stress them out. If you want to rear two betta males, make sure you place a divider in your tank.
Housing a male and female betta is possible, but both fishes would still be happier in separate fish tanks. This is because both fishes can stress each other out due to the possibility of breeding. Moreover, this setup is best done by a beginner.
When you plan this, ensure that your tank is big and long enough to enable your female betta to stay away from the male and reduce the chance of aggression between the two. Aside from this, make sure to add lots of plants and ample hiding places.
On the other hand, you can safely house multiple female bettas together, making what is called a betta fish sorority tank. This setup is quite popular due to the females’ elaborate and colorful display.
What are some fishes that can peacefully live with a betta fish?
Here are some fish tankmates that can peacefully cohabit with your betta fish.
Bottom dwellers like catfish make good fish tankmates since they are generally peaceful and have lesser chances of confronting your betta. Like plecos, the only problem with catfish is that some species can grow too large for your fish tank.
Here are some species that won’t grow too large:
- Banjo Catfish
- Bumblebee Catfish
- Cory Catfish
- Chinese Algae Eater
- Glass Catfish
- Otocinclus Catfish
Corydoras are another small bottom dweller species. Due to their peaceful and calm natures, they won’t stress nor aggravate your betta fish. However, Corydoras are shoaling fishes, so you’ll need at least 4 of them in a tank.
Here are some excellent Corydoras species to keep with your betta:
- Adolph Corydoras
- Arched Corydoras
- Panda Corydoras
- Peppered Corydoras
- Pygmy Corydoras
- Three-Stripe Corydoras
- Skunk Corydoras
- Dwarf Crayfish
Dwarf crayfishes are also bottom dwellers and have a shy and reclusive personality. Since they hang out at the bottom of your tank, they are less likely to come into contact with your betta.
These fishes can grow up to two inches, making them great for small aquariums. They are also invertebrates, so avoid adding copper medications to your tank lest they die.
- Feeder Guppies
Feeder guppies are small fishes that are usually fed to larger and predatory fish species. They don’t sport the same bright coloring and markings as the fancy guppies, the females having a dull, grey color while the males are brighter and have spots.
These guppies are docile and calm and are resilient fish. They also don’t move in schools, making it more manageable.
Another bottom dweller, loaches are also a good option. Known for their long thin striped bodies, most loaches are shy and reclusive, although some can get aggressive.
Here are some loaches that are okay to mix with your betta:
- Dojo Loach
- Horseface Loach
- Kuhli Loach
- Panda Garra Loach
- Reticulated Hillstream Loach
Make sure to avoid Botia loaches as they are aggressive, which might aggravate your betta fish.
Platies are also another small fish species. These fishes can grow up three inches in length and have similar habitats and diets to your bettas. One thing of concern, however, is that they are livebearers. As such, you can expect growing numbers if you add a group to your aquarium.
As long as you avoid adding the long-tailed types, platies make great fish tank mates for your betta.
Plecos are a shy and reclusive species, making them excellent and peaceful companions for your betta. These fishes are also great at keeping algae away.
However, the main problem you need to deal with is their size, especially if you have a small aquarium. Some pleco species can grow up to two meters. Here are some plecos that are easy to keep:
- Bristlenose Pleco (8 inches)
- Clown Pleco (5 inches)
- Green Phantom Pleco (7 inches)
- Mustard Spot Pleco (5 inches)
- RedFin Dwarf Pleco (2 inches)
Make sure to avoid getting common plecos, sailfin plecos, and gold nugget plecos as they can grow too large, and they may be too colorful that might aggravate your betta.
Rasboras are small, shoaling fishes and often move in schools of at least five fishes. They are a peaceful and non-confrontational species, making them great companions for your betta.
Here are some recommended Rasbora species to add to your tank:
- Chili/ Mosquito Rasboras
- Dwarf Rasboras
- Fire Rasboras
- Harlequin Rasboras
- Lambchop (Esme’s Rasboras)
Tetras are a small, colorful species, growing only up to two inches and adding color and variety to your aquarium. Known for their peaceful natures, they make great companions for your betta fish. They often come in schools and stay in the mid-tank area, lessening the chances of confrontations with your betta.
These tetra variants are compatible with your betta fish:
- Black neon tetra
- Cardinal tetra
- Diamond tetra
- Ember tetra
- Glowlight tetra
- Neon tetra
- Rummy-nose tetra
- Silver tetra
- Zebra Danios
Zebra Danios are also excellent betta fish tankmates. With their hardy and resilient disposition, these fishes can survive various water conditions, making them suitable for beginners.
They are a peaceful and calm species and often like to hide. This trait makes it less likely for your betta to see them.
What are some non-fish tank mates suitable for bettas?
If you don’t want other fishes to live with your betta, you can also add these non-fish critters instead.
- African Dwarf Frogs
African dwarf frogs are the most common betta tankmates. Aside from their calm personalities, these frogs also have more or less the same diets as the betta. They are also relatively easy to care for and are small, growing only up to 2.5 inches.
These frogs often stay on the bottom of your tank and mostly hide. However, they can sometimes go to the surface to take in oxygen.
Shrimps are also excellent betta tankmates. Some owners even use them to first “test” their betta’s compatibility for cohabitation. Most freshwater shrimps are small, growing only up to 2 inches. If you are getting shrimps, make sure that they are large enough; otherwise, your betta might eat them.
Here are some recommended shrimp types:
- Amano Shrimps
- Ghost Shrimps
- Red Cherry Shrimps
Snails make good fish tank companions with your betta. Since they are most likely seen in the bottom, your betta won’t even notice that they have a roommate in the first place.
If you’re getting a snail, make sure that they are large enough; otherwise, your betta might eat them.
Here are some popular snail species that room well with bettas:
- Apple Snails
- Mystery Snails
- Turret Snails
Bettas are usually kept alone due to their aggressive natures. However, contrary to popular belief, bettas can also live and coexist peacefully with certain fish species and tank critters.
However, what kind of fish can live with a betta will depend on your betta’s temperament and personality. It’s best to test this out before you commit. Before adding a companion, make sure that your tank is large enough and has the optimal conditions to house multiple inhabitants.