Choosing tank mates for Betta splendens, or Betta fish, should be done carefully due to their territorial nature, particularly in males. Suitable tank mates are non-aggressive, look different from Bettas, and need similar water conditions.
Good options include Ember Tetras, Otocinclus Catfish, and Harlequin Rasboras. With careful planning, these species can live with Bettas in a community tank that is both peaceful and attractive.
1. Bristle Nose Pleco
The Bristle Nose Pleco is compatible with Betta fish and is a peaceful species that helps clean the aquarium by eating algae.
It’s an excellent tank mate for Bettas because it’s not aggressive and stays at the bottom of the tank, avoiding territorial conflicts. This allows Bettas to swim freely and without stress.
Preferably, a tank of 10 gallons or larger is suitable for both the Bristle Nose Pleco and the Betta fish to live comfortably. The Bristle Nose Pleco’s algae eating is beneficial for maintaining a balanced ecosystem and controlling algae growth that can affect water quality and appearance.
When adding a Bristle Nose Pleco to a Betta tank, you need to monitor their interaction to ensure they get along.
Typically, there are few concerns due to the Bristle Nose Pleco’s peaceful nature and different preferred areas in the tank.
2. Ember Tetra
Ember Tetras are a suitable choice for a community aquarium with Betta fish due to their peaceful nature and compatibility. These small schooling fish, scientifically called Hyphessobrycon amandae, swim together and do not invade the Betta’s space.
Their calm behavior prevents conflict with Bettas, which can act aggressively towards more dominant or colorful fish. The Ember Tetra’s red-orange hue complements the betta’s colors without causing stress or competition.
Ember Tetras need stable water conditions similar to Bettas, which is important for their health in a shared tank. Their size and gentle swimming make them non-threatening to Bettas.
Although Ember Tetras are related to Neon Tetras, their coloration and betta compatibility make them distinct for community tanks. They’re an appealing option for aquarists looking to add companions to their Betta’s environment.
3. Clown Pleco
Clown Plecos are a nocturnal species that are suitable tank mates for Betta fish due to their peaceful behavior. They’re shy and avoid confrontation, which is beneficial when housed with sometimes territorial Bettas.
Since Clown Plecos are active at night, they’re less likely to interact with Bettas, reducing potential stress or aggression.
As bottom dwellers, Clown Plecos occupy a different part of the aquarium ecosystem. They focus on eating algae and leftover food on the substrate, which means they don’t compete with Bettas for food.
When adding a Clown Plecos to a Betta tank, a minimum of 20 gallons is necessary to provide enough space for both fish, considering Clown Plecos can grow to about 4 inches.
The tank should include hiding spots like caves, driftwood, or plants for the pleco’s comfort and to minimize stress.
4. Otocinclus Catfish
Otocinclus Catfish, also known as Dwarf Suckers, are small, peaceful fish with a gray color and a distinct line down their sides. They can be suitable algae-eating companions for Betta tanks and are active during the day.
These fish prefer to be in groups, which can reduce stress and contribute to a balanced tank environment.
For successful cohabitation with Bettas, Otocinclus Catfish need a clean tank with sufficient algae or additional food, stable water conditions, and hiding places.
However, the compatibility of Otocinclus Catfish with Bettas depends on the individual Betta’s temperament.
Some Bettas may be aggressive towards them. You should watch their interactions closely when first introduced to each other and be ready to separate them if aggression or stress occurs.
5. Honey Gourami
Honey Gouramis are calm and can be suitable tank mates for Betta fish if the aquarium is monitored when they first meet.
They need a well-structured habitat with hiding places to minimize stress, similar to Bettas. The tank should be at least 10 gallons to allow both species enough space.
Honey Gouramis can help create a peaceful community tank when their needs are met.
Introducing Honey Gouramis to a Betta tank needs careful monitoring for aggression or stress, which may suggest they’re not compatible or the environment needs adjusting. Despite their generally peaceful nature, some Honey Gouramis and Bettas may not get along.
6. Chili Rasbora
Chili Rasboras, small in size, are peaceful and can be paired with Bettas in community tanks. Scientifically called Boraras brigittae, these fish are compatible with the sometimes territorial betta due to their calm behavior.
Chili Rasboras flourish in established aquariums that replicate their natural setting. Dense plants and soft, low light are ideal for their thriving.
Bettas also prefer similar conditions, with plant cover providing security. Both species benefit from a shared environment.
A 10-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for keeping both species together. Chili Rasboras are schooling fish and need to be in groups to exhibit normal behavior confidently.
A larger tank benefits Chili Rasboras and provides the Betta with enough space to prevent stress and aggression.
Stable water conditions are crucial for the health of both Bettas and Chili Rasboras, since they’re sensitive to changes. Consistent water changes, effective filtration, and monitoring temperature and pH are important.
7. Neon Tetra
Neon Tetras are compatible with Bettas due to their peaceful nature and similar water preferences. These small fish, with blue and red coloring, do not typically provoke aggression in Bettas.
It’s recommended to allocate at least one gallon of water per inch of fish to provide sufficient space for both species.
Neon Tetras are easy to care for and appropriate for a community aquarium of at least 10 gallons. They’re peaceful and tend to avoid conflict during feeding, making them suitable companions for territorial Bettas.
However, since Betta aggression levels can vary, you need to watch the aquarium for at least 72 hours to ensure the Betta doesn’t become aggressive towards the Neon Tetras.
Both Neon Tetras and Bettas thrive in similar water conditions, which helps maintain a stable tank environment.
Their tiny size which is usually about 1.5 inches long makes them less threatening to Bettas, who may react to larger or more aggressive fish.
8. African Dwarf Frog
An African Dwarf Frog can be a good tank mate for a Betta fish due to their peaceful nature and similar preference for warm, slightly acidic water.
Both need a quiet environment with hiding spaces. A shared tank should be at least 5 gallons to allow enough room for both species.
These frogs are unlikely to disturb Betta fish but their interactions must be watched for the first 72 hours. Any signs of aggression or distress during this time indicate they may not be compatible.
It’s essential to maintain a water level that permits the frog to breathe at the surface easily. Avoid creating strong currents since dwarf frogs are weak swimmers.
Have a spare tank available in case the Betta and African Dwarf Frog cannot coexist, allowing for immediate separation to prevent harm.
9. Corydoras Catfish
Corydoras Catfish are suitable tank mates for Betta fish due to their peaceful nature and bottom-dwelling habits. These small, armored catfish are easy to care for and contribute to a community tank’s harmony by avoiding the upper areas where betta fish typically claim territory.
Corydoras Catfish help keep the tank clean by consuming uneaten food and debris on the substrate.
They need a minimum tank size of 10 gallons to thrive and provide enough space for both species. Available in various colors and patterns, Corydoras Catfish adds visual interest without overshadowing the Betta’s appearance.
When adding Corydoras Catfish to a Betta tank, monitor their interaction for at least 72 hours to ensure compatibility, since Betta fish can vary in temperament.
10. Kuhli Loach
Kuhli Loaches are effective at cleaning up excess food in Betta fish tanks and work well with bottom-dwelling Corydoras Catfish.
They’re nocturnal and perform cleaning at night, causing little disruption to other fish. Kuhli Loaches are peaceful and compatible with female Betta fish, who are less aggressive than males.
For Kuhli Loaches to thrive, they need an established tank that simulates their natural habitat with soft substrates and numerous hiding spots.
They’re shy and stress is minimized when they have access to plants, caves, or driftwood for cover. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for these fish to have sufficient space and to maintain water cleanliness.
Kuhli Loaches and Betta fish usually coexist peacefully since the Kuhli Loaches stay at the bottom of the tank. You need to closely monitor their interactions during feeding to ensure Kuhli Loaches get food, and feeding them after lights out can be beneficial.
11. Harlequin Rasbora
Harlequin Rasboras (Trigonostigma heteromorpha) are small, peaceful fish with a silver body and a black triangular marking. They’re suitable tank mates for Betta fish due to their similar needs for a calm environment and water conditions.
These fish are easy to care for and can enhance the visual appeal of an aquarium with a Betta.
To maintain the health of both species, a minimum tank size of 10 gallons is recommended. This size supports the schooling behavior of rasboras and provides enough space for the Betta to establish its own territory.
When introducing Harlequin Rasboras to a Betta tank, monitor their interactions closely for the first 72 hours to prevent aggression and ensure peaceful coexistence.
With proper care and monitoring, Harlequin Rasboras and Betta fish can coexist in a well-balanced aquarium.
12. Bamboo Shrimp
Bamboo Shrimp can coexist with Betta fish in an aquarium, adding to the environment with their peaceful behavior and filter-feeding habits. These shrimp have long, fan-like appendages for feeding on tiny food particles in the water.
They typically reach a size of about 3 inches and can enhance the visual appeal of a community aquarium if their requirements are met.
For Bamboo Shrimp to thrive, they should be placed in a well-established aquarium that has a rich supply of biofilm and plankton, as they depend on these for nutrition. A newly set-up aquarium may not have enough of these food sources, which can result in the Bamboo Shrimp not getting enough to eat.
When keeping Bamboo Shrimp with Betta fish, you need to monitor the Betta to ensure it doesn’t harm the shrimp’s delicate feeding limbs. Providing plenty of hiding spaces and a well-designed environment can help prevent such issues.
You should maintain a moderate water flow in the aquarium to facilitate the Bamboo Shrimp’s feeding. The current shouldn’t be too strong since it can be difficult for them to feed, while very still water may not carry enough food particles.
Properly managing these factors can help maintain a balanced aquarium where Betta fish and Bamboo Shrimp can coexist peacefully.
13. Cardinal Tetra
Cardinal Tetras are compatible with Betta fish in community aquariums due to their peaceful nature. These small, brightly colored fish, scientifically named Paracheirodon axelrodi, add color to tanks without triggering Betta fish territorial behavior.
Cardinal Tetras are schooling fish and need a group of at least six to feel secure and to behave naturally. A proper group size reduces stress and provides an engaging display.
Compatibility with Betta fish depends on the betta’s personality and the aquarium setup. It’s vital to watch their interactions, particularly during feeding, to ensure the Cardinal Tetras can feed without being harassed by the Betta.
To maintain compatibility, the aquarium should have plenty of hiding places and consistently high water quality. Understanding the needs of both Betta fish and Cardinal Tetras helps create a peaceful and attractive aquatic environment.
14. Rummy Nose Tetra
The Rummy Nose Tetra is known for its red nose and silver body and can be a suitable tank mate for Betta fish in a community aquarium.
They’re peaceful and show schooling behavior. You need to provide enough space to avoid stress and aggression, since Bettas can be territorial.
Rummy Nose Tetras are a preferred choice for a Betta tank because they’re non-aggressive and their bright colors and active swimming patterns create a dynamic aquarium.
A minimum of a 10-gallon tank is recommended to allow adequate space for Rummy Nose Tetras to school and for the Betta to have a structured environment with hiding and resting areas.
Introducing Rummy Nose Tetras into a Betta tank should be done with care to avoid stress. Water conditions between the tetras’ transport bag and the aquarium should be closely matched for a smooth transition.
Fish To Avoid Housing With Bettas
While many fish species can be safely housed with Bettas, some need to be avoided to prevent conflicts.
Fish that shouldn’t be housed with Bettas include:
Guppies aren’t compatible with Betta fish in shared aquariums.
Guppies, available in various types such as feeder and Fancy Guppies, have bright colors and flowing tails that can trigger aggression in Betta fish, which may attack them as they would a rival.
Additionally, Guppies are active swimmers and can disturb the more sedate Betta fish, potentially causing stress that weakens their immune systems and makes them more prone to illness.
During feeding, Guppies can outcompete Bettas for food due to their speed, which can lead to Bettas not getting enough to eat and negatively impact their health.
Therefore, it isn’t recommended to house Guppies and Bettas together since their behaviors and needs are incompatible.
Mollies aren’t suitable tank mates for Bettas due to their fin-nipping behavior, which can harm the Bettas’ delicate fins and cause stress.
Mollies need hard water with slight salinity, conditions that do not match the needs of Bettas. The environment needed to accommodate both species is unlikely to be ideal for either fish.
Mollies are also active and territorial, potentially leading to a hostile environment for Bettas. During feeding, Mollies may outcompete Bettas, risking malnutrition and stress for the Bettas. This can weaken their immune systems and make them more prone to disease.
Therefore, you should choose tank mates for Bettas that have similar environmental needs and a peaceful nature to prevent aggression and ensure a healthy tank environment.
Platy fish aren’t suitable tank mates for Betta fish. Their bright colors and fast feeding can stress the slower-moving Bettas.
Male Bettas, being territorial, may see Platy fish as threats and act aggressively. Platies may also eat more quickly than Bettas, leaving them with less food and increasing their stress.
Platies are also active and share the same swimming area as Bettas, which may trigger aggressive behavior in Bettas, including nipping at Platies. This can lead to injuries and a disruptive aquarium environment.
It’s recommended to keep Platies and Bettas in separate tanks for their well-being.
Platy fish can thrive in a community tank without predators like Bettas, while Bettas prefer a calm space where they can establish territory without competition.
When choosing tank mates for Bettas, compatibility is more important than looks. Platies are best suited in a community tank that suits their behavior and feeding needs to ensure a harmonious and healthy environment for all fish.