Male bettas are solitary creatures. They have a reputation for being territorial and aggressive toward other fish.
So, can male bettas live with other fish?
Fish that You Can Keep with Male Bettas
Male bettas are known for their aggression.
They can become territorial toward their tankmates if they feel threatened or intimidated.
So it’s vital to choose their tankmates carefully.
To maintain a peaceful environment, all other fish in the aquarium must be docile.
Listed below are the fish species that you can house with male bettas.
Cory catfish are an excellent addition to a betta tank.
Their peaceful nature, need for similar water conditions, and easy maintenance makes them the perfect tankmate for male bettas.
These fish mainly dwell at the tank’s bottom, scavenging for food.
On the other hand, bettas prefer to swim in the top half of the aquarium.
Hence, the chances of these two fish interacting with each other are minimal as both of them occupy different parts of the tank.
The only thing to remember is to keep the cory catfish in groups of 4 or more to make them feel secure.
Check out what a feeder guppy looks like over here.
Feeder guppies are good tankmates for male bettas due to their docile temperament.
These fish usually don’t fight and are rarely aggressive toward other fish.
Feeder guppies, unlike fancy guppies, don’t have bright coloration or long fins that can attract bettas’ attention.
Their hardiness and ability to adapt to various environments make them ideal tankmates for male bettas.
Feeder guppies are also affordable and readily available in most pet stores.
Hence, they are favorites among aquarists while setting up a community tank.
Otocinclus catfish are sucker-mouth freshwater fish popular among aquarists for their tank-cleaning abilities.
These fish are bottom dwellers. Due to this, they are a good choice for bettas as both these fish will only cross paths sometimes.
Bettas enjoy swimming and claiming their territory at the tank’s top surface.
They usually don’t ignore the fish that dwell at the bottom of the tank.
Hence the chances of bettas getting along with otocinclus catfish are high, as they’ll end up avoiding each other naturally.
Also, both these fish like similar water conditions, making them ideal for each other.
Although docile, otocinclus catfish can become aggressive and attack bettas if food is scarce.
Hence, feeding them adequate food is vital to curb their aggression.
Harlequin rasboras can live with bettas as long as the tank is large enough for both the fish to claim territories.
These fish are ideal for male bettas as they share the same environment in the wild.
These fish live in similar water habitats with similar water temperatures and pH levels.
Another thing that makes harlequin rasboras a good tankmate of bettas is that they are peaceful and usually don’t bother other fish.
They are also social and resilient to diseases, making them a great addition to any community tank.
However, like all rasboras, harlequins need plenty of hiding places to avoid being harassed by other fish.
It means you should provide lots of plants, rocks, and other hideouts for them to feel comfortable and secure.
Also, keep the harlequin rasboras in decent numbers to prevent them from feeling aggressive and potentially attacking the bettas.
White Cloud Mountain Minnows
White cloud mountain minnows are schooling fish distinguished by their pale, white coloring.
Being active, these fish need ample space to swim and explore the surroundings.
These fish are an excellent choice for a betta tank, as they aren’t fin-nippers and will not harass the bettas.
Their diet is also the same as that of the bettas. Hence, keeping them together is convenient for aquarists.
The only challenge with white cloud mountain minnows is that they prefer cooler water temperatures than bettas.
However, you can adjust the temperature of your betta tank to suit the needs of white cloud mountain minnows.
A water temperature of around 75°F is ideal for keeping both these fish species comfortable.
Tetras are a good addition to a betta tank as they are docile and usually don’t harass other fish.
Tetras are bottom dwellers, meaning they mostly swim and occupy the middle and bottom parts of the tank.
Bettas, on the other hand, are top dwellers.
Hence, both these fish occupy different parts of the aquarium and are less likely to be hostile toward each other.
Bettas form their territories in the tank and don’t allow other fish to encroach on their space.
Tetras being submissive, don’t invade betta territories as long as they are kept in a large group of their kind.
Another reason that tetras and bettas can co-exist is that they both have similar dietary requirements.
Some of the tetra species that get along well with bettas are:
- Neon tetras,
- Cardinal tetras,
- Diamond tetras,
- Rummy-nose tetras,
- Ember tetras, etc.
There are a lot of tetra species of varying sizes and temperaments, and not all of them are compatible with bettas.
Some tetra species are notorious for nipping fins and can harass the slow-moving bettas.
Therefore, it’s best to research the tetra species before adding them to a betta tank.
Some of the tetra species that you should avoid housing with bettas are:
- Black phantom tetras,
- Congo tetras,
- Bloodfin tetras,
- Serpae tetras,
- Redeye tetras, and
- Bleeding heart tetras.
Check out what these fish look like over here.
Clown plecos are freshwater fish popular among aquarists due to the distinct patterns that make them stand out in any community tank.
These fish are excellent for a betta tank due to their docile temperament.
Moreover, clown plecos and bettas occupy different parts of the aquarium.
Clown plecos are bottom dwellers, while bettas swim at the aquarium’s top or middle parts.
Another reason clown plecos and bettas can co-exist is that they don’t compete with bettas for food.
Clown plecos are content with the leftover food and happily graze on algae.
Clown plecos also have tough skin, making them safe in case the bettas get nippy and aggressive toward them.
Bristlenose plecos are one of the smaller catfish species, growing up to only 5 inches.
These fish are popular among aquarists for their hardiness and tank-cleaning abilities.
They are splendid at cleaning tanks and vacuuming the substrate daily.
Bristlenose plecos are good tankmates for male bettas as they mostly swim at the tank’s bottom and usually don’t interact much with fish that occupy other parts of the water column.
Also, these fish are peaceful and don’t get attracted to the long-flowing fins of bettas.
Hence, the chances of fin-nipping are minimal when these two species are housed together.
Another reason for bristlenose plecos to co-exist happily with bettas is that they don’t compete for food with bettas.
Brsitlenose plecos consume algae as their primary food, while bettas prefer meaty food.
Kuhli loaches are peaceful fish that can live with male bettas. These fish are docile and don’t usually fight with their tankmates.
Kuhli loaches are nocturnal fish, meaning they are active at night when bettas are asleep.
During the day, kuhli loaches hide behind plants, rocks, or under tiny crevices.
This ensures that the bettas and kuhli loaches don’t interact or cross paths often.
Kuhli loaches aren’t schooling fish but prefer to live in groups to feel secure.
The only thing to remember while housing kuhli loaches is to create ample hideouts for them to feel comfortable.
Fish that You Should Avoid Keeping with Male Bettas
Although male bettas are territorial, many fish species can live with them.
However, not all fish species are suitable for bettas.
Bright-colored fish and fish with flowing tails shouldn’t be kept with bettas as the bettas can get aggressive and attack them.
Fin-nipping fish also shouldn’t be kept with bettas.
Such fish get attracted to the long-flowing fins of the bettas and often try to nip them.
So the bettas can get stressed and attack the other fish in defense.
Similarly, it’s best to avoid keeping fast-swimming fish with bettas.
Bettas are slow swimmers. Hence, fish that are energetic can stress them.
Lastly, avoid any fish that need different water parameters.
Goldfish are a classic example as they are coldwater fish and can’t survive with tropical fish like bettas.
Some fish species that you shouldn’t keep with bettas are:
- Red tail sharks,
- Tiger barbs, etc.
Can Multiple Male Bettas Live Together?
Multiple male bettas can’t live together as they are naturally aggressive.
Bettas are called fighting fish for a reason.
While male bettas can live with docile fish, they are intolerant toward their own species.
Male bettas are highly aggressive toward other male bettas. They will attack each other if placed in the same tank.
The fight will intensify until one of them gets injured severely.
The only way you can keep two male bettas together in the same tank is by using a divider to partition the tank.
Another option is to house them in a large, densely planted tank.
This will ensure that both fish have enough space to claim their territory.
But again, there is no guarantee that the male bettas will co-exist happily.
So it’s better to avoid housing two male bettas together in the same tank.
Instead, you can place a single betta in a community tank with compatible tankmates.
Male bettas can live with other fish like Cory Catfish, Feeder Guppies, Bristlenose Plecos, Clown Plecos, Harlequin Rasboras, Tetras, Otocinclus Catfish, and Kuhli Loaches. A large tank with ample hiding places can help them create individual territories and avoid territorial aggression.