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Betta Fish Tank Mates

Betta Fish Tank Mates

Betta fish are reputed to be feisty, aggressive, and territorial, and are often quoted as bad aquarium-mates. The aggression is not as severe as when they are in the wild unless the breeding season is near.

Males bettas are especially territorial in the company of other males, which is why they cannot be kept in the same tank.

Fighting is not always necessary in their natural environments since there are places to hide in the rice paddies and canals of countries like Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, where they are abundant.

Females are more accommodating in fish tanks, but they are not as appealing as the males and are thus less popular.

Most fish keeping enthusiasts keep bettas alone to prevent any issues, but they can live with other tankmates. Such fish include:

1. Neon Tetras

Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra

Neon tetras are especially popular among beginner fish-keepers because they are easy to care for. Since they are schooling fish, it is recommended to get a large tank. You will have to source for a minimum of six of the species, although you can have as many as 12.

Neon tetras mostly huddle round the mid-tank region and stay away from bettas, so they get along. The bettas and the neon tetras will create a colorful school of aquatic inhabitants with no problem at all.

Neon tetras may be small, but they are faster swimmers, and they can outswim the bettas in case the latter gets aggressive.

Although tetras are regarded as fin nippers, neon tetras in schools mostly refrain from the practice.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • pH Range: 6.0-7.5
  • Temperature: 68-77 °F

2. White Cloud Minnows

White Cloud Minnows

White Cloud Minnows

White cloud minnows are schooling fish characterized by their pale, white color. Although they are small, they need sufficient room to play around as they are quite active. They are quite rare to find in the wild, where they prefer fast-flowing streams.

White cloud minnows will thrive in a tropical community where the temperature is around 72ºF. The fish is compatible with bettas, and they will not nibble at the latter’s fins. The only problem is that minnows prefer a cooler temperature to that of bettas. A temperature of about 75ºF should, however, keep both species comfortable.

Source for at least six minnows, as they are community fish. They may get nervous enough to nip at their mates if kept by themselves.

Minnows can also share a diet with bettas, which makes it convenient to keep both species together. Suitable food includes algae wafers, fish fry, bloodworms, and krill.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1-2 inches
  • pH Range: 6.0-7.0
  • Temperature: 60-72 °F

3. Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin rasboras and bettas both originate in the river basins and the rice paddies of South East Asia. The two, therefore, respond to the same water habitats, which includes similar PH and temperature conditions.

Harlequin rasboras are incredibly hardy and will especially appeal to beginners. They also look great and will liven up even the tanks of more experienced fish-keepers. If well-looked after, the harlequin rasbora will live for six years and reach two inches in size.

The fish will thrive in temperatures between 73 and 82 °F while bettas prefer 78 °F. The rasboras like a PH range of 6.0 to 7.0 while bettas need 7.0

Harlequin rasboras are noted omnivores so you can source for a variety of plants and meats. The fish are not picky when it comes to feeding on either live, frozen, or dried food.

Keep at least eight harlequin rasboras together because they are shoaling fish. You will also need at least a 20-gallon tank to keep them with bettas. Rasboras are quick swimmers while bettas are slow, so they are minimal chances of bettas attacking the tankmates.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • pH Range: 6.0-7.0
  • Temperature: 73-82 °F

4. Zebra Danio Fish

Zebra Danio Fish

Zebra Danio Fish

The Zebra fish, also called the Zebra Danio, is a freshwater species with an extensive distribution range from India to Nepal. They are hardy and are fairly peaceful.

The Zebra fish are quite social, and they are known for their shoaling behavior. Their hierarchical system of dominance relies on playful non-violent behavior.

They need a lot of space as they like to chase each other in an aquarium. Keeping Zebra fish on their own can cause them to be stressed and ill. They can also become less active, and it is best to rear them in a community of other fish like bettas. The fish will mainly occupy the upper and middle layers of the tank. The vibrant colors of the Zebra fish will add character to your aquarium without causing any aggression between them and the bettas.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 2 inches
  • pH Range: 6.0-8.0
  • Temperature: 64-77 °F

5. Corydoras

Corydoras

Corydoras

Corydoras mostly inhabit South America, and their coloration ranges from black, gray, to brown.

Although they are hardy fish, Corydoras will be stressed out by high PH levels or temperature. The PH needs to be between 7.0 to 7.8, with 7.0 being ideal for bettas. You can keep the temperature level close to 78 °F for the bettas and the corydoras to survive.

Corydoras are very sensitive to high levels of nitrate, and it is best to keep them in water that is at 0ppm. You should also not disturb the substrate since the fish will get stressed if the sand and gravel start swirling around.

The two fish species sometimes seclude themselves, so you should furnish your aquarium with hiding places.

When it comes to living together, corydoras will inhabit the bottom of the tank, while the bettas prefer the middle or top of the aquarium. The corydoras will only move up the tank when searching for food.

Corydoras are extremely peaceful and will not engage the bettas in the tank. They are happier in groups, so put at least six of them or more.

Feed the two species a few times in a day for under two minutes so that you do not overfeed them.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 2.5 inches
  • pH Level: 7.0 to 7.8
  • Temperature: 72-78 °F

6. African Dwarf Dogs

African Dwarf Frog

African Dwarf Frog

Cohabitation between bettas and the African dwarf dog is quite common. You need to be concerned with several things, however, before you keep the two species together.

The first thing is to get a tank that is not too high. African dwarf dogs have lungs, and they, therefore, need to access the water’s surface for air.

Since they are not strong swimmers, you need to help them out by having a tank that is not higher than 12 inches. You can add another layer of the substrate if you have a high tank to shorten the distance.

The fish needs at least a gallon per frog. You will require an aquarium of at least 10 gallons if you are going to keep bettas and the African dwarf dog together. Twenty gallons will be the ideal size for the two species.

In the wild, the African dwarf dogs take to ponds, creeks, and shallow rivers, while bettas prefer rice paddies and river basins. Include sufficient plants to make the two species feel at home.

Plants will also reduce stress in the animals. You can additionally put things on the surface of the water that the frog can sit on, although you have to conceal your tank so that they do not jump.

Get a minimum of two dogs in a tank, and provide enough space to swim across.

You can observe the interactions between the two animals for any signs of aggression. The African dwarf dog can be hostile, too, especially if they are underfed.

Bettas may be quicker to grab food as the dogs have poor eyesight. Opt for pellets than sink to the bottom of the aquarium to reduce any hostility on the part of the dogs.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 3 inches
  • pH Level: 7
  • Temperature: 75-80 °F

7. Guppy Fish

Guppy Fish

Guppy Fish

Guppies inhabit the lakes and rivers of South America. The gender of the guppies will dictate whether they can live harmoniously with bettas. Male bettas will be territorial with male guppies, a situation which may result in the death for the latter. Female guppies are not as vibrant as the males, and they can cohabit with the bettas. Female guppies and female bettas will exhibit the least aggression.

Guppies prefer the top and middle of the tank, and they will mostly refrain from going into the territory of the bettas.

When it comes to population, it is best to keep three guppies and one betta in a 10-gallon aquarium. Add an extra three guppies with every additional five gallons.

Guppies and bettas feed on the same things, and you can feed them thrice a day. Guppies can, however, eat all the live food as it is optional for them to eat meat. If this happens, you can either feed them at different sides of the tank or use a net to isolate the guppies when they are feeding.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 2 inches
  • pH level: 6.8-7.8
  • Temperature: 74-82 °F

8. Platy Fish

Platy Fish

Platy Fish

Platies can be a great companion for bettas if your bettas are not aggressive.

Your tank cannot be less than 10 gallons if you want the two species to co-exist peacefully. Platies prefer to swim all over the aquarium, so they need plenty of space. Keep the platies in groups of at least three since they are social fish.

Platies are faster swimmers than bettas, so ensure that the bettas are getting sufficient food. Platies can become hostile during feeding and consume as much food as is available. You can feed them separately in opposite ends of the tank or use nets.

Since platies are live bearing, they can breed excessively if not tamed. More fish can strain your aquarium system, and leave your existing pets prone to diseases. Buy one sex if you want to discourage breeding.

Bettas are typically aggressive to fish that have similar attributes to them. Fortunately, platies lack long-flowing tails, and even their colors will not aggravate the bettas. Some platies can fin nip so lookout for ragged tails on your bettas.

  • Care: Moderate
  • Size: 1.5-2.5
  • pH Range: 7-8.3
  • Temperature: 70-80 °F

9. Molly Fish

Molly Fish

Molly Fish

Molly fish and bettas can survive in similar PH and temperature conditions. Mollies, however, are thought to prefer water that is a little salty. Most fish-keepers, on the other hand, prefer to keep their bettas in freshwater.

Betta owners have begun adding aquarium salts in their aquariums as tonics. Aquarium salt in small doses is believed to boost the immune system of bettas. If you are not keen on using aquarium salts, you can get mollies that have been bred in fresh water.

Mollies will mostly grow an inch bigger than bettas, so you will need a large tank. The fish are live-bearing, and they are high chances that the female mollies in your aquarium will give birth. Most of the fry will be eaten, however, and only one or two will make it into adulthood.

Mollies will not attack bettas, although there is a possibility of fin-nipping.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 3-4 inches
  • pH Range: 7.0-7.8
  • Temperature: 68-82 °F

10. Swordtail Fish

Swordtail Fish

Swordtail Fish

Swordtails are common inhabitants of the water basins in central America. It has an elongated body that is flattened from the sides, and its tail is shaped like a sword, hence its name.

Swordtails are easy to breed and keep, and they are attractive to beginners. Since it is a large fish, you will need a large tank also to accommodate your bettas. The animals have a mild temperament, and they thrive in a community, although it is best only to have one male. Although they come in a variety of attractive colors, it is better to opt for darker swordtails with your bettas.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 4 inches
  • pH Range: 6.8 to 7.8
  • Temperature: 72-78 °F

11. Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

Plecos are among the ideal tankmates for bettas. They inhabit the bottom of fish-tanks, and since bettas prefer the top areas, they will be little room for aggression.

Plecos are herbivores, while bettas have an omnivorous diet. They will be no cause for hostility between the fish during feeding time. Bristlenose plecos are also known to be shy, and they will generally stay out of the bettas’ way. The fish will spend a lot of time foraging for food around the aquarium, although this mostly occurs at night when they are very active.

Bristlenose plecos can grow up to six inches, so it is wise to get a big tank. A 25-gallon tank is ideal for maintaining the plecos and the bettas.

  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 6 inches
  • pH Range: 6.5-7.5
  • Temperature: 60-80 °F

12. Gourami Fish

Gourami Fish

Gourami Fish

When it comes to Gouramis, it is best to observe the aquatic situation because closely resemble bettas.

The Blue Gourami share environmental conditions and dietary habits with the bettas. The blue hues will also be a welcome pop of color in your tank.

Another adaptable Gourami species is the croaking Gourami, which is stunning in red and blue colors. If you want a small companion for your bettas, the Dwarf Gourami is perfect as it is also not violent.

The Pearl Gourami reaches a size of up to 4 inches or more, so you will need a large tank.

13. Otocinclus Fish

Otocinclus Fish

Otocinclus Fish

The otocinclus fish prefers streams and rivers with strong currents in South America. To replicate its natural habitat, invest in a large tank and a sandy substrate which is covered in tree roots. You can include driftwood and live plants to emulate the wild environment of the otocinclus fish further.

Otocinclus fish prefer to live at the bottom at the tank, and they will rarely interact with the top-dwelling bettas.

Bettas mostly eat meat while to otocinclus are herbivores. You should, however, ensure that bettas are not feeding on food meant for the otocinclus.

You need to tame the water current to suit both species. Bettas like gentle water while otocinclus prefer constant water flow. You can strike a balance between the two conditions by decorating your tank.

  • Care: Moderate
  • Size: 1 to 2 inches
  • pH Range: 6.5-7.2
  • Temperature: 72-82 °F

14. Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

The Kuhli Loach is a bottom-dwelling species commonly mistaken for an eel. It is most active in the evening and at night, and it is an ideal tankmate. It is small, hardy, and reclusive and will not engage in any hostility with bettas.

It is best to keep three or even more Kuhli loaches in the same tank. Opt for sand or any other smooth substrate.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 4.5 inches
  • pH Range: 5.5-6.5
  • Temperature: 75-86 °F

15. Amano Shrimp

Amano Shrimp

Amano Shrimp

The Amano shrimp will mostly grow to 3 inches. In addition to sharing similarities in size, the Amano shrimp and the bettas will survive in the same water conditions.

The Amano shrimp is very vulnerable when molting, which happens once a time. Include love plants and hiding places, so that it will not feel intimidated by the bettas. Overall, the two species will co-exist peacefully.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1.5-2 inches
  • pH Range: 5.5-6.5
  • Temperature: 73-82 °F (23-28 °C)

Fish to Avoid Keeping with Bettas

Male bettas are fiercely territorial, and they cannot populate the same area as other male bettas. Betta attacks can lead to grave injury and death, so it is best to separate the males.

You should also not include fish that grow large in size, including the giant gourami, kissing gourami and the Oscars.

Other fish species that cannot be kept with bettas include African cichlids, barbs, angelfish, sharks, and goldfish.

Conclusion

The aggressive nature of bettas discourages many fishkeepers from keeping them with other fish. This hostility is, however, more common between male bettas, or towards fish that look like them. You can keep bettas with other fish species, provided you keenly observe the community for any signs of aggression.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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