Betta Fish Tank Mates

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    Alina Andreeva
    Alina Andreeva

    Author: Alina Andreeva

    Alina A. is a professional writer, editor, and pet-lover. She has published over 50 articles on how to care for pets properly. Alina has been writing articles for 3 years, so she has considerable experience in this niche. Her natural curiosity helps her to expand her knowledge and learn new pet care life hacks, which will make your life much easier.

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  • Updated on: 12/29/2020

Can Bettas live with other underwater creatures in one fish tank? The answer: it isn’t easy.

Known for their fierce reputation of fighting, Bettas, or Siamese fighting fish, can be very territorial. You may worry that any other fish it encounters will be in danger. [1]

So it is not surprising that many fish parents recommend you to keep them in a separate aquarium. But look, it is not easy to keep your Siamese fighting fish with other aquarium inhabitants. However, it is still possible.

So if you want to buy tank mates for your fin-buddy – keep reading!

betta fish tank matesImage by @yancabrera from Pixabay

Warning: All Bettas are different. Some of them can’t get along with any aquatic creature. Even if someone else has had success keeping Siamese fighting fish in a community, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Always have a plan B in case things look blue!

What Fish can live with Bettas?

Wondering what underwater creatures can live with Siamese fighting fish? Below is a list of 10 recommendations for the best Betta aquarium mates:

1. Zebra Snails

zebra nerite snailFrom fishbazaar.sg
  • Size: up to one inch
  • Life Expectancy: one-two years

Zebra snails feature the striped pattern on their bodies. Usually, the markings are black and yellow. These little tank cleaners love to eat a lot of algae; therefore, they can benefit the community aquarium by reducing algae growth. They are ideal for Betta fish because they are not very active and keep aloof.

2. Marimo Moss Balls

marimo moss balls
  • Size: one-two inches
  • Life Expectancy: They can live for many years in suitable conditions.

These aquatic creatures take root in Japan. Contrary to what is believed, they are made not of moss but of algae. Marimo Moss Balls look very interesting and may bring a splash of beauty to any Betta fish tank. They are suitable for Betta tanks because they can serve as entertainment for your scaly sidekicks who like to hide in them.

3. Feeder Guppies

Image by @halimqd from FreePik
  • Size: half-two and a half inches
  • Life Expectancy: two years

Guppies live and thrive in a fish group, so it is better to buy at least three of them. Unlike regular guppies, these underwater buddies are less colorful so they will not attract Siamese fighting fish. They are energetic but good-natured and peaceful. Feeder Guppies procreate offsprings like crazy, though, so buy them all of the same sex if you don’t want more Feeder Guppies.

4. Cory Catfish

cory catfishAquatic Arts
  • Size: one-two and a half inches
  • Life Expectancy: five years

There is a vast majority of Cory Catfish types, but they are all good-natured aquatic creatures regardless of their type. They are easy to care for and hard nuts to crack. So Cory Catfish are great fish for newbies to the fish tank hobby. Since this is a schooling fish, it is better to buy three or more.

5. Kuhli Loach

kuhli loachaquadiction.world
  • Size: four inches
  • Life Expectancy: ten years

These underwater buddies are native to Southeast Asia. They have small fins and swim quickly, but they like to spend time at the bottom of the aquarium, often hiding behind plants or rocks because they are quite shy. Kuhli Loaches prefer to live in a school of three or more members of their species. Otherwise, they will hide away from other aquarium inhabitants.

6. Neon Tetras

neon tetra fishImage by @sunlight19 from FreePik
  • Size: one and a half inches
  • Life Expectancy: five-eight years

If you want to set up at least a 20-gallon aquarium, then these colorful underwater creatures will fit perfectly in your fish tank and make great decorative pieces. Although Neon tetras are colorful, they don’t feature bright fins or tails, so they won’t instigate your Siamese fighting fish. Buy at least six of them, but the best amount is twelve. 

7. Bristlenose Plecos

bristlenose plecosAquatic Arts
  • Size: three-five inches
  • Life Expectancy: five years

This aquarium inhabitant is great for newbies to the hobby because it is low-maintenance and hardy. Bristlenose Plecos do a great job cleaning aquarium algae. They move around the tank glass, cleaning up everything they can.

8. Harlequin Rasboras

freeimages.com
  • Size: one and a half inches
  • Life Expectancy: six-eight years

These aquatic creatures live and thrive in groups of eight to ten. Besides being energetic, they are also very peaceful and will not disturb other fish tank occupants. Since these tiny swimmers can eat anything and rarely get sick, they make excellent fish for first-timers.

9. Ember Tetras

ember tetra fish
  • Size: up to one inch
  • Life Expectancy: one-two years

These fast creatures love traveling around the aquarium with a lot of various plants and feel happier when kept in groups of at least seven. While there is a chance your fighting fish will try to catch these underwater buddies, Ember Tetras are too fast for slow Betta fish. Buy at least a 20-gallon aquarium to provide the two species with enough room and to allow Ember Tetras to hide and swim away if fighting fish starts to chase.

10. Clown Plecos

clown plecoaquariumsource.com
  • Size: three-four inches
  • Life Expectancy: ten-fifteen years

Clown Plekos are bottom dwellers who scavenge for food leftovers. These scaly sidekicks are very interested in eating algae. So you may notice them attaching their mouths to the aquarium glass to suck in the seaweed. They are slow-moving, unattractive, and prefer to keep aloof, therefore they can become excellent fish companions for Bettas.[2]

How Large Should Your Community Aquarium Be?

  • If your fighting fish lives in an aquarium smaller than ten gallons, please do not house any more pet fish in it. In an aquarium smaller than ten gallons, your Betta fish should live alone.
  • If you have a ten-gallon aquarium, you can add only snails, shrimps, or frogs as tank mates. [3] Snails are slow-moving critters and mind their own business. Shrimps are bottom dwellers who scavenge for fish waste and improve the water quality in an aquarium. Frogs swim on the water surface most of the time. These aquatic creatures will not generate stress in your fighting fish like other pet fish scurrying around him.
  • If you want other fish to live with your scaly buddy, you should consider a fish tank larger than ten gallons. Bettas are not affable creatures and enjoy living in a calm, peaceful aquarium with a lot of space.

READ MORE: Small Aquarium Fish

Have a Plan B!

Ultimately, your success with your aquarium mates will depend on your Siamese personalities fighting fish and other aquatic creatures. Even if you follow all of our tips, your Betta may still not get along with other pet fish or critters and prefer staying alone in their environment.

Never try to house your scaly sidekick with other finned buddies without a plan B. Prepare a small bowl into which you can place him if he has problems. Little pursuits from time to time is not a problem, but if he is continuously looking for a fight and asking for trouble, you need to take him out for his own good.

If you notice your Betta tucked into a tank corner, it may happen because your scaly sweetheart is being chased and cannot find another place to hide. Pay attention to the condition of his fin, and if it looks torn, put him into a separate bowl or tank immediately.

READ MORE: How to Set Up a Small Saltwater Tank

The Bottom Line

Keep in mind that housing your Betta fish in a community tank is a risk – it may or may not work because these guys have different temperaments, and some can show more aggression than others. If you decided on it, make sure you choose suitable underwater creatures and keep them in a big aquarium.

Article Sources: 

  1. Can I keep Siamese fighting fish with other fish? RSPCAhttps://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/can-i-keep-siamese-fighting-fish-with-other-fish/
  2. “How to Choose Betta Fish Tank Mates.” Pet Central by Chewy, 27 June 2019, petcentral.chewy.com/best-betta-fish-tank-mates/.
  3. “Your Betta Needs More Than a Bowl – Veterinary Medicine at Illinois.” University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, 23 Nov. 2020, vetmed.illinois.edu/pet_column/betta-fish/.

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