Betta fish tank mates are certainly a possibility without a doubt. Most people will say “Bettas can’t have tank mates or companions”, but the truth is… they can. Although bettas are aggressive fish, there are still possibilities of housing more than just a betta in your fish tank. I personally have my betta fish with many other fish in my 55 gallon fish tank. I have had this setup for a year now with no problems. How? Well, I just put in non-aggresive fish that require the same tank requirements in with my betta. I also have a big fish tank which gives all my fish the space they need. If you are wanting to have tank mates with your betta, the size of your fish tank will definitely play a huge role on how things will play out. The more space you have, the more peace and harmony you will have between all your fish.
Below are a few betta fish tank mates that can possibly be housed together with your betta. Of course, always use caution when mixing fish. If you see any aggression being done, simply separate the fish.
African Dwarf Frogs
African Dwarf frogs are great tank mates for bettas because they do not look anything like a betta or any other fish. African dwarf frogs also stay fairly small which is good because there won’t be any chances of the frog trying to eat the betta, like other large frogs might try to do. Being relatively small, these types of frogs produce very little waste, so you don’t have to worry about nitrates/nitrites/ammonia.
The most common snail being sold in pet stores today is the apple snail. Apple snails can be put into a bettas tank with no problem due to its large hard shell. The betta can’t possibly harm the snail. If housing an apple snail is in mind, just know that they can get up to the size of a softball, meaning you will be needing a large tank.
Cardinal Tetras & Neon Tetras
Tetras have the same requirements as bettas when it comes to water conditions and can make any tank look beautiful. Being soo bright in color, tetras can cause the betta to become aggressive towards them. Being very fast, tetras can counter a bettas attack easily though. So there is barely any chance of the tetras being harmed. Just make sure to have lots of ornaments and hiding spots for the tetras to hide and maneuver around. Tetras do better in schools of 5 – 10.
Corydoras Catfish (Cory Catfish)
Cory catfish are very calm and peaceful fish. It’s almost unheard of that they’d be aggressive. They are very friendly fish, especially with themselves. Be sure to get a good sized group of cories, they need a minimum of five to feel secure and happy. Adding fake or real plant will also help make the cories feel secure and safe. Also, make sure to use sand substrate so the cories don’t hurt themselves or lose their barbs.
Feeder fish can make good tank mates too as they are very dull in color and are somewhat faster than the betta. I have a few feeder fish in my tank with my betta as well and have yet to see any aggression whatsoever.
Ghost Shrimp and Red Cherry Shrimp
Ghost Shrimp stay very small and are usually sold as food for other fish, but can be a great addition to your betta tank. They won’t harm your betta in any way.
Red cherry shrimp are another awesome type of shrimp tank mate for bettas because they can help do two things. Serve as food when the betta is hungry (sometimes) and serve as algae eaters. They help clean the algae that may be forming in your bettas tank daily. But be careful on how many red cherry shrimp you buy. They breed quite well so make sure they don’t overcrowd the tank, or your betta will be very stressed. If you see the red cherry shrimp latching onto your betta, remove them as they will cause a lot of stress to your betta.
Loaches are great tank mates because they are mostly bottom feeders that will stay away from most of the fish in your tank (including your betta). They are very calm and peaceful fish that will cause no harm towards your betta. Be careful when choosing a loach though, as some can reach the length of 16 inches. I personally recommend khuli loaches, dwarf loaches, , and zebra loaches. These loaches stay smaller than 5 inches.
Plecos make good tank mates for bettas because of their size and calmness. Most plecos spend their days eating algae on rocks and glass, not bothering anybody. I personally have 2 plecos with my 1 betta with no problem. Just have in mind, I have a 55 gallon tank which allows the room for 2 plecos. If you are wanting to get a pleco, get one based on the size of your fish tank. Some plecos get big, while other stay small (5 inches) like the clown plecos, bristlenose plecos, and rubber lipped plecos.
A Guide in Choosing Betta Fish Tank Mates
- No nibblers – do not get any fish that will nibble at your betta. This will cause stress and sometimes fights.
- Bigger or colorful fish – Anything that looks big or colorful will intimidate your betta. Intimidation will cause stress or fights.
- Tank size – If you are getting tank mates for your betta, you will be needing a fish tank, not a fish bowl. Fish need their space, especially when housing more than one fish together.
- Bottom Feeders – Many bottom feeders are fish that can live well with bettas. (Plecos, catfish, loaches)
- Diet & Water Requirements – Make sure to choose only fish that require the same diet and water conditions as your betta.
Below is a video from SmokeNlark, which shows which tank mates make great betta fish tank mates