best-betta-fish-tank-mates

16 Best Betta Fish Tank Mates – Full List of Animals Compatible with Betta

Getting the right tank mates for your community aquarium is always about knowing which fish are compatible with each other and which are a bad match.

In this respect, Betta fish are notoriously difficult to pair not only with other fish, but also with their own kind.

This stems from their territorial behavior, which is so pronounced that it earned them the name Siamese Fighting Fish.

It’s especially a bad idea to house male Betta fish together, however, there are certain fish species that Bettas will accept.

In this article, I’ve chosen to discuss the best Betta fish tank mates if you’re looking to choose a tank mate for Betta fish.

Betta Fish

betta-fish-care

Bettas aren’t fish that require company, so it’s no problem to keep them on their own. If you’re like me, you probably enjoy a tank full of fish better rather than watching a near-empty tank.

Bettas are extremely beautiful fish with long flowy fins and brilliant coloration. Female bettas have much shorter fins and aren’t as brightly colored, but they do exhibit beautiful colors as well.

Bettas are often sold in small “Betta bowls” or flower vases, when in fact they need much more space than that.

If you want to keep your betta fish in a bowl, I recommend getting a bowl with a volume of at least 2.5-3 gallon (10-12 liter). In this case you might not want to add other tank mates than few shrimp or snails.

Another controversial issue in Betta fish-keeping is fish fights organized very much like cockfights, for which Bettas are purposefully bred to be more aggressive.

However, ethical aquarists will not partake in such activities and will make sure not to keep male Bettas together with other male Bettas.

In their natural habitat, Bettas aren’t as aggressive as those kept in aquariums, and they’ll become aggressive only during breeding season.

Because Bettas in the wild have adapted to a carnivore diet, even in captivity, they prefer live foods, even though they will accept flake, frozen or freeze-dried foods as well.

If you’re going to keep other fish with your Bettas, make sure you read my suggestions for fish compatible with Bettas and watch out for my recommendations regarding each fish species below. To ensure best health and condition for your fish, please select a good tank mate for your betta fish.

Also please remember that you should keep multiple fish in aquariums that are not less than 5 gallon (20 liter). If you have the space and can afford, go for a bigger tank: 10-20 gallon (40-80 liter) would be perfect for keeping water parameters stable.

Now let’s see which are some of the most compatible fish, snails and shrimp with betta fish.

Best Betta Fish Tank Mates

Here are the fish species and other animals that make good Betta tank mates:

Kuhli Loaches

kuhli-loach

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUBPhmWhCs8

Kuhli Loaches, commonly known as Coolie Loach, is an eel-shaped fish, that is often times mistaken for an eel. Coolies originally come from Malaysia, Java or Indonesia.

Kuhli Loaches do not grow as big as other Loaches, and their bio-load is also small. They prefer sand or round stones, as any sharp rocks or other decorations might scratch their body.

They like to squeeze in crazy small spaces during the day, and they come out in the dark and they scavenge for food. Kuhli Loaches are nocturnal but most of them can learn to eat during the day as well.

You can feed them sinking pellets just before the lights go out in the night or after the lights have been turned off for a while.

You should never switch the light back on or shine a flashlight just out of curiosity during the night, as it might shock them.

If you decide to buy these peaceful, nocturnal bottom dwellers, make sure that you get 3 or more as they are also a schooling fish.

  • Compatibility Level: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Corydora Catfish

corydoras-catfish

Corydora Catfish also known as Cory Cats, Cory Fish and Cory Catfish are a very popular freshwater fish. They are known for being a great mate for any other species.

Cory Cats are mostly active during the day, they are bottom dwellers, but they might also dart to the surface to get a bite of food or just a gulp of air.

You can get them in different colors, patterns and sizes the most common type is the Bronze Cory Catfish.

They will not make any trouble in the tank, as they are easy to care for and also, they are friendly with other species. Being an easy to care for and peaceful species they are very popular among beginners.

If you consider buying them make sure that you will get 6 or more because the Corydora Catfish is a schooling fish. In general, they stick together while resting especially if they are the same type.

  • Compatibility Level: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Bristlenose Plecos

bristlenose-pleco

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/james_mk_green/370278032/

Bristlenose Plecos are an excellent choice for beginners and hobbyists, albeit a bit more expensive than other Plecos.

They don’t grow as big as other types of Plecos e.g. the Common Pleco.

They are also known as Bushy Nose Plecos or Bristlenose Catfish.

They are an excellent Betta fish tank mate, due to the fact that they are armored with tough plates, do they can easily defend themselves from any occasional bites from your Bettas.

If you want to get more than one than make sure that they are females (they are also a bit smaller) as the males need to have enough room to establish their territory.

Make sure that they do have fresh vegetables all around, you can feed them zucchini and algae wafer, they will also clean your tank from algae.

They tend to have a higher bio load, so you might want to change the water more frequently.

  • Compatibility Level: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Clown Plecos

clown-pleco

As bottom dwellers, Clown Plecos always add a beautiful splash of color to the bottom of your aquarium.

They stay small, growing to about 4 inches and make good companions for the top dweller Bettas.

Their bodies are striped with orange, off-white and black bands that encircle their bodies. Juveniles display brighter colors and as they mature, their coloring tends to fade.

Because these fish are willing to eat algae, they’re often chosen for planted aquariums, but you can’t expect them to stay well-fed only on algae, so I recommend that you supplement their diet with algae wafers too.

They’ll also eat standard pleco vegetables like zucchini, peas, squash, yams and cucumbers.

Despite their appetite for vegetables, they do need some meat as well. I recommend adding quality sinking foods. Frozen daphnia and bloodworms is a great choice.

Because they’re small and stay at the bottom of the tank, they make good companions for Bettas, but for other typical tank residents as well.

  • Compatibility Level: 8/10
  • Care Level: Moderate

African Dwarf Frogs

african-dwarf-frog

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:African-dwarf-frog.jpg

If you want to diversify your tank and not limit yourself to fish only or if you’re worried about conflicts amongst your fish, I recommend adding the African Dwarf Frog to your Betta fish.

These docile creatures aren’t difficult to care for and they’re a popular aquatic frog. Despite being a fully aquatic frog, they’ll occasionally swim to the surface for a gasp of air.

They have long lifespans (up to 10 years) if kept in proper conditions, that is, they’re offered enough space (small tanks are a strong no for these species) and a proper diet.

Which brings us to the only downside to housing Bettas with African Dwarf Frogs — differences in diet.

ADFs will not enjoy flake or dried foods, which means you’ll need to make special dietary accommodations and offer them a diet rich in meaty foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Other than this, ADFs make good tank mates for Bettas.

  • Compatibility Level: 7/10
  • Care Level: Moderate

White Cloud Mountain Minnows

white-cloud-mountain-minnow

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:White_Cloud_Mountain_Minnow_1.jpg

This hardy species of freshwater fish is another example of fish compatible with Bettas. They may be a bit more difficult to find, but they’re a worthwhile purchase.

They’re not fussy about food, so you can feed them whatever you fish your Betta fish with, the only requirement is to keep your White Cloud Minnows in schools of 5 or 6.

When kept in smaller groups they’ll become nervous, which is not a good thing if you’re housing them in the same tank with Bettas, because Minnows will nip at the fins of Bettas.

They’ll also tend to lose their beautiful colors and become reclusive creatures, hiding most of the time.

Because they’re hardy fish that can withstand even lower temperatures, they’re often recommended for beginner aquarists.

Even though they’re not picky eaters, do offer them a varied diet that includes some live foods whenever possible.

  • Compatibility Level: 8/10
  • Care Level: Moderate

Neon Tetras

neon-tetra-fish

Source: https://sco.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NeonTetra.JPG

Neon Tetras have gotten a bad reputation recently, as a fish which is hard to keep, but this might be from the fact that they become popular, and as such, breeders might have resorted to dubious practices such as inbreeding.

Always make sure that you are buying from a reputable source, and because Neon Tetras are a schooling fish make sure that you get at least 6 of them. If you have a larger thank you should definitely go for 10 or even more.

Give them a little more time during the acclimation process, so they can adjust to the temperature and the pH of the new tank.

They are very popular among beginners and hobbies, they look great in as they dart in the aquarium in groups.

Neon Tetras live in the middle and the bottom part of the tank, so they won’t interact as much with Bettas, and even so because they are extremely agile if any Betta fish tries to harm them, they can easily out swim them

  • Compatibility Level: 9/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Harlequin Rasboras

harlequin-rasboras

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Harlequin_Rasbora.jpg

Harlequin Rasboras are also known as Red Rasbora or Harlequin Fish are a schooling fish, they grow to about 5 cm (2 inches) and they have a distinctive black triangle.

Because they are a schooling fish and due to their size, it is recommended for bigger tanks of 20+ gallons.

They live in the middle and top part of the tank, but because in the wild they live with the Betta fish, they are a great mate for Betta fish.

Harlequin Rasboras are omnivores, so you can feed them live and frozen food and they also eat flake.

They are peaceful and can be bred in captivity. Most of them are bred in farms, so it is a good idea to keep them in quarantine before they make it in the main tank.

Harlequin Rasboras tend to develop a hierarchy, and they are fun to watch as they follow their leader while schooling in the tank.

  • Compatibility Level: 9/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Ember Tetras

ember-tetra

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Funkensalmler_Feuertetra_oder_Feuersalmler_Hyphessobrycon_amandae.JPG

Ember Tetras like other Tetras are schooling fish, so it is best to keep them in groups of 5 or more, so they will feel safe.

They have an orange, semi-transparent body (they are a nice addition to any heavy planted tank), and they prefer the middle part of the tank.

Ember Tetras are a small fish usually around 2 cm (1 inch) and have a lifespan of 2-4 years.

Due to their size you should feed them micro pellet food, as they might have issues ingesting larger pellets. You can also try to crush their food into finer pellets.

Ember Tetras are friendly and agile, and they are a good Betta fish mates.

  • Compatibility Level: 9/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Ghost Shrimp

ghost-shrimp-algae-eater

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobile_gnome/2519569488/

Yet another example of aquatic creature that you can keep with Bettas, the Ghost Shrimp makes a great addition to a Betta tank.

They’re inexpensive, they’ll feed on scraps of food at the bottom of the tank and they thrive in groups of 5+. They also breed rapidly and often.

They’re great aquarium cleaners, but they also make tasty snacks for larger fish like Angelfish or Cichlids and they’re often purchased as “feeders” for larger fish.

Because of their glassy transparent bodies, they’re also an eye-catcher in tanks with darker substrates.

  • Compatibility Level: 7/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Zebra Snails

zebra-snail

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zebra_Nerite_Snail_(Neritina_natalensis_sp._zebra).jpg

Breaking the pattern of fish that are good companions for Bettas, here’s an example of a snail that you could keep with Bettas if you’re looking to add a little variety to your tank.

Because they like to feed on scraps of food and algae that builds up in the tank, Zebra Snails can be part of a natural cleaning crew of a tank.

Compared to other snail species, Zebra Snails don’t reproduce that fast, which means you can easily keep their population under control and you don’t have to worry about your tank being overrun by snails.

This benefit coupled with the fact that they’re natural aquarium cleaners, makes them a favorite of many aquarists.

Zebra snails live about a year and grow to about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in size.

  • Compatibility Level: 8/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Rabbit Snails

rabbit-snail

Rabbit Snails

Rabbit snails are very peaceful creatures. They wont hurt bettas or any other fish. Sometimes they dig into the substrate for shorter or longer periods of time. Therefore it is good to have a lighter substrate in your betta fish tank if you want to keep rabbit snails.

Rabbit snails are herbivores. This means they will eat vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, cucumber, lettuce and other. They will also eat any soft algae and decaying plant matter.

Unlike other snails, rabbit snails will not over-populate your fish tank. They are slow breeders and they produce one offspring once a month. The baby rabbit snails are very small, their size are only 1/8 – 1/4 inches (3-6 mm).

Rabbit snails grow slowly, reaching maturity at around one year.

Rabbit snails live about two years and can reach a size of up to 2-3 inches (5-7 cm).

If you keep live plants in your aquarium (which I highly recommend), you should know, that rabbit snails will snack on them time-to-time. However, if you give them enough food (vegetables or commercial vegetable based pallets), they will ignore live plants.

  • Compatibility Level: 8/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Amano Shrimp

amano-shrimp

Amano Shrimp

Amano shrimp are a popular and spirited freshwater shrimp that can be a good addition to Betta fish.

Amano Shrimp are explorers of their aquatic environment, they like to climb on plants looking for new places to explore or sources of food. They’re also great swimmers.

They enjoy feeding on soft algae and prefer planted aquariums, feeding on plant matter as well.

Take care not to overstock your tank with Amano shrimp, because they’ll produce waste and tax the aquatic environment.

Besides eating whatever is available in the tank, the Amano Shrimp also eats shrimp pellets, fish pellets and flakes, algae wafers and zucchini.

They thrive in community tanks with mid-sized, non-aggressive fish and they go about their business without interfering with other fish.

Because Bettas are carnivorous, they may be interested in eating shrimp, however, if you provide enough coverage for your Amano Shrimp, you can minimize the chances of this occurring.

  • Compatibility Level: 7/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Zebra Danio

zebra-danio-fish

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brachydanio_rerio.jpg

These zebra-patterned fish are popular among freshwater fish-keepers because of their active and hardy nature.

They’re recommended as starter fish for beginners as they can withstand a range of water temperatures and conditions.

They’re omnivorous creatures that enjoy eating all sorts of foods including fresh vegetable matter, live or frozen invertebrates.

You can keep them with Bettas but be mindful of a few things – Zebra Danios are fast-swimmers and should be kept in schools.

They active nature and their propensity to nip at the fins of fish that have flowing fins can stress out Bettas.

Therefore, if you plan on keeping these two species together, get a larger tank and choose female Bettas over males, because females have shorter fins and are less territorial.

I have kept these two fish together without issues, but I recommend monitoring tank behavior just to be sure.

  • Compatibility Level: 6/10
  • Care Level: Easy

Celestial Pearl Danio

celestial-pearl-danio

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/linkinsim/19423642349/

Celestial Pearl Danios are a somewhat new species that was first documented in the scientific community in 2006. Since then, they have become quite popular among aquarists.

The Celestial Pearl Danio, also called galaxy rasbora, is a small fish that exhibits bright colors and orange or golden spots scattered all over its body, hence the name celestial.

They’re peaceful fish that can be kept in nano tanks due to their small size (they grow to be only about 2.5 cm), but they require stable tank conditions, therefore I wouldn’t recommend them for beginners.

They have a shy temper, so it’s not advisable to keep them with large active fish.

In terms of diet, they can’t be fed with any food and they won’t swim up to the tank surface, so floating foods are a bad idea. Feed them dry food of proper size, live and frozen foods such as brine shrimps, cyclops, and small tubifex.

The same recommendations that I gave with Zebra Danios apply for Celestial Pearl Danios as well, however, fin-nipping is not an issue with CPDs.

  • Compatibility Level: 6/10
  • Care Level: Moderate to Difficult

Cherry Shrimp

cherry-shrimp

Generally, shrimp are not a good companion for Betta fish, but if you plan on “testing the waters”, this non-aggressive and peaceful shrimp is a good addition to any community tank.

Because of their bright red colors, they can be an easy target for your Betta fish, but if you provide your shrimp enough coverage, so that Bettas can’t get to your cherry shrimp, you can get away with housing them in the same tank.

Cherry Shrimp eat everything from plant matter to meat, so a balanced diet that includes these should keep them happy and healthy.

High quality pellets, vegetables and frozen foods are all good options.

  • Compatibility Level: 6/10
  • Care Level: Easy

You should always keep an eye on tank dynamics when keeping fish and other aquatic animals that aren’t ranked high in their compatibility with Bettas and remove them if you notice aggressive behaviors.

That being said, there are absolute no-no when it comes to keeping some fish with Bettas.

Fish That You Shouldn’t Keep with Betta Fish

Right off the bat one of the biggest incompatibilities is keeping multiple Betta fish in the same tank, especially when it comes to keeping males.

And when I say multiple, I mean even two male bettas can be one too many fish in the same tank. Bettas are extremely territorial and won’t budge when it comes to protecting their territory.

You may get away with keeping two females in the same tank, but never two males.

Other species to avoid are tiger, green and rosy barbs. They are aggressive, fast swimmers and take pleasure in nipping the fins of your Bettas. All these behaviors will stress them out.

Although you can get away with keeping Zebra Snails and Bettas in the same tank, snails can be a target for Bettas and the Mystery Snail is an especially easy target.

Despite what you may have heard that you can keep Bettas with Mystery Snails, Bettas will usually nip at their eye stalk, so I don’t recommend you to house them together.

Final Comments

Betta fish can be kept alone, but it doesn’t mean that this is a requirement. If you follow my guide to Betta fish compatibility, you should be able to choose good mates for your Bettas.

Even so, always keep an eye on tank dynamics to detect any incompatibility issues and address problems before they get out of hand.

To summarize:

  • Don’t keep Betta males together, not even two!
  • Don’t keep Bettas with other fish species that are similar in body shape and size, they will mistake them for male Bettas and will fight them;
  • Avoid keeping them with fin-nipping fish;
  • Avoid keeping them with fish or other aquatic creatures that Bettas will mistake for food.

Select tank mates carefully, follow my advice and read up more on fish compatibilities when creating a community tank.

4 Responses

  1. Gloria Breau says:

    One of my favorite fish to keep with my Betta is black line tail tetras. They occupy the lower portion of the tank most of the time, they are very fast and fun to watch. They never bother my Betta and can outswim the betta if it gives them a chase.

  2. michael says:

    can I put espei rasboras with a male betta?

    • avatar Fabian says:

      Hey! Espei Rasboras also known as Lambchop Rasbora, are pretty small in size. Adults can reach up to 1 inch (2,5 cm) in size, which is considered small compared to a betta fish. This might discourage you to put them together with a male betta fish, though this setup can work. I will tell you how I would do it:
      1. Choose at least a 10 gallon tank, best would be a 30 gallon aquarium
      2. Add the rasboras, at least a school of 6, but 10 would be better – let them get used to the tank for a few days
      3. Add the male betta fish and monitor any aggressive behavior

      While the rasporas are a schooling fish and are really fast, a betta fish would not be able to catch any of them. At the beginning the betta might chase them around, but after he would get used to them, it will give up, because he will realize that it is impossible to catch those small and fast fish.

      So, yes, I think there would be no problem in keeping male betta fish with Espei Rasboras in the same tank. Please let me know your results!

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