Can Betta Fish Live in 20 Gallon Community Tank?

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Betta fish are known to be hardy pets, as they do not require much attention from their owners, but neither much space. Although some of them are sold (or even kept) in ultra-small glass bowls, this is certainly an inhumane home for these colorful creatures.

The 10-gallon tanks, on the other side, do offer enough space for these tiny fish, but they are far more complicated for maintaining stable water parameters.

Therefore, a 20-gallon tank is usually the recommended starting size. But does that mean that Betta fish can live in 20-gallon community tanks as well?

Well, that depends on a lot of factors, beginning with the size of other fish you wish to accommodate there. However, larger sizes are generally more recommendable for community tanks. And safer.

Keeping Betta in 20 Gallon Aquariums

If you decide to keep a single or several Bettas in a 20-gallon aquarium, that is perfectly fine, as long as it is lidded.

With them being tropical fish, you will also be needing a water heater in order to provide temperature levels that resemble to those of their natural habitats (between 74- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit).

Also, it is vitally important to keep such levels stable and unchanged, so a thermometer is also necessary. The pH level can be set to anywhere between 6,8 and 7,5.

Next, it is highly recommended to place a simple filtration system, which will make the needed water changes to occur less frequently, but also to improve oxygenation and to ensure slow current movements.

Regarding decoration, it is best to keep it simple, avoiding any sharp substrate or rocks but planting instead some nice vegetation. Betta fish love hiding around plants, so this is definitely a must for ensuring them a happier life.

Betta Tank Mates for 20 Gallon Tanks

The golden rule when placing Betta fish into community tanks is to always stick to female Bettas. Although they can show some signs of aggression over time, this is less likely to happen when compared to male Bettas, which are surely more dominant and do not accept other fish well.

Having plenty of plants around community tanks is helpful by a lot. In fact, these can often offer amazing natural hiding places for the smaller and less aggressive fish. And most of the times, this can mean the difference between a fish fight or a simple unsuccessful chase around the tank.

Next, it is important to choose the other fish species very carefully. Obviously, the first parameter to look for is the water requirements these fish need, or you will otherwise be forced to perform major adjustments or to even have multiple tanks.

Try sticking to small fish, and those which usually do not tend to involve in conflicts. Some suitable tank mates can be:

Please constantly monitor your fish behavior during the first days after placing them into a community tank. If there is any persistent aggression among the group, you will need to intervene at some point. Having a small back-up tank is therefore incredibly helpful.

Feeding Betta Fish

When feeding Betta fish, it is important to be aware of their needs. Indeed, standard tropical fish flakes are generally not suitable for these peculiar creatures. They are primarily carnivores and therefore require a protein-based diet. As well as delicious meaty treats.

If you decide to go with a community tank, please keep in mind that Bettas will probably need a separate diet and you will have to be absolutely careful not to overfeed them.

If there are any mid-level or bottom feeders around your aquarium, try using specific sinking or slowly sinking pellets for them, to avoid all of them trying to reach out for food and consequentially getting into conflicts. Bettas usually prefer feeding along with the top level of the tank.

How Many Bettas Can You Keep in 20 Gallon Tanks?

If you decide to choose the safest method and separate your Betta fish into an isolated 20-gallon tank, there are still a few things to be attentive about. Firstly, if your Bettas are all females, a group of 4 is recommended for such tank size.

They do not tend to be overly aggressive but will certainly show some signs until a functional hierarchy is established. If you want to house multiple males, please know that 20 gallons is not nearly enough to provide enough territorial space for both. Therefore, you will need to setup a tank divider.

Depending on the shape of your aquarium, there are two main divider types you may need, and Lifewithpets offers great solutions for both.

The long divider is basically suitable for those aquariums which are wider or longer, but not that tall. On the other side, the high divider offers a handy screen for taller 20-gallon tanks. They are both sturdy and of excellent quality, providing great isolation to male Bettas.

They work best with aquariums with sandy or small gravel substrates, ideally for Betta fish, and they are super-easy to install.

If you decide to place multiple male Bettas inside your tank with the help of such dividers, please keep in mind that you will need to ensure good water flow in each separate part of the tank. The simplest yet most effective way to do that is by placing a cost-friendly filter inside each section.

Wrapping Up

Betta fish are specific fish that feature individual characters, so placing them into community tanks is often a tricky and controversial topic. Especially when the size of such a community tank is as small as 20 gallons.

The important is to follow some simple guidelines. To start, always and always avoid placing male Bettas among other fish but try with females instead (preferably with a single one) and choose other fish carefully.

Setting up their collective home aquarium in the right way, offering suitable food to each species, and constantly monitoring their behavior may just turn out into a life in harmony.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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