Betta Fish and Pea Puffer – Can They Live Together?

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Betta fish are certainly one of the most attractive aquatic pets these days. They are quite easy to care about and they look simply amazing with all their colors and fin shapes.

Additionally, they feature individualistic temperaments and they always tend to keep their humans amazed. But so do pea puffer fish. These adorable round fish are highly intelligent when compared to their tiny size, and they make amazing pets.

If you have still not made your mind between these two species, you are probably asking yourself whether they can live together. Is that the case with betta fish and pea putter fish?

Sadly, the answer is clear, and it is a definite NO. And there are more reasons hiding behind such an answer. The main is, however, the naturally aggressive behavior among both fish.

Aggressive Behavior

Both betta and pufferfish are surprisingly hostile towards others. Males especially are extremely territorial and will instantly fight off any new tank mates, including those from their own species. And often, they will even attack female specimens.

That said, it is quite simple to conclude that these two fish could certainly not get along together. Moreover, most of betta fish pets today feature long and flowing fins and tails, which are extremely sensitive and can develop fin rot diseases quite easily.

And pufferfish are known for being quite the dedicated fin nippers. Indeed, when they attack other fish, they tend to nip their fins making them more vulnerable. This can seriously compromise your betta’s wellbeing.

Moreover, betta males are usually best to be kept in isolated tanks. On the other side, male puffers can function well into small groups, as long as they are the only male across the aquarium and surrounded by female specimens. Because of that, mixing them up is never a good solution.

Size Difference

Although betta fish are particularly small creatures, pufferfish are even smaller. By a lot. Indeed, they are not referred to as dwarf fish for no reason.

Pea puffers usually grow to a maximum length of 1,5 inches and this makes them one of the smallest fish species on the planet.

Bettas, on the other side, usually grow up to 3 inches, making them double-sized when compared to puffers. Therefore, the difference is huge and it is not a factor to disregard.

Tank Size Requirements

When it comes to tank size requirements, this is probably the only thing that these two fish share. Indeed, they are both really small pets and therefore do not require surprisingly large tanks.

A starting size for a single fish of both species is 5 gallons. However, as such tiny tanks are usually much more complicated to maintain, our suggestion would be to always start with a 10-gallon alternative.

If you decide to add other specimens or other compatible tank mates at some point, the size of your aquarium will simply need to increase. Not so much because fish require lots of space to move freely, but rather to provide them enough territorial space to living in harmony.

If you place either a betta or a pea puffer inside a small community tank with their perfectly matching roommates, they will still feel threatened and start showing signs of aggression in no time.

Water Conditions

Even if both fish are tropical, the only water condition requirement they share is basically the temperature. Indeed, they both thrive in warm water and are both quite sensitive to any temperature oscillations. Additionally, both species prefer no or low current simply because of their size.

When it comes to all other water conditions, they are much different. For instance, bettas are freshwater fish while puffers thrive into a mix of fresh and saltwater. Even if they can survive in freshwater, this is short-term and they will probably die after several months.

Next, betta fish thrive in soft water. They love living under slightly acidic pH levels, although they can adapt well to neutral values as well. Oppositely, pea puffer fish prefer their water to be more alkaline.

Furthermore, puffers can make quite a mess out of their tanks. They are ferocious little carnivores and tend to eat in a less elegant way from bettas. But they also produce much waste when compared to their tiny size.

Therefore, you would be needing too frequent partial water changes, which can ultimately harm your betta fish by a lot. They are prone to stress and other diseases if there are any oscillations among their tank water.

Food & Diet

Betta fish and puffers are both carnivores and amazing little hunters. However, that does not necessarily have to mean they will share their meals.

Indeed, pea puffer fish will basically reject any food which is not live and moving. Bettas, on the other hand, require high-quality pellets to maintain their basic dietary needs and get all the needed supplements.

What they do share among diet-related factors are the feeding time and the love for meat. You can feed both of your fish twice a day, keeping in mind to never overfeed them.

Brine shrimp and bloodworms make great treats for both pets, but with the exception that they get offered to bettas only occasionally, instead of regularly as to puffers. Puffer fish usually feed on meat only, preferably live. They can accept frozen food only if they are feeling in the mood for it, which is rather rare.

Don’t keep shrimp or snails with pea puffers either, because they will eat them.

Wrapping Up

Although these two tiny fish species are amazing and so interesting each in their own way, they make terrible tank mates. One could describe them as horrible partners as well, correctly. Indeed, placing these two together can result in a finless betta in just a day of time.

Adding to that, they do share some similarities when it comes to tank size or water current preferences, but they basically differ in most tank requirements.

Therefore, please keep your active little pets in separated tanks at all times, to ensure they stay healthy (and alive).

avatar 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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