Betta Fish and Turtles – Can They Live Together?

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Many owners who decide to set up their first aquarium wish to have several aquatic pets. There are some which can easily be combined and will share a calm life together, but others will simply not stand equal water conditions.

Often, I’m asked by new fishkeepers if it is a good idea to keep Betta fish and turtles together?

Betta fish should not be kept with turtles, because turtles eat fish and even though your pet turtle might look harmful in the beginning, one day it gets a chance, will eat your adorable betta fish.

Here is a cool video showing a Betta sharing the tank with two adorable baby turtles. They seem to be able to stand each other, but it is just a matter of time before turtles decide that this is no suitable home for a Betta.

Generally speaking, Bettas and turtles can share the same environment as they both adapt well to the same water specifications. However, it is highly recommendable not to place them in the same aquarium. Eventually, they will start to bully each other.

Will a Baby Turtle Attack a Betta Fish?

Baby turtles are extremely small and usually match the size of an adult Betta, depending on the species. So, it is unlikely they will attack at this point. Larger turtles, however, become more agile swimmers, really quick when they want to be, so Bettas can, unfortunately, become easy prey for them.

Referring to the video once again, we can see that baby turtles and Bettas seem not to hate each other.

Even if these guys seem to get along simply fine, watching each other and not really interacting at all, the author of the video says herself that she had to separate them at a later point. As turtles began to grow, they started attacking the Betta, trying to eat it.

Will a Turtle Eat a Betta Fish?

Turtles will eat Bettas whenever they get a chance. That is a fact. But, even in those cases when a turtle is super-fed and not hungry at all, they may simply take a bite or nibble off a Betta.

This can happen both as a territorial warning or out of pure curiosity. Whatever the reason may be, each bite or nibble that a turtle takes can bring to serious health damages for a Betta.

Bettas are not that fast swimmers so can often become easy prey for turtles, which can be super-fast when hunting. That is why we find really necessary to point out once again the fact that keeping these two species together is absolutely not recommended.

If you cannot decide between keeping one or the others, a good idea would be to place them into separate tanks.

Can Turtles Eat Betta Fish Food?

Generally speaking, turtles will accept Betta food if it gets offered to them. However, this should not be their primarily feeding plan. Depending on the species, turtles feed on a combination of meat and greens, while Bettas need protein-based meals only. There are however some tasty treats these two like to share- small fish, shrimp, and worms.

Additionally, turtles often like to eat aquarium plants, too. So, keeping them in tanks with greens which one likes to maintain intact is probably not the best idea. Bettas, on the other side, will never feed on tank plants, but rather nibble them occasionally when bored or when feeding on tiny creatures which they find there.

What Fish Can Live with Turtles?

There are numerous possibilities of life matches between fish and turtles. The golden rule here is to always choose either larger fish which are too big to become turtle prey or extremely agile and quick fish that can easily get away and hide securely. A good solution is plecos, barbs, and tetras.

Barbs and tetras are really small fish but excellent swimmers. They live well together as they are known to be quite the social little creatures. Placing them into a tank among turtles should work simply fine. They are able of avoiding turtle attacks very well so there is no general danger for them.

On the other side, plecos are fish of quite a remarkable size. They become larger than most pet turtle species, so becoming prey is no option for them. Another great alternative is Pictus catfish. However, keep in mind that such fish require much larger tanks, too, just like discus fish or angelfish.

Whichever fish species you decide to match with your turtles, please make sure to watch them closely during the first couple of days, to be certain that they accepted each other well.

Wrapping Up

Betta fish and aquatic turtles are both adorable creatures, but they do not seem to live in harmony when placed in the same aquarium. To owners who do not wish to compromise between the two, this can sound like bad news.

However, there are several second-best options here. On one side, you can choose to place them into separate tanks, as neither of these requires too much space. Additionally, you may want to consider choosing another type of fish to match with your turtle pet.

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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