What Fish Can Live with Bettas?
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Betta fish receive a lot of love for their bright colors and long, flowing fins. But bettas are also very aggressive and often get into fights with each other and with other fish. Males are especially dominant and hot-tempered.
They can’t be kept with other betta males or other fish species. Female bettas, on the other hand, are calmer. They don’t make the perfect community fish, but you can still find some species that can handle them.
If you’re looking for betta fish tankmates, I suggest sticking to fish that are roughly the same size. Bettas grow up to 2.5 inches. Choose only non-aggressive, schooling fish that won’t disturb your bettas.
Finally, you’ll want to look out for short-finned and fast-swimming fish. These have the best chances of coming out unscathed when your bettas are in a bad mood. The fish should also have similar water parameters.
15 Fish Examples that Can Live with Betta Fish
There are quite a few things to look for when selecting the perfect betta tankmates. Size, temperament, behavior, fin length, and so on. It takes quite a bit of time to research it all. Or you can just use this handy list!
Here, you’ll find 15 of the best betta fish tankmates. I’ve included various species for everyone’s liking. Note that all these fish have roughly the same water parameters as bettas. So, let’s take a look at the best options:
– Neon Tetras
Neon tetras fit a lot of the requirements of the ideal betta fish tankmate. First of all, they’re peaceful and friendly. They get along well with species of a similar size and temperament. They’re also a shoaling species and like swimming in groups of at least six fish. They’re usually active and curious but can be easily intimidated. They need plenty of hiding spaces to feel comfortable.
This colorful blue and red fish is also short-finned, which is exactly what you need for a betta fish tankmate. However, neon tetras are quite small, growing up to 1-1.5 inches at most. Overall, the size difference between bettas and neon tetras isn’t big enough to cause problems, especially since neon tetras are fast swimmers.
– Rummy Nose Tetra
Rummy nose tetras are another suitable species for a betta fish tank. These tetras grow up to 2-2.5 inches, which makes them the perfect size. Like neon tetras, rummy nose tetras have short fins. They also have a very interesting look thanks to their cute red noses and black-and-white tails. They add a nice touch to any aquarium.
These are shoaling fish and they should be kept in large groups of at least six. They spend most of their time in a group and they enjoy a planted aquarium with plenty of swimming space. These tetras are peaceful and docile. They get easily intimidated and stressed by more dominant fish.
– Ember Tetras
Ember tetras are perhaps the tiniest species on the list. They grow up to 0.6-0.8 inches on average. In rare cases, they might reach 1 inch in length. They’re a lot smaller than bettas, but they still have many qualities that make them suitable tankmates. For starters, this deep orange fish has an equally fiery personality to match its looks.
Despite its modest size, the ember tetra is not easily intimidated. This shoaling species is peaceful, curious, and even playful. These tetras are also active and fast swimmers. Even if they have a size disadvantage, they can easily get away from danger. As long as you keep them in large groups and have a heavily planted aquarium, they’re likely going to be safe.
– Rosy Tetras
Rosy tetras make good tankmates for peaceful, medium-sized fish. They grow up to 2-3 inches long, the perfect size for betta tankmates. They are mostly calm and peaceful but can get semi-aggressive around food.
Their patience also runs short around slow-swimming fish. That’s why they should only be kept with quick swimming and eating fish. Luckily, bettas fit this description well.
Rosy tetras prefer grouping in large schools. They need company to keep themselves entertained. This also curbs their fin-nipping tendencies. While they aren’t territorial, they need plenty of tank space to move around freely. They can get agitated and start nipping in a crowded space.
This species gets startled easily and prefers a quiet environment with slow water movement, similar to bettas.
– Kuhli Loaches
The kuhli loach is a great choice for most community tanks. But it’s especially suitable as a betta tankmate. Kuhli loaches grow up to 3-4 inches and have thin, elongated bodies. They’re in no danger of getting accidentally eaten by a betta fish, that’s for sure.
Overall, they’re unlikely to ever come across bettas in the tank. Kuhli loaches are mostly bottom dwellers and feeders and are active at night.
Betta fish are active during the day and swim mostly in the mid and upper tank levels. Finally, kuhli loaches have lovable personalities that make them the perfect betta tankmates. Despite their size, these are gentle and peaceful fish.
They’re sometimes timid, but they don’t mind the company of other non-aggressive fish. You won’t see them attacking their tankmates.
Corydoras make up a large genus of over 160 species. There are lots of patterns and natural shades to choose from. Corys can be small to medium-sized, depending on the species. They also have trim fins unlikely to provoke bettas to go on a nipping spree.
Most corys range in size between 1-4 inches long. Unlike other fish on the list, corys do well when kept alone. But they prefer being in small groups of at least three.
If you don’t have a lot of extra tank space, corys will be an economical addition to a betta aquarium. Like bettas, corys prefer slow-moving water and a quiet environment. These fish are slow-moving bottom-dwellers and feeders.
They’re mellow and peaceful and spend a lot of their time digging in the substrate and hiding. Given that bettas are middle to top swimmers, they’re unlikely to bother the corys in the tank.
– Bristlenose Pleco
Bristlenose plecos are a medium-sized species of catfish. They grow up to 4-5 inches long and have flat, streamlined bodies. They’re naturally adapted to fast-flowing waters. However, they can also live in slow-moving water without issue.
These fish are extremely hardy and can adapt to a wide range of parameters. This makes them suitable for a betta tank.
They’re also a passive, peaceful species that eats an herbivorous diet. They aren’t territorial and they spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank, where they can easily blend in with the substrate thanks to their neutral colors.
Bristlenose plecos are most active at night and they feed primarily off algae. Overall, plecos pose no threat to bettas, since the two species don’t have to compete for food or territory in the tank.
– Black Mollies
Black mollies are among the most popular strains of molly fish. They’re hardy and adaptable to various tank conditions, so they’re a safe bet for a community tank. Black mollies are also a mostly peaceful and friendly schooling fish. They prefer grouping in schools of four or more. They’re generally shy and need many hiding places to retreat to when they feel intimidated.
In some cases, black mollies have the potential to become aggressive. A crammed aquarium or aggressive tankmates can bring out their more hostile side. So, make sure there’s enough space in the tank!
Black mollies grow up to 3-4 inches and have short, rounded fins. They’re also pretty good swimmers. They can easily escape an annoyed betta fish looking for a fight.
Platies come in many colors and patterns, making a nice vibrant addition to a community tank. They’re a friendly, sociable species and they get along well with other fish. They aren’t a shoaling species, but they like being in larger groups of six or more. Besides their calm disposition, platies are also quite energetic.
They like keeping active and they spend a lot of time swimming around, hiding, and exploring their surroundings. They’re middle to top-level swimmers but are unlikely to get into trouble with bettas.
Platies grow up to 2-3 inches and they’re fast swimmers. Bettas can’t easily catch up to them, let alone eat them. Platies also have short fins, so there’s not much for bettas to bite onto.
Swordtails are hardy and low-maintenance fish suitable for beginners. They’re not a shoaling species, but they’re peaceful and like the company of other calm and friendly fish. They also prefer living in groups, although they might be seen swimming alone. Swordtails aren’t easily agitated, but they can become shy when kept with more dominant species.
Like other timid fish we’ve talked about, swordtails will need a heavily-planted tank with multiple hiding spots. This species is naturally active and needs enough space to move around, explore, and play. Otherwise, it might get stressed.
This species can reach up to 6.5 inches in length! But a big part of their size is due to their elongated caudal fin. They’re not large enough to accidentally hurt bettas or other similar-sized fish.
– Female Guppies
The keyword here is “female”. Male guppies are a big favorite among aquarium enthusiasts. This is mostly due to their bright colors, intricate patterns, and long, flowing fins. They’re also playful and curious, and they love interacting with other fish. These are all positive traits, but they also make male guppies an easy target for betta fish.
Female guppies, on the other hand, are less colorful and have shorter caudal fins. They are also larger than male guppies, reaching up to 2.4 inches in size. Given their larger size, female guppies have a better chance of escaping a feisty betta fish.
Female guppies are also more mellow and less likely to chase other fish around. They’re calmer and less likely to get into trouble, compared to their male counterparts.
– Harlequin Rasboras
Harlequin rasboras are among the best possible tankmates for betta fish. They even share the same habitat in the wild. So, the two species have very similar ideal water parameters. This species grows up to 2 inches in length, making them roughly the same size as bettas. Harlequin rasboras have flattened bodies and short caudal fins, so they’re fast and agile swimmers.
This is advantageous because they aren’t good at standing their ground. They’re a very peaceful and timid species and are usually vulnerable against more dominant fish. They won’t ever bother other fish in the tank. In fact, they spend a lot of their time hiding. If kept in large groups, the fish will shoal together and be more confident and energetic.
– Siamese Algae Eater
They’re a great community tank fish, and they can also help you tidy up your aquarium! It’s a win-win! As the name suggests, this species is fond of algae. The Siamese algae eater goes out of its way to discover patches of algae growth in the tank. And they won’t stop feeding until the pesky little water-weeds are gone.
This species can reach a size of 6 inches thanks to its thin and elongated body. It’s a very energetic and fast swimmer, so it might disturb the calmer, more mellow fish in the tank. Otherwise, this fish is peaceful and sociable.
They get along with all peaceful fish and are never aggressive towards tankmates. They can defend themselves, but luckily, they’re bottom-dwellers. It’s unlikely for bettas to compete with them for food and territory.
– Ghost Catfish
Ghost catfish are very popular due to their unique appearance. This species is completely transparent. What better fish to keep around bettas than a fish with built-in camo, right? Plus, it’s pretty cool to see a bunch of tiny fish skeletons swimming around.
This species grows up to 5 inches and has very short fins, even when compared to other catfish species. Also, unlike other aquarium catfish, the ghost catfish isn’t a bottom dweller. Not exclusively at least.
This species is very active and curious and will swim all over the tank. Maybe it’s because it knows other fish won’t notice it, who knows. Ghost catfish are a calm, social, and shoaling species. They prefer being around their conspecifics and in groups of at least 5-6 fish.
While curious and friendly, ghost catfish don’t go out of their way to interact with other species. When bullied, this fish is most likely to hide rather than fight back.
Rainbowfish make up a large family of colorful, lively freshwater fish. There are plenty of species to choose from, each with a slightly different appearance. Some of the most popular species include the Neon rainbowfish, Red rainbowfish, Banded rainbowfish, and Madagascar rainbowfish.
Most species are quite small, up to 2.4 inches. But some can also grow as large as 7.9 inches. The colors vary, but all rainbowfish have the same signature shiny fins and rainbow hues.
Rainbowfish are a good potential tankmate for bettas. They’re hardy and easy to care for. They’re also a very peaceful shoaling species. When kept in large groups, they’ll form schools of six or more fish and swim together. That makes for a beautiful color display.
Most rainbowfish species are active and energetic. They’re powerful swimmers and they enjoy showing off their skills by swimming against the current. You might notice them gathering closer to the filter, where there’s more water movement.
All fish on the list make great choices for a betta fish tank. Most fish are roughly the same size or even larger than bettas. For smaller fish like neon and ember tetras, additional hiding spaces and tall plants are a good idea.
There are also multiple bottom-dwelling fish you can choose from, including corydoras, bristlenose plecos, kuhli loaches, and Siamese algae eaters.
Not only do these fish occupy a different portion of the tank than the bettas, but they can also help keep the aquarium clean by eating leftovers at the bottom. Finally, if you want a colorful aquarium, tetras and rainbowfish are a nice betta-friendly addition to a community tank.