Bettas have reputations for being territorial and aggressive fish. While there is some truth to this rumor, there are some fish who should be just fine living alongside a Betta.
Before we get into what fish can live with Bettas, here are some general tips to consider when choosing a suitable companion.
- Avoid other Labyrinth Fish. This is the family that Betta Fish belong to. Fish in this family will act aggressive, fight, and severely injure/kill one another.
- Avoid Fin-Nippers. Bettas have delicate fins that will be tempting to fish that are known to be fin-nippers. Tetras and Guppies are good examples.
- Avoid aggressive fish. Bettas can become seriously injured by an Aggressive fish. This can lead to life-threatening infection and disease.
- Avoid fish that could be mistaken for a Betta. Bettas are known to fight fish that they could mistake for another Betta. This includes Fancy Guppies and any fish that is “flashy”, brightly colored, or has long fins.
- Have Lots of Hiding Spots. This will help protect your Betta and his tankmates.
- Set-up your community tank before introducing a Betta. It’s easier to introduce a Betta fish to a tank that is already established, than it is to add fish later. However, nothing in life is perfect so you will want to have a backup plan to resort to if your Betta can’t handle sharing space.
Here are 14 fish that can live with a Betta, followed by 10 fish that CANNOT.
14 Fish Compatible with Bettas
Can Neon Tetras Live with Bettas?
Yes. Although Neon Tetras have a flashy appearance, they are non-confrontational schooling fish who will spend most of their time in the middle of the tank. Bettas are known to stay closer to the top, so they shouldn’t get in each other’s way.
Can Ember Tetras Live with Bettas?
Yes. Like Neon Tetras, Ember Tetras are schooling fish who prefer swimming in the middle of the tank.
Can Bristlenose Plecos Live with Bettas?
Yes. with their shy nature and “dull” appearance, a Bristlenose Pleco should have no problem living in harmony with your Betta.
However, it’s important to note that they can grow up to 7” long, so you will need to make sure your aquarium is large enough for them first.
Can Clown Plecos Live with Bettas?
Yes. If a Bristlenose Pleco is too big for your aquarium, you might want to consider the Clown Pleco. They grow to be around 4” in length and will have no problem cohabitating with a Betta because they keep to themselves.
Can Harlequin Rasboras Live with Bettas?
Yes. If your aquarium is 10 gallons or more, Harlequin Rasboras are peaceful shoaling fish that won’t bother your Betta.
Note: They prefer living in groups of 5-6 and can live up to 5 years.
Can Glass Catfish Live with Bettas?
Yes. Glass Catfish are translucent (Fun Fact: You can see inside of them) and peaceful fish. They shouldn’t pose a threat to your Betta, but they do prefer living in small groups.
Can Corydoras Catfish Live with Bettas?
Yes. Corydoras Catfish are a safe choice to keep with your Betta. They are non-aggressive bottom feeder fish who will stay out of your Betta’s way.
Corydoras Catfish are easy to care for and live in the same water conditions as a Betta.
Can Pygmy Corydoras Catfish Live with Bettas?
Yes. If Corydoras Catfish are too big for your aquarium, these guys are a great compromise. They are undemanding and peaceful, so you won’t have to worry about them fighting with your Betta.
Can Feeder Guppies Live with Bettas?
Yes. You might have heard that Guppies aren’t good tankmates for Bettas, but that is referring to the Fancy variety (more on them below).
Originally bred to feed larger fish, Feeder Guppies have a non-flashy appearance that won’t intimidate a Betta. If aquarium space is a concern, a single guppy will be fine on their own.
Can Kuhli Loaches Live with Bettas?
Yes. Kuhli Loaches keep to themselves and have a docile temperament, so you should have no problem introducing one to your Betta. As an added bonus, they have a cool eel-like appearance and like to sneak between crevices.
Note: The minimum amount of space required for a Kuhli Loach is 20 US gallons.
Can African Dwarf Frogs Live with Bettas?
Yes. African Dwarf Frogs are known for their peaceful personalities making them suitable tankmates for Bettas.
Preferring to live in groups of two or more, African Dwarf Frogs are relatively easy to care for. Better yet, they are interesting to watch and have no problem adding personality to a community tank!
Can Ghost Shrimp Live with Bettas?
Yes. Ghost Shrimp are see-through Invertebrate that shouldn’t have trouble living with most Bettas. They tend to keep to themselves but will have no trouble hiding if they need be.
Ghost Shrimp require little maintenance, are inexpensive, and will even help keep your tank clean!
If you prefer, Amano Shrimp are a good alternative to Ghost Shrimp, but they are usually pricier.
Can Mystery Snails Live with Bettas?
Yes. If you don’t want to risk adding another fish to your aquarium, a Mystery Snail is a great alternative.
Mystery Snails are easy to take care of, they will feed themselves by picking up algae or uneaten food.
They also don’t reproduce asexually, which is something to appreciate if you have ever had the misfortune of picking up Pond Snails from buying live plants for your aquarium.
Mystery Snails have unassertive personalities and even come with their own armor in the form of a hard shell if your Betta ever tries to nip at them.
Can Zebra Snails Live with Bettas?
Yes. Like the Mystery Snail, Zebra Snails will live peacefully with a Betta. They can’t reproduce in freshwater, so you won’t have to worry about a population explosion and they’ll keep themselves preoccupied with algae and leftover food too.
10 Fish That CANNOT Live with Bettas
Can Bettas Live with Other Bettas?
Mostly no. Male bettas can never live together. A male and female can cohabitate for mating purposes but will need to be separated after the male takes the female’s eggs.
Females can live together in a sorority (group of 5 or more female Bettas), but there is no guarantee that everyone will get along. It’s recommended that you start your sorority with young Bettas and have plenty of hiding spaces in your tank.
Can Guppies Live with Bettas?
No. Fancy Guppies can’t cohabitate safely with a Betta due to their colorful and fancy appearance. Additionally, their small size makes them an easy target and they can be easily killed by a Betta.
Can Angelfish Live with Bettas?
No. Angelfish are aggressive and will have no problem fighting with your Betta. This combination can easily lead to severe injury or death for both fish.
Can African Cichlids Live with Bettas?
No. African Cichlids are aggressive and will fight your Betta for territory ownership. Your Betta has delicate fins that will be easily injured during a fight, putting them at risk for disease or severe infection.
Can Discus Live with Bettas?
No. Although Discus Fish are shy and would keep to themselves, they have significantly different water condition requirements.
Discus Fish live in soft water with a pH value between 4.0 and 7.0. To compare, the preferred pH value for a Betta is between 6.5 and 8.
They also thrive in warmer water, around 83.5 degrees Fahrenheit vs. 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit for Bettas.
Can Oscar Fish Live with Bettas?
No. While we agree they are beautiful fish, they are not a suitable tank mate for a Betta.
Members of the Cichlid family, Oscars are known to be big fish. By adulthood, they can reach 3 lbs in weight and 3 feet in length. This makes Bettas the perfect snack-sized treat for an Oscar!
Can Dwarf Puffers Live with Bettas?
No. Don’t let their small size fool you, a Dwarf Puffer can destroy a Betta’s fins. It’s recommended that they live in species only tanks and even then, the results can be hit or miss.
Can Goldfish Live with Bettas?
No. There are many reasons why this is a terrible idea. The first one being, Bettas are tropical fish. They like to live in water that ranges from 78 degrees F to 80 degrees F. Goldfish prefer colder temperatures; between 68 degrees F and 74 degrees F is ideal.
Secondly, they have different dietary requirements. Bettas are carnivores and Goldfish are omnivores, so you can’t feed them the same flakes without causing major issues.
Finally, Goldfish are dirty fish. They produce large amounts of waste that can quickly convert into Ammonia. Bettas are sensitive to poor water conditions but will become stressed if the water is cleaned too often. There is no way to make this combination work out!
Can Gouramis Live with Bettas?
No. Although they are in the same family, Gouramis and Bettas are both aggressive fish and should not be kept together. There is a strong chance they will fight for territory, leading to serious injury.
Can White Cloud Mountain Minnows Live with Bettas?
No. Some people might recommend them as being suitable tank mates for a Betta, but it’s not a good idea. Like Goldfish, White Cloud Mountain Minnows prefer colder temperatures than Bettas at around 64 degrees F – 72 degrees F. This makes them incompatible in the long run.
Now that you know what fish CAN and CANNOT live with a Betta, you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should add another fish to your aquarium.
Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution, and if you think your Betta can’t handle a tank mate, then let them live alone. Bettas don’t need a companion to be happy, they need food, warmth, and safe water conditions.