It’s hard to walk into a fish store without seeing beautiful Betta fish showing off their bright colors. Betta fish are beautiful and not too hard to care for.
However, they have a bit of a negative reputation. Betta fish, particularly male Betta fish, are extremely territorial and aggressive. In fact, Betta fish have been bred over time to bring out their fighting behavior. This has garnered them the nickname “fighting fish.” Sometimes Bettas are even referred to as “Siamese Fighting Fish.”
Usually Betta fish are kept on their own in a smaller 5-gallon aquarium. If you like larger vibrant fish tanks with multiple fish, you may have the question: can I keep my Betta fish with other fish?
In short, you can. If you keep your Betta fish, you need to select the right tank mates. In this post, we’ll list out suitable companions for male Betta fish, female Betta fish, and sororities of Bettas.
An Overview of Betta Fish Tank Mates
Betta fish are known for being aggressive to other fish. Never put a Betta fish in a small tank with other fish. It will be much less aggressive in a larger tank, where it has more room to swim around by itself.
Don’t pair Betta fish with slow simmers. If your Betta ever shows signs of aggression, it will take advantage of slow swimming fish. Be sure that your other fish look nothing like Betta fish. This way, Bettas won’t mistake other fish as competing Betta fish.
Never keep a Betta fish with just one single other fish. Betta fish will start to pick on the poor loner fish.
The best fish to pair Betta fish together are fish that keep together in a shoal. Your Betta fish will not be able to pick on one fish repeatedly, and will stay away from a group of fish.
Don’t house your Betta with any fin-nipping fish who could also hurt you Betta. While Bettas can be a little aggressive, they can’t fend for themselves against larger aggressive fish.
If you want to have a Betta fish with other tank mates, but the other fish in the aquarium a few weeks before your Betta fish. That way, the other more docile fish can set up their territory first.
While there are many great fish that do well with Betta fish, always keep a small empty tank you can transfer your Betta into in case anything goes wrong.
Best Tank Mates for your Betta Fish
Here is a list of the best fish to put in the same aquarium as your Betta Fish. Later in our post, we’ll talk about specific mates that go great with males, females, and sororities.
- Neon Tetra: Neon Tetras are tiny! They don’t get longer than one inch and don’t need a lot of space. These fish have red and silver bodies with a bright silver-blue stripe down the side of their bodies.
- Black Neon Tetra: This Tetra is similar to Neon Tetras with a slightly different coloration. They have black and grey, and slightly transparent bodies with a silver stripe down the side.
- Rummy-nose Tetra: These Tetras are slightly larger than Neon Tetras, growing up to two inches long. Rummy- nose Tetras have silver-white bodies with bright red heads.
- Ember Tetra: Like the other Tetras we have listed on this list, they are small, live in groups, and won’t take up too much territory. They grow to an inch long. Ember Tetras have beautiful red-gold coloring.
- Cardinal Tetra: Cardinal Tetras are slightly larger Tetras, like Rummy-nose Tetras, growing to up to two inches in length. While they are larger, they are most similar to the Neon Tetra. Cardinal Tetras are stunning, with red and silver bodies and a brilliant blue stripe down the side, and are very similar to neon tetras.
- Diamond Tetra: Diamond Tetras are small and calm like other Tetras. They are also very hardy and social. Diamond Tetras are thicker looking, with shiny silver scales.
- Glowlight Tetra: Another slightly larger Tetra growing to up to 2 inches in length. Glowlight Tetras almost look transparent, with a red stripe down their bodies.
- Silver Tip Tetra: These Tetras grow to about an inch and a half long. Silver Tip Tetras vary from gray to yellow, with noticeable silver tips at the end of all their fins.
- Harlequin Rasbora: Harlequin Rasboras grow to about two inches in length. They inhabit the same waters as Bettas in the wild. Because of this, Harlequin Rasboras are the best tank mates for your Betta fish. Harlequin Rasboras are a muted orange or peach color with distinctive black markings on the sides of their bodies.
- Fire Rasbora: These are also social and docile fish, and need to be kept in a group of Rasboras of at least 8. Like Harlequin Rasboras, Fire Rasboras vary from shades of orange to peach. They are solidly colored and have no black markings.
- Female Guppy: Be sure to stick with female guppies if you put guppies in the same tank as your Betta fish. Male guppies are slow swimmers and have bright colorful fish that your Bettas might nip. Male guppies are generally more colorful, and female guppies often have more muted colors, but are still beautiful fish to look at.
- Endler: Another small shoaling species that rarely grows longer than an inch. Endlers come in a variety of colorings, with red, yellow, black and white markings. As they are also a kind of guppy, try to stick with females.
- Celestial Pearl Danio: These tiny shoaling fish hardly ever reach an inch. These are beautiful fish with red and yellow polka-dots on their bodies, and matching markings on their fins.
- Cory Catfish: These fish are great for community tanks in general. They mind their business at the bottom of the tank. Cory catfish come in several varieties, often which are white with interesting black markings on their bodies and fins.
- Otocinclus Catfish: This is another great community fish who will stick to the bottom of the tank and out of the way of your other fish. These are small slender black and white catfish that almost look like they could be a Tetra or Minnow.
- Kuhli Loach: These fish are nocturnal, and will be most active while your Betta fish are sleeping. These fish love leftover food and will help clean your tank. These fish are long, slender, and almost look like an eel. They come in a variety of colorings and markings, but are usually dark brown or blueish with yellow vertical stripes and underbellies.
- Pleco: This is another great bottom dweller that thrives in community aquariums. These fish are also a little bit on the larger size, and do well in a larger tank. They are usually darkly colored with large fins.
- Glass Catfish: This bottom dweller is a little bit larger – growing up to 5 inches long. It also stays out of the way, like other small catfish. Glass catfish, as the name suggests, are transparent. They also do well in a small group.
- White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Another hardy shoaling fish. This fish stays in the upper sections of your tank, and shouldn’t bother your Betta fish. These minnows are lightly colored, with red and white markings They almost look transparent.
- Short-finned Platy: Be sure to get the short-finned variety of Platy, so it isn’t vulnerable to any fin-nippers. They grow to about 2 inches long. These fish come in a small variety of colors, and can be white, red or orange.
- Short-fin Molly: Short-fin Mollies, like White Cloud Mountain Minnows, are social, and like to keep to the upper levels of your tank. These fish also come in a variety of colors. They can be black, yellow, white, or marbled black and white.
Tank Mates for Female Bettas
Female Bettas are much less aggressive than male Bettas. Hence, there are more fish that will do well as tank mates for female Bettas.
You want to avoid brightly colored tank mates for males Bettas. With females, however, you don’t need to worry about their tank mate’s coloration.
You can also house female Bettas with slightly larger fish, as they won’t invade female’s territory.
Bottom dwellers do great with female Bettas. Here are a few suggestions for great bottom dweller tank mates for female Bettas:
Like we mentioned before, fast-swimming fish and shoaling fish are also great with female Bettas, even if they are slightly aggressive. Here are a few great shoaling fish that you can keep with female Bettas:
- Gold Tetra
- Blue Tetra
- Red-eye Tetra
- Penguin Tetra
- Mosquito Rasbora
Tank Mates for Male Bettas
There are much fewer option of potential tank mates to house with your male Bettas. Male Bettas are extremely aggressive, and like to mark out their own territory that shouldn’t be invaded.
Male Bettas also react poorly to bright colors, as they may think the bright colors are other male Bettas that need to be challenged. Go out of your way to avoid housing male Bettas with red fish.
Male Bettas will pick on slow-swimmers and long-finned fish as well.
Here are some great small shoaling fish which are not too brightly colored:
- Dawn Tetra
- Green Neon Tetra
- Colombian Tetra
- Head and Tail Light Tetra
- Black Line Rasbora
Here are some bottom dwellers which do well with male Bettas:
- Zebra Loach
- Albino Cory
- Bristle Nose Pleco
- Snowball Pleco
- Candy Striped Pleco
Another tip to reducing your male Betta’s aggression is creating a complex environment for them to explore. Put male Bettas in tanks full of plants, rocks, and other objects.
Tank Mates of Betta Sororities
A Betta Sororities is a group of 5 or more female Bettas. As females are much less aggressive than males, they can enjoy living together in a sorority or harem.
Be careful – sometimes female Bettas are aggressive, too. Pay attention to their behavior at first, and if any of them are needlessly aggressive, isolate them in their own small tank.
If you have a Betta sorority, they should be housed in a fish tank of at least 30 gallons. This gives them plenty of room to swim around without invading each other’s personal space.
Here are some great tank mates for a harem of female Betta fish:
- Cherry Barbs
- Neon Tetra
- Black Neon Tetra
- Cory Catfish
- Guntea Loach
Tank Size for community tanks
If you have a 5-gallon aquarium, don’t keep multiple fish with your Betta. This is a great tank size for one isolated Betta fish to swim around in, but not for a community of fish.
If you have a 5-gallon tank with a Betta fish, try spicing it up with some plants, like the easy to manage Java Fern or even Amazonian Sword Plants. You can also use artificial plants. If you put artificial plant in your tank, stick to silk plants. Plastic ones will damage your Betta’s fins.
You could also put some snails or shrimp in the same 5-gallon tank as your isolated Betta fish.
10-gallon tanks are great fish tanks to keep Betta fish with other species of small fish.
If you keep multiple fish together, make sure it has plenty of hiding spaces for fish to hide and relax. You can accomplish this with plants and logs and other ornaments for fish.
If you have a 10-gallon tank, try focusing on pairing your Betta fish with bottom-dwellers that will stay out of the way. If you want to have a community tank with a larger variety of fish, try a 20- or 30-gallon tank.
Other Tank Mates for Betta Fish
Small shoaling fish and bottom dwelling fish aren’t the only critters that do well with Betta Fish. Here is a short list of some other animals that will do well with your Bettas:
- Mystery Snails: These snails grow large enough for other fish to not bother them. They can come in a large variety of colors.
- Malaysian Trumpet Snails: These snails are active at night, and won’t bother your Betta fish.
- Ghost Shrimp and Cherry Shrimp: These shrimps will help maintain the algae in your aquarium, and can also add a bit of color in your tank that won’t aggravate your shrimp.
- African Dwarf Frogs: These little guys are a perfect addition to a freshwater tank and usually keep to themselves. They are also nocturnally active and will stay out of your Betta fish’s way.
Finding The Perfect Tank Mates for Your Betta Fish
There are plenty of options for tank mate for your Betta Fish – and we’ve listed plenty. Community tanks can be a lot of fun and beautiful to look at – and with the right preparation, a Betta can be part of your community aquarium!