Fish that can Live with a Betta Fish
This article will discuss some possible fish that can live with a Betta fish. Keep in mind that just because there is potential compatibility between some fish and a Betta, this does not mean that it will work 100% of the time! There are a lot of other factors, as discussed below, so you need to carefully monitor both your Betta and the fish you introduced to see if they have been fighting with your betta or if they are getting along! To read about fish that are borderline and others that should NEVER be paired with your Betta, read part 2 of this post – Mistakes in Choosing Fish that can Live with Bettas.
A common concern a lot of new Betta fish owners have is that they’ll be lonely. Bettas are a solitary, territorial, aggressive species of fish who’s ideal living conditions are incompatible with many other fish species. Bettas generally do very well in solitary living space, particularly if you have a small tank (less than 5 gallons), because since Bettas are so territorial they’ll feel like any other fish is intruding on their territory if they don’t have enough space, so it can be challenging to find other fish that can live with a Betta fish.
There are a lot of factors that go into figuring out different fish that can live with a Betta fish. The type of Betta, temperament, tank size, and sex all are important factors. Since Bettas are extremely territorial, one of the most important factors is the size of the tank. If the tank is large enough, you can even put two male Bettas in the same tank.
Females are generally less aggressive than male Bettas, and Crowntail Bettas are generally more aggressive than the other types of Betta fish (for a description of the different types of Betta fish, click HERE). As a general rule, Bettas are very territorial and vain. They will attack other fish that have bright colors or big fins.
Some fish that can live with a Betta fish are…
Cherry and Ghost Shrimp – These scavenger bottom-feeders make great tank mates for Bettas, because they produce a small amount of waste, can live in stagnant water, and can live in warm water. Some Bettas will see your shrimp as dinner, so be careful and if he starts harassing your shrimp make sure to remove it!
Apple Snails – These snails are colorful and can also handle living in water conditions similar to what a Betta prefer. They can handle a little Betta aggression and are usually too big for a Betta to hurt or kill. Apple snails do produce a lot of waste, so will require a larger tank. They also prefer more base water (vs. a Betta’s acidic pH preferences), so they are not the ideal mate but will survive in the same tank.
African Dwarf Frogs – These small frogs are definitely one of the best matches for your Betta. Make sure you do not confuse this with the African Clawed Frogs, which can kill your Betta! If the front feet have webbing, you are safe – if the webbing is not there, you have a Clawed Frog.
African Dwarf Frogs love warm, soft water like a Betta, and generally your Betta will not become aggressive towards them. These frogs do not create a lot of waste, but are very prone to bacterial infections so it’s important to keep your tank clean and the water quality high.
Otoclinus and Corydoras Catfish – Both of these species of catfish are excellent fish that can live with a Betta fish. They tend to be small (Oto’s are smaller), low waste bottom feeders and are fast and dull colored, so are usually safe from your Bettas.
These catfish tend to love to be in groups of at least 4-6, so you will need a bigger tank to house them and keep them happy (and the water clean). They also enjoy a tank with lots of plants. If you decide to get these, make sure to keep your water temperature and conditions stable – sudden changes can really upset them.
White Cloud Mountain Minnows – Another type of fish that can live with a Betta fish are the White Cloud Mountain Minnow. These fish tend to be very calm and peaceful – the Buddhist Monk of fish 🙂 and will not nip fins or bother your Betta. They are also fairly fast and can easily escape a Betta’s aggression. They are inexpensive and fairly tough fish, but they do prefer cooler water so keep your tank’s temperature on the cooler side of your Betta’s acceptable range. It’s better to use a larger tank (around 10 gallons) because these fish are very active and will make the Betta feel protective of his territory if the tank is not big enough.
Bristlenose Plecosomus – A good “safe” fish that can live with a Betta fish is a Bristlenose Plecostomus (“Pleco” for short). Make sure to get this type, as other Pleco’s will get too big and possibly damage your tank or hurt your Betta. Make sure the Pleco is around the same size as your Betta.
Do You Want to Ensure Your Betta Lives a Happy, Healthy Life?
If you answered YES to the above question, then I highly recommend you get Caring for Betta Fish: a Guide for Betta Lovers by Marcus Song.
This regularly updated, essential guide includes the right plants to keep water clean and free from ammonia, ways to acclimate your Betta to other fish, and much more. Your Betta Fish will thank you for the rest of his life! Click Here to get it now!