Betta fish are beautiful but are known for their long colorful fins. With that being said, it is very important to not put fin-nippers in a tank along with a betta. The following top ten list of community fish would not typically go after a betta.
1. Feeder Guppies
Guppies are small peaceful fish that would do well in a tank with a betta. They live comfortably at the same temperature and pH levels as a betta does. Guppies are docile and will not go after the long fins of the betta.
Guppies are resilient little fish that can do well alone or live in a group. Keep in mind that guppies do spawn rapidly, it may be a better option to keep one gender with a betta instead of both. The Betta will be more than happy to hunt down those small fry for food.
When getting guppies for a tank with a betta fish you will want to get feeder guppies over the fancy guppy.
Feeder guppies are smaller as they are bred for food for larger fish. They also do not have bright coloring or long fins like fancy guppies. Because of this, the betta will not be attracted to attack them.
2. Cory Catfish
Cory catfish are a great addition to community tanks with bettas, as they require the same water conditions. They are very easy to care for and tend to be bottom dwellers feeding on algae and other waste. They can live alone or in groups of 4 or more.
The cory catfish is very peaceful and will not bother the betta or other fish in the tank. Because of all this, they are a perfect tank mate for a betta fish. There are many different species of cory catfish. The best option is a Pygmy corydora since they are dull in color and only grow up to 1 inch.
Read our Julii cory catfish care guide.
3. Harlequin Rasboras
Harlequin rasboras are schooling fish by nature and should be kept in groups of about 5 or 6. As long as the tank is bigger than 10 gallons they make great tank mates for a betta fish. This gives them ample room to swim around without overcrowding the betta.
These are small and peaceful fish that also enjoy brine shrimp just like bettas. They aren’t bright in color to not attract the betta to hunt them. With their docile temperament, they coexist with the betta well.
4. Neon Tetras
Even though placing fish that are bright in color with a betta fish is advised to be avoided, neon tetras are an exception. Despite their bright colors, they can avoid the betta fish with their speed.
The larger the tank the more room there is to avoid the betta if being hunted. It is recommended to have a long narrow tank so there is ample horizontal space for swimming.
Neon tetras are schooling fish and like to be kept in groups of 6 to 10 tetras.
5. Ember Tetras
Like the neon tetra, ember tetras are also schooling fish that like to be in groups of 4-6 tetras. However they can be grouped with other tetras, so you can easily put a variety of neon and ember tetras.
Like the betta fish, they prefer heavily planted environments. These plants are also great in providing a place to hide out for safety. They tend to stay in the middle level of the tank whereas a betta prefers the top half, therefore territory won’t be an issue.
6. Clown Plecos
Like the cory catfish, the clown pleco is an algae eater that keeps to itself. The clown pleco is a dwarf member of the pleco family. Avoid plecos such as the common pleco as they grow too large to be in a tank with a betta fish.
The clown pleco is very easy to care for and is a hardy fish that does its own thing. This makes them a great addition to a community betta tank. That and they help keep your tank cleaner!
7. Kuhli Loaches
Kuhli loaches are small, long, and eel-shaped; they love to disappear in small spaces. They mind their own business and are very docile, making them a good tank mate for a betta fish.
Needing at least 20 gallons, the kuhli loaches love to explore small spaces throughout the tank. Meaning they probably won’t interfere with the life of the betta fish. They also love to eat brine shrimp just like betta fish!
8. African Dwarf Frogs
African dwarf frogs live for about 5 years and only grow up to about 2.5 inches, with the male being slighter smaller than the female. It is best to keep them in a pair of 2 per tank.
They are active and like to explore. They go to the surface quite often to get air, so they won’t be in a betta’s way. They are very peaceful and make excellent tank mates for a betta fish.
9. Ghost Shrimps
Shrimp, especially the ghost shrimp, make great tank mates for a betta fish. They are very small and very easy to care for. They are practically invisible on the tank floor due to their see-through appearance.
It is recommended to keep ghost shrimp in a group of about 2-4, more than 6 you will end up with breeding. They clean the bottom of the tank for excess food left behind keeping your tank clean and healthy.
10. White Cloud Mountain Minnows
Although white cloud mountain minnows are harder to come by as they come from remote mountain regions in China. They make great tank mates for a betta fish as they are also peaceful fish that wouldn’t go after the betta fins.
They have the same diet as a betta fish making feeding times very easy. They do prefer the temperature on the colder side of no more than 75 degrees, so you will have to monitor when housing with other fish species.
How to Introduce Other Fish to Your Betta
It is a commonly known fact that betta fish do not typically do well with other fish. They are very territorial and are often called “Siamese-fighting fish” for a reason. However, if they are introduced to other fish properly you can avoid this issue.
- First make sure your tank is large enough, with a 10-gallon minimum and increasing with different species.
- It is better to introduce the betta to other fish when they are young. When they are young they are not as aggressive and if they grow up surrounded by other fish they will be used to it, enabling them to live with other species.
- Adding them into a community tank will make them less likely to attack as the betta would feel no place in this tank was their territory. Whereas if you add fish to the betta tank that is their territory they will attack.
- Ensure there are plenty of plants and other hiding places. This provides the betta fish a place to hide when they are feeling stressed,as well as makes them feel safer. This is going to decrease the risk of attacks.
- Putting in a tank divider can be beneficial if the betta is aggressive. This way the betta have their own space from the other fish.
- Ensure the fish that have the same tank requirements as the betta fish. These fish will be able to live in the low current waters.
- Choosing a female betta instead of a male. Females bettas are more tolerant than males. Therefore with female bettas, you can be more lenient on tank mates.
Bettas Do Not Like Water Flow
Like other aquarium fish, the betta needs good water quality to stay healthy. A good filter system is needed to keep your tank clean from waste and decay, this in turn keeps your betta happy and healthy.
Due to a betta fish’s long delicate fins, the risk for injury is greater. It is very important when picking out a filter system, it has a very low flow. This way those delicate fins will not get sucked up into the filter system causing injury.
If the filter is strong with your betta there are many problems that it can cause. This will cause stress on a betta fish which can be harmful. Some signs to look out for a stressed betta due to high currents are:
- Struggling to Swim: If it appears that your betta fish is having a hard time swimming, this is because the current is too high and they are fighting to swim against it.
- Swimming at an Angle: If you notice your betta is swimming at an angle or a slant, this is what happens when the current is too much and essentially pushing them around.
- Avoiding Current: If your betta tends to avoid where the filter flows out, they are avoiding the current in the tank. Depending on tank size this can limit where the Betta can move around or feel safe.
- Frequent Hiding: Another important sign to be aware of is if the betta fish is constantly hiding. If your tank has decorations, and your betta is hiding in or behind him, there is a good chance that they are trying to take a break from the current. All the extra energy spent on swimming against that current takes its toll on them.
Having a low-flow filter system is essential when housing a betta fish, as this can prevent harm or stress. You will also want to keep in mind that if you have just purchased a betta fish from a pet store and they exhibit the above behaviors but your filter system is low flow.
This is because these fish live in small containers at the store and don’t have much room to move around. They are weak, give them some time and their muscles will grow and they will swim with ease.
The tank mates that are listed above can also do well in low-flow environments like the betta fish. Before adding any fish with a betta it is always best to research compatibility in tank requirements with the betta itself.
Snails Should Not Go in a Betta Tank
As previously stated, betta fish do have a more aggressive nature than a lot of other aquarium fish. For this reason, it is not the best idea to put snails in your betta because they have a greater chance of being eaten by a betta.
Snails are submissive slow creatures, not to mention a lot of them are fairly small in size. Whereas snails coexist with a multitude of other aquarium fish, bettas will take advantage of the small passive snail as a meal.
Even though some people have had success putting snails in the same tank as a betta, there is no definite answer to what breed of snails can 100% safely live with a betta fish. Therefore it is best to steer on the side of caution to not have them cohabitate together.
Ideal Betta Tank Conditions
As mentioned before, betta fish have a different ideal tank set than a lot of other fish. Apart from the list mentioned previously, other fish can make great tank mates as a betta as long as they have similar tank requirements. Aside from being able to live in a low-flow environment, the following are betta tank requirements.
- Water Temperature: because the betta fish is a tropical fish, it needs to have a water temperature of about 75- 80.
- pH Levels: Betta fish do best with the ammonia and nitrites levels being low, zero being ideal. Because of this betta fish do best with a neutral pH level (7) in the water.
The above parameters need to be maintained and checked frequently as the betta fish is very sensitive to water changes. Betta fish need to be kept in no less than a 10-gallon tank.