Deborah is a fish hobbyist and is fascinated by small ecosystems. She enjoys caring for aquatic life, including goldfish.
All About Bettas
Bettas are colorful fish that seem like an ornament in the water. They are one of the most popular freshwater fish in the fishkeeping hobby.
There are always things to consider when arranging the aquarium when the Betta will be the star of the tank—including tank mates. Though some fish keepers create Betta community tanks, it is at times best to keep a betta alone, especially for a beginner, since community Betta tanks require space, many live plants, and a somewhat peaceful species of Betta.
Most Betta fins are gorgeous and delicate. They don’t do well with other hostile species of fish because their large flowing fins may become damaged. It is also common to keep a single Betta in the tank because of their aggressive nature.
Their fighting nature has inspired a bad reputation for their tank requirements. Unfortunately, it is a popular trend to keep Bettas in vases and small bowls. A misconception is that a Betta can remain in the cup purchased from the pet store indefinitely (Please don’t do this, the Betta will die.) In reality, they need an average size tank like most fish. Though a five to ten- gallon tank is preferable, a Betta needs at least two and a half gallons to remain healthy.
Now here’s the thing! The tricky part for a fish enthusiast who is designing a large paradise for their Betta and not arranging a betta community tank is that they are left with a lot of space. A single solitary Betta swimming in a large tank can appear empty. There are quite a few popular species of freshwater fish in the hobby, that can harmoniously coexist with Bettas. Remember to consider the needs of each fish species like tank size, temperature, and diet. Here is a list of the best tank mates to place with your Betta in the aquarium.
Top 10 Best Betta Mates
- Kuhli Loach
- Otocinclus Catfish
- Rice Fish (Oryzias Latipes)
- Zebra Danios (Danio Rerio)
1. Kuhli Loach
- These guys add an exotic touch to the tank. They are striped long little fish that give the appearance of a snake.
- Great for a jungle-themed tank. They complement the luscious colors of your Betta.
- These loaches are typically bottom dwellers and don't disturb the Betta.
- The Kuhli loach will help keep the substrate free of debris and extra food.
2. Otocinclus Catfish
The Otocinclus Catfish is one of the best tank mates for your Betta.
- A gentle little fish that will spend its time eating the algae off the plants, décor, and substrate of your tank.
- They won’t disturb your Betta, but will instead simply keep a nice balance of algae in your aquarium.
- An ideal fish for a community tank that includes a Betta.
Shrimp are one of the best tank mates for Bettas. Not only can you place many shrimp in the average tank, but they will busy themselves eating the algae off live plants.
- Shrimp clean up after a Betta by eating food your Betta drops.
- The Bettas may hunt the shrimp especially shrimp fry, so be sure to provide hiding places like plants or caves.
- There are many species of shrimp in the aquatics hobby that are suitable as tank mates such as cherry shrimp, glass shrimp, Amano, vampire shrimp, and assorted shrimp.
- If you prefer bigger shrimp that is impossible to be eaten by your betta, Bamboo shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis) is a great choice. Bamboo Shrimp need specific tank requirements, like moving water and a good-sized tank. They give an exotic look to the aquarium and their fan hands catch floating debris of food, in moving water.
- Shrimp are a wonderful addition to aquascapes and jungle-themed aquariums.
There are many species of Corydoras, with many colors.
- They are a little species of catfish commonly called Cory catfish. They are harmless fish that spend their time sifting through the substrate.
- For smaller set-ups, Pygmy Corydoras are a charming choice to swim with your Betta.
- Remember not to treat your tank with aquarium salt—it will kill the Corydoras. So, they are not an appropriate fish for tanks that receive salt treatment. Salt of any kind will harm Corydoras.
If you hate aquatic snails, skip this category. If instead, you are a snail fan, then they are a practical choice to keep with Bettas.
- There are a variety of colorful and exotic-looking snails sold in pet shops like Nerite snails. They do not hurt Bettas, though you may find the Betta hunting them one day.
- Warning: Snails multiply prolifically, so keep that in mind before purchasing one.
6. Rice Fish (Oryzias Latipes)
- Rice fish are pretty common in the aquarium hobby.
- Rice fish are fairly easy to care for and come in different colors.
- They are peaceful fish that give a delicate look to the aquarium.
- They will not stress out or disturb the Betta.
- The Pleco is a popular fish in the hobby.
- They are slow-moving, hang on the walls eating algae, and do not harass or stress out the Betta, making it an ideal tank mate.
- A small species of pleco is preferable since most species of plecos will outgrow the size of your tank.
- The common Pleco (Hypostomus Plecostomus) will grow to two feet in size, so be sure to have a very large aquarium or pond if you intend to keep one. Never release it into the wild since they are an invasive species and will cause much damage to the local ecosystem.
- The Bristle Nose Pleco (Ancistrus Cirrhosus) is certainly the best species of pleco to keep with Bettas in smaller tanks systems. Bristle Nose Plecos grow three to five inches in size.
Minnows are actually a good companion fish for Bettas.
- They don’t bother each other.
- Rosy red minnows (Pimephales Promelas) and White Cloud Mountain minnows (Tanichthys Albonubes) are popular varieties of minnows that are placed in the tank with Bettas.
- Depending on the tank size, one to three minnows is an average amount to swim with Bettas.
Blue Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon Innesi) are suitable tank mates for Bettas.
- A peaceful little fish that is not aggressive.
- Their shiny blue color will complement your Bettas gorgeous color nicely.
- They are a lovely addition to any aquarium because they school together and swim in synchrony. The aquarium will truly look like an underwater world.
- They enjoy each other’s company because they are schooling fish, so the tank should have at least four tetras together.
- Cardinal Tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodi) are often confused with Blue Neon Tetras because they are so similar in appearance and require nearly the same tank conditions. Cardinal Tetras are suitable to swim with Bettas as well.
10. Zebra Danios (Danio Rerio)
- An exotic-looking fish, that will swim with Bettas just fine.
- They are great beginner fish and have more interest in food and plants than harassing bettas.
- You may buy them at nearly any aquarium shop.
- They require good care but are not high demanding or overly delicate fish.
I hope this list helps you arrange your Betta’s tank mates. Enjoy your aquarium with all it’s little swimmers.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.