In today’s post, I will tackle a question that I’ve been asked a lot these days, which is what are the best and worst betta fish tank mates? Male betta fish have long been known by aquarium enthusiasts as somewhat of an aggressive tank fish. However, it doesn’t mean that they can’t maintain good relationships with other tank mates. Just be careful with your choice and all will be well. First and foremost, do not keep male and female betta fish together. Unless of course, it’s mating season! Otherwise, it will surely end up in a fight and one will definitely lose.
With females the situation is slightly different – you can try to keep a group of 3-4 together, but it doesn’t mean that they will not fight. The females are less aggressive than the males, but they are still known to fight sometimes. Keep an eye on the situation and if you see one that is particularly aggressive, constantly fighting with others or just plain moody, consider moving it to another tank. (For more information on male vs female bettas, refer to our post “Can You Tell the Difference between A Male and Female Betta Fish?“)
On the other hand, if you still want to keep your betta with other fish, there are a few rules that will help you achieve your goal.
Tips For Picking Betta Fish Tank Mates
1. Don’t keep bright colored fish with big fins and veil-style tails together with betta males. They will immediately react to these characteristics in other fish, which will usually end in the death of the colorful ones.
2. If your tank has other equally aggressive fish, such as, Cichlids, the war between the two species is a guarantee. At the end, you will have dead fish on both sides.
3. If you like gold fish, you need to know that they like cooler water than other tank fish. Putting betta in this kind of environment is not advisable. Firstly, they will react to gold fish in the same aggressive manner as to other colorful fish. Secondly, cooler water can weaken your betta’s immune system, making him or her vulnerable to disease.
4. Experienced aquarium enthusiasts suggest that males get along well with Neon tetras and Speckled catfish. However, be very mindful of the first few hours and watch the behavior of males with their new tank mates. If everything goes well, then you can relax a bit.
5. Bettas typically don’t like smaller fish, so the companions shouldn’t be shorter than 4-5 cm, otherwise they may get bullied.
6. Another important point is to ensure that the volume of the tank corresponds to the number of fish. Every individual should occupy no less than five liters of tank space. In other words, the minimum volume of the tank for one fish is five liters, two fish – 10 liters, and so on.
7. Try finding betta fish in the youngest age possible. It is more likely that the situation in the tank will stay peaceful. However, as mentioned above, at first you should watch them carefully for a while, and at the first sign of aggression take the betta out.
Here are some acceptable betta fish tank mates: African dwarf frogs, Mystery Snails, Ghost Shrimp, Otocinclus Catfish.
Here are some betta tank mates that you should avoid: Male Guppies, Cichlids, Gouramis, Tiger barbs, Goldfish, and Plecos (unless you have a big tank).
Below is an amazing infographic showing freshwater fish compatibility (taken from the Petco Blogging Community):
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