Bettas are enchanting in their physical attributes and create a contrasting view in the fish tanks. An all-time fan of their floating, feathery fins would always want to know which other fish can live with them without any trouble.

These were commonly termed Siamese fighting fish in Southeast Asian countries, especially Thailand, where researchers first recognized their abilities.

The fish was made to participate in unstoppable assaults with the brothers or counter competitors. This characteristic also makes betta a difficult fish to look for matching, compatible tank mates.

 As the choicest ornamental aquatic for living room aquariums, fish enthusiasts often have several queries about companions that can stay alive with bettas.

Here, you can check out our list of best betta fish tank mates to find a suitable friend for your pet. While we also aim to resolve such problems for a specific gender, fish size, tank size, etc.

Factors Affecting Betta Fish Tank Mate Compatibility

Bettas are not easy fish to live with. Due to their irrational and intrusive behavior, it becomes hard for any other aquatic creature to survive in the same space. But that does not mean they can never stand other fish in their surroundings.

Though aggressive, these species can still be good companions, provided the keeper follows the guidelines to form compatibility between the various types.

Factors Influencing Tank Mates of Betta Fish
Tank size up to 5-gallon Keep them alone; avoid tank mates
Tank size of 10-gallon and above Few mates such as loaches, snails, etc.
Risk from companions Avoid bigger fish, which can bully or consume them
Risk to companions Avoid species with attention seeking colors or long floating fins, which attracts bettas to hurt them
Nature of companions Friendly, non-territorial, shoaling
Type of companions Tropical species
When to add them in tank Add them in the last when all the mates are induced
Male/ female; which are better tank mates Females are less-aggressive; thus, they are better for co-existence
Best tank mates Tetras, danios, rasboras, etc
Fish to avoid Goldfish, male guppies, angelfish, etc
  • These are small species of 6-8 cm in length, but you must still provide them enough space to swim and rule the territory. Though the bettas can even survive in a one-gallon tank,  you must still offer them a minimum of a 5-gallon tank, which is sufficient for single occupancy.
  • If you wish to induce some tank mates, increase the capacity to a minimum of 10-gallon. Snails, shrimps, or loaches would be fine in this capacity.
  • It is central to getting small tank mates for betta fish because more significant species can nip their long fins or even hunt them for food.
  • Ensure first that the tank mates you choose are friendly in nature, with primary requirements of tropical conditions for living.
  • Species of similar body structure, such as long fins or colorful and scintillating skin, may irritate the betta fish and provoke them to fin nip or hurt the other fish.
  • The most compatible tank mates are the fish types that peacefully move in schools and do not care to claim territory.
  • Make sure to add the mates beforehand to the bettas. It is to avoid clashes of owning a private area.
  • Being named fighting fish proves that males have minimal tolerance than females. Thus, two males cannot stay in a confined area without hurting each other, which results in the death of one or both.
  • Females, on the other hand, are comparatively less combative and find quick compatibility with other fish. You must not even put a male and a female together except for breeding purposes.
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Check out the ways to differentiate male vs female bettas, as well as the potential tank mates of male and female betta fish.

Suitable Tank Mates for Betta Fish

We have extracted the list of the most acceptable betta fish tank mates to redesign a perfect community aquarium for homes, corporates, and public places.

Otocinclus Catfish

Coming from the freshwaters of the South American region, they quickly adapt to the similar water conditions of the bettas.

 There are about 19 species in this genus with an average size of not more than 5 cm to comfortably match its co-mate.

Being famous for its algae eating habits, the otocinclus catfish is a preferred ornamental aquarium fish for its food choices and easy maintenance. The fish looks wonderful while grazing on the green vegetation and hides away if it senses danger to avoid fights with co-mates.

They are polite, shoaling species that mostly stay near the water bed and, thus, never come under the routes of the betta fish.

Platy Fish

These are another common inhabitant of Florida, Texas, Hawaii, and the connected region, and survive water temperatures between 18-25 degrees Celsius.

They usually stay in groups, and you do not have to make them breed as they never wait for any suitable time to increase their population. Though, most of the young ones get consumed by bigger species in the tank if they cannot hide.

The maximum length that species from this genus acquire is 7-8 cm, and are friendly to keep in aquariums. It looks fabulous in community tanks and is often called swordtail fish for its unique shape.

Their feeding habits are similar to the betta fish, which makes them suitable tank mates because the keeper does not have to arrange any extra

Complete details and guides on Platy fish are given here.

Shrimps

These are fantastic creatures that can be kept in an aquarium, and some of these species make a  pleasant companion to the betta fish.

Bumble Shrimp: These are prominently found in the Indo-west Pacific region and are small in size with a maximum of 2.5cm in length. They are shy in nature and easy to care for.

Amano Shrimp: Widely found between Taiwan and Japan, this creature can enhance your betta’s aquarium view with its translucent body. They smoothly adjust with their companion and even clean the algae in the tank.

Ghost Shrimp: They reach up to 4 cm in length and possess a transparent body, which often saves them from getting consumed by larger tank mates. These are harmless species and never mess with other aquatics.  It instead cleans-up the mess formation in the tank.

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Endler’s Livebearer

These species are habitats of the Venezuela region in South America. They look similar to the guppies and even spawn with them, but have different characteristics and recognitions.

Endlers are available in many different color patterns that look fascinating and make the fish look to shine in elegance.

Some species, like the white peacock, emerald, red stripe, sunburst cobra, and others, make a compatible tank mate of bettas.

Their small size of less than 5 cm, calm attitude, and adaptability to the surroundings make them a popular fish in the community tank.

Snails

These are specifically gastropod mollusks that can survive in fish tanks. They look pretty attractive in hard coiled shells and mostly feed on algae and decaying matter in the aquarium.

Snails have all the good qualities of a good tank mate for betta fish, such as slow-moving, non-aggressive, non-territorial, small size, and detritivore.  A few suitable companions are listed here.

Turret Snails: They are about 1 cm in size and widely available in Malaysia. It loves to feed on algae, and in the process, cleans up the aquarium. Though they are easy food for bettas but are rarely consumed by them.

Golden Apple Snail: These can reach almost double the size of bettas, which is approximately 15 cm as the max size. Hence, you should keep them in a 15-20-gallon tank size or higher. They can scavenge all the lot quickly, but you must use a high-quality tank filter.

Assassin Snails: Snails quickly increase their population. Therefore, assassins are best to keep along with others, as their primary food is to consume juvenile snails, thereby controlling the population.

Corydoras

These fish are spread widely in the rivers and lakes of South America, around the tropical zones. Species from this genus range from 2.5-12 cm, but being harmonious aquatic, they make a compatible tank mate to bettas.

Fish from this genus possess pointed spikes on their body, which protects them from killers. Unique designs and skin colors make them a commonly chosen ornamental fish for aquariums.

There are about 160 known species in this category. Popular ones like panda Corydoras, peppered Corydoras, arched Corydoras, pygmy Corydoras, and others are pretty acceptable as companions of betta fish.

Though the larger ones can be kept in this community tank, it is advised to get small-sized species to avoid instances of territorial clashes.

More details on Salt and Pepper Corydoras can be found here.

African Dwarf Frog

These frogs belong to the African continent and are found across Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo river, and southern parts.

They are habitual of staying at the bottom of the aquarium over the substrates or sleeping in its hideout, but to breathe oxygen, they need to come to the water surface.

The African dwarf frogs look beautiful hopping around in fish tanks and do not require much care or maintenance for survival. They do not extend more than 7-8 cm in size, making them the perfect fit for small-sized tanks with betta fish.

These frogs are peaceful and feel safe hiding in crevices or prefer to move in small groups. They tend to come out mainly when the tank mates are not around.

Do They Need Tank Mates or Companions?

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Bettas do not accept other aquatics in what they consider their private space. They are highly aggressive in nature, especially the males, who are ever-ready to fight with each other if kept together.

But if the tank has greater capacity and can house more species, you must add a few compatible tank mates of betta fish. This will not let them feel alone and keep it interesting for viewers.

What Should you Know About Female Betta Sorority?

People keep asking, can female betta fish live together? Many fish breeders follow the concept of a sorority, where an aquarium houses more than five female betta species in co-existence.

Several findings on the lifestyle of this fish have proved that females do not tend to fight like males and thus can withstand each other’s company. Therefore, it is stated that female bettas themselves can work as great tank mates to themselves.

But few fish keepers say that the natural behavior of betta fish (male or female) is to display aggression. They have readily observed variations in the mindsets of females, which often get stressed and indulge in conflicts.

Considering the above theories, we can deduce that one should always be cautious while housing multiple female bettas together.

You must use a larger tank of about 20-25 gallons and monitor the fish for a few days to note their temperament. You can also induce a few other compatible tank mates to create a distraction.

Ensure to maintain suitable water conditions with sufficient hiding spaces in the tank.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can goldfish and betta not live together?

Goldfish are a primary choice for home aquariums for many aquarists. Bettas are yet another dashing beauty with their colorful fanning appearance.

Considering the factors for companionship, people believe they can be kept together. Ideally, the goldfish are friendly species with a non-disturbing attitude towards others.

But you must also know that they have different feeding habits and sometimes even require slightly different water parameters, which can create health issues.

Moreover, goldfish are too attractive to catch the attention of the bettas, which can nibble their fins, while bigger goldfish species can act reversible to them.

How to know if your betta is uncomfortable with the tank mate?

There can be noticeable changes in the behavior of the fish if it dislikes the mate or considers it an intruder. But there are other ways too by which you can conclude that your fish is stressed out.

The betta fish forms stress lines or stress stripes followed by color loss or dullness during high-stress levels. These are parallel lines in a dark shade, and with their appearance, you can immediately act to change the settings before they react destructively.

How to maintain a community tank for betta fish?

While you choose a compatible tank mate for them, it is essential to follow the expert guidelines for maintaining the aquarium beforehand.

  • The tank should have a proper filtration system that fulfills the needs of all the species that stay there.
  • You must keep the new aquatics separately for some time to ensure they do not carry any disease.
  • Fish acclimation is an unavoidable step before introducing the mates.
  • Inspect the aquatics for 2-3 days after introducing them while separating them if complications or conflicts occur.
  • Must not add any aggressive aquatics as tank mates to them.
  • You can also add some decorative items, live plants, and rocks.

Take Away

Betta fish are considered a tricky species to keep in community tanks due to their temperament. But by making intelligent choices of tank mates, you can still create appropriate variations in aquatic life in one place.

For the best experience in matching their compatibility, you should follow the guidelines regarding the companion’s size, behavior, water requirements, and feeding habits.

Avoid keeping two or more of them together and monitor the behavior of all the species in the tank. Bettas are unpredictable and can always defy the expected.

About the Author

Shelby Crosby

Shelby is a passionate fishkeeper who has been writing about fish for over 5 years. She is a pro aquarist and holds a BSc Honors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries. She creates her own beautiful aquarium layouts and loves to share her knowledge of tropical fish with other hobbyists.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

  • BSc Honors in Wildlife and Fisheries in 2011 (University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Completed her undergraduate thesis on the effects of zoochlorella supplementation on the growth and health of fish.

Writing Experience

Miss Crosby is a Freelance blogger; many of her articles are posted online on various blogs. She has also written a few short articles for "Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine" in the past. She is a regular contributor to FishParenting.com. Her education, first-hand experience with fishkeeping, and in-depth knowledge in aquaculture make her one of the most competent writers in the industry.

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