The Betta fish are also called “Siamese fighting fish” or the “Japanese fighting fish.” So, just from the name, you can tell it is no surprise that they are notorious and famous for being quite aggressive towards other fish. It is not easy to find a tank mate for a betta since they will not be too friendly with each other. Choosing a wrong tank mate for your betta can cause comfortabilities, injuries and even death to at least one of your fish.
However, it is not impossible. There are quite a few types of fish that can co-habitat happily with a betta. There are a few guidelines you should follow and some extensive selection you have to make to find a perfect tank mate for your betta. We are here to help you ease that burden of choosing the right one.
Can two betta fish live together?
I just want to make this very clear from the very beginning. No, two betta fish should not live together.
If you think, because two betta fish are alike especially with environment requirements and food, they will best live together. That is not true, especially when talking about two male betta fish.
Betta fish are very territorial. Besides the fact that the two male betta fish will end up fighting and hurt each other, just the fact that they are sharing the same space will stress them out greatly. And a stressed beta is more likely to fight with its stressor.
Unlike its male friends, female betta fish can live together in the same tank. A tank with multiple female betta fish are called betta fish sorority tanks and they look pretty. However, they are still aggressive and territorial. So even though it is possible, it is difficult and takes lots of efforts and attention from the owner. So if you are not an experienced fish keeper, I don’t recommend keeping a betta fish sorority tank in the beginning.
A checklist for starter
As you learn more and more about betta fish and your fish, in particular, you would know what works best for your fish and you can add or take out what you need from the checklist. But for now, here is a simple checklist to start off your search to find a tank mate for your betta.
- No nibblers or biters: betta fish are aggressive by nature. They can attack another fish just for being in their area. So you can imagine the outcome if they live with another fish that often bites. If a fish nibbles at the betta, they will get bitten back for sure.
- No bigger fish: bigger fish can appear intimidating for the betta. Being close to a presence of an intimidating fish can easily trigger the betta’s fighting mode and you don’t want that.
- No more colorful fish: similar to sizes, a colorful fish can be intimidating for a betta. So you also need to avoid getting a colorful tank mate for your betta buddy.
- Check aquarium size: betta fish are very territorial. Regardless of how many fish are in the tank, the betta fish alone needs at least 5 gallons of water space for itself. Even if the betta fish doesn’t fight, having its personal space smaller than 5 gallons can cause great stress for your betta.
- Check bottom feeders: bottom feeders are great fish to live with a betta. Most of them can happily cohabitate with a betta fish. Check them out to see if you would like a bottom feeder in your tank.
- Dietary requirement: remember to check the dietary requirement for both of your fish. Your other fish may or may not have the same dietary preferences and requirements like your betta. It is important to give both you fish a good and healthy diet. Cross reference their diet to make sure that a thing that is not harmful to one fish will not be harmful to the other as well.
- Tank ornaments: Sometimes the cohabitation of the two fish in your tank can be nurtured further by you. Add a few tank ornaments and live aquatic plants. In case, once in a while, a fish is intimidated, it can have some places to hide.
What fish can live with a betta fish?
As you can see from the checklist, it is actually not that difficult to find a tank mate for your betta fish. Most of the fish that can satisfy the requirements in the checklist above are likely to be fine living with a betta fish.
However, if you are looking for some concrete guide instead of a general guideline, here are a few specific suggestions of the types of fish that can cohabitate nicely with a betta.
Neon Tetra is the mid-tank area type of fish. Normally, they would keep their distance from the betta so they can get along quite well.
Neon Tetra is vibrant in color. Together with your betta, they will make your tank look very vibrant and colorful.
Betta and Neon Tetra in 10-gallon tank (peaceful!)
They are usually pretty shy so they tend to be very reclusive. They would keep it to themselves and cohabitate nicely with your bettas.
However, bristle nose plecos can grow quite large sometimes so be careful with the size of your tank.
This fish is a cool species. They are completely see through, and they are as calm as a fish can be. Needless to say, they can be the perfect tank mates for your bettas.
The Blue Gourami is closely related to the betta fish but they are not as aggressive. The similarity in their environment requirements and dietary habits make them perfect tank mates for your bettas.
Cory catfish are calm, small and white to dark gray in color. They appear as no threat to the betta fish. Betta fish and Cory Catfish can live together in the same tank harmoniously without any problem.
White Cloud Mountain Minnows
White Clouds are small, schooling fish with short fins and a pale gray, white color. They even share similar diet with the bettas. Keeping them together, you’ll have fewer things to worry about.
These are only a few popular species of fish that can cohabitate nicely with the bettas. But as said above, most of the fish that can satisfy the requirements in the checklist can be a betta fish’s tank mate. You have plenty of options out there. Do not be afraid to venture out and do your research to find the ones most suited for you and your betta fish.