Betta fish are absolutely gorgeous fish; their colors are vibrant and their fins are long and flowy. However, one of the big downsides of having Bettas is their aggression. Bettas are highly aggressive towards just about anything in their vicinity, especially other Bettas. This aggression makes Bettas seem unsuitable to have tank mates of any kind.
While Betta fish are notorious for being incredibly aggressive, it is actually possible to have tank mates with Bettas. Bettas coexist well with tankmates that are peaceful, aren’t extremely colorful, are bottom or middle dwelling, and don’t have long, flowy fins.
As it turns out, Bettas can indeed have tank mates! However, because Bettas are so aggressive and sensitive to the other fish around them, the list for suitable tank mates is a little shorter than normal. Let’s take a look at our pick for our four favorite tank mates for Betta fish.
What are the Best Tank Mates for Bettas?
Bettas are very particular about who shares a living space with them. Hyper aggressive by nature, they are called fighting fish after all, any fish that is too big, too colorful, or hangs out in their area is seen as a threat.
However, despite that, there are some fish that coexist really well with Betta fish; and not just bottom dwellers, either!
We have picked four of our favorite tank mates to pair with a Betta fish, or a couple if you have a sorority tank (a tank with multiple female bettas).
1. Corydoras Catfish
Look at this little fella! How can you not love such a cute little face?
Corydoras Catfish are adorable, bottom-dwelling members of the catfish family.
Not only are they adorable, but they check the boxes of the demands of a Betta:
- They aren’t too large, growing up to two to three inches long
- They inhabit the bottom section of the tank
- They are very peaceful fish
- They are not vibrantly colorful
- They don’t have big, flowy fins
Corydoras catfish prefer to be in multiples, so if you want to use some in your tank, make sure to get at least three.
2. Harlequin Rasboras
Harlequin Rasboras are classic aquarium fish, likely due to their peaceful temperament, easy-care, and coloration.
Not only are they great aquarium fish, but they are some of the best non-bottom dwelling fish to pair with your Betta! These fish are peaceful, and won’t disturb your Bettas. While Rasboras do have some coloration, it’s not near enough to trigger a Betta into attacking.
Harlequin Rasboras are also super fast swimmers, so your Bettas will have a hard time catching them if they do decide they want to fight.
3. Ember Tetras
Named for their burnt orange bodies, Ember Tetra are another amazing option for middle dwellers for your tank.
Ember Tetra are very similar to the Harlequin Rasboras, as they share a lot of the same qualities:
- Some color, but not too much
- Super quick swimmers
Ember Tetras need to be in schools to feel comfortable. A good-sized Tetra school is around five to ten fish.
Even though most Tetra are known to be fin nippers, Ember Tetra should not nip at your Betta’s fins unless they feel threatened.
4. Glass Catfish
If you really want a fish that will wow people, the Glass Catfish is the way to go. These transparent fish are completely transparent, meaning you can see their organs and skeleton!
Similar to the Ember Tetra and Harlequin Rasboras, Glass Catfish prefer the middle of the tank and are extremely peaceful, so there shouldn’t be too much conflict with your Betta.
Glass Catfish also need to be in a shoal to feel comfortable and happy, with a good-sized shoal being around five fish and the best size being around ten. Because they love to be in schools, Glass Catfish need to be in a bigger tank.
One thing to also keep in mind with Glass Catfish is that they are incredibly sensitive fish, so make sure your water is absolutely pristine or they will not be happy, and may even die.
What Makes a Good Tank Mate for Bettas?
When deciding if a fish will make a good tank mate for Bettas, there are a few factors to take into consideration:
- Tank Space
- and Water Environment
Remember that Bettas are particularly sensitive to who their roommates are, so it’s best to cater to the Betta’s needs rather than the fish you want to add to the tank.
Fish you have as tankmates with your Bettas should be no more than an inch bigger than the Bettas. Bettas will feel intimidated by fish bigger than them.
Also, Bettas will nip at and be triggered by fish with large and flowy fins as they have. It’s best to stick with fish without flowy fins.
Bettas get triggered by vibrantly colored fish, thinking that they are also Bettas. While vibrantly colored fish are a no-go, that doesn’t mean your fish have to be dull as nails. Slight colorings will be okay for tank mates to Betta fish.
Peaceful fish work the best with Bettas, as any aggressive fish will just make the Bettas fight back.
The best fish to pair with Bettas are fish that occupy the bottom section of the tank. Bettas are naturally territorial, and typically inhabit the top section of the tank and occasionally the middle.
Fish that like the middle section of the tank are okay to pair with Betta fish, so long as the Betta is okay with it.
Do not keep your Bettas in smaller than a five-gallon tank, especially if you are planning on having other fish. The second you decide you want more fish with your Betta, you immediately need at least a fifteen-gallon tank.
Betta fish are tropical fish and need a tropical water temperature of around 78 degrees Fahrenheit with slow-flowing water.
Bettas are traditionally believed to not be compatible with other fish. However, as we just discussed, that is absolutely wrong. We hope you enjoy your Bettas and their tank mates.