Betta fish, or “Siamese Fighting Fish,” are known as fierce fighters and territorial loners. Males in particular tend to have an aggressive attitude towards other males and other fish, and many fishkeepers keep their Bettas in solo tanks to avoid any issues.
— Bettaboxx (@bettaboxx_) September 8, 2016
Despite this reputation, it is possible for male Bettas to coexist with other species in a community tank. Here are a few things to consider before taking the plunge:
- Make sure you have the proper Betta fish tank setup and that your tank is big enough. If your Betta’s tank is less than 10 gallons, you shouldn’t try to add other fish. As far as tank size goes, bigger is better.
- Make sure there is plenty of vegetation and natural features. Bettas and other fish need places to hide and take shelter.
- It may be easier to add your Betta to an already-established community tank than to add other fish to your Betta’s territory.
- Avoid putting two male Bettas in the same tank.
- Avoid fish with long, flowy fins or bright colors that your male Betta might mistake for another male.
- Avoid fish that are known “nibblers.” They will nibble at your Betta’s fins, injuring it and potentially causing it to become aggressive.
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Male Betta Fish Tank Mates [Infographic]
The success of creating a community tank around a male Betta ultimately depends on the temperament and personality of your individual Betta.
But the species listed here can make excellent tank mates for your Betta fish and will give you the greatest chance of having a peaceful and happy aquarium.
#1 Harlequin Rasboras
NOW IN STOCK! Harlequin Rasbora: renowned for their black triangular markings reminiscent of a harlequin costume. pic.twitter.com/SXVYxZsvUU
— All Pond Solutions (@AllPondSolution) June 11, 2016
Harlequin rasboras may be the ultimate male Betta fish tank mates because they naturally coexist with Bettas in the wild without a problem.
Rasboras are small and not known to be aggressive or nip at fins, so chances are low that your Betta will see them as threatening. They are also used to the same diet and habitat as Bettas, which will make setting up and balancing your tank much simpler.
Rasboras can add a touch of flash to your tank with their metallic orange coloring and signature triangular black markings. Throw your Betta into a tank with a school of 8-10 Rasboras and you should have a peaceful community of beautiful fish.
#2 White Cloud Mountain Minnows
— PetsANDAquatics (@PANDAquatics) July 28, 2016
Native to Chinese mountain streams, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow is an ideal tank mate for your male Betta fish. This is a peaceful and easy-to-care-for fish that won’t nip at the fins of your Betta and won’t be seen as a threat.
They also enjoy a similar diet and water pH as Bettas, so you won’t have to find that perfect chemical balance for all your fish to thrive.
White Cloud Mountain Minnows are used to a colder water temperature than Bettas, but setting your temperature around 75 degrees (F) should keep both species happy.
#3 Ember Tetras
EMBER TETRAS!!!! pic.twitter.com/kLxRxWh3LH
— ? (@Pat_Merc) April 22, 2016
Like the other fish on this list, the Ember Tetra is generally peaceful and submissive, and is not known to nip at fins. Unlike bright Neon Tetras, Ember Tetras have a dull color that won’t attract a Betta’s attention.
These qualities make this fish another great tank mate for your male Betta fish because they won’t annoy or seem threatening to your Betta. And if your Betta fish did try to start something, Ember Tetras are small and fast enough to escape unharmed.
Ember Tetras thrive in the same tank conditions as Bettas, and enjoy tanks with a lot of vegetation to explore. A small school of Ember Tetras should peacefully coexist with your Betta fish and will add variety to your tank.
#4 Pygmy Corydoras
— Akvaristan Akvaryum (@Akvaristan) May 23, 2016
The Pygmy Corydoras is the smallest species of Corydoras Catfish, only growing to about 1 inch in length.
Corydoras are bottom feeders so they generally won’t interfere with your Betta fish, which prefers to cruise around the upper layers of the tank. They are also peaceful by nature and their dull gray colors blend well with sand and gravel, so your Betta may not even notice that it has a tankmate.
Another advantage of Corydoras is that they enjoy similar water conditions as Betta fish and will do well in the same tank environment. A school of 6-10 Corydoras are the perfect companions for your male Betta fish, and these two species should get along swimmingly.
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#5 Clown Plecos
— Pracht || Io (@2DumbReptiles) August 2, 2015
A type of armored catfish, Clown Plecos are docile algae-eaters and can be excellent male Betta fish tank mates.
These fish tend to be docile and submissive and get along great with territorial fish like Bettas. They also do well in similar water conditions, and their algae-eating habits will help keep your tank clean.
Clown Plecos are strikingly beautiful with luminescent yellow and deep black stripes, so they will surely add to the aesthetics of your tank.
They are smaller than other types of Plecos, but Clown Plecos can still grow to about 4 inches in length and will need a tank that’s at least 29 gallons.
#6 Feeder Guppies
— Can Paçacı (@pacacican) March 11, 2015
Feeder Guppies lack the bright hues of Fancy Guppies, and their small fins and muted colors won’t attract the attention of your aggressive Betta. They are also tiny, peaceful and won’t harm your Betta by nipping at his fins.
Feeder Guppies are usually bred as food for larger fish, but their overall blandness makes them great tank mates for Betta fish.
They are also very hardy and can survive in a wide variety of tank conditions, so you won’t have to worry about balancing your tank to accommodate them.
— Akvaristan Akvaryum (@Akvaristan) May 28, 2016
Loaches are another type of bottom-feeding scavenger fish that make good companions for Bettas. Some of them grow to be quite large, but Kuhli Loaches, Yo Yo Loaches and Zebra Loaches stay around 2-5 inches in length. All types of Loaches are peaceful and will stay out of your Betta’s way.
Loaches like to have plenty of places to hide, and they prefer to live in schools of 3 or more. Getting several loaches will also help prevent an aggressive Betta from taking them on.
#8 Freshwater Snails
— quasar ? (@heliotaxia) 4 July 2016
Snails are not only unobtrusive and will stay out of your Betta’s way, they also have a hard shell for protection and can easily retreat inside of it if your Betta starts to get aggressive. And snails are scavengers and algae-eaters, so they will do a lot to keep your tank clean and healthy.
Nerite snails in particular are excellent Betta fish companions. They are some of the best algae-eaters around, they stay relatively small at about an inch in length, and they don’t excessively reproduce like some other freshwater snail species.
#9 African Dwarf Frogs
Newest family addition: Melvin the African Dwarf Frog pic.twitter.com/pKaT2qkydE
— kaitlyn (@kailuahunt) July 1, 2016
African Dwarf Frogs are excellent companions for your male Betta fish because there’s no way your fish will mistake them for another male Betta so it will have little reason to attack.
These frogs will also stay near the surface of your tank and will be out of your Betta’s way most of the time. They are also able to survive in similar water conditions.
Even though you’re Betta won’t be provoked by the appearance of the African Dwarf Frog, you should still keep an eye out to make sure your fish isn’t nipping at your frogs from below.
Bonus Betta Fish Tank Mate Ghost Shrimp
— Kifri (@l1ght3n) September 5, 2016
Ghost shrimp are almost translucent and are very pale in color, which means they are unlikely to attract the attention of your Betta fish.
They’re small and will stay out of the way, and your Betta will most likely leave them alone. They’re also scavengers so they’ll work to keep your tank clean.
Ghost Shrimp prefer aquariums of at least 10 gallons with plenty of places to hide. With a small community of Ghost Shrimp alongside your Betta, you should have a clean and peaceful tank.
Final Thoughts On Betta Tank Mates
— Jackie Juba (@JackieJuba) September 5, 2016
Any of the above species have the potential to make excellent male Betta fish tank mates. Even so, when establishing your community tank make sure to monitor your Betta’s reaction to the other fish and keep an eye out for any aggressiveness.
If done properly and carefully, you should be able to create a thriving community tank around your beautiful Betta.
Introducing New Tank Mates To Your Betta [Video]
Check out this great video for a tutorial on introducing new tank mates into your Betta tank:
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