Can Other Fish Live with Betta Fish?

Dustin Williams | April 14, 2021
Photo by: Kyaw Tun

Betta fish, also known as Japanese Sword Fighting Fish, are very territorial. This often leaves new owners wondering, “Do Betta fish like tank mates?”

The short answer is that it depends.

So, what fish can live with a Betta?

First of all, never put two male fish in the same tank. They are very aggressive and stress each other out. Females, however, can have what’s called a sorority tank.

Female Bettas can get testy when figuring out who’s who in their hierarchy but they’re not as aggressive as the males. It’s usually recommended to have a minimum of four and no more than 10 in one tank. Experienced owners recommend that they be kept in a 20- to 30-gallon tank. 10 gallons may be feasible but one female can become a bully and you may have to separate her. Be sure to keep your tank between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Each fish will settle on her own home space so be sure to add plants, caves, driftwood, etc.

Be sure that all of your girls are similar in size and age to increase the odds they’ll get along peacefully with each other. Some experts recommend buying fish from the same spawn but this is usually only possible from a local breeder.

Here are some other fish that make good Betta fish tank mates.

Neon Tetra

Neon tetras keep to the middle of the tank and know how to keep their distance from Bettas. Since they keep to the middle, a long or large tank usually works fairly well. A minimum of six Neon tetras with the recommended number of Bettas is recommended; however, it works well to have 12 or more.

Other tetra species, however, are often fin nippers and this annoys the Bettas. So do your research before adding a different tetra species to the tank.

Bristlenose Plecos

Plecos are known for being reclusive, staying completely out of the Bettas’ way and keeping to the bottom, as long as they are not super large. Bettas may see them as threatening. They are usually seen eating the algae from driftwood, so be sure to include driftwood in your tank.

Glass Catfish

Glass catfish are so clear that you can see their organs. They’re very calm and can usually be seen swimming beside the plants.

Blue Gourami

The Blue gourami is a cousin to the Bettas and their needs and conditions are very similar. The only catch is that they require a 20-gallon tank.

About the Author

Dustin Williams

Dustin Williams is a third generation aquarist and tropical fish fanatic. He grew up surrounded by various pets including; dogs, cats, turtles, hamsters and of course, aquarium... Learn More

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