When it comes to determining what fish can live with betta fish, individual personalities can supersede all of our recommendations. Some bettas just don’t play well with others, and that is okay! We have some goldfish who will always be only children too.
Before you even consider bringing ANY two fish into the same environment, do your research and make sure their water quality requirements match! The most important parameters to focus on are ph, kH, gH and temperature. If these don’t match, sorry, those species can’t be mixed together!
Bettas tend to be very territorial, and individual fish may require a larger territory than others. Do NOT keep your betta in a fish bowl or a horrific vase. Your betta will need a filtered, heated tank – NO EXCEPTIONS. Male bettas have larger space and territory requirements than females. Some female bettas can be kept with other female bettas, but some don’t read the book and can be just as aggressive as males. Aggression seems to decrease if the fish are reared from birth with others, but this is no guarantee and certainly nothing you can know when buying fish in a store or online.
What fish can live with betta fish depends on their space requirements. Fish with loose territories or good community players tend to do much better than fish with large territories. As with all fish species, individual temperaments may not allow some fish to share space willingly.
Biting Jaws and Long Fins
Bettas are characterized by their long, flowing fins. Even some of the female bettas have relatively longer fins compared to many other tropical species. Aggressive tank mates can take offense to long-finned fish and try to take chunks out of your betta’s fins. Sometimes, they are just confused by how big the betta suddenly seems, with fins spread wide. Other times, they’re just jerks. Any fin-nippers should be removed from the aquarium with your betta.
What Fish Can Live with Betta Fish – Our Recommendations
Neon tetras are one of the most common fish species in the tropical pet fish trade. These peaceful, easygoing fish are tolerant of many beginner mistakes and get along with almost all other species of fish. Some populations tend to be overbred, with curved spines and missing operculums. Do NOT buy these fish and instead purchase your fish elsewhere. Neon tetras do best in a school of 6-12 individuals.
Plecos are another common tropical pet fish species. However, not all fish marketed as “Plecos” are the same. There are many different varieties of Plecostomus, with some growing up to THREE FEET long! Stick to smaller species so they do not outgrow their tank, unless you are planning on a BIG tank for BIG fish. Plecos are more herbivorous than bettas, so you will need a different diet to feed them compared to your bettas.
Also known as corydoras, these catfish species stay small, unlike their Pleco cousins above. There are many different cory cat breeds that will do well in an aquarium with betta fish. They tend to be nocturnal, so they will be more active while your betta is sleeping. They are also lazy fish, like bettas, so make sure everyone has a nice spot to lounge in. Bettas prefer higher perches, so use the full vertical height of your tank to make some cozy spots to hang.
And that’s the answer to what fish can live with betta fish. No matter what species you are adding together, be sure to properly quarantine to make sure they will all be healthy and well for years to come!