Betta Fish Tank Mates (What to Keep with Bettas)

Wondering which are the best betta tank mates? This guide is for you!

Some community tanks are so efficient that they can host betta fish plus two or more other kinds of species.

Some of the best tank mates for your betta fish include Kuhli Loaches, Ember Tetras, Feeder Groupies, Cory Catfish, Harlequin Rasbora, and the African Dwarf Frog. Care must be taken in sourcing suitable tank mates for your betta fish. Bettas should not be housed together with aggressive and territorial species.  

Since ancient times, bettas have been reared for their fighting instinct. Unfortunately, their aggressive nature has never really disappeared – even for bettas bred in captivity. As such, not all bettas are suited to cohabit with tank mates.

Nonetheless, each betta fish is unique, and you should try to understand the temperament and personality of yours.

This will put you in an excellent position to determine the best tank mate(s), if any, for your betta fish.

betta fish tank mates

Do Betta Fish Need a Companion?

For years, bettas have been bred to fight each other. For this reason, they are so aptly named the Siamese fighting fish.

Their fighting instinct makes them aggressive not only toward each other, but toward other fish species as well.

All the same, bettas do get lonely. Although most betta fish are best kept alone in their tank, some can co-exist peacefully with suitable tank mates.

But, you need to clearly understand the temperament and personality of your betta fish to arrive at an informed decision.

If your betta aggression level is too high, it is best your leave it alone in the tank.

However, suppose you correctly determine that this fish can tolerate a tank mate. In that case, you need to carefully select an appropriate companion.

You have to consider the personality and temperament of the tank mate you have in mind. Will they, for example, compete for resources with your betta?

Other factors to consider include tank size requirements, the color of the tank mate, and the number of plants needed.

In most cases, you’ll discover that the worst tank companion for your betta fish is another betta.

However, it is possible to keep sorority tanks of betta females. This would be quite impossible with males.

What to Look for in a Betta Fish Tank Mate

Color of the Tank Mate

Betta fish may be triggered into aggression by another colorful fish species. Males, in particular, view bright-colored fish as competitors and are likely to handle them with hostility.


You’d want to keep other territorial fish from the betta fish tank. This is because, being slow swimmers, your betta fish may be harassed by this other fish.

Avoid fish species that have a tendency to nip tail fins. Considering that the betta fish has a long, graceful fin, it’s likely to be a target of such a territorial adversary.

Size of the Tank Companion

Small nano fish do better than larger fish in a betta tank. This is because the nano fish find it easier to swim and hide from a betta fish attack.

Also, the smaller fish can fit easily into the rocks and crevices within the tank. You can also consider using invertebrates like cherry shrimp for their size.

The Best Tank Mates for Your Betta Fish

#1 – Mystery Snails (Pomacea bridgesil)

This blue, golden, or dark brown snail is suitable for beginner keepers.

It is suitable for a betta fish tank of 5 gallons or more. The main advantage of the Mystery Snails is that they are excellent tank mates for both male and female bettas.

Mystery Snails help clean the tank by removing algae and eating leftover food.

Many keepers like these snails because they don’t reproduce asexually. This means that it will not recreate to the extent of stifling the aquarium of space.

Because of their peaceful nature, Mystery Snails co-exist peacefully with flora and fauna in the tank.

These snails are quite safe from the betta’s aggression because of their hard shells – to which they retreat whenever the need arises.

Mystery Snails are a great addition to the general beauty of the aquarium. They are a sight to behold.

#2 – Kuhli Loaches (Pangio kuhlii)

The Kuhli Loaches thrive in an aquarium pH of around 6.5. Many keepers prefer this animal because it is not likely to compete with the betta fish for resources.

The Kuhli Loaches feed on uneaten food at the bottom of the tank. This means they are keen to keep out of your betta’s way, thus minimizing conflict.

#3 – Ghost Shrimp (Thalassinidea)

The Ghost Shrimp is a transparent invertebrate that also goes by the name of Glass Shrimp. True to its name, it’s hard to see this animal in a tank with the naked eye – unless you look closely.

These animals make good betta companions because they don’t get in the way. Also, they are quite inexpensive to keep – mainly because they scour around the tank looking for food leftovers to feed on.

Also, they are relatively small in size – with an adult measuring no more than 1.5 inches long.

It’s recommended that you introduce no more than 2 pairs of Ghost Shrimp into the aquarium to minimize the chances of breeding.

With proper care, this animal can live for more than 1 year, being the perfect companion for your betta fish.

#4 – Ember Tetras (Hyphessobryocon amandae)

Ember tetras thrive best in an aquarium pH of about 7. At 1 inch in length, this fish is small enough to hide from betta fish should the latter turn aggressive.

They are also good swimmers and will easily outrun the slower bettas. With time, the two fish species learn to live along just fine.

Being in the class of schooling fish, Ember tetras do well in a group of 5 or more. For these fish to cohabit well with betta fish, you need to place them in a tank of at least 10 gallons.

Anything less may cause overcrowding and increase the chances of a conflict.

Additionally, Ember tetras blend very well with the plants and rocks used in the aquarium.

#5 – Feeder Groupies (Poecilia reticulate)

These grey fish are ordinarily bred as food for bigger fish. However, they are gaining fast in popularity as the ideal companions for betta fish.

If you are to use these fish for your betta tank, go for those without the fancy, bright coloring on their fins.

Betta fish (especially males) are known to be particularly aggressive toward fancy-colored tank mates.

Another good thing about Feeder groupies is that they enjoy the same pH and temperature range as the bettas.

And because they are peaceable, you won’t have to worry about them having a go at your betta.

Feeder groupies do well living as individuals as in groups. As such, you don’t have to add too many of them to the betta tank – especially if the tank size is a challenge.

#6 – Rummy Nose Tetra (Tetras hemigrammus rhodostomus)

Rummy nose tetras live quite well under the same temperature and pH levels as the betta fish. They are also quite docile and are unlikely to antagonize your betta fish.

The Rummy nose tetras are about 2 inches in length, and do best in groups of 5 or more. As such, you need to 10-gallon tank or more to house them with your betta.

Because of their beautiful red faces and cheeks, these fish accentuate the beauty of the aquarium.

Their zebra-colored tail fins and more color, and you’ll enjoy gazing at these fish as they keep your betta fish company.

#7 – Cory Catfish (Corydoras)

This bronze—colored fish are best introduced in groups of 4 or more into the fish tank. This is because they thrive in schools.

The Cory catfish is unlikely to get in the way of your bettas because they mostly forage and live at the bottom of the tank.

They are non-aggressive – meaning your betta fish is perfectly safe with this fish species.

Their small size is an added advantage. At about 2 inches in length, these fish are small enough to effectively hide from the bettas, when the need arises.

Although they spend their days at the bottom of the tank, they are quite active. You’ll enjoy watching them run all over as they animate the aquarium.

Suppose you are not very sure about the aggressive level of your betta fish. In that case, you may want to try the smaller, more docile Pygmy corydoras.

This subspecies grows to about 1 inch in length and are duller in color. As such, they are unlikely to attract any hostile reaction from your betta fish.

#8 – Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi)

The Neon tetras thrive in the same temperature and pH ranges as your betta fish.

It’s best you keep these fish in groups of 5 or more. Otherwise, they may feel stressed and stay hidden most of the time.

These fish enjoy moving around a lot, and you should aim to house them with the betta in a 20-gallon tank or more.

The fact that they are docile and quick means you won’t have trouble keeping the Neon tetras with your betta fish.

Being natives of South American waters, the neon tetras do well in acidic water (pH 6.0 – 6.55). However, they may not survive if you keep them in alkaline water.

#9 – Harlequin Rasbora (Trigonostigma heteromorpha)

This is an orange to pink-bodied fish. They also have a black triangle at the back that gives way to red hue fins.

This fish does well in schools, and you’ll be doing them a favor to put them into the tank in 5s or 6s.

With this in mind, you need to huge tank to house them with the betta fish. A 10-15 gallon tank would suffice for all their activities.

Harlequin rasboras grow to about 1.5 inches long and live for up to 5 years. So you can expect a peaceful co-existence between this species and your betta fish.

#10 – Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Melanoides tuberculata)

This fish thrives in a pH level of 7.5 and temperatures of 220C– 270C (720F–8070F), which is also ideal for your betta fish.

These fish tend to multiply quite fast, and are sometimes considered a nuisance by some aquarists.

However, they are very good at cleaning aquariums. Therefore, they would be a welcome addition to your betta tank if you are keen on getting rid of dead plant matter, algae, and food leftovers.

The good news is that Malaysian trumpets will not touch live plants. They only get rid of dead matter.

If you are looking for a betta tank mate that also doubles up as an efficient tank cleaner, the Malaysian trumpet is the fish for you.

#11 – African Dwarf Frog (Hymenochirus boettgeri)

This spotted, brown, or grey dwarf frog is an excellent betta fish companion because of its friendly and amiable temperament.

You can put at least two of these companions in the tank with your betta fish. However, because they grow to about 2.5 inches long, they need to be housed in a 10-gallon tank or larger.

This will give them the room they need to explore their world. One thing you’ll like about the African dwarf frog is its vibrant nature.

Since these frogs have lungs and not gills, you’ll enjoy seeing them swim to the surface for air. You may also witness the frog shedding and eating its skin on a good day.

There’s never a dull moment when the African dwarf frog is in the same tank as your betta fish.

#12 – Clown Plecos (Dwarf loricariid)

This is an easy-to-care-for fish that can be accommodated together with the betta fish in a 15-gallon tank.

The dwarf pleco grows to about 4 inches long. This is the species you should look for, because others can grow to even 2ft long.

The Clown pleco is a hardy animal that can withstand a betta bite. However, you’d want to avoid this eventuality by providing them with a 15-gallon tank or larger.

This gives the pleco enough room to maneuver as much as they want.

With the proper care, Clown plecos live for up to 10 years.

#13 – Marimo Moss Ball (Aegagropila linnaei)

These green, living plants are indestructible, making them a good companion for your betta fish. They also help clean the aquarium by removing algae and unwanted nitrates.

If you are a beginner betta fish keeper, you can start with this plant because it is low-maintenance, long-living (up to 100 years!), and low-cost.

They also help in oxygen production in the tank, which supports the entire ecosystem.

The Marimo Moss Ball will be an excellent addition to your betta tank if you’re not ready to introduce another fish species.

To introduce this plant as betta fish mate, you need at least a 5-gallon tank.

Can Females Bettas Co-Exist as Mates?

A number of aquarists have no trouble keeping female bettas together in a community known as sororities.

Sororities can be made up of 5 female bettas living in the same tank. Of course, you need a large tank for this kind of group.

It is recommended that you should house such a sorority in a 10-15 gallon tank. Emphasis is on the horizontal length of the tank as opposed to the vertical one.

Closely monitor the behavior of your female betta fish once you put them in a sorority. This will tell you whether this community is viable or not.

It would also help if you provided them with plenty of hiding spots in the tank from the very beginning.

How to Protect Betta Fish Tank Mates

Provide Adequate Tank Space

Betta fish are highly territorial. As such, they are unlikely to cede any of their tank space if they feel squeezed.

To solve this problem, provide the betta fish and their companions with enough space, so that neither has to get in the other’s way unnecessarily.

Just like betta fish, most of their mates like exploring their surroundings. There will not be enough space for all the players if the tank is 3, 4, or 5 gallons big.

Ordinarily, this space is only adequate for 1 betta fish. If you are considering bringing in another fish, think in terms of not less than 10 gallons.

Provide Plants and Rocks

The décor you provide will determine how well your betta fish is willing to accommodate a mate. For example, silk or live plants, driftwood, and rocks are good hiding spots for fish that feels threatened.

Also, plants, rocks, and other materials help stabilize the aquarium environment in many ways.


Under the right conditions, your betta fish can live with tank companions or mates. A tank that houses a betta fish with its mates is called a community tank.

Remember, every inch of fish you introduce into the tank requires at least 1 extra gallon of water.

For example, if you introduce a 2-inch fish, you’ll need to accommodate the betta and its mate in a 7-10 gallon tank.

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