Can I Add Other Fish to my Betta Tank?

Oto on Apple Snail

Photo by Mean & Pinchy

Bettas can be housed with other fish under certain circumstances. You should research the behavior and requirements of each species before you add them to your tank.

Male bettas are territorial and should never be housed together under any circumstances. They’re called Siamese Fighting Fish for a reason. Additionally, males and females also should not be housed together unless you are planning to spawn them, which should never be attempted by novice aquarists.

Female bettas can be housed together in groups of three or more. (Odd numbers are preferable) When housing two females together, one tends to claim dominance and bully the other. Grouping three will allow them to establish a hierarchy. Keep in mind that all bettas have a strong individual personality. Any one betta may be overly aggressive and may have to be removed from a community tank. Be prepared to take a betta out and have a tank he/she can be placed in if he can’t play nice with others.

Bettas can do great with other community fish. There are hundreds of commonly kept freshwater aquarium fish so I won’t go into which are good and which are bad, but here are some general rules of thumb.

1. Don’t place bettas with other brightly colored fish or fish with large flashy fins like guppies or mollies. They occasionally react to them as though they are another betta and sometimes show aggression toward those fish.

2. Don’t place bettas with other Anabantidae fish such as Gouramis. Anabantidaes are fish that possess a labyrinth organ allowing them to breathe air from the water’s surface when dissolved oxygen levels are low. Because they are close cousins, bettas generally will be aggressive to these fish as well.

3. Don’t place bettas with other aggressive fish or fin nippy fish. Nipped betta fins can become infected or generally stress out your betta leaving him open to other ailments.

4 Bettas are tropical freshwater fish and shouldn’t be mixed with cool water fish like, goldfish.

5. As I said, some bettas will attack anything you put in the water with it. The only way to know is to try. Some fish that usually work well with bettas are, small catfish like Otocinclus and Corydoras, Snails, ghost shrimp, and Neon Tetras.

If you’re considering adding other fish, be sure to check the tank size requirements for the total fish load and have proper filtration and aeration in place.

Recommended Tankmates for Bettas

There is always a risk when you introduce a new tank mate to your betta that they won’t get along. For more information about the pros and cons of common betta fish tankmates, check out our articles below.

Neon Tetras

Photo by Leino88

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