A “Tankmate” is simply an aquarium species that shares a tank with another. On one hand you may feel a sense of guilt that your Betta is all alone, while on the other hand a fear of introducing another aquarium species to the tank due to the Betta’s fierce reputation. This article will help you decide on an appropriate tankmate for your Betta fish.
Is My Betta Lonely?
Many owners choose to seek out a tankmate for their Betta fish because they feel as though they are lonely. The first piece of advice we would like to give you is that your Betta is not lonely and they not not require a tankmate. Many people put aquarium fish in the same category as pets such as dogs and cats. Keeping your Bettas well being in mind, it is sometimes better to have your Betta in a tank of its own rather than stressing over other tank mates.
Can I Add Other Fish to my Betta Tank?
Under certain circumstances, Bettas can share an aquarium with other fish. Researching the behaviour and requirements of a species is vital before adding them to your Betta’s tank.
Under no circumstances do we recommend housing a male Betta with other fish. Males are territorial and live up to the name ‘Siamese Fighting Fish’. Even placing a male and female Betta together (for mating reasons) should be controlled and only attempted by experience aqurists.
- Male Bettas cannot share a tank without a divider
- Females in some circumstances can be housed together
- Male and female Betta fish should only be put together for breeding purposes.
Why Do Owners Add a Tankmate?
- The Betta appears bored or lonely
- They wish to liven up the aquarium space
- For viewing reasons/to fill the tank
Preparation Needed When Adding a Tankmate
When adding any tankmate to your Betta’s aquarium ensure you observe all fish closing for 72 hours. You should also have a ‘safe’ tank available to house your Betta if they become stressed or aggressive towards the tankmate/s.
Housing Multiple Female Bettas Together
Although not strongly recommended, if you wish to have female Bettas together ensure it is in groups of three or more. Odd numbers are recommend such as three as this allows them to establish a hierarchy. Two female Bettas together is not ideal as one claims dominance and bullies the other. When housing multiple female Bettas together ensure you closely monitor the tank. Like humans, every Betta has their individual personality. Some more aggressive than others. You will need to be prepared to remove any overly aggressive Bettas from the community.
Tankmate Rules of Thumb
It is important to do research when choosing a tankmate for your female Betta fish. Consider the following when selecting a tankmate:
- Do not select a brightly colored fish or one with large flashy fins. For example, guppies or mollies. Bettas can mistake them for another Betta which can lead to aggression.
- Do not select a close cousin of the Betta. Anabantidae fish (fish that possess a labyrinth organ allowing them to breath air from the water’s surface) do not make good tank mates. An example of this fish species is the Gouramis.
- Do not select an aggressive species. If a Betta’s fin is nipped by another species they will not hesitate to retaliate.
- Ensure you choose a tropical freshwater species to be your Betta’s tank mate. Cool water fish (goldfish) are not appropriate.
- Know that all Betta temperaments are different. The only way you will know is to try and add a tank mate and observe your Betta’s reaction.
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 these common betta fish tankmates, check out our articles below.
The fish that can live with bettas article has an in-depth list of fish that you can add to your Betta’s tank.
Other Betta Tankmates include:
- Ghost Shrimp
- Ember Tetras
- Clown Plecos
- Bristlenose Plecos
- White Cloud Mountain Minnows
- Zebra Snails
- Kuhli Loach
- Corydora Catfish
Why Not Add a Live Plant or a Betta Fish Toy?
If you do not want to take the risk of adding a tankmate to your Bettas tank, why not add a live plant or a Betta fish toy? Although not technically a tankmate, Bettas thrive when there are live plants in their aquarium. The Marimo Moss ball is a popular choice amongst Betta owners. Live plants and toys can provide you Betta with the excitement you were hoping a tankmate would add.