Betta fish and guppies are both eye-catching fish that are popular in the freshwater aquarium trade. Both have similar water parameter needs, which may lead people to wonder if it’s ok to keep these two species in a tank together. After all, they’re both beautiful additions to a tank, and the lively behavior of Guppies can make for a highly active tank. However, there are things you should know about attempting to keep Guppies and Betta fish together.
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Can Bettas and Guppies Live Together?
Technically, yes. However, the sex of the fish plays a huge part in making this kind of arrangement work. Male Betta fish are known for their aggression toward other fish, especially other male Bettas. Since Guppies also have colorful, flowing tails, male Bettas often confuse them for other male Bettas, leading to aggression. This aggression can go both ways, though, as male Guppies are known to bully other male Guppies for breeding rights. This combination of Bettas and Guppies is not recommended at all.
Attempting to combine male Bettas with female Guppies can sometimes work, but it does carry high risk. Male Bettas are aggressive toward other fish, including other female Bettas. If they confuse the female Guppies for female or male Bettas, they may either pursue incessantly for breeding or attempt to attack the other fish. It is usually not recommended to attempt to keep male Betta fish with other fish at all due to their aggressive nature.
Adding female Bettas to a tank with male Guppies might work, but keep in mind that male Guppies are constantly searching for females to breed with. It’s possible for a male Guppy to think your female Betta is a female Guppy, causing him to pester her in an attempt to breed. This may lead to stress for your female Betta, but it also may lead to her lashing out at the Guppy and attacking him.
Combining female Bettas and female Guppies is likely your safest combination of these fish. Female Bettas and female Guppies are both relatively laid-back fish that are unlikely to show aggression unprovoked. However, Guppies are fast swimmers and will eat as much food as possible. This may limit the amount of food your Betta fish is able to get, so you’ll have to ensure your Betta is getting enough to eat. This may include syringe feeding near your Betta while the Guppies are distracted by food elsewhere or separating your Betta during feeding time.
You can combine female Bettas in tanks with both male and female Guppies, and this is likely to work well. However, you’ll need to ensure there’s plenty of space for everyone to allow your female Betta a break from the highly active behaviors of Guppies. Plenty of plant cover will also ensure that some of your Guppy fry will survive and not all of them will be eaten by either your Betta or adult Guppies.
What Water Parameters Do Both of These Fish Require?
Betta fish are tropical fish that require warm water between 72-82˚F, but they thrive with stable temperatures between 78-80˚F. They prefer a pH between 6.5-7.5 but can do well with a pH as high as 8.0. Some people report keeping their Betta fish in a tank with slightly lower pH successfully as well.
Guppies are tropical fish, but they can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, making them pretty flexible. They can be kept in water between 72-82˚F, putting them squarely in the water temperature needs of Betta fish. They are happy at any temperature in this range, making the Betta’s preferred 78-80˚F range appropriate for Guppies as well. Guppies thrive with a pH between 6.8-7.8, which also matches up to the needs of Betta fish. They can tolerate a pH as low as 6.5 and as high as 8.0.
Keeping Bettas and Guppies together in the same tank can be done safely and successfully, but it does require some planning and close monitoring. Bettas are known to be aggressive fish, and while females are less aggressive than males, they can still get an attitude and be a problem in community tanks. Keeping Bettas and Guppies together is a commitment on your part to ensuring the safety and comfort of all tank inhabitants. A high stress environment can lead to illness and injury, so take all precautions to keep your fish happy and healthy.
Featured Image Credit: Arunee Rodloy, Shutterstock