Betta fish are notorious for being aggressive and willing to jump at any opportunity to fish with another tank mate. Surprisingly, there are a few tank mates that can get along with your betta fish! Betta fish get along great with larger snails and other small shoaling fish. You must choose the right tank mates for your betta to minimize the amount of stress both parties will experience if your betta decides he does not want company.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about betta tank mates and share tips and tricks to successfully keep your betta with other fish and invertebrates.
Table of contents
- Can Bettas Live Together?
- Do Snails and Betta Fish Coexist Peacefully?
- What are the Best Snail Tank Mates for a Betta Fish?
- 15 Suitable Tank Mates for Betta Fish
- Considerations When Choosing Tank Mates for Bettas
- How Can You Successfully Keep Bettas and Other fish?
Can Bettas Live Together?
Male betta fish should never be housed together. They are simply too aggressive and territorial to tolerate another male after maturity. Betta fish are naturally territorial and will fish or kill each other. Betta fish do not get lonely, nor do they thrive in conditions that much other fish require. Betta fish struggle with strong filters because their long fins weigh them down in the water. Betta fish also require a heater and are considered tropical fish. Housing betta fish with cold water fish will cause them to become uncomfortable and stressed in their conditions.
Do Snails and Betta Fish Coexist Peacefully?
Aquatic snails are one of the best tank mates for betta fish. They are large enough to not fit in your betta fish’s mouth, and they do not bother healthy betta fish. Aquarium snails can retract into their shell if your betta were to attempt to nip at them. There are a large variety of aquatic snails that will look attractive in your aquarium and create a peaceful environment with your betta fish.
Snails eat decaying plant matter, algae wafers, and other debris amongst the substrates. This means they will not harm or pay attention to your betta fish. Both species will generally ignore each other’s presence, but it is not unusual for bettas to be curious and pick at the snail during the first week. This will not cause any harm and your snail will not be harmed.
What are the Best Snail Tank Mates for a Betta Fish?
Plenty of aquatic snails can live with betta fish. These are the main species of snail that aquarists have had great experience keeping together:
15 Suitable Tank Mates for Betta Fish
Considerations When Choosing Tank Mates for Bettas
Before impulse purchasing a tank mate, you must determine if the fish are ideal for your tank conditions.
It is important to provide your betta and its tank mates with a large tank. A standard rectangular tank is ideal, and bettas should not be housed in bowls, vases, jars, or bioorbs. A betta fish requires a 5-gallon minimum setup, and a 10-to-25-gallon tank is necessary if you plan to add tank mates. Space is important to ensure that your betta does not get aggressive over a lack of space. A bonus to larger tanks is that your betta will not be able to see the tank mates constantly and this will lower the chance of your betta running into their tank mates.
Water Quality & Feeding
Aside from tank size requirements, water quality and feeding are just as important. Betta fish eat different foods than other tropical fish and invertebrates do. You should plan a feeding schedule to ensure each inhabitant is receiving their ideal diet. Betta fish should never eat plant-based foods as they struggle to digest the material. Since snails and bottom feeders consume large amounts of vegetables, plants, and algae, you should watch closely that your betta fish does not try to eat their food.
Tetras and rasboras eat tropical foods that may cause bloat and constipation in bettas. A tip on feeding all inhabitants their share of food is to place the food in different areas in the tank. Snails and bottom-dwellers should be fed at night when your betta fish is sleeping, and other shoaling fish should be fed on the opposite side of the tank. This way you will be able to successfully feed all inhabitants without issues.
A good quality filter is necessary to keep the waste and bioload at a minimum. Clean water is essential for the well-being of all tank inhabitants. The filter should not have a current which will stress out your betta fish. An aeration system is necessary to maintain a good oxygen ratio within the water. Gentle air stones, bubble walls, or air rings will work well.
How Can You Successfully Keep Bettas and Other fish?
- Make sure that the tank is large and meets the appropriate stocking rate. If you plan to only keep snails with your betta fish, smaller snail species like nerites, assassin, ramshorn, or bladder snails can comfortably live in a 10 gallon. This is true if you plan to keep between 1 to 8 small snails.
- If you plan to keep large snails like mystery or apple snails, a 15 to 20-gallon tank is required. This size tank can house 5 to 15 large snails.
- Shoaling fish are typically required to live in groups between 6 to 8. When adding them into the betta tank, you should ensure it is large enough to house all species comfortably. A 20-to-25-gallon tank will fit a small group of fish like tetras and danios with your betta.
- Bottom-dwellers require a minimum of 25 gallons when housed with a betta fish.
- The tank should be heavily planted with lots of hiding spaces for each inhabitant. Betta fish should not have fake plants or decorations as they are known for tearing their fins. You can put together a tank with silicone or live plants to keep your betta comfortable. Moss and bushy plants are ideal if you plan to keep shrimp with your betta. Shrimp need to hide under plants so that your betta fish does not harass and eat them.
- Before adding livestock into the tank, it should be cycled for 4 to 6 weeks until the water readings are at ideal levels.
Maintaining a community tank with your betta fish may be tricky, but it will become enjoyable once the inhabitants have established themselves and tolerate each other. Keeping betta fish with other fish or invertebrates rarely fails and ensuring that you follow the correct guidelines for tank conditions will lead to success.
We hope this article has helped you choose the best tank mate for your betta!
Featured Image Credit: Grigorii Pisotsckii, Shutterstock