Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
It’s a common misconception that Betta Fish cannot live with other fish, however, this is not true. I’ve already covered whether or not you can put male and female bettas together and I gave a nod to the fact that other species of fish can live in harmony with Bettas. So let’s get started and cover some of the most basic questions.
DO BETTAS NEED FRIENDS?
No, unlike other fish, Bettas are not dependant on socialization. Now, female Bettas may thrive in sororities, male Bettas tend to be more like lone rangers.
DO I NEED A SPECIFIC TANK TO HOUSE MULTIPLE FISH?
There is no specific tank that you need for multiple fish, however, I would recommend going as big as you can. I would also make sure to do some research on all of the fish you are interested in introducing to your tank to make sure that all the “specs” that come with the tank are appropriate for all fish.
For example, Betta fish do not necessarily need bubblers since they can breathe out of the water, however, this doesn’t mean that they cannot benefit from them or that other fish don’t need them. One Betta Fish needs a tank that is at least 2-3 Gallons for them to thrive.
I’ve actually covered great tanks for Bettas here if you’d like to check that out. For multiple fish, I would say you want to start with at least 5 Gallons (if you have a betta and a small snail), but to be safe you’re looking at 10 or more Gallons.
CAN AMATEUR FISH OWNERS HOUSE MULTIPLE FISH WITH BETTAS?
They absolutely can, however, I personally don’t recommend it. Bettas are fairly fragile fish and need quite a bit of attention. They can suffer a number of illnesses and you’re going to want to make sure you know how to properly take care and treat your Betta before stepping into taking care of a number of other fish. While fish can be (and should be) separated while they are ill, it will be difficult to learn and spot everything (if anything) that goes wrong with your fish. Take a few years and get used to your first Betta before you jump into getting multiple fish.
If you are an amateur fish owner who is interested in getting more fish, buy yourself a big fish tank to begin with. There’s nothing wrong with having a large tank for a single fish, in fact, it’s actually better for the fish as they will get much more exercise. As you get more comfortable start adding more animals to the tank!
Note: you will want to wait until your first Betta crosses the rainbow bridge before introducing new fish. This is because your Betta may actually act even more territorial if they are used to their tank. It is much easier to add a Betta to an established tank rather than other fish to a single Betta’s home.
WHAT KINDS OF FISH SHOULD I STAY AWAY FROM?
Before I give you a clear list of fish and other creatures you may want to introduce to your fish tank, let’s cover some of the basic features or traits you want to avoid in fish and other creatures.
— Other aggressive or dominant fish
— Fish or other creatures that bite
— Colourful or Vibrant Fish
— Bigger Fish
— Fast Swimmers
Some fish that you definitely want to stay away from are goldfish, tiger barbs, guppies, clownfish, gouramis, siamese algae eaters and cichlids.
In general, it’s important to remember that if Bettas ever feel threatened or scared they will attack! It’s always best to maintain your Bettas stress as stress tends to be a huge cause of illness or death.
WHAT ARE SPECIFIC FISH THAT BETTAS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO GET ALONG WITH?
— Harlequin Rasboras (most ideal!!)
— Neon Tetras (You will want at least 6-12 to make a school of Neon Tetras or they may begin to nip at your Betta.)
— Brittlenose Plecos (Will need a large tank as they can grow up to 7 inches. They are fairly reclusive and if introduced early enough your Betta will not attack while full-grown. Not ideal for an amateur fish owner.)
— Khulii Loach
— Pygmy Corydoras Catfish / Cory Fish (Will need a few to socialize, however, they will stay away from your Betta Fish and will bottom feed.)
— White Cloud Mountain Minnows
— Ember Tetras (Will also need a school)
— Clown Pleco (Needs a 20 Gallon Tank)
OTHER ANIMALS THAT CAN LIVE WITH BETTAS
— Zebra Snail (most simple, will keep your tank clean and can live in small tanks)
— American Dwarf Frog (Have the same diet and are the most common pairing, however you must ensure that your Betta does not eat their food as they are passive eaters.)
— Ghost Shrimp (Will help keep your tank clean, however, they are temperature sensitive and while rare, Bettas may eat them)
— Mystery Snails
WHAT OTHER ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE?
In general, with Bettas, you’re going to want to make sure that there are tons of hiding places. Things like the Betta Log or artificial plants are great additions to the tank. Please make sure to read up on live plants before placing them into your tank, however, I can tell you that Marimo Moss Balls have been the biggest hit in our tanks.
Never be afraid to talk to employees of fish stores, they will be able to give you specific instructions of what fish or other creatures will thrive with your Bettas. Let me know if you have any other questions, I’d love to answer them in the comments below!