Fish Compatible With Bettas

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What Is Compatible With Siamese Fighting Fish?

Good question. When pondering “What fish is compatible with Siamese fighting fish?” you have to consider it both from the bettas point of view AND the other fish. Because we want no shredded fins (or hurt feelings) either way, right?

For example notorious fin nippers like tiger barbs are not exactly betta fish compatible! Being somewhat shy, bettas actually make inviting targets for getting picked on too. Not what you’d expect I know.

While figuring out that unsuspecting male guppies aren’t exactly compatible either doesn’t take Einstein’s help. Their flowing tales can easily be mistaken for another male by a betta with his blood up. Not good. For the guppy.

So you kinda have to pick their companions carefully. If you want them to have finny companions at all.

Why Bettas Are Loners

In an ideal world bettas simply prefer to be alone. In fact that would be the best thing you can do for them. Why? Because bettas are called Siamese fighting fish for a reason. They are territorial to the max and will attack whatever hapless fish stumbles into their territory. And attack is about right. Fight to the death at times is right too given how for some bettas their motto to live by is kill or be killed.

And you want to put a fish with that mentality in with some playful zebra danios? Do they get a vote?

While danios of all stripes may be a possibility, don’t even think of putting one male betta in with another. That’s just asking for trouble.

But two females aren’t any better. Stick one female in with another female is simply setting the stage for a vicious catfight.

Either of those moves simply won’t work. Do so and it’s game on. Liked mixed martial arts betta style. These fish may have the beauty of ballerinas but they have the mindset of an NFL linebacker.

Crazy as it seems even a mis-paired male and a female could also end up killing each other if placed together in a tank unless they’re in a breeding mood. Love may conquer all – just not in a betta’s world.

There’s another thing to keep in mind when looking at bettas sharing quarters in some sort of community way.

Tank Size Matters

If all you have is a one-gallon tank forgetaboutit! There’s no way for any self-respecting betta to live with another fish in cramped quarters like that. None.

Again bettas are territorial so you need to house them in a large tank if you intend to put other fish in. This way, the betta could still have its own private space. Yet they’re content to share if there’s enough space for them to do their thing.

Even a 5-gallon tank may only be large enough for you to put one betta in plus a shrimp or a snail. But it’s more likely than not means the end of the shrimp eventually so just be prepared.

So what’s the ideal size?

The tank should at least have a 10-gallon capacity if you want betta fish and a few other fish to get along together. But a 29 gallon tank would be better still. Actually when it comes to the maximum size, there really is none. The overall rule of thumb is the larger the better.

Another thing that helps is the availability of plants and other hiding places. Where either bettas or their tank mates can find refuge.

Potential Co Habitation Candidates

The next step is to measure up any potential tank mates against this list of criteria for fish that maybe can be put together with a prized betta.

  • No colorful fins (think fancy guppies)
  • No fin nippers (think tiger barbs and some tetras)
  • Not aggressive or territorial (think cichlids)
  • Do not resemble bettas i.e. have long, flowing fins (think guppies and angelfish)
  • Not a cold water fish (think goldfish)
  • Not a saltwater fish obviously. Well doh!
  • Not somewhat the same size as a betta. (think giant danios)
  • Not a betta and not related to the bettas (think dwarf gouramis)

Anyway what’s left?

Fish That Are (Somewhat) Compatible With Bettas

You may actually be surprised by how gentle bettas can be with other nonthreatening species. Which makes them somewhat good community tank prospects. As long as you don’t mind a “little” aggression every now and then toward the smaller fish. That list of approved tank buddies might include

  • Neon tetras
  • Cardinal tetras
  • Platys
  • Dalmatian molly
  • Gold barbs
  • Swordtails
  • White clouds
  • Zebra danios
  • Rasboras

Just keep your fingers crossed that none of these get on the bettas bad side.

If you want to see if you can put a betta in with other fish remember to have a big enough tank and include fish on the approved list. Then hope for the best.

About Lucas
Putting a name with a face I'm Lucas Smatana. Like you I'm passionate about betta fish and hope to share my enthusiasm. The idea here is to make sure you get helpful info and useful ideas on betta fish care that really work. To insure your betta keeping experience is a good one both for you and your fish. So that you and your pet enjoy a long, happy and healthy relationship.

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2 Responses to “Fish Compatible With Bettas”

  1. Sue says:

    I recently got 2 betta fish and put them in the same tank with a slide in wall to seperate them. One of them jumped over the wall and I quickly separated them, but the one that jumped over started sitting at the top of the tank only moving the little fins on the front of him. Also after that their fins frayed. How do I stop them from jumping into each other’s side of the tank and should I worry about the frayed fins and the fish that is not moving?

    • admin says:

      This is a new one. LOL Keeping bettas in the same tank with a separator of some kind is not new – I’m assuming these are two males? But jumping to get the other guy certainly is unusual. And creative. Shows real determination. Do you have the tank covered? Not one that seals like a Tupperware lid, but a loose fitting cover (think plexiglass) should cut down on the jumping. Not sure about the other behavior you describe. Could be stress.

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