5 Best Tank Mates for Betta Fish
Betta fish are known to be fierce fighters, especially towards their own species, but did you know you can add tank mates to their aquarium? Yes, depending on your betta’s personality, he or she can peacefully cohabitate with other fish and invertebrates. However, make sure their aquarium is at least 10 to 20 gallons with lots of cover and live plants or else the betta fish may become overly territorial. For you and your Betta fish, here are our top 5 favorite tank mates.
1. Kuhli Loaches
These oddball fish look like an eel and can grow to approximately 3.5 inches. They are excellent scavengers, picking up any food left over by your betta. They’re a pretty safe choice because, as nocturnal creatures, they tend to hide together in groups during the daytime and then come out to play when the lights are off and your betta is asleep. By working different “shifts,” kuhli loaches can make great roommates even for more aggressive betta fish. These little water noodles should be fed lots of sinking foods like Repashy gel food and frozen bloodworms. You can find our complete care guide here for more information about caring for your Kuhli Loaches.
Kuhli loaches love to crawl under rocks and roots.
2. Ember Tetras
These bright, lively, and colorful red-orange tetras will add color to aquariums that are 10 gallons in size or more. Make sure to get at least five to six of them, so that they can school together and make it harder for the betta to single anyone out. This gentle tetra swims in the middle tank, and will eat the same foods as your Betta. It makes feeding the community tank easier. Pair them with a bright blue or solid white betta fish, and their contrasting colors will make a striking display for all to admire.
Ember Tetras are active schooling fish that can stand out in heavily planted tanks.
3. Malaysian Trumpet Snails
Like the kuhli loach, Malaysian trumpet snails are great with bettas because they’re mostly active at night and spend their daylight hours burrowing in the substrate. As a live-bearing snail, you don’t have to buy that many to start with because they readily reproduce if given enough food. The hardworking snail will clean your aquarium of algae and eat organic matter without adding much waste or bioload. They are preferable to the larger mystery snail because they can be fed during the day and may draw unwanted attention from your betta fish (who might mistakenly think the snail’s long antenna is a tasty worm).
Malaysian trumpet snails are sometimes considered pests because of their prolific breeding, but if you cut back on feedings, their population will decrease.
4. Harlequin Rasboras
This beginner-friendly fish measures 2 inches and has a bright orange color. The triangular black patch on the body makes it stand out in an aquarium. You can buy at least six rasboras to socialize together, just like the ember tetras. Their peaceful nature means they will not dominate your betta fish’s meals and will keep them out of harm’s way. Your betta fish may attempt to chase them, but it is unlikely that he will succeed. It provides him with exercise and enrichment. Read our full care guide for more details on this easy-going rasbora.
Harlequin and lampchop rasboras both make excellent schooling fish that will provide your betta with hours of entertainment.
5. Cory Catfish
Corydoras, which are great schooling fish, prefer to live at the bottom of the aquarium, unlike tetras or rasboras. These playful catfish like to shoal together (or swim loosely in a group), so get at least three to six of the same species so they feel safe and comfortable. You can choose from dozens of commonly available species, such as the albino cory, panda cory, and pygmy cory. Growing about one to three inches in length, they love scavenging around the tank floor and looking for leftovers, but you must specifically feed them a variety of sinking foods to make sure they get enough to eat. You can read our entire article about cory catfish to learn more.
Corydoras is a popular fish for community because they are happy-go-lucky and easy-to-breed. They also make a great clean-up crew.
All of these animals can be peaceful and get along well with each other, making them great tank mates for betta fish. Your betta will be able to live with most of these animals if there is enough space. Have fun looking at them all and finding the one that works best for your tank.