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. This is our top 5 list for tank mates you and your fish will enjoy.
1. Kuhli Loaches
These oddball fish resemble an eel, and grow to around 3.5 inches. Because they are nocturnal, they will hide in groups during daytime, then emerge to play at night when your betta is asleep. Kuhli loaches, even if they are more aggressive than betta fish, can make great roommates by switching between “shifts”. You should make sure that you feed your little water noodles plenty of sinking foods like Repashy Gel food, frozen blackworms, frozen bloodworms and community pellets. Our full care guide contains more information about how to care for your kuhli loaches.
Kuhli loaches like to hide under plants roots, rocks, or driftwood.
2. Ember Tetras
These 1-inch, red-orange tetras make a lively, colorful addition to any aquarium that is 10 gallons or larger in size. You should get at most five to six, to allow them to school together and make it easier for the betta not to pick anyone out. This gentle tetra is a good choice for community tanks as it will generally swim around the tank’s center and eat the same foods that your betta. 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 an active, vibrant schooling fish that stand out in a heavily planted tank.
3. Malaysian Trumpet Snails
Malaysian trumpet snails, like the kuhli locach, are great for bettas. They’re active mostly at night and spend most of their day burrowing in the substrate. Because they are a living-bearing snail you don’t need many to get started. They can reproduce quickly if they have enough food. This hardworking snail can clean up algae on your aquarium glass and eat organic material without adding to bioload or excess waste. They are preferred to the mystery snail which prefers to feed at night and might attract unwanted attention from your Betta fish (who may mistake the snail’s antenna for a tasty mealworm).
Malaysian brass snails can be considered pests due to their prolific breeding. However, if they are fed less, their population will decline.
4. Harlequin Rasboras
This fish is a great beginner-friendly size at 2 inches. It has a bright orange body and a distinct black triangular pattern that really makes it stand out in an aquarium. Like the ember Tetras, a school of six or more rasboras will allow them to interact with one another. Their peaceful nature means they will not dominate your betta fish’s meals and will keep them out of harm’s way. Although your betta fish may attempt to chase them (without much success), it provides him with exercise and enrichment. This easy-going rasbora is described in our care guide.
Harlequin or lampchop Rasboras make great schooling fish for your betta. They will entertain you for hours.
5. Cory Catfish
Corydoras are another schooling fish. They prefer to live at the bottom of the aquarium, which is a departure from 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. There are many species you can choose from such as the panda cory (albino cory), and the pygmy Cory (pygmy). They can grow up to one to three inches long. For more information, see our article on cory catsfish.
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.
These animals are friendly and peaceful, which makes them great tank mates. 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.