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. Here’s our top 5 list of favorite tank mates for you and your betta fish to enjoy.
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. Kuhli loaches are great roommates for aggressive betta fish by sharing different “shifts”. Make sure you give your kuhli loaches lots of sinking food such as Repashy gel foods, frozen bloodworms, frozen community pellets, and live blackworms. You can find our complete care guide here for more information about caring for your Kuhli Loaches.
Kuhli loaches love to squeeze themselves under plant roots, rocks, and driftwood.
2. Ember Tetras
These brightly colored, 1-inch red-orange Tetras are a great addition to any aquarium with a 10 gallons or greater size. 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. The gentle tetra will swim in the middle of your tank and eat the same food as your betta. This makes it easy to feed the entire community tank. 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
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. 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 hard-working snail will remove algae from your aquarium and eat organic waste without adding any extra bioload or waste to it. We prefer them to the larger mystery snail, which likes to feed during the daytime and may attract unwanted attention from your betta fish (who might mistake the snail’s long antenna for a tasty worm).
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 2-inch, beginner-friendly fish features a bright orange body with a distinctive black triangular patch that really stands out in an aquarium. You can buy at least six rasboras to socialize together, just like the ember tetras. They are peaceful and won’t take over the mealtimes. Although they may not be able to catch them, your betta fish might try to chase them. This provides enrichment and exercise for your fish. Read our full care guide for more details on this easy-going rasbora.
Harlequin, lampchop rasboras are excellent schooling fish and will provide hours of entertainment for your betta.
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 enjoy shoal (or swimming loosely together), so ensure you get at least three to six of each species to make them feel secure and comfortable. There are many species that are readily available, including the panda cory and albino 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. For more information, see our article on cory catsfish.
Corydoras are one of the most popular community fish because they’re so happy-go-lucky, easy to breed, and helpful as a clean-up crew.
These animals are all peaceful and easy-going, making them ideal tank mates. With enough aquarium space, your betta may do well with any of these potential roommates, so have fun researching them and deciding which one works best for you!