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. Below are our top five favorite tank mates that you and your betta fish can enjoy.
1. Kuhli Loaches
These oddball fish, which look a lot like eels, can grow up to 3.5 inches in length and are great for picking up food that your betta has left behind. They are safe because they are nocturnal and tend to hide together during the day and then come out to play after dark falls. Even more aggressive bettas can be made to feel at home with kuhli locaches by working in different shifts. These little water noodles should be fed lots of sinking foods like Repashy gel food and frozen bloodworms. For more information on caring for your kuhli loaches, view our full care guide here.
Kuhli loaches love to squeeze themselves under plant roots, rocks, and driftwood.
2. Ember Tetras
These bright, lively, and colorful red-orange tetras will add color to aquariums that are 10 gallons in size or more. At least five to six are recommended to ensure that there is enough to go around and they can all school together, making it more difficult for the bettas to separate anyone. 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. Snails of the Malaysian Trumpet
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. This hard-working snail will remove algae from your aquarium and eat organic waste without adding any extra bioload or waste to it. 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 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. As with the ember tetras, buy a school of at least six rasboras, and they’ll happily socialize with each other. They are peaceful and won’t take over the mealtimes. 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 are another great schooling fish that, unlike tetras and rasboras, prefer to dwell at the bottom of the aquarium. 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. They are about 1 to 3 inches long and love to explore the tank floor looking for leftovers. However, you need to feed them a variety sinking foods so they have enough food. For more information, see our article on cory catsfish.
Corydoras have become a very popular species of community fish. They are so happy-go lucky, easy to breed and a good team member for cleaning up after the fish.
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!