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 eel-like oddball fish grow to about 3.5 inches long and are great scavengers for picking up any excess food your betta drops. 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. Just make sure to feed these little water noodles lots of sinking foods such as community pellets, Repashy gel food, frozen bloodworms, and live blackworms. For more information on caring for your kuhli loaches, view our full care guide here.
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Kuhli loaches love to squeeze themselves under plant roots, rocks, and 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. 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 tends to swim around the middle of the tank and generally eats the same foods as your betta, which makes the whole community tank easy to feed. Pair them with a bright blue or solid white betta fish, and their contrasting colors will make a striking display for all to admire.
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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. 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 hardworking snail will clean algae off your glass and eat organic debris without adding too much waste or bioload to the aquarium. 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 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 2-inch, beginner-friendly fish features a bright orange body with a distinctive black triangular patch that really stands 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. Because of their peaceful nature, they won’t dominate the food during mealtimes and will stay out of your betta’s way. Your betta fish may try to chase them a little (without much success), which provides good exercise and enrichment for him. Read our full care guide for more details on this easy-going rasbora.
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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 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. Check out our complete article on cory catfish for the specifics.
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.
All of these animals are peaceful and easy to get along with, making them the ideal tank mates for a betta fish. 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!