7 Excellent Betta Tank Mates for Your Siamese Fighting Fish

You might also be interested in the best fish tanks for your Betta.

The Siamese fighting fish or Betta splendens is the most celebrated member of the Gourami family. Colloquially known as Betta, this aesthetically pleasing fish has an invasive character hidden behind the grandeur of appearance.

As the very name of the species suggests, it behaves aggressively towards the fishes of their own community. Even though the female ones are occasionally co-operative, the male fishes are likely to fight each other to death if you happen to put them into the same tank. Even the most seasoned aquarists would admit to have a tough time housing these territorial species.

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In their native place South-East Asia, B. splendens thrive in rice paddies, warm standing waters, and flood plains, primarily in ditches of Thailand (also called Siam, hence the name Siamese Fighting Fish), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Contrary to popular belief, a spacious environment to swim, proper heating, and filtration are the necessary elements for a healthy aquarium environment for your multi-coloured fighter fish. Still, they require significantly less maintenance compared to most other fishes, giving rise to a growing market of self cleaning fish tanks suitable for Bettas.

Picture credit: andyram1
Picture credit: andyram1

These hyper-aggressive fishes are not at all in need of a tank mate. If you still wish to keep other fishes in the same tank, I would suggest you to choose the species wisely to avoid turning your aquarium into a battle ground of marine world war. As a rule of thumb, if you have a tank that can hold minimum ten gallons of water, you can go ahead with finding a roomie for your Betta.

Buying a suitable aquarium for your Betta isn’t the hardest part. Choosing the right tank mates for these wild fishes is undoubtedly a Herculean task. The individual characteristic of the Betta has an important role to play here.

From my personal experience, I can say that Siamese fighting fishes are often misunderstood regarding how they behave with other species. They can actually live peacefully with a few other communities. Although some of those other species are overly wild, especially during their breeding season, they generally do not cause any significant damage to either your Betta or the fish tank. Here are our top 7 picks of Betta tank mates:

1. Ember Tetras

Picture credit: Lauris Karpovs Ziemelis
Picture credit: Lauris Karpovs Ziemelis

Ember Tetras (Hyphessobrycon amandae) are suitable to be housed with Betta fishes for their peaceful, submissive nature and can survive under the same condition as their Siamese tank mate. They are the creatures of shallow water in the lower Amazon basin. These fishes are small in size, having an average length of 15-20 mm. Both communities love to swim around floating plants in the water, so, make sure you decorate the aquarium with lots of plants and other natural elements.

Embers are not fin nippers and have dull colour which further adds to its viability. They are comfortable in acidic water with a pH level between 5.0-6.5, a temperature between 20-29 degrees and gentle filtration. They enjoy eating brine shrimps, flakes, and blood worms. They can be an ideal fit in community fish tanks for their amazing compatibility level. It doesn’t really like to take up fights with larger, boisterous Bettas.

2. Harlequin Rasboras

harlequin rasbora
Picture courtesy: RCU2

The scientific name for harlequin Rasboras is Trigonostrigma heteromorpha. In their natural habitat, this species live side by side with Bettas without being violent — which means they have a natural compatibility towards each other. The chief reason to consider harlequin for your Betta tank is its appearance.

They are not fin nippers and don’t possess bright colours, giving themselves no chance of being diagnosed as a male Betta by your Betta fish. Both can survive peacefully under similar conditions and also share similar dietary habits. These omnivorous fishes are about 2 inches in size, easy to take care of and can live in a group of 8-10 alongside a Betta in an aquarium. Give them bloodworms, flake foods, Tubifex and an occasional treat of fry infusoria.

3. White Cloud Mountain Minnows

Picture credit: pongo_c

The name is not the only impressive thing about this fish from the mountainous regions of China. White Cloud Mountain Minnows or Tanichthys albonubes can be easily housed with mortal combatants like Bettas in the same tank. It’s a bit tricky to find this gorgeous species in local shops as their locality is limited to the Delta region of Pearl River. Moreover, it has been officially declared as an endangered species by the China government.

These fishes hardly nip the fins of their co-habitants and dwell peacefully with other communities in the same tank. The ideal pH range of the water for this fish is 6.0-7.5. You might face troubles while setting a right temperature for your Betta fish tank as Mountain Minnows are cold water fishes and Bettas prefer warm water. To make the tank water suitable for both communities, keep it at a moderate temperature of around 75F.

4. Pygmy Corydora

Picture by: Carnat Joel
Picture by: Carnat Joel

Among the numerous species of Corydoras Catfish, Pygmy is regarded as the most compatible tank mate for violent aquatic animals like the Siamese fighting fish. The members of the Corydorus pygmaeus group are found in the waterways of the South American region.

Keeping them in a school of 6-10 fishes along with Betta will be harmless for both communities. Younger fishes are bottom feeders and eat insect larvae. There is no way they would agitate a Betta since they have dull colour. Dwelling in a water pH level of up to 7.0 is not an issue for them either. Their tiny size and calm nature make them a perfect roomie for your pet Betta.

5. Loaches

Picture courtesy: Pierce Soracco
Picture courtesy: Pierce Soracco

Loaches are one of the most sold fishes around the globe for community aquariums. Both Betta and Loaches are tropical fishes, so, you need not worry about creating a mutually favourable condition for both communities. Loaches are however slightly aggressive. Putting them in groups of 6 is the best way to avoid any potential face-off between the Betta and Loaches.

There are many varieties of Loaches. Pond Loaches are the most preferred as domesticated fishes. Its eel-like look, olive green hue and shy nature rarely catch the attention of a Betta. Pond Loaches are bottom-dwelling scavengers and live on Tubifex, bloodworms and other microorganisms.

6. Feeder Guppies

Picture by: DianesDigitals
Picture by: DianesDigitals

Feeder Guppies are easily identifiable by the absence of flashy coloured fins and black spots all over their skin. Feeder Guppies are dull in colour and adaptive to a wide range of conditions.

These species are bred in the fish farms and ponds of Florida. They are found in myriads of shapes, ranging from top sword, double sword and bottom sword fin type. Feeder guppies are tiny and mostly bland, so, you can fit them alongside a Betta comfortably.

7. Clown Pleco

Picture courtesy: Benjamin Pecka
Picture courtesy: Benjamin Pecka

Panaqolus maccus or Clown Plecos are beautiful, tiny, harmless algae-eaters who can get along nicely with territorial marine creatures like Betta. They are beneficial in keeping the water of the aquarium clean by eating algae. They also enjoy gorging on driftwood.

A Betta will think twice before getting into a tiff with a powerful catfish like Clown Pleco. These fishes like to roam freely, therefore, a large aquarium of around 20 gallons of water or more is preferred. They thrive well in soft, mildly acidic water.

Summing it up

The mysterious world of aquatic animals has a diversity beyond the imagination of a human being. People like me who try their best replicate a part of this world inside an aquarium know how much effort it takes.

Siamese fighting fishes are no less than the knights in shining armour, they are brave, flamboyant, vigorous and pride of the aquariums. Perhaps these are qualities that make them one of the largest selling aquarium fishes in so many countries.

I hope this guide about betta tank mates has been useful to you. So, now that you know a lot about what other fishes you can keep alongside your Betta, what are the other fishes that you are planning to keep in your Betta tank?

Header Photo by: Sarawut Korsoongsak

26 thoughts on “7 Excellent Betta Tank Mates for Your Siamese Fighting Fish”

  1. I got my crown tail betta with fibe rosy red and feder guppies and they doing awesome.am thinking about adding more fishes in my 10 galons tank

    1. My male bettas both have a snail in their tanks and they’re all fine. One of my boys sometimes tries to nip on its tentacles but then the snail just retracts them into the shell and is fine

  2. I kept my betta in a 120ltr tank with 4 zebra danios and 2 goldfish and it was absolutely great to watch them! They all looked relaxed doing their own thing, but as the goldfish grew I eventually moved to a pond. I now have my betta and danios with cardinals and fancy guppies and they never bother one another. I watch them more than the tv 🙂

    1. Goldfish, koi, and other cold water fish put out ammonia and that kill tropical fish so they can NOT live together healthily.

      1. Ammonia is a byproduct of all fish waste. Goldfish are notorious for being extra messy, but with proper bacterial filtration it won’t be an issue.

        The primary issue is how large they get, but they covered that by removing the fish once it needed a bigger home.

  3. Hello.. I have a tank with one male red tail shark, 2male sword fish, 2molly’s(not sure about the sex),and one pleco.. They are all still small between 5-8cm long.. Can I put a Siamese fighter fish in with them.?

    1. Elize, what size tank do you have these in, and at what temperature do you keep the water? I think a 40 or 50 gallon tank might work with all of them together. But male bettas and other males may not be a good mix. Some have lived well enough together, but there can be a lot of chasing around. The swordtail males faster swimmers than the bettas and may do the chasing. You can try it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

  4. Hey I have a Siamese fish I recently put in a 5.5 gallon tank. What would happen if I put a clown peco in with it? (I do not know the gender of my siamase fish)

    1. Hi, Riley! A 5.5 is much too small for a clown pleco, unfortunately. However, you may be able to fit some snails on there!

  5. Hey I have a Male Siamese, for about a year now living alone. At first I bought him in a small one gallon tank. But I felt like he didn’t have enough space. So I went out and got a 34G tank with a pump and filter. I want to add loving mates but I am not sure wich ones to add. And would I need to add a heater? And all I’ve done to the tap water was just dechlorinate it. I’m a newbie at this but I don’t want my Siamese to die my daughters have grown fond of him. Lol please comment

    1. i feel like you should do research research on what fish to add as your beta tank mate. Heater is recommended since beta do like to live in warm water. If your beta isn’t too aggressive some fish are able to live with him/her. You do have to prepare for some things might go wrong. A 34 gallon tanks is more than enough to add some fish with the beta. A school of harlequin work pretty well with better. Fish who aren’t aggressive, isn’t a nipper, and are not brightly color works well with beta.

  6. I have 3 male bettas, each in their own 5.5 gallon tanks. I know that who you can house with your betta is vastly based on personality. My black and silver half-moon, Thorin, loves having friends. He has a gold longfin zebra danio, 1 neon (a rescue from my sister’s tank seems ok on his own!), 2 snails, and an otocinclus.
    My red, gold, silver and black dragonscale, Durhnevir, hates all friends and has a single assassin snail as a friend… who he tried to attack, but shells!
    My smokey veiltail, Hexxus also likes friends and lives with several Celestial Pearl Danios, 2 Endlers Cobra Guppies and a Cory catfish.
    In my experience, tankmates for bettas vastly depend on the personality of your individual betta fish and the setup of your tank. Heavily planted tanks are great for giving little guys a place to hide, bettas a place to setup a territory and also increases the number of fish you can squeeze into an aquarium (by helping along the nitrogen cycle). If you want a betta more apt to accepting friends, choose one more docile who doesn’t tend to flare at everyone and everything. Happy hunting!

    1. Every Betta is different, some will get along with just about any fish and others won’t tolerate any at all. They each have different personalities, eg. Some one may hate dogs while some one else will love them.. every one different.

  7. I have had my betta for a year now and have just added a bristle nose pleco and 4 black tetras. Seems to be doing well so far. Was told by the shop the tetras aren’t fin nippers so hoping they won’t.

  8. I was wondering what i could put in my five gallon tank right now i have a male betta i was thinking a pleco with a snail or would that be overstocking

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