Can Betta Fish Be With Other Fish?
Betta fish are some of the most popular fish available everywhere from pet stores to carnival booths.
They are small and can fit in smaller aquariums which is a plus for most casual fish owners (Although it should be noted that while they can survive in stagnant water, they do best in filtered aquariums). Their biggest appeal however is due to their magnificent coloring and flowing tails.
These fish, however beautiful, have another name. The “Siamese Fighting Fish” is known for being highly territorial and it is a common belief that they must be kept by themselves. This is a (mostly) false assumption. Betta fish can cohabit with other fish, but there are certain things to keep in mind before doing so.
TWO MALE BETTA FISH CANNOT LIVE TOGETHER
If you keep two male betta fish in the same tank they will become aggressive. In most circumstances, one or both will end up dead. Male bettas will typically have longer, more elegant fins while females will have shorter.
Females can coexist, but it is suggested you do so with caution. Although this is not a hard and fast rule, it is advised to introduce equal numbers of fish to the tank to avoid bullying. This is because the female betta becomes more easily stressed. For example, if you have two female bettas and want more than you should ideally introduce two more rather than just one.
While having one male and one female betta would not result in fighting, it would eventually result in babies which should be left to advanced fish keepers.
Some argue that no combination of multiple bettas is safe. You may want to consider doing your research before creating a betta community.
A SMALL AQUARIUM CAN INDUCE FIGHTING
Bettas like their space, and while other fish can peacefully live alongside a betta fish having too little space will make your betta fight. Having at least 5 extra gallons of space for your betta will keep the peace. Having space for ornamental decorations can be a plus because if the betta does angry, your other fish will have hiding spots until the betta cools down.
Just like in elementary school, you don’t pick on the bully. Any fish that is prone to nibbling can aggravate the betta fish. This inevitably causes it to fight back.
Fish that nibble can also cause damage to the betta’s skin and so even if it does not fight back, you will be sacrificing the health of your pet.
BIGGER FISH INTIMIDATE THE BETTA
Big fish will intimidate your betta and can provoke a reaction. While it may seem like this would be a good idea, as they betta may not be able to kill a larger fish, the betta is stubborn and will attack regardless of size.
IDEAL COMPANIONS FOR THE BETTA FISH
While there are a lot of options when it comes to your aquarium, and proper research may garner more compatible companions for your betta fish, these are a few that tend to do well.
- Kuhli Loaches
- Bristle Nose Plecos
- Cory Catfish
- Neon Tetras
- Feeder Guppies
- Harlequin Rasboras
- Ember Tetras
- African Dwarf Frog
- Clown Pecos
- White Cloud Mountain Minnows
As a general rule, most algae eaters are great companions for the betta fish. Although some are nibblers.
Betta fish do not mind being alone in their aquarium. However, if you personally would like to create a fish community it is important to do your research and know what you are getting yourself into. It is absolutely possible to cohabitate your betta fish. It is just always important to keep their personal health and happiness in mind as you do so.