Betta Tank Mates (2023) – A Comprehensive Guide

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Every Betta is different so choosing betta tank mates can be tricky.

Some are super aggressive and will not tolerate even snails while others are very chilled and will accept a wide selection of peaceful community fish.

So whether your Betta will accept tank mates or not depends totally on your fish’s temperament.

If your Betta is super aggressive then he will have to be kept alone which is okay so don’t worry if your fish is like this.

Luckily, every Betta that I have ever owned has fitted perfectly into my community tanks.

My present Betta (Monty) is doing really well and has not even chased my other fish.

I have Tetras, Glass Catfish and Cory catfish in with him and everyone is playing nicely.

Carry on reading to find out the best tank mates for your Betta.

Choosing The Right Betta Tank Mates

To ensure a peaceful and calm community tank, it is really important that you choose the inhabitants carefully.

The last thing you want is for other fish or your Betta to get hurt or even die.

It is not just the male Bettas that can be aggressive, female Betta can also behave just as badly.

Bettas make great show piece fish in community tanks and you will find that they often behave differently when surrounded by other fish.

Male Betta Tank Mates

Guidelines For Setting Up A Betta Community Tank

Here are some tips to help you achieve your goal of a Betta community tank:

  • Establish the community tank first and add your Betta last. (Planning is crucial)
  • The tank needs to be big enough to house all your fish including your Betta.
  • The tank must have a heater and a good filtration system.
  • Any new fish should first be quarantined to eliminate disease.
  • Acclimate your fish before letting them loose in the tank.
  • Make sure you have a spare tank up and cycled in case things don’t work out.
  • Observe the tank for at least 3 days after adding your Betta to see if everyone is getting along.
  • The community tank needs decorations, plants, caves and lots of places for the fish to hide.
  • Only add fish that need similar water conditions.
  • Buy specialize Betta food.
  • Don’t add fish with long flowing fins or tails.
  • Avoid aggressive fish like Oscars or Tiger Barbs.
  • Schooling fish should be in odd-numbered groups. (5,7,9 etc)
  • You cannot have two male Bettas sharing the same tank.
  • A male and female Betta cannot be put together in a community tank.
  • You can create a community tank with just female Bettas and some peaceful fish.

What Size Tank Is Best If You Want Betta Tank Mates?

The smaller the tank, the less fish it will be able to hold.

Betta fish by themselves should not be in a tank smaller than 5 gallons. This size tank cannot accommodate a Betta with other fish.

A good starting point would be a 20 gallon tank.

This will allow a nice school of fish with some other individuals for variety.

If you want a larger community tank then consider buying a 25 gallon or larger tank.

There must be enough space for all your fish to swim freely and areas for them to flee to if they become stressed.

Take into account the gravel, decorations, caves, driftwood, heater, filter and plants as these take away from the available swimming space.

Best Tank Mates For Bettas

Best Set Up For Your Betta Tank

The key is to arrange the decorations and equipment in such a way that they create distinct areas in your tank.

For example, I place a whole lot of tall plants on one side of the tank so shy fish can hide away if need be.

You can place driftwood, rocks, caves and decorations around the tank to create separate territories.

You will then find certain fish claiming an area for themselves which will help stop aggression between them.

Best Tank Mates For Bettas

Betta fish do best with fish that shoal.

The reason for this is because they will not be able to single out one individual to harass.

The shoal needs to be at least 5 individuals but more will be better.

They can also co-habit with non-shoaling species but they will need to be monitored when they have been added to the tank.

Here is a general list of fish that should be compatible with your Betta:

  • Endlers
  • Black Neon Tetra
  • Rummy Nose Tetra
  • Cory Catfish
  • Short finned Platy
  • Diamond Tetra
  • Glass Catfish
  • Silvertip Tetra
  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • Fire Rasbora
  • Neon Tetra
  • Female Guppy
  • Celestial Pearl Danio
  • Ember Tetra
  • Otocinclus Catfish
  • Kuhli Loach
  • Molly (Not lyre-tail)
  • Glowlight Tetra
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnow
  • Cardinal Tetra
  • Pleco
Female Betta Tank Mates

Male Betta Tank Mates

Male Bettas tend to be a lot more aggressive than female Bettas (There are exceptions).

For this reason there are fewer options to consider as tank tank mates for your fish.

Male Bettas can get really aggressive with very colorful fish or fish that are the same size as them.

Fish with flowing fins or slow moving fish should also be avoided. Rather choose small shoaling fish that will not pose a threat to your male Betta.

Bottom dwelling fish make good choices as they inhabit a different area of the tank then your Betta normally would.

  • Snowball Pleco
  • Kuhli Loach
  • Head and Tail Light Tetra
  • Colombian tetra
  • Pygmy Corydoras
  • Green Neon Tetra
  • Black Line Rasbora
  • Albino Cory
  • Zebra Loach
  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Dawn Tetra
  • Candy Striped Pleco
  • Otocinclus catfish

Female Betta Tank Mates

Female Betta fish are a lot more forgiving when deciding which species of fish they should be fine with.

They are not as bothered by colorful fish as the male Bettas are and do not seem to mind fast swimming fish either.

Because of this, there is a lot more options to choose from when deciding on female Betta tank mates.

Just remember that if your keep a group of female Bettas (Sorority) that you will need a bigger tank.

Here are some great options:

  • Yoyo Loach
  • Redeye Tetra
  • Neon Tetra
  • Cardinal Tetra
  • Clown Loach
  • Clown Pleco
  • Panda Cory
  • Gold Tetra
  • Blue Tetra
  • Penquin Tetra
  • Pristella Tetra
  • Black Phantom Tetra
  • Mosquito Rasbora
  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • Cherry Barbs
  • Guppies

Non-Fishy Betta Tank Mates

Betta fish do great with snails and some types of aquarium shrimps.

Only buy bigger snails as there is a danger that your fish will eat small snails.

Bigger snails are more difficult for them to eat so they generally leave them alone.

The same applies to shrimps.

Smaller shrimp like Cherry shrimp can be a nice snack for your Betta.

Rather stick to the larger varieties.

Baby shrimp will be eaten.

Check out these options:

  • Malaysian Trumpet Snails
  • Ramshorn Snails
  • Pond Snails
  • Assassin Snails
  • Mystery Snails
  • Nerite Snails
  • Vampire Shrimp
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Bamboo Shrimp
  • African Dwarf Frog

Betta Tank Mates According to Tank Size

I have broken it down a bit further to help you decide on suitable tank mates according to the size of community tank you have set up.

Betta Tank Mates 5 Gallon

This size tank will not allow you to add any additional fish but you can add a snail or two.

Try either a Mystery Snail, Zebra Snail or a Nerite Snail.

You can try Cherry shrimp if the tank is heavily planted. Just know that your Betta will feast on them so if that is something you cannot live with then rather don’t add them.

Cherry Shrimp

Betta 10 Gallon Tank Mates

A 10 gallon tank will accommodate your Betta and a few other fish or invertebrates.

The tank should be heavily planted to provide a hideaway for the fish.

You can add a small group of Ember Tetras which will look stunning in a planted tank.

An Otocinclus catfish is small enough and they will help eat any algae that the tank might have.

They need to be in a group so add a few of them.

Harlequin Rasbora are peaceful community fish and a nice shoal of them will blend.

More options to consider (only one species of fish though as the tank is not big enough for more)

  • Cory Catfish
  • Pygmy Cory Cat
  • Clown Plecostomus
  • Kuhli Loach
  • Female Fancy Guppy
  • Platy Fish
  • Red Rasbora
  • Amano Shrimp
Mickey Mouse Platy Fish

20 Gallon Betta Tank Mates

I highly recommend a 20 gallon tank as the bare minimum if you want a Betta community tank.

This size tank will allow for quite a few fish and invertebrates and even a frog or crayfish or two.

It is big enough for a good sized swimming area and your Betta will love investigating every area.

Here are some great options for this sized community tank:

  • Columbian Tetra
  • Silver Tip Tetra
  • Head and Tail Light Tetra
  • Diamond Tetra
  • Black Line Rasbora 
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnow
  • Penguin Tetra
  • Lambchop Rasbora

25 Gallon Betta Tank Mates

I personally have found that Betta fish are not fond of very large tanks.

But you can go bigger than a 20 gallon tank if you want to, just don’t go too big.

The bigger the tank is, the more fish it can hold and the more hiding spaces you can create.

The options below are suitable for bigger tanks:

  • Red Eye Tetra 
  • Rummy Nose Tetra
  • Molly Fish
  • Swordtails
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Platies
  • Honey Gourami
  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Bamboo Shrimp
  • Clown Loaches
  • Upside Down Catfish
mates for betta
Image by Juan Carlos Palau Díaz from Pixabay

Final Thoughts

Some betta fish prefer to live alone while others enjoy the company of tank mates.

A lot depends on your betta fish’s temperament as to whether it can live peacefully with other tank mates or not.

I love having my betta fish in a community set up as they make for perfect showcase fish but if you prefer having yours alone then that is perfectly fine.

Choose your betta fish’s tank mates wisely and keep an eye on how they are all getting along.

Make sure you have a spare tank ready if things don’t work out.


What kind of fish can live with a betta?

There are a number of fish that can live with a betta. But, it all depends on how aggressive your betta fish is and whether it will allow you to add tank mates. Peaceful community fish are a good option.

Can a betta go in a community tank?

Calmer and more peaceful betta fish can go into a community tank. You will need to make sure all the inhabitants are suitable tank mates for a betta and always add the betta fish last into the tank once the other fish have established their territories.

Do bettas need tank mates?

Betta fish do not have to have tank mates and the very aggressive bettas are best kept alone. I did find that my betta enjoyed living in a community tank and he interacted very well with the rest of the fish.

Can male and female betta live together?

No, they should not live together except if you are planning on breeding a pair. But you will need to separate them again once the breeding has been completed.

Photo of author


Irma Bense is the founder of She has over 42 years of experience in keeping fish.She has kept both freshwater and saltwater fish through the years.She has extensive knowledge in breeding numerous species of fish from Show Guppies, Cory Catfish, German Blue Rams to Apistogrammas.You can learn more about Irma on the 'About' page.