What are the Best Betta Fish Companions?
You may be thinking that your tank looks really empty and if it will be possible to put any other type of fish with your betta’s. The answer to this question is not always the steadfast rule, but rather a guideline. Here is a list of 5 of companions that may work with your bettas or when it is best to leave them on their own.
When out in the wild the Betta splendens live with other B. splendens, rasboras, loaches, gouramis along with other types of fish that fall under the genus Betta. They are definitely territorial fish and the wild B. splendens often drive away other fish, especially during their breeding seasons. However, they will seldom kill or damage anything and if there are damages they will be minimal.
However, the betas that are captive bred are very unlike the wild varieties. These fish were first bred for the purpose of aggression and eventually Thai breeders start to breed these fish for their colors. Unfortunately the aggression was never out bred, which has resulted in a colorful and hyper-aggressive version compared to the wild cousins.
Keeping these considerations in mind, you may be wondering if the pet store bettas can live alongside other fish. The answer may be no or yes. It will depend heavily on the personalities of these fish. The females are usually less aggressive and can generally live with community fish that are peaceful. The males are a bit more complex.
The majority of the bettas can live alongside a few selective fish very well, but then there are the type that are much too aggressive and will end up attacking everyone. In some cases the bettas may be too submissive and they will be susceptible to attacks from other fish. For this reason it can become a challenge when it comes to choosing the correct tank companions.
If your tank has enough space and meets up to the requirements of the fish type that you would like to add, ensure the fish species you do add are compatible with your bettas. Another consideration to keep in mind is what the companion fish will need. For example, choosing a school of tetras that are large would not fit into a 5 gallon. You should only be thinking about tank mates if your tank is 10 gallons or even larger, heated and filtered.
5 Betta Tank Companions:
1. White Cloud Mountain Minnows
The Tanichthys albonubes (White Clouds) are small minnows that come from a few select mountains in China. These are schooling fish which require a minimum of 6 in a group. They are peaceful fish and will leave your bettas alone. The diet of these fish is micro-predators which mean they will enjoy bloodworms, brine shrimp along with fish flakes. Due to the fact that they do not have long fins, the bettas will usually not attack them due to mistaken identities.
One of the only drawbacks of these fish is that they live better in cooler water of around 60-75F, while the bettas prefer warmer water of around 75-80F. If you decide to introduce these fish you will need to keep your tank at 75F to ensure the temperature is compatible for both species and you will need to ensure the water never gets too cold or too hot. The White Clouds can fit into tanks of 10 gallons or bigger and are able to tolerate pH ranges of 6.0-7.5, which is the same as the bettas.
2. Pygmy Corydoro
There are a number of Pygmy Corydora species, but as a betta companion, the smallest are more compatible and are known as the Corydoras Pygmaeus. All of the Pygmy Corys come from waterways in South America and feed off adult insects and larvae that they hunt out of the sand.
Like all the other Coryodras they are all schooling and will need to be in groups of six or more. A school of up to 10 can fit easily into a 10 gallon tank. These are bottom feeder fish, which means the bettas usually ignore them. They are also not bright in color which do not attract the attention of the bettas. This is why they make excellent tank companions, particularly for the smaller tanks. They prefer acidic water, however they can tolerate pH of up to 7.0.
3. Clown Pleco
Panaqolus maccus (Clown Plecos) are an outstanding alternative over the larger plecos such as the sailfin or commons plecos which are usually more widely available. These are algae eaters that only require a diet of driftwood and will perform well at keeping algae away. These armoured catfish usually deter bettas. The adult size of these fish is typically around 4″ they need a tank of at least 20 gallons. They are the ideal algae eaters for the bigger betta tanks and they are able to tolerate various pHs of between 6.0-8.0.
4. Harlequin Rasboras
Trigonostigma heteromorpha (Harlequin Rasboras) are relatively small fish that are native to most of the same types of water as the Bettas. This means that they are able to live alongside each other naturally. They are not bright in color and will not attract any unwanted attention from the bettas. They are also highly unlikely to nip on fins of the other fish and they enjoy the same water quality like the bettas do. Acidic and soft water is the best and a school of up to 8 fish can live easily in a 10 gallon tank with a betta.
5. Ember Tetras
Hyphessobrycon amandae (Ember tetras) are peaceful and small tetras that are mainly found in the lower parts of the Amazon basin within slow-moving backwater that means they like shallow water over the fast-moving currents. They are very small fish that only reach half an inch in length. 6 to 10 of these can easily fit into a 10 gallon tank with a betta. These fish also prefer more acidic water of around 6.0-6.5.