The Betta is easily one of the most striking freshwater fish, and it certainly would have been cool to keep a bunch of them together. However, as their moniker of “Siamese Fighting Fish” suggests, they do not do well with each other at all.
This often leads to them being kept all alone in a small tank. That doesn’t have to be the case, though, as there are many other fish that can be kept with them. However, tankmates for the Betta should be chosen with care.
Put in the wrong fish, and they will either attack the Betta or get attacked by the Betta. To avoid such ugly situations, here are twelve of the best tankmates you can get for the Betta fish.
The Neon Tetra is perhaps the most popular freshwater fish out there after the goldfish, and it is just fortuitous that it makes for the perfect Betta tankmate. They stay pretty small and hence can be kept in decently large numbers in a compact aquarium.
Their small size, brilliant coloration, and schooling behavior act as the perfect backdrop to show off the brilliant aesthetics of the Betta fish. To top it all off, these two species get on really well with each other, and they strive in similar water conditions.
If you are looking for the perfect match for your Betta, then nothing can beat the Harlequin Rasbora.
To start off, both these fish are found in similar water bodies in the wild, and thus getting them to live happily in the same tank isn’t difficult at all. They do not bother each other, and the subdued yet brilliant coloration of the Harlequin Rasbora makes the Betta shine even more from a visual standpoint.
This option isn’t for everyone, but if you love a challenge when it comes to fishkeeping, then this is an option worth exploring. A tank with one male and multiple females is the way to go.
This is also an option that won’t always work as it totally depends on the temperament of each fish involved. However, if your tank is large enough with plenty of hiding spots and your fish turn out to be relatively on the tolerant side, you could end up with the most spectacular freshwater tank out there.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that the Betta will not only go after others of its own species, but it will also go after other fish with long-flowing fins in what would be an ugly case of mistaken identity.
As such, male guppies are a big no-no. However, female guppies, with their shorter fins and more subdued coloration, do make for an interesting tankmate option.
Platies do make for an excellent tankmate for the Betta, but once again, care must be taken to ensure that you do not get one of the long-finned varieties, as the Betta will get into a fight to the death with them.
Short-finned platies, on the other hand, will be left alone, and given the bold colors you can get these fish in, they nicely accentuate the visual brilliance that is the Betta while also being quite compatible when it comes to the tank setup.
This one should be avoided by beginners and novices as the glass catfish is one of the most difficult fishes to keep in the hobby. However, if you have the necessary expertise, then a tank with a Betta as the centerpiece and a bunch of schooling glass catfish provides for a visual treat that is second to none.
If you are looking to cram in as much variety as possible, then the world of tetras is your best bet.
A medium-sized tank with a beautiful Betta accompanied by small schools of tetras such as the Rummy Nose Tetra, Ember Tetra, Diamond Tetra, Silver Tip Tetra, Glowlight Tetra, Cardinal Tetra, and Black Neon Tetra will make for the most stunning community tank that still won’t take up a lot of space. It will also be relatively easy to care for.
Otocinchlus Catfish ( Dwarf Suckers )
Sometimes, the best strategy is to choose fish with completely opposite behavioral patterns. Following this strategy, the Oto Catfish is your best option. It pretty much stays adhered to the bottom and sides of the tank and just stays out of the way of the Betta. It is very hardy too, which makes it a pretty hassle-free option.
Loaches have some of the most colorful personalities among freshwater fish. They complement the Betta perfectly as their agile and fast-moving nature works well with the graceful movement exhibited by the Betta.
Options such as the Kuhli loach and Zebra loach are great when it comes to choosing tankmates for the Betta. Avoid the insanely popular Clown Loach as, even though they make for great Betta tankmates when small, they can grow to be quite big.
If you already have a Betta then chances are high that the tank is pretty compact. Adding more fish in such a case would be the wrong thing to do. However, if the tank is at least 10 gallons and you want a lot of activity then there is no option as good as the Cory Catfish.
It is small, extremely playful, and readily available. It also stays in the bottom half of the tank negating any chance of conflict with the Betta.
While the common pleco is the last fish you should have in a Betta tank, other varieties such as the Bristlenose Pleco, Snowball Pleco, and the Candy Striped Pleco are excellent options. They stay relatively small and are stunning to look at. Availability and cost is the only real downside with these fish.
Bettas are some of the most colorful fish in the hobby but if that isn’t enough and you want an explosion of color in the tank then the cherry barb is the way to go. Docile and fairly hardy, this fish will add a lot to the character of the Betta tank without adding to the level of care that the tank will need.
So, there you have it. If you want to take your Betta tank to the next level then these options will help you get there and then some.