Betta Fish – Tank Mates

Linh Luu, Writer

You look inside your fish tank to see your “lonely” Betta fish swimming around. Inside, you feel sad about it. Fearing it’s lonely. You then have the genius idea of getting it a tank mate. Don’t be fooled by your Betta’s frowny face. They’re extremely territorial animals, and if you don’t be careful you might just end up with an empty tank. Betta fish are extremely territorial and will fight any fish that gets into its space large or small. These fights will normally lead to severe wounds or death. To avoid that, I’ve compacted a list of tank mates that are compatible with Betta fish. One final note before I begin the list, your betta fish should be kept in a five-gallon or above the long tank with plenty of hiding spaces for these tank mates to not be eaten or hurt. Whether you have tank mates or not, your betta fish aquarium should be five-gallons or above. My next blog post will be about the perfect set-up.


Number one, the neon tetra. Neon tetras are small school fish. Known for the bright stripes that run down the side of their bodies. Usually, bright fish are not recommended to be kept with bettas. Although, neon tetras are one of the very few exceptions. Neon tetras live in schools of seven or more and are very fast fish. The school stays together and does not bother the betta. If this is the fish of your choice, their tank size requirement is ten plus gallons. 


Number two, the Bristlenose pleco. The Bristlenose pleco is a black “fish” dotted with white spots. It does not look like the average fish as it not only moves with its plunger like mouth and not fins. It also does not have a distinct “fish” body shape. The Bristlenose pleco is an algae eating fish. It stays at the bottom of the aquarium. The Bristlenose pleco occasionally goes up the sides of the tank to feed on algae. This fish will do everything in its power to stay out of the betta’s way. Going back to proper setups. A proper setup for a betta fish would be an aquarium lined with live plants that closely resembles a natural environment. If that criterion for the aquarium is met the pleco would easily blend in with its surroundings. Pleco’s require a tank holding twenty-plus gallons of water. 


Number three, the Ghost shrimp. I included this “fish” as the last tank mate on my list because it’s a 50/50. Ghost shrimp have an almost transparent body. They stick to themselves and don’t make such a fuss. I stated it’s a “50/50” because depending on the Betta, they might want to eat the shrimp. This is very dependent. Ghost shrimp are feeder shrimp which mean they are relatively cheap, I recommend buying three-four to stock in a ten-gallon aquarium. Once again, make sure the aquarium is lined with live plants and non-toxic hides. They will boost the chances of the survival of your ghost shrimp.


Those are the three tank mates I recommend. I kept this list short because I did not want to list any tank mates I don’t have experience with. I also didn’t want to list any tank mates that were not common in surrounding pet stores as it defeats the purpose of this post if the tank mates were not available. My next blog post will be about the perfect tank set-up. Hopefully, that post will clarify any misunderstandings about the “proper tank setup” I kept mentioning throughout.