Top 10 Tank Mates For Bettas, I remember when I got my first betta around 20 years ago, the people at the pet store were like, these are Siamese fighting fish, they’ll kill anything you put in the tank with them.
I was always scared to put anything in the tank with bettas, so they would always stay in there by themselves and it was a little boring.
The truth is, you can put other fish with bettas, but not just any old fish will work though, so we’ve put a list together of our favorite tank mates for bettas to help you decide for yourself.
Let’s be honest, what fish doesn’t go well with Cardinal tetras as long as it’s a fish, that’s not large enough to fit the cardinal in its mouth they can pretty much go with anything.
This is a gorgeous little fish with the striking red and blues the neon stripe going all the way down.
They are perfect take mates for bettas because they won’t do anything to hurt the betta or even pick it its fins.
It’s also common to see Cardinals with bettas because you’ll usually find them in smaller tanks and Cardinals are teeny-tiny and can fit in almost any tank.
Cardinal tetras are schooling fish, just like a lot of the fish you’re going to see on this list. So don’t just get one, get 5 or 6 and keep them in a group and they will be super happy.
Harlequin rasboras are one of my all-time favorite fish. They have a super cold T-bone-shaped mark on their side, which makes them easy to identify, plus they get along with pretty much everything, they’re super hardy and they get along perfectly with bettas.
We currently have Harlequin Rasbora’s in three different tanks and in all three they’re in there with bettas, they’re just a perfect match.
This is another schooling, fish that doesn’t get huge, but you’ll want to have them in at least a 20-gallon tank.
Corydoras Catfish or Cory Catfish are other small members of the catfish family, they’re super cool and they won’t bother anyone and they won’t bother your betta either.
These are, for the most part, super active little fish that’ll do a great job scavenging around looking for food, which means yes, they’re another fish that’ll help keep things tidy which is always nice.
Some Corydoras Catfish like to be in small groups though, so make sure you do your research on them before you go and pick them up.
It’s always cool to watch them interact as a school too, they’ll be all over the bottom of the tank and doing it in a little group, it’s cool to see. Cory’s are kind of like snails though, some of them get bigger than others.
If you’ve got a smaller tank like a 10 gallon, go with panda cory’s, but you wouldn’t want to put pepper cory’s in a 10 gallon because they can get almost 4 inches in size, but the important thing that has to do with this list is their great tank mates for bettas.
We all know most of the betta tanks you’re going see out there are going be small, sometimes really small, like 5-gallons.
One of the most common questions is:
What can I put in my five-gallon tank to help with algae control and help keep the tank clean?
Well, you obviously can’t put larger, plecos, and stuff like that in there. So, what do you do? Well?
This is where snails come in.
If you’ve never kept snails, you might be thinking well, snails are a little boring. They aren’t going to provide a ton of action and movement in the tank, but they’re anything but boring, or maybe it’s just me.
Snails come in a ton of different varieties, some of them are unique and even though they don’t move very fast, they’ll still provide something visually interesting in every tank.
If you’re looking to put a snail or two in a smaller tank like a five-gallon, look for the snails that are going to stay smaller like the Ramshorn Snail or the Nerite Snails. If you’ve got your betta in a larger tank and want some bigger snails, look for the Mystery Snails or Assassin Snails be careful though, because Assassin Snails will eat smaller snails like Nerite Snails.
This is a good thing if you’re getting overrun with them, but if you have a couple of Nerite Snails and you introduce an assassin, don’t be surprised if they disappear.
Neon tetras are very similar to Cardinal tetras.
I know we’ve already talked about them, but these are a staple fish in the hobby and we had to include them on this list.
This is another super tiny schooling fish that won’t take up any room, won’t create a huge bio load on the tank, and won’t bother your betta.
This is another great fish for the betta keeper that wants to add some movement in their tank but they only have like a 5-gallon tank, so they don’t have a ton of options. You can easily throw 5 or 6 Neon’s in a 5-gallon tank with your betta and they’ll be perfectly fine.
The cool thing we’ve seen in our tanks is that sometimes the betta’s will pal around and school with the Neons. It’s neat. I know it might sound kind of weird, but I think it makes the betta happy like they’re hanging out with their friends.
You can find Neon Tetras anywhere and sometimes you’ll even find them for like a dollar apiece. So, if you’ve got a medium-sized tank, grab a dozen or so of these little guys and watch them fly around all over the place. They’re just awesome little fish.
Bristlenose Plecos – are a fish. We talk about it quite a bit on this website. They’re super cool alien-looking fish that will patrol all over your tank looking for something to suck on, I didn’t mean for that to sound weird seriously. These are cool little catfish that have never been known to bother any other fish, they’ll help to keep things tidy around your tank and it’ll be no problem for your betta.
The biggest thing I like to mention when it comes to plecos is these are not fish that are going to keep your tank clean to a point where you don’t need to do any maintenance. Yes, they’ll pick up little things and some of them will help with algae control, but they’re not going to prevent you from needing to do your routine maintenance.
Otos, are everyone’s dream fish, wait a minute they’re little catfish. So how can they be a dream? Fish? Well, I’ll! tell you, everyone’s looking for a fish that can go in smaller tanks that won’t hurt the other fish in the tank, they stay small and help clean algae.
Well, that just described Otos, I told you everyone’s dream fish 😊
Otos are great little algae-eating fish that do well and groups, and in tanks 10 gallons and larger, they’ll help clean algae off your decorations, plants, and even the glass and they’ll do a really good job too.
The only warning I’ll give you about them is if you buy 5 or 6 of them and put them in a 20-gallon tank with your Betta, and maybe some Neon’s or Harlequins they’ll clean up the algae, really quick people automatically think if their tank is clean, It’s great, the Otos are doing their job, but it could be that they cleaned it all and ran out now they’re starving.
We sold Otos when we had our store and we’d have people come in and say we put them in our tank, they did a great job and then they just started dying, in a nice way we’d say well, did you feed them and they’d be like no they eat the algae and I’d say yeah, you said the algae is all gone so, what are they eating now and they’d be like eerrrmm, the point is to feed your Otos, give them some algae wafers and they’ll keep your betta tank nice and tidy.
Kuhli Loaches are one of the most fascinating little worm fish that you’ll ever see in this hobby. They stay pretty small they’re nonaggressive and well. They look like little worms.
What more really needs to be said.
This is a super easy fish to keep, but there is a downside, and that is that you’re going to put them in your tank and they’re going to disappear. I’m serious they’ll be gone and you’ll be like hey.
We had one in an angel tank years ago and I forgot about it. I hadn’t seen it in years, then we were moving into this house and taking the tanks down. I drained the tank down and, when I went to take it off the rack, I saw something dark across the bottom.
I was like what the hell got into my tank. It was that Kuhli Loach, I have no idea where he was all that time, but anyway these are awesome little fish that you can find anywhere, just remember they’re very shy and skittish. So, you won’t see them all that much but by a group of them and you might have a better chance.
You’ll have a bunch of really cool little worms swimming around your tank and they won’t bother your betta’s.
Let’s see your brand-new fish keeper, you’re getting used to this whole thing and how it all works, you’re still learning the ropes and you’re nervous about adding more fish. Well, I’ve got the perfect fish for you, go get you some platies or mollies they’re super cute.
They don’t get huge and the best part is they’re super hardy, so they’ll be great while you’re still learning all of this. They’ll also be great tank mates to your betta and won’t even try to mess with them.
Platies and Molly’s don’t care about being in a school either, so you can just buy one or two and they’ll be perfectly happy. The only thing I would caution you on with these fish is, their livebearers and they’re constantly popping out new babies.
If your tank is small, I’d make sure to get only females or males that way you don’t have all those babies. Platies and Mollies are available in tons of different colors and patterns, they’re easy to find and super cheap.
So, if you’re a brand-new fish keeper or even experienced – and you want to give your betta some company grab a few and put them in there with him – they’ll all get along just fine.
Rummy Nose Tetra
Ah, yes, Rummy Nose Tetra is the gift to fish keepers everywhere. I love Rummy Nose Tetras I always have, and I always will, in my opinion, they’re the coolest schooling fish in the entire hobby, and I can assure you, you’ll never come to my fish room and not see a school of Rummy Nose Tetras in at least one tank.
This is an awesome tetra that doesn’t get huge and won’t bother any other fish in your tank. If you put a school of them in your tank, they’ll just run around together all day and never bother a soul.
They have the most striking redheads and a gorgeous black and white tail that both stand out from across the room. I love these fish so much and I love them with bettas.
The Rummy Nose Tetris will just do their thing and leave everybody alone. I seriously think we should do a whole block of articles just about Rummy Nose Tetras.
Kuhli Loaches, Platies/Mollies, and Rummy Nose Tetras are all great fish to keep with bettas. They are all nonaggressive, easy to care for, and relatively cheap. Each fish has its unique coloration and patterning that will make your tank stand out. All three of these fish are great choices for beginning fish keepers or experienced hobbyists alike.
Do betta fish need tank mates at all?
No, they don’t. But, in my opinion, it makes the fish-keeping experience so much more enjoyable when you have a community of fish swimming around together.
I hope this article has helped you decide on some fish to keep with your betta. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.
Happy fish keeping!
What is the best tank mate for a betta?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best tank mate for a betta will vary depending on the individual fish’s personality and preferences. However, some good options for tank mates for bettas include Kuhli loaches, platies/mollies, and Rummy nose tetras. These fish are all nonaggressive, easy to care for, and relatively cheap, and they will add some variety and interest to your tank.