Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Can betta fish live with other fish? 5 incredible options you can add to your tank

When you want to add color and excitement to your aquarium, here are five fish breeds that can live with bettas

Can betta fish live with other fish? We’ve got good news for many of you aquarium enthusiasts: bettas aren’t the horrible tank mates they’re often made out to be — as long as you know something about them. So, what fish can live with bettas safely? Read on to find out.

Originally discovered in the rice paddies of Southeast Asia, bettas were first used as fighting fish by village children. Betting on fish fights later grew to become a popular gambling racket that could have devastating consequences for those who bet on the losing fish. At one point, the king of Siam (now known as Thailand) intervened and began taxing fish fights as a way of regulating the industry. 

Generations later, the descendants of bettas bred for their aggressive traits typically aren’t the fish found in our homes. Even so, modern-day betta fish have a largely undeserved bad reputation for being temperamental and territorial.


A rainbow colored betta fish swimming in a tank.
ivabalk from Pixabay

Can you keep multiple bettas in the same tank?

Despite their reputation, many bettas don’t actually fight to kill. Unless they’ve been specifically bred for aggression — or they occupy a small space with other bettas — most bettas will nip at each other, but they won’t necessarily fight to the death. 

Fighting behavior is much more common in male bettas, especially if they’re defending their territory or their food. Females, on the other hand, are sometimes able to live together in a hierarchical society known as a sorority, with one female betta asserting herself as the alpha of the tank. Sororities contain a minimum of four to five females, and it’s best to keep them in a large tank with plenty of room for your bettas to hide. 

It probably goes without saying, but you should never introduce a male betta to a sorority, as males and females will fight each other. In fact, even some female bettas are too aggressive to live peacefully within a sorority, so we recommend quarantining your additions before turning them loose to avoid a real-life version of Mean Girls in your tank. 

A bright red betta fish swimming against a black background.

Which fish can live with bettas and make the best tank mates?

While placing two male bettas in the same tank (or a male in a tank with females) is a recipe for a fight, betta fish can actually coexist peacefully with other species. If you’re curious about which fish are compatible with bettas, read on to find your fish’s future tank mate. 

  • Black Neon Tetra: One of the calmest fish out there, black neon tetras are a shoaling species that won’t grow much larger than an inch long, so they won’t take up too much space in your aquarium. 
  • Cardinal Tetra: Known for their vibrant red and blue coloring, the cardinal tetra grows up to 2 inches in length. These gentle, peaceful fish are easy to take care of, and they can live for up to five years. 
  • Celestial Pearl Danio: Also known as the galaxy rasbora, the celestial pearl danio is a lovely fish with an iridescent sheen, a spotted body, and rich orange markings near the fins. These took the aquatic world by storm when they were discovered in 2006, and they won’t grow longer than an inch.
  • Cory Catfish: Best suited to larger tanks, cory catfish are laid-back, bottom-dwelling fish that grow to be 1–2.5 inches long. If you’re looking for one of the most low-maintenance tank mates for your betta, the cory is a fantastic option. 
  • Diamond Tetra: Diamond tetras are a little larger than most tetras, around 2–2.4 inches long, but they’re still small, friendly tank mates that won’t provoke your bettas. They’re also one of the most striking fish you can add to your tank, primarily silver with iridescent flashes of color. 
A blue and red betta fish against a black background.
endriqstudio from Pixabay

Introducing new fish to a tank

As tempting as it is to drop your new fish into a community and keep your fingers crossed, you’ll most likely wind up with a fight on your hands if you do. And that’s not the only reason it’s a bad idea. New fish may contain bacteria and parasites that can easily spread to other fish in your tank. For that reason, we recommend keeping your new fish in quarantine for at least 14–21 days before you introduce them to their new home. 

When you’re ready to introduce your new fish, you can help them get used to the temperature of the new tank by placing them in a plastic bag or a small cup and floating it inside the aquarium. Once your fish have had time to acclimate, it’s time to turn them loose to swim. You’ll want to keep an eye on your tank initially to make sure they’re adjusting well. 

Monitoring your tank is also a great way to stop conflicts before they start. If one or more of your fish turn aggressive during the adjustment period, it could be that your new fish will feel much safer when they can hide in the rocks and weeds. But it’s also possible they’re not cut out for communal life, in which case you’ll want to return them to their own tank.  

Bettas are clever, independent fish, meaning they won’t be bored or lonely on their own. That being said, you can find a tank mate or two for your fish. With time and patience, your betta will be part of an active, peaceful community.

Editors' Recommendations

PawTracks Contributor
PawTracks Contributor
Is your dog barking nonstop? Here’s how to get your noisy pup under control
How to step in and help your noisy dog stay quiet when barking nonstop
Dog barking at night

If you’ve ever tossed and turned because your neighbor’s pooch barked all night, then you know how incredibly frustrating a noisy dog can be. Don’t let your pup be "that" dog in your community. While it's perfectly natural for Fido to bark occasionally, excessive barking at unreasonable hours or for long periods is unneighborly.

Experts at the American Kennel Club (AKC) say that preventing nuisance barking should be a top priority for responsible pet parents. If you live with a loud four-legger that barks nonstop, take steps now to resolve the problem before your neighbor complains (or you lose your mind).

Read more
When can kittens leave their mom? Don’t separate them too early
How soon is too soon to separate kittens from their moms?
A mama cat snuggling her three kittens.

All parents know that rearing a family is hard work, and the same holds true for mama cats. Between regularly feeding and bathing her kittens to providing a constant source of warmth and snuggles, mother cats have their work cut out for them when they're taking care of newborn kittens. However, just because Mama Cat is exhausted from caring for her litter, that doesn't mean you should separate the kittens from their mom too early. Have you ever wondered, "When can kittens leave their mom safely?"

We'll share everything you need to know about helping your cat take care of her little ones, from how to avoid kitten care becoming a second job to when kittens are old enough to safely leave their mom.

Read more
A simple guide to what to feed tadpoles in your aquarium
A list of everything you should and shouldn't give baby frogs
Small child looks into a jar of tadpoles

Whether you’re taking in rescue tadpoles or planning to keep frogs as pets, you’ll have to adapt continually to their changing bodies. These amphibians undergo a metamorphosis and live as tadpoles for up to 14 weeks, though the last stage of the transition happens in just 24 hours.

You’ll put them to bed as a kid and come back to a teenager. Also, tadpoles are vegetarians, but frogs are carnivorous, so you should prepare for their diet to evolve as they do over the course of a few months. Here's what to feed tadpoles.

Read more