Betta fish are territorial and gutty by nature, which is why it comes as no surprise that they aren’t the most ideal fish tank mates. However, despite their reputation, they can share space with other fish. So long as you know which fish types your betta fish is likely not to mind sharing a tank with.
The Do’s and Don’t of Housing Female Betta Fish
Much like peahens, female bettas are usually less ornate than their male counterparts. They appear duller in terms of their color and fin size than male bettas. Female bettas are also smaller in size.
Female bettas aren’t as territorial as the males. They can coexist with other fish in the same tank. But they enjoy their space, which is why you want to keep a maximum of four to six of them together in a tank. Also make sure to provide plenty of foliage within the tank so the fish have places to hide when they crave personal space.
If you already have a tank with a few female betta fish, be careful about introducing new female bettas to the existing lot. The latter may not be too accepting of the new ones. If you are insistent on keeping them all in one tank, add a minimum of two or more female bettas each time. Never expose a single betta into a tank of other female bettas.
Like their male counterparts, female bettas form ‘sororities’ with their tank mates and become territorial. So when you introduce another group of betta females into the tank, you force them to reevaluate their group dynamics. This makes it easier for the new and old fish to be more friendly towards each other.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Housing Male Betta Fish
Unlike their female counterparts, male bettas are extremely territorial. It is rare for two male bettas to share a tank peacefully. In most cases, when two bettas are in the same tank, they are likely to start fighting each other until there is only one of them remaining. When two betta males are in a tank, you may not notice the animosity in the beginning. But they will start fighting each other sooner or later.
Nonetheless, here’s a trick – if you are insistent on having two male bettas in one tank, thrown in a few female bettas into the mix. This sometimes helps level the playing field and prevents the males from hunting each other. Another tip is to place differently colored male bettas in one tank. The exact reason why this works is unknown, but it could be because differently colored male bettas do not view each other as direct competitors, making it easier for them to coexist.
Is Keeping Male and Female Bettas in One Tank a Good Idea?
The truth is, you can never tell with betta fish. Sometimes, a male and female betta get along quite nicely in the beginning and may start fighting each other only once they breed. Other times, they don’t get along from the get-go. So, if you’re going down this route, keep an eye out for any change in behavior among your bettas.
Generally, it’s best not to keep a male and female betta in one tank for long periods. If you want them together so they can breed, be sure to seperate them as soon as they do. To first get a male and female betta acquainted, try keeping them in adjacent tanks. Doing so allows them to get familiar with each other, and also gives you the chance to observe their behaviors.
Do Betta Fish Get Along with Other Fish Types?
The answer is yes. Just be sure that the betta is the last fish species that you introduce into the tank. You also want to keep another tank ready just in case your betta begins to get aggressive with his tank mates. A couple of don’ts with betta fish include:
- Never place them with fish species that nibble because the betta will fight back.
- Avoid keeping them with other big and colorful fish.
- They get along with most bottom feeders.
- Good tank mates for bettas are mystery snails, guppies, ghost shrimps, neon tetras, and clown plecos.