Bettas are a fish with an interesting history. Sometimes called Siamese Fighting Fish, these fish have been bread over many years to have enhanced colors and long fins. As a result of this breeding, they have become very combative with other Bettas. These fish are commonly kept in isolated tanks or bowls, away from other fish. Perhaps because of their common name, Siamese Fighting Fish, people think they are vicious. But the fact is that Bettas are only aggressive towards other Bettas. When away from other Bettas, they are a very peaceful fish and easy to care for. There are many fish that are compatible to live with Bettas.
Bettas need a warm tank with a medium pH level. They do best in temperatures in the range of 75-86 degrees. The types of fish you want to avoid with Bettas are fish that have a tendency to be fin nippers. Bettas have long, flowing fins, and if their fins are damaged by nipping fish they are prone to disease. Because of this, avoid putting Bettas with any variety of barbs.
Bettas do well with bottom feeders like Cory Cats, Loaches, and Plecos. Bottom feeders will leave the Bettas beautiful fins alone, and do well together. Live bearing fish, like Platies, Mollies, Guppies and Swordtails all make great tank mates for Bettas. Also, Danios, because they are so peaceful, do well with Bettas. Hatchets, Rasboras, and Tetras are great tank mates for Bettas.
There are other fish you can put with Bettas, with caution. Use caution when pairing Bettas with Discus and Gouramis. Also, Killifish tend to be fin nippers, so use caution with them. The same goes for Rainbowfish and Sharks.
There are some fish you should never put in a tank with Bettas. The first fish to avoid are other Bettas. Female Bettas may do all right together, but male Bettas should not be put in tanks with any other of their species. Avoid putting Bettas with goldfish, as goldfish need much cooler water than Bettas. Any fish that need salt in the water are not good matches for Bettas, as the salt is harmful for them.
One thing Betta owners forget is that Bettas will show aggression with their own reflections. If you have a tank that has reflective sides, your Betta will “attack” his own reflection. Avoid putting Bettas in tanks that have reflective sides. Some Betta owners enjoy putting a mirror up to the tank to aggravate their Betta and get him to show aggressive behavior. This is a bad idea, as the Betta can cause damage to himself while trying to attack his reflection.
Contrary to popular opinion, Bettas are not taboo in the community tank. With a little education, aquarium owners can successfully incorporate Bettas into their tanks. Just avoid certain species that might harm their fancy fins. You will enjoy the addition of the colorful, graceful Betta to your aquarium. This peaceful fish is a great addition to your environment, as long as you use a little common sense.
If you would more information on raising betta fish, check out the following guide: Betta Fish Secrets. It also contains information on breeding betta fish.