Can Betta Fish Live With Other Fish? Are They Mean Or Aggressive?

If you’ve ever heard of betta fish, you’ve probably heard that they can be aggressive. Some people say that you should never keep bettas with any other fish.

Is this true? Or, can betta fish live with other fish?

Can Betta Fish Live With Other Fish?

Despite what some people will have you believe, you can keep bettas with other fish. You just need to be careful.

You don’t want to get fish that are overly colorful or who have long, flowy fins. These will resemble bettas too much, so your betta fish may become territorial.

You also have to be careful not to get fin nippers or fish who tend to be aggressive. Bettas are not strong swimmers, and they may get bullied.

Which Fish Should You Not House With Betta Fish?

First, we’re going to give you a list of the fish you should NEVER house with a betta. Doing so is just asking for trouble.

Male Bettas With Other Male Bettas

Male bettas are incredibly territorial. If two are in the same tank, they will fight to the death. The surviving betta may not even live long afterward due to his injuries. They tear up each other’s fins, leaving the wounds susceptible to infection.

A Male Betta With A Female Betta

Male and female bettas should only be together temporarily to mate. Even then, you have to be cautious to breed them correctly, or the male may attack the female.

Don’t attempt to breed bettas unless you are a more experienced fish keeper.


Some fish keepers will disagree with this, but it’s generally a bad idea to keep bettas and guppies together. It can be done, but you have to take a lot of precautions, and it’s not always successful.

The problem with guppies is that they are brightly colored. Their fins are also long like bettas. So, bettas tend to see guppies as a threat. This is especially true for male guppies.


Gouramis are cousins to bettas. Their personalities are similar, so they should not be housed together. Like bettas, male gouramis are very territorial. So, they will attack each other when placed in the same tank.

Plus, gouramis come in many vibrant colors that are seen as a threat to bettas.


Some of the more peaceful barbs may be okay, but it’s generally better to avoid them. Barbs tend to be very nippy, and some kinds are downright aggressive.


Goldfish are coldwater fish, so they shouldn’t be housed with any tropical fish that need a heater.

Plus, larger goldfish are likely to eat your betta.


Most cichlids are quite aggressive and fast, so they should never be housed with a betta.

Plus, most cichlids need different water parameters than bettas.

African Dwarf Frogs

Some people say they’ve had luck housing African dwarf frogs and betta fish together. Still, African dwarf frogs tend to be very aggressive, so we wouldn’t recommend it.

Which Fish Are Compatible With Bettas?

While there are some fish you shouldn’t keep with bettas, there are plenty of others that make good tank mates.

Female Betta Sororities

Female bettas can sometimes be kept together, but it’s tricky. You need to have at least 30 gallons of water, six female bettas, and lots of places to hide.

Many times, sororities aren’t successful. So, you should only attempt this if you have a lot of experience with bettas.


This is another species that you need to be cautious with. Some are more aggressive than others and may nip at your betta’s fins.

Still, ember tetras and neon tetras tend to be good choices. They stay smaller than other kinds of tetras, and they’re not aggressive.


Danios are one of the best fish to keep with bettas. They have subdued colors, but interesting patterns. Their fins are short, and they’re fast, active fish. They’re also very hardy, so they’re perfect for the first-time fish keeper.


Rasboras are beautiful, brightly colored fish that are active throughout the tank. They are peaceful, and they have short fins, so your betta will not bother them.


Platys are another colorful fish with short fins, so they are a good choice to house with bettas. Just keep in mind that they are livebearers. If you don’t remove the babies, your betta will eat them.


Like platys, mollies are colorful, peaceful fish. They are also livebearers, so your betta is likely to eat their young.

Small Pleco Species

Plecos are peaceful, and they will help clean the algae from your tank, so they can make good tankmates.

Just know that they produce a lot of waste, so you’ll need to clean your tank more frequently.

Plus, even the smallest pleco species grow about four to five inches long. So, you shouldn’t get a pleco unless your tank is at least 30 gallons.

Kuhli Loaches

Kuhli loaches are peaceful bottom feeders who like to hide most of the time. Still, if you get a small school, they will be more confident and will swim about the tank more. They are very fun to watch as they look like miniature eels.


Corydoras, or cory catfish, are an excellent choice to keep with your betta. They are very peaceful, and they stay at the bottom of the tank, so your betta won’t usually bother them.

Plus, they will help keep your tank clean by scavenging for leftover food.


If you’re looking for an algae eater, but don’t have the room for a pleco, then otocinclus are perfect. They are adorable little fish that rarely grow more than one inch. They mostly stick to the sides of the glass, and will not bother your betta.

Shrimp (With Caution)

Shrimp will add lots of color to your tank, and they will help keep your tank clean. Just be aware that your betta may eat the shrimp. Whether they can live together depends on the betta. Some have more peaceful temperaments than others and do just fine with shrimp.


So, there you have it. You CAN keep bettas with other fish, you just need to be cautious. Bettas do really well with peaceful fish with more subdued colors. Danios, platys, rasboras, and many bottom feeders are good options.

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