It can be fun choosing fish for your new community tank. There are so many to choose from, and they all have their own colors and personalities.
But, can guppies live with bettas? You must be careful about which fish you place with your bettas to make sure everyone gets along.
Can Guppies Live With Bettas?
The answer to this question is “yes” and “no”. Many people don’t recommend housing guppies with bettas at all. Others say that it can be fine.
Really, it depends on your betta’s personality. This will tell you whether they’ll tolerate guppies in their tank.
Why Might It Be A Problem
Although it’s possible, it’s not generally considered a good idea to keep guppies and bettas together.
They Both Have Colorful, Flowing Fins
The main reason people advise against bettas and guppies is due to their appearance.
Betta fish are famous for their beautiful, colorful, flowing fins. Guppies also have flowy fins that are bright and colorful. Bettas often see this as a threat, so they may attack guppies.
They Like To Swim In The Same Area Of The Tank
Another problem you may come across is where in the tank the fish like to swim. Both bettas and guppies prefer to swim in the middle to the upper part of the tank.
Bettas tend to choose an area of the tank that they claim as their territory. If the guppies enter this territory, the betta may try to attack them. But, once the guppies figure out where they’re not allowed to go, the problem usually goes away.
How To Make It Work
Generally, it’s best to avoid placing bettas and guppies together. There are other kinds of fish that work better with bettas, like tetras and danios. But, if you choose to keep a betta and guppies together, there are a few things you can do to make it work.
Choose A Non-Aggressive Betta
The best thing you can do to make a betta-guppy tank work is to pick a non-aggressive betta. It’s usually best to buy your betta before the guppies so that you can determine its temperament.
After you get your betta, you can judge its temperament by the way it reacts towards you. Does it flare at you a lot? Flaring is good and healthy if done in moderation. Too much can stress out your betta and may be a sign of over-aggression.
Some betta species are more aggressive than others. The least aggressive betta species are:
- Delta Betta Fish
- Halfmoon Betta Fish
Avoid plakat betta fish as they are one of the most aggressive species. Also, because they have short fins, they are much better at chasing.
Remember! You can not house multiple male bettas with one another. You can only have a single male betta in your tank. This goes for females as well. There are cases of sorority female betta tanks. But, sororities are not suitable for beginners, and they don’t work with guppies.
Females Are Better Than Males
Also, you’re more likely to have luck with a female betta than a male betta. Females can still be aggressive and territorial, but it’s not as common. They tend to be more docile than males.
You still need to be careful with females. You may pick a female that happens to be more aggressive than others. Plus, they have shorter fins, so they’re faster and better at chasing.
Choose Same-Gendered Guppies
It’s important to pick guppies that are all the same gender. Guppies are livebearers, and they breed like crazy. If this happens, the fry is likely to become a snack for your betta. They make a healthy snack for your betta if you’re okay with that. But don’t expect the fry to survive.
Female Guppies Are Better Than Males
It’s better to choose all female guppies rather than all males.
As with most fish, male guppies are more bright and more colorful than females. This makes them more attractive to male bettas and will make them more of a target.
Plus, guppies can be territorial as well. It’s not super common, but male guppies may nip at the fins of bettas. Fin-nipping injuries will leave your betta more susceptible to fin rot.
Avoid putting male guppies with female bettas as well. Females will be less threatened by them and less likely to attack. But, the male guppies might try to breed with your betta, thinking that she is a guppy.
Male guppies are notorious for harassing females until they become very stressed. Your female betta may also turn on your guppies as a result, leading to injuries.
Female guppies are duller than their male counterparts. So, it’s much safer to place them in a tank with a male betta.
The Best Option
Placing female guppies with a female betta is your best option for success. Female guppies are dull and un-threatening, while female bettas are usually less aggressive.
Another thing you want to consider is the size of your tank. Most people keep bettas in smaller tanks, so there usually isn’t room to have any other fish.
For example, if your betta is in a 5-gallon tank, you shouldn’t get any other fish. A shrimp or snail will be okay, but that tank will be too small for other fish.
But, if you have a 10-gallon tank or larger, you can place some guppies with your betta. The general rule of thumb is to have one gallon of water for each inch of a full-grown fish.
The average size for an adult betta is 2.25in (5.7cm). The average size for an adult guppy is 2in (5.08cm). So, imagine that you have a 10-gallon tank. You could fit one betta with three guppies. This gives about 3in (7.62cm) for the betta and 2in (5.08cm) for each guppy with 1in (2.54cm) to spare.
How Many Guppies Can You Keep With Your Betta?
Guppies are classified as schooling fish. Yet, they usually only display schooling behavior when feeling threatened. So, it’s not necessary to keep six guppies together like you want to do with other schooling fish.
BUT! It’s best to have at least three guppies with your betta. This way, if your betta does bully your guppies, it won’t gang up on a single guppy. This can be extremely stressful for any fish.
So, if you want a betta and guppies together, it’s necessary to have at least a 10-gallon tank.
If you keep the pH around 7.0 and the temperature between 78-80°F, guppies and bettas will do just fine together.
Guppies are a bit more adaptable than bettas. They can live with a pH of 6.8-7.8 and a temperature between 74-82°F. But, to keep both fish happy, you’ll want to adhere to the betta’s requirements.
It’s also a good idea to fill your tank with lots of plants, whether real or fake. This gives your guppies plenty of space to hide from your betta if they’re being bullied.
Guppies and bettas have similar diet requirements, so it makes feeding them easy. You should give them a mixture of tropical flakes and meaty foods. Some of the best meat-based foods to give them are daphnia, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae.
But, bettas NEED meat in their diet, while it’s optional for guppies. If you notice your guppies eating all the meat, you’ll need to separate your betta during feeding time.
It can be difficult to house guppies and bettas together, but it’s not impossible. Because of the difficulty, it’s best that beginner hobbyists don’t try this. We’d recommend choosing fish that are easier to house with your betta, such as danios or tetras.