For many years I thought that Bettas (Siamese Fighting Fish) had to be kept in a tank all by themselves, because they would fight with any other fish that was in there with them. Even now, at almost every pet shop (or anywhere that sells live fish) I go to I hear people asking the sales people what kinds of fish can be put in with them, and invariably they are told not to put any type of fish in with them. I want to clear that up.
Almost any kind of fish can be put in with a Betta. There is one thing you have to watch for. If the fish has the long flowing fins and tail similar in any way to a Betta, DO NOT PUT THESE IN WITH HIM. He will think it is another Betta and will attack. But goldfish, guppies, and many other types are fine. I have three Bettas now and two of them have tank mates. One is in with three goldfish, and the other has some guppies in with him. The third Betta is my one exception. I tried some fish with him, and he didn't really attack, but he did chase them around and upset them. So they went in with one of the other two Bettas.
I've had Bettas for years now, and have always had tank mates in with them. For the first couple of days you need to keep an eye on them, but for the most part they are happy to have company to swim with.
So if you have Bettas. don't be afraid to put other fish in with them. Like I said, just be careful what type of fish you get and keep an eye on them for a while. You'll actually end up enjoying all of the fish even more than just the Bettas alone.
By Cricket from Parkton, NC
I am really glad you brought this up, Cricket! I didn't realize so many people thought that Beta's had to be completely alone. I guess they assume that since more than one Beta can't be in a common tank because they attack one another that they can't be with any other fish species. Thank you for helping educate others on this subject!
I had three tanks of assorted sizes and shapes for about twenty years and I always had one Beta in each tank and they would be wonderful to watch interact with other species. Another favorite of mine were a couple of African Frogs. Tiny, cute little beige/tan colored guys that also livened up the tanks.
Oh, you do have to be careful for choices of community fish for the safety of the Beta though. Some species are aggressive towards the Betas even though the Betas aren't aggressive towards them. I wish I could remember what species it was that taught me that lesson. Poor little Beta's fins were so shredded in just one day that even rescuing him and putting him in his own fish bowl he couldn't/didn't survive. :-(
When we first got betas for our kids, we were told they had to be kept alone-not with each other or any other fish, because they fight. Seems like a lot of websites say the same thing. We had the 2 of them in a single tank with a divider & they were ok until one managed to push the divider aside & go after the other,who was a pretty docile beta. Thankfully he survived & we were able to separate them again until one got sick & died.
When we went to Petsmart to get another one, we were lucky to find someone knowledgeable about them who told us they could be kept in a community tank with certain fish, we just had to be careful what type because some fish would go after a beta's flowing fins. I was hesitant,but we picked out a couple of small fish & a bottom feeder(can't remember what it's called,but it looks like a catfish & can get huge). The man said the bottom feeder could be a problem with the beta,but I wanted something to clean the tank. Turned out the beta & bottom feeder got along great, but one of the little fish(I think it was the smallest molly) harassed & tormented the beta so much I ended up giving the molly to my daughter.
When I disagree with a post, I usually don't "say" anything, but a beta is a live pet and I feel I must say something. I had some guppies in a 5 gallon tank and put a beautiful male beta in with them. The next morning, he was dead and most of his beautiful fins were eaten off. How he must have suffered. I will never do that again. Thank you.
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