Bettas are known for their vibrant colors and unique personalities, but did you know that adding compatible tank mates can make your aquarium even more interesting?
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best 5-gallon Betta tank mates and share some insights on how they can coexist peacefully with your beloved fish.
Best Tank Mates For Bettas In A 5 Gallon Tank
To be honest, if you’re keeping your betta in a 5 gallon tank, the truth is you aren’t going to have too many options when it comes to tank mates you can keep with them. In fact, this is why I got a 10 gallon tank. However, even at 10 gallons you are going to struggle a bit with tank mate ideas.
With that being said though, here are some of the best choices of tank mate. I’d personally go with snails to start off, however, if you think that your betta is friendly and not so aggressive, you can try shrimp too!
Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Melanoides Tuberculata)
Have you heard of the Malaysian Trumpet Snail? They’re some of the most common snails you can find in the aquarium trade and they come from Asia, particularly in Malaysia. They’re great tankmates for bettas, but it’s important to keep an eye on them to control their breeding and prevent them from taking over the tank.
These snails can grow up to 1.5 inches in size and typically live for about a year.
To keep them healthy and happy, make sure their tank has a pH level between 7.0 and 8.0, and the temperature is between 70-79°F.
Ramshorn Snails (Planorbarius Corneus)
If you’re not a fan of having Malaysian Trumpet Snails in your fish tank, an excellent alternative to consider is Ramshorn Snails. These snails have a unique spiral-shaped shell that looks like a ram’s horn, making them stand out in your aquarium.
They’re also easy to care for, which makes them a great choice for both beginners and experienced fish keepers. Just like Malaysian Trumpet Snails, Ramshorns grow up to 1″ in size and live for up to a year. They like temperatures between 70-80°F and a pH between 7.0 – 8.0.
If you’re thinking about keeping betta fish and Ramshorn snails together in the same tank, you’ll be happy to know that they usually get along pretty well. The good news is that bettas typically ignore the snails, so there’s no need to worry about them becoming fast food.
However, if you plan on having a planted aquarium, you should be cautious when introducing the snails. Some of them have a tendency to nibble on the plants, while others won’t cause any harm. It’s always a bit of a gamble, so it’s best to keep an eye on them and see how they behave.
While I prefer the look of Malaysian Trumpet Snails, these are still a great choice!
Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi)
Are you interested in adding some color to your aquarium? Then you might want to consider cherry shrimp! These little guys come in a range of shades, from soft orange to a fiery red that’s sure to catch your eye.
Just keep in mind that they can be a bit pricier than other shrimp varieties. So, before you introduce them to your tank, make sure they’re a good fit with your betta fish and won’t cause any problems.
In addition, they make great companions for your betta fish without causing any trouble and can also help keep your tank clean by eating algae. Just make sure you’re they’re not solely relying on algae in your tank and you’re feeding them algae wafers as well.
Cherry shrimp are a bit smaller than ghost shrimp, growing only up to about 1.25 inches, but they can live up to 2 years. They prefer a comfortable temperature between 72-82°F and a pH level of 6.5-8.0.
Nerite Snails (Vittina Natalensis)
If you’re looking for a good snail to add to your aquarium, you can’t go wrong with nerite snails. They’re great at eating algae and won’t munch on your other aquatic plants.
Did you know that nerite snails come in a variety of colors and patterns? Some even have little horns on their shells!
Nerite snails typically live for about 2 years and can grow up to 0.75 inches. They like a pH level between 7.0 and 8.0 and a temperature between 72-78°F. So if you want to keep your snails happy and healthy, make sure their tank meets these conditions.
Chili/Mosquito Rasboras (Boraras Brigittae)
Do you like Rasboras? If you do, then you should definitely consider adding chili rasboras to your fish tank! These little cuties are full of life, and it’s important to make sure that you provide them with enough space to swim around by keeping them in a tank that’s at least 5 gallons in size.
They may be small, but they’re quite active and need plenty of space to move around. If they don’t get ample room to swim, they may become anxious and even aggressive. Also, it’s best to keep them in schools of six or more to keep them happy and comfortable.
If you’re planning on keeping Chili Rasboras, it’s important that you add plenty of plants to your tank to keep them safe from other fish.
Despite their size, these little Rasboras can live for up to 8 years and grow to be about 0.8 inches long. Just make sure to keep the temperature of the tank between 72-82°F and the pH level between 5-7.
What You Should Look For In A Betta Tank Mate?
When choosing a tank mate for your Betta, it’s important to be thoughtful. Betta fish are known for their unique personalities and can be territorial, so not all fish are suitable companions. Here are the key factors to keep in mind when choosing a tank mate for your Betta:
If you’re looking for fish to keep with your Betta, you’ll want to choose peaceful, non-aggressive species. Bettas are known for being territorial and aggressive, so it’s important to avoid fish that might be nippy or territorial themselves. So, make sure to do your research before adding any new fish to your tank,
Tank Size Requirement
Bettas are active fish that need plenty of space to swim. A 5-gallon tank is the minimum size for a single Betta, but a larger tank is always better. If you want to keep a Betta with other fish, you’ll need an even larger tank. This will give each fish enough space to establish its own territory and reduce the risk of aggression.
Check the compatibility of water parameters, including temperature, pH levels, and water hardness, for both the Betta and the potential tank mate. Research the specific requirements of each species to ensure they align.
When choosing tankmates for your Betta, it’s a good idea to pick ones that stay at different areas of your tank. That way, they won’t have to compete for space and will feel more relaxed.
Size and Speed
Select a tank mate that’s similar in size and swimming speed to your Betta. This way, both fish can coexist peacefully without one dominating the other or causing aggression. Additionally, it ensures that both fish receive equal amounts of food during feeding time.
When introducing a Betta fish to a new tank mate, it’s important to keep a close eye on their interactions. If you notice any signs of aggression or stress, it’s best to separate them as soon as possible.
Remember that your Bettas, like all living creatures, have unique personalities. Some may be more tolerant of tank mates than others. Be prepared to adapt and make adjustments based on your Betta’s temperament and behavior.
Why You Should Get A Tank Bigger Than 5 Gallons
While it is common for beginners to start with a small tank like 5 gallons for their betta, there are many benefits to choosing a larger tank:
1. Water Stability
Larger tanks naturally provide better stability for the water conditions. With more water volume, factors like chemical balances, temperature fluctuations, and other water parameters are less likely to experience significant changes. This stability is really important for ensuring the health and well-being of your Betta.
2. Dilution of Toxins
In a larger tank, harmful substances like ammonia and nitrite get diluted across a larger water volume, resulting in lower concentrations. This is especially important because it helps your tank’s filtration system work more effectively, transforming these harmful substances into less dangerous forms and creating a safer environment for your Betta.
3. More Room to Roam
A larger tank offers your Betta more space to swim and explore. Betta fish are at their happiest when they have room to move around freely. Having more space also means you can create a more interesting and natural environment with plenty of hiding spots and lush plants.
4. Enhanced Aesthetics
Bigger tanks open up more possibilities for creating an attractive underwater world. You can design a visually appealing setup with a variety of plants, decorations, and substrates, elevating the overall beauty of the tank and the comfort of your Betta.
5. Simplified Maintenance
Surprisingly, larger tanks can sometimes be easier to maintain. While changing the water might involve dealing with a larger water volume, maintaining consistent water conditions becomes less challenging. A larger tank’s ecosystem tends to be more forgiving of minor changes, which translates to less stress for your Betta.
With a larger tank, you have more options for selecting tank mates or companions for your Betta. You can accommodate species that need more space and reduce the likelihood of overcrowding, fostering a peaceful coexistence.
7. Temperature Stability
In larger tanks, temperature fluctuations tend to be less pronounced. Maintaining a stable temperature is essential for the well-being of your Betta. Larger water volumes are better at resisting temperature changes due to factors like variations in room temperature, ensuring a more comfortable home for your Betta.
8. Reduced Aggression
In smaller tanks, Betta fish are more prone to territorial disputes due to limited space. Larger tanks provide more room for Betta fish to establish their territories, resulting in less conflict and a more harmonious environment.
9. Long-Term Potential
If you’re considering a deeper involvement in Betta care and want to explore more advanced setups, starting with a larger tank offers room for growth and experimentation, providing your Betta with an even richer habitat.
10. A Valuable Learning Experience
Bigger tanks offer a more immersive and educational experience, whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or just starting out. They allow you to observe your Betta in a more natural setting, deepening your understanding of their behavior and needs.
How To Increase The Chances Of Success
Because caring for a Betta with tankmates in a 5-gallon tank is challenging, it requires careful planning and attention to detail to be successful. Here are some guidelines that will increase your chances of success:
- Tank Size and Configuration: Ensure your 5-gallon tank is equipped with appropriate hiding spots, plants, and decorations to create territories and minimize conflicts among tankmates.
- Choose Compatible Tank Mates: Always go for peaceful, non-aggressive tankmates that can coexist with Betta. Consider small schooling fish like neon tetras, harlequin rasboras, or peaceful bottom-dwellers like Corydoras catfish.
- Introduce Multiple Tankmates: Instead of a single tankmate, introduce a small group (around 3-5) of the same species. This reduces the focus on the Betta and minimizes potential aggression.
- Gradual Introduction: Introduce tankmates gradually, ideally after the Betta has established its territory in the tank. This minimizes territorial disputes.
- Observe Behavior: Monitor interactions closely after introducing new tankmates. Be prepared to separate any fish showing signs of aggression or stress.
- Balanced Diet: Provide a well-balanced diet for all tank inhabitants. Ensure that each fish receives adequate nutrition to reduce competition for food.
- Maintain Water Quality: Regularly test and maintain water parameters, as crowded tanks are more susceptible to water quality issues. Consistent water changes and proper filtration are essential.
- Disease Prevention: Quarantine new fish before introducing them to the main tank to prevent potential disease outbreaks.
How To Add Tank Mates To Your Bettas Tank
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to add tank mates to your Betta’s tank successfully:
- Research and Selection: Begin by researching suitable tank mates for Betta fish. Choose peaceful species that are compatible with Betta temperament. Some popular choices include neon tetras, harlequin rasboras, and Corydoras catfish.
- Tank Size: Ensure that your aquarium is appropriately sized to accommodate both your Betta and the chosen tank mates. A larger tank is generally better for creating space and minimizing territorial disputes.
- Quarantine New Fish: Before introducing any new fish to your Betta’s tank, quarantine them in a separate quarantine tank for a few weeks. This helps prevent the potential spread of diseases to your existing fish.
- Prepare the Aquarium: Create hiding spots and territories within the tank using plants, decorations, and substrate. This will allow your Betta and the new tank mates to establish their space and reduce stress.
- Acclimate New Fish: After the quarantine period, acclimate the new fish to the Betta’s tank. Place the quarantine tank next to the main tank and gradually mix small amounts of water from each tank over the course of about an hour.
- Monitor Behavior: Carefully observe the interactions between your Betta and the new tank mates after they are introduced. Be prepared to intervene if aggression or stress is evident.
- Gradual Introduction: Consider introducing the new fish at night when the tank is dark. Dim lighting can reduce initial confrontations between the Betta and the newcomers.
- Separate Introduction: Use a plastic divider or net to separate the new fish from the Betta for the first few days. This allows them to become familiar with each other’s presence without direct contact.
- Remove Dividers: After a few days, remove the divider or net and closely monitor the interactions. If the Betta displays excessive aggression, you may need to reconsider the choice of tank mates or provide more hiding spots.
- Maintain Water Quality: Lastly, continue to monitor and maintain water quality in the tank. Regular water changes and appropriate filtration are crucial, especially when adding new fish to the ecosystem.
How Many Fish Can You Put In A 5 Gallon Tank With A Betta
Due to the limited space in a 5-gallon tank, it’s generally recommended to keep only your Betta as the primary resident. However, if you still want to have tank mates, consider small, peaceful creatures like shrimp or snails, but keep the numbers very low, preferably around 2-3.
Will Your Betta Eat Snails?
Bettas don’t consider snails as their primary food source. But they may peck at them out of curiosity. So, choose snail species that don’t bother your Betta, like nerite or mystery snails, and ensure they are well-fed.
Will Your Betta Eat Shrimp?
Betta fish may see small shrimp as prey and try to catch and eat them. Amano or cherry shrimp are better tank mates as they are less likely to be seen as food. Also, make sure to provide hiding spots for the shrimp and monitor their interactions closely.
Adding some new tank mates, from nanofish to shrimp or snails to your Betta’s 5-gallon tank is a great idea. Just remember that each Betta fish has their own personality, so keeping a close eye on their behavior is crucial. With adaptability, observation, and lots of patience, you can create the best home for your Betta!