Can Bettas Live with Angelfish?

Bettas and Angelfish sometimes can live together.

As long as none of the Bettas and none of the Angelfish is particularly aggressive—it only takes one aggressive fish to cause a problem—Bettas and Angelfish can share the same tank

Keeping both Bettas and Angelfish happy and healthy, however, will require careful attention to important aspects of their living conditions we will describe in detail later in this article.

First, there is an important fact you need to know: Bettas and Angelfish can lie together MOST of the time.

Even the most docile Bettas and Angelfish will fight occasionally. The most realistic goal of keeping Bettas and Angelfish in the same tank is to keep fighting to a minimum.

Here are the most important things you can do to help Bettas and Angelfish get along.

Important Steps to Keep Bettas and Angelfish Live in Same Tank

Good living conditions help you make sure your Bettas and Angelfish can coexist.

To provide good living conditions, you must:

  • Buy a tank that is big enough for both kinds of fish. Bettas and Angelfish are extremely territorial. A Betta may claim an area of about 3 square feet (2700 square cm) and about an inch (25 mm) deep as its own. An Angelfish stakes out more of its territory vertically. It will want to dominate about 10 gallons (around 40 liters) of the tank from top to bottom, although in a tall tank it will tend to ignore fish under cover just above the substrate. Any tank for Bettas and Angelfish to live together should be at least 55 gallons (over 200 liters).
  • Don’t change the water in the tank more often than necessary. Wait until there is a visible issue with water quality before you add fresh, clean water to the tank. Bettas and Angelfish mark their territories with chemical scents. They can come to a peaceful resolution of territory disputes as long as the other fish can smell their limits. Replacing the water in the tank forces the fish to fight all over again to establish the boundaries of their territories.
  • Add lots of plants, decorations, and toys. Anything that breaks a line of sight reduces fighting among your fish. Plants and toys serve as convenient boundary markers to separate Bettas and Angelfish. Rocks and driftwood serve as boundary markers and also give smaller fish a place to hide while they are waiting for bigger fish to calm down.
  • Add Angelfish when they are young. Angelfish become more aggressive as they reach breeding age. They are more likely to establish territories that allow Bettas to live normally if they are placed in the tank at the youngest age possible.
  • Keep female Bettas and male Angelfish. Females are as colorful and don’t have the spiny fins found in male Bettas. Male Angelfish are easiest to identify by the relatively small tube they have between their anal fin and their tail fin. You will never see a male Angelfish laying eggs.
  • Keep an eye on your fish when you first introduce them to their tank. Be nearby for a few hours to make sure your Bettas and Angelfish don’t start fighting. Have a second tank ready in case you have to rescue one of your fish. The second tank should be at least 5 gallons (about 20 liters), but bigger is always better.

Always Add Angelfish to Your Betta Tank, Not Bettas to Your Angelfish Tank

Bettas tend to be more aggressive than Angelfish.

If you see a Betta acting aggressively toward other Bettas in its tank, you can be sure that it will fight with an Angelfish.

But once a Betta has become used to living in its tank, and it’s usually calm and docile, then maybe it will behave well when you add Angelfish.

Fortunately, Bettas and Angelfish like the same aquarium conditions.

You won’t have to do anything drastic to your Betta’s aquarium to make it hospitable for Angelfish.

But you do need to be selective about which Angelfish you add to your Betta’s aquarium.

Angelfish Temperament

Angelfish temperament adapts to changing conditions.

The size of their tank, whether they are the only Angelfish in their tank, and their age all make a big difference in how aggressive an Angelfish will be.

Young Bettas seem to be angry from the moment they hatch. Young Angelfish, on the other hand, are very community-oriented when they are young.

It’s only after they reach breeding age (between six and twelve months) that they become territorial.

Even after Angelfish reach sexual maturity, they don’t fight for space if their aquarium is big enough.

Only if they are confined to a small space with other fish will they make sure they have space for laying eggs and spawning.

A male-female pair of Angelfish will defend a small, flat space where the female can lay eggs in a row and the male can fertilize them.

A breeding pair will run other fish away from their spawning spot when they are ready to reproduce.

The other thing to know about Angelfish is that they are aggressive eaters. Angelfish will attempt to vacuum up any food floating at the top of the tank at feeding time

You must make sure all the fish in your aquarium are getting fed.

And since Angelfish can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) long, and a mature Betta is only about 3 inches (7 or 8 cm) long, you need to make sure they do not starve if you place them in a tank with multiple Angelfish.

Bettas and Angelfish Need Different Diets

Bettas are meat-eaters. In the wild, they mostly eat insects and their larvae. In captivity, they thrive on fish flakes, freeze-dried bloodworms,

Angelfish eat a more varied diet. Sometimes they are bottom feeders, eating algae and plant matter.

But they will also feed at the surface and at mid-levels, eating small fresh-water shrimp and crayfish and worms.

It is always best to feed both of these kinds of fish live food. It exercises their hunter instincts, and it separates the fish as they pursue their food.

Bettas need a couple of pieces of food every day, each piece of food about the size of its eye. Angelfish need three or four larger pieces of food every day.

Feeding time only needs to last about 60 seconds. Make sure all your fish are getting food.

If smaller fish are missing out, you need to separate them to their own tank to make sure they don’t become malnourished or even starve.

But don’t put too much food in the tank. Fish don’t have appetite control.

They can overeat, produce excessive waste, and cause problems with the water quality in the tank. You’ll have to change the water in the tank, with the result that the fish will fight to re-establish their territories.

Beware of the rule that big fish eat little fish. Bettas are feisty little fish. Angelfish can be the hungry bigger fish that eats the smaller fish.

If you skip a couple of feeding times, you may discover that you have only one kind of fish in your tank.

The Ideal Aquarium for Bettas and Angelfish Together

Bettas and Angelfish prefer similar conditions, but creating the best conditions for them to live together takes some planning.

Bettas are fine with either gravel or sand at the bottom of their tank.

Angelfish prefer sand, like the sand at the bottom of the rivers in South America, where they originate. If you are adding Otos to the aquarium, they will prefer sand, too.

Make sure your aquarium has lots of hiding places for your Bettas.

They may need to stay out of sight of aggressive, larger Angelfish, and it will be easier for them to feed on bits of fish food that fall there.

Taller plants like Anubias, Aponogetons, and Java Fern provide the kind of cover Bettas need.

One of the surprising benefits of aquarium plants is that they give confidence to Bettas to swim around more, because they know they have a place to find shelter when they need it.

You will see more of your Bettas when they have more plant cover.

Rocks and driftwood add places for Bettas to hide. They also give your aquarium a more natural feel. It bears repeating that any tank for both Bettas and Angelfish needs to be deep, not just wide.

Your Bettas are OK with shallow water, but Angelfish prefer a variety of depths to swim in.

Finally, here are some technical details for keeping Bettas and Angelfish healthy.

  • Keep the pH of the water in your aquarium around 7.0. Angelfish thrive at pH from 6.0 to 7.5, but Bettas need a narrower pH range.
  • Try to keep the temperature in your tank a constant 78° F (26° C). Angelfish are healthy at temperatures from 70° to 84° F (22° to 29° C), but Bettas need temperatures between 76° and 80° F (25° to 27° C).
  • Always make sure the Angelfish you add to your Betta tank looks healthy and perky. It’s best to quarantine them for a few days after you bring them home from the store just to make sure they don’t have any diseases they could pass on to your Bettas.

Putting Bettas and Angelfish in the same tank is risky, but sometimes it works out.

Just be sure to provide ideal conditions for healthy fish to minimize problems between these two aggressive species.

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