Can Tetras Live With Bettas?

Having a gorgeous peaceful community tank full of colorful tropical fish is a dream come true for most aquarium enthusiasts.

The problem is that finding the right pairs can often be challenging, especially due to the aggressive nature of your bettas. After all, there’s a reason they are formally known as the Siamese Fighting Fish.

Don’t worry, though! There are several types of fish that can co-exist peacefully with bettas.

Tetras and Bettas are some of the most common and easy-to-keep tropical fish for home aquariums. They are both stunningly colorful and low-maintenance.

But the real question is whether tetras can live with bettas without any fights breaking out (or are there any things you need to know to make sure they exist peacefully)

Can Tetras Live With Bettas?

Yes, tetras can live with Bettas, but there are some things you need to ensure while keeping these two wonderful species together.

It actually matters a lot on the kind of tetras you decide to pair up with your bettas.

Tetras make up a large group of fish with hundreds of different species of varying sizes and temperaments. While most of the tetra species tend to be small or medium-sized, there are some bigger species that would not fit in well with your bettas.

So the real verdict is, opt for smaller-sized tetra species, so they don’t appear threatening to your bettas and cause aggressiveness.

Another point to note is that tetras prefer the middle layer of the tank, while bettas love hanging out by the surface.

So, if your tank is big enough that they don’t cross paths and venture into each other’s territories, chances are your tetras will live long, healthy lives with the bettas.

How to Introduce Tetras to Your Betta Tank

Most novice aquarists directly add in their new tetras to the betta tank, thinking both the fish will find their own spaces naturally. This is a recipe for disaster and will trigger the bettas to hurt the new tetras.

Moreover, you will need to make sure your new tetras aren’t sick or carrying any illnesses that can infect the entire tank.

This is especially important if you’re bringing in a whole school of tetras to your tank. Tetras are delicate fish that can easily get stressed during transport or catch illnesses.

So, you will need to take some extra precautionary measures to ensure your aquarium stays safe and disease-free.

Always make it a practice to keep new tetras in a quarantine tank or fishbowl for a few days and observe them closely for any signs of lethargy or difficulty in swimming. If they’re refusing food, that’s a major symptom of an illness too.

Also, remember that tetras can get stressed and develop illnesses due to new environments as well. In order to acclimatize them well, add in some water from the main tank to your quarantine fishbowl.

This will help them relax into the tank environment and transition to the main tankless stressful.

Minimize Fin Nipping in Tetras

Tetras are known for fin nipping, and this won’t sit well with your bettas.

If you notice fin nipping in your quarantine bowl, you should take the right steps to minimize it before introducing the tetras to your bettas.

Otherwise, it’ll trigger your bettas’ aggression, and they might just end up attacking the tetras.

Add More Tetras to the Tank

The very first step to take when trying to reduce fin nipping is making sure your school of tetras is big enough.

Fin nipping is a sign of stress and could just be occurring because the tetras aren’t schooling together in enough numbers to feel safe. Try to add in a few more tetras and see if it helps keep them calm.

Give More Room For Tetras to Swim

Another thing to consider is the amount of exercise your tetras are getting. Inadequate physical exertion or small living spaces often cause the tetras to ‘act out’ by nipping the fins of other fish.

To avoid this, make sure your tetras have enough tank space to roam around freely. Your aquarium should have a capacity of at least 20 gallons, and the width should be more than the height.

Consider an Aquarium Divider

Lastly, if you notice the tetra’s fin nipping at your bettas, in particular, consider getting a tank divider to separate them.

This will keep your tetras safe from the bettas’ wrath and allow the fish to interact through a safe boundary.

Once both the fish have gotten used to each others’ presence, you can remove the divider and let them live together freely.

But, keep a close eye out for any continued fin nipping. If the tetras are still messing with your bettas, the only option is to separate their tanks.

The Best Tetra Species to Pair With Your Bettas

Now that you’re prepared with all the information to make sure your tetras co-inhabit the tank with bettas peacefully, let’s go over the best species to pick out.

Neon Tetras With Bettas

Neon tetras are some of the most popular community fish and make a great tank mate for your bettas. They are small and swim extremely fast, so it’s highly unlikely that your bettas will get a hold of them.

Neon Tetra - Fish that Can Live With Betta

The key feature that makes neon tetras perfect for your betta tank is that they reside in the middle part of the aquarium and usually venture out to betta territory.

If you plan to get neon tetras, always opt for at least 10-15 fish. This will ensure they form a big enough school to feel calm, remain peaceful, and not bother the bettas.

Best Tank Environment

To ensure your neon tetras and bettas both thrive in the tank, try to maintain the following aquarium conditions.

  • Temperature: 70 to 81 degree F
  • pH: 5 to 7.5

Black Neon Tetras With Bettas

Although not a common choice, black neon tetras actually make great tank mates for bettas.

Black Neon Tetra - Fish that Can Live With Betta

Due to the lack of flamboyance in their appearance, bettas don’t consider them potential threats. Thus, there are almost no chances of fights breaking out between the two fish.

The only thing black neon tetras really need is a school of 6 to 12 fish to swim around in. Also, make sure your tank is big enough to offer them ample swimming space.

Best Tank Environment

  • Temperature: 68 to 79 degrees F
  • pH: 6 to 7

Ember Tetras With Bettas

If you aren’t too keen about keeping neon tetras, ember tetras also make great companions for your bettas. The biggest reason remains the same, as they too prefer sticking to the mid-layer of the aquarium.

Additionally, ember tetras and bettas eat a lot of the same food. This will make feeding times incredibly easy for you.

Just make sure to offer both the fish enough brine shrimp, daphnia, and fresh bloodworms to satiate their appetites.

While having 6-7 ember tetras is usually enough, it is still recommended to keep at around 10 to 12 if they end up stressed.

You can even keep neon and ember tetras together! They are quite likely to form one large school of gorgeous fish that leaves everyone in awe of their beauty.

Best Tank Environment

  • Temperature: 73 to 84*F
  • pH: 5 to 7

Rummy Nose Tetras With Bettas

Do you prefer keeping bigger fish in your tank? Then, the rummy nose tetra would be the best option to bring to your betta tank!

Although bigger, the rummy nose tetra sticks to the bottom of the tank and so won’t cross paths with your bettas.

This can reduce the chances of any fights breaking out quite significantly. Just be sure to add at least six or more rummy nose tetras so they can school together peacefully.

Best Tank Environment

  • Temperature: 75 to 81*F
  • pH: 6.4 to 7

The Tetra Species to Avoid with Betta

You know which are the best tetra species for your bettas. But, are there any that need to be avoided at all costs? As a matter of fact, yes, there are!

The species below may be great for a tetra-only tank, but pairing them up with your bettas will result in increased levels of aggression and lots of fights.

It can cause both the fish to get hurt or even result in deadly injuries. Best to make sure the following tetras don’t cross paths with bettas ever.

  • Bleeding Heart Tetras – these tetras are known to be nippers and will bother the bettas.
  • Black Phantom Tetras – they spar over territory and have ‘mock fights,’ which can cause your bettas to become distressed.
  • Serpae Tetras – they are nippy and fast, so they will chase bettas around and cause them to become stressed.

Are Your Bettas Chasing the Tetras?

So you’ve chosen the right tetra species for your bettas and taken all the necessary precautions to make sure both the fish live together in harmony.

Yet, you still notice your bettas chasing the tetras from time to time. What could be the reason?

Well, firstly, you should know that it isn’t always the tetras that create problems. Often the bettas act out by chasing other fish and nipping their fins.

This could be due to territorial aggression and will likely stop once the bettas have established their territory.

However, if it doesn’t, you should bring back the tank divider we mentioned earlier and just keep the two fish separated.

Bettas often need to be on their own, and no matter how hard you try, they can simply refuse to tolerate any other fish around them.

In such circumstances, it is best to just keep the tetras in another tank and bring in other fish to keep with them.

Some Other Tank Mates for Tetras

The following community fish can make far better tank mates for your tetras than bettas. Why not give them a try?

The Final Takeaway

Tetras can definitely live with bettas, however, you will need to be very careful in selecting the right species of tetra.

You should also make sure you get enough fish for them to school together and not get stressed out.

On the other hand, keep your bettas in minimum numbers and avoid having two males as they will fight over territory and food.

Best of luck in creating a beautiful, peaceful aquarium for your tetras and bettas!

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