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Can Angelfish and Betta Fish Live Together in the Same Tank?

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

betta and angelfish together in aquarium

We won’t say that a Betta fish and Angelfish can never live together. However, we don’t recommend trying. In many cases, the Betta fish is going to be too aggressive and territorial for the Angelfish. The Betta will likely try to chase the other fish away. However, because the fish are in a tank, the Angelfish will have nowhere to go. This situation will likely end with the Betta pestering the Angelfish until you intervene or one of them dies. The Betta fish tends to attack other fish with little thought for their own wellbeing, so it isn’t uncommon for them to get hurt too. In some cases, both fish may perish.

Even if the Angelfish is “too large” for the Betta to harm, they will still likely get harassed. The Angelfish may turn on the Betta, as they are also somewhat aggressive. When you put two territorial fish together, you can’t expect a good ending.

These fish also aren’t a good pairing when you look at their recommended tank parameters. For instance, Betta fish prefer a temperature of 75–80 degrees Fahrenheit, while Angelfish prefer it to be between 78 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, with warmer being better. This leaves you with a small range in which both fish can live happily.

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How to Keep Betta Fish and Angelfish Together Successfully

If you decide to attempt to keep these two fish together despite the difficulties, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Firstly, understand that both of these fish are territorial. If another fish enters their territory, they will likely be chased out. Therefore, you must give them enough room to have their own territory and leave each other alone.

Usually, the minimum tank size for this is 55 gallons. Anything smaller than that, and you risk one thinking that the other is always trespassing. This is quite a large tank, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to keep these fish together.

You will need plenty of decorations and plant coverage as well. The fish should not be able to see each other all the time. If they can, aggression will likely ensue. You need somewhere for the fish to hide if one gets attacked. Bigger plants are better because you’ll need something that reaches the top of the tank. Both fish will appreciate having plenty of places to hide.

Angelfish are only particularly territorial when they are older and begin breeding. As young fish, they often get along with others just fine. Therefore, you can add Angelfish before they become too aggressive and hope that they’ll figure it out before they get older.

aquarium plants_susemeyer0815_Pixabay
Image Credit: susemeyer0815, Pixabay

Have a Backup Plan

You should never add these fish together without having a backup plan. A second tank is absolutely necessary.

When you first add these fish to a tank, prepare to watch them for a few hours. They’ll likely establish their territory during this time, so they must be watched carefully. If both fish decide that they want the same space, the fighting can get quite serious.

You’ll also be able to tell if you haven’t added enough plants or hiding places. If one fish can’t seem to get away from the other, it’s time to add more cover and try again.

You’ll need to keep an eye on these fish beyond the introduction phase, even if they seem to be doing fine together at first. Temperaments can change and cause aggression between two fish that ignored each other before. This is especially true if you start with a young Angelfish, because they tend to get more aggressive as they age.

If the two fish just can’t seem to get along, you’ll need to move one to a different tank. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.

Setting Up a Tank for an Angelfish and Betta Fish

To reduce the overall amount of aggression, you must provide your fish with the correct tank setup. These fish aren’t the easiest to keep together, particularly because their needs differ slightly.

Angelfish prefer sandy soil, and Betta fish could care less about the substrate. We recommend going with a sandy substrate, as this works best for the Angelfish. This sand will also work great if you decide to keep a few bottom feeders as well.

We recommend purchasing a tank with plenty of height. Your Betta will spend most of their time at the top of the tank, so it isn’t a big deal for them. However, Angelfish get rather wide, so having space for them vertically is important. If they feel cramped, they may become more aggressive.

Temperature is going to be a bit difficult to maintain for these fish. Angelfish prefer it slightly warmer than Betta fish, so it is fairly difficult to keep them both happy. Preferably, you should keep the tank at around 79 degrees. This will keep both fish happy enough, as it is slightly warm for a Betta and slightly cool for an Angelfish.

However, at the very least, you should keep the temperature between 77–80 degrees Fahrenheit.

A pH level of around 7 is best. Both your Betta fish and Angelfish will prefer this.

aquarium cleaning
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Are Female Betta Fish Less Aggressive?

In some cases, you’ll see recommendations for keeping female Betta fish with Angelfish. Some people claim that they are less aggressive and therefore, more likely to get along with other fish. However, we have not found this to be true.

Female Betta fish can be just as aggressive as males. In fact, many Betta fish experts have found females to be quite a bit more aggressive than males, especially when it comes to their tank mates.

Unlike males, female Betta fish are nimbler in the water because they don’t have long fins slowing them down. Therefore, they are more likely to chase other fish and hunt smaller creatures in the aquarium. They can also be extremely nippy, which is a problem when for larger fish like Angelfish.

Will Angelfish Eat Betta Fish?

Angelfish are opportunistic eaters. They will try to eat anything that fits in their mouth. Sometimes, this may include Betta fish. Females are absolutely small enough to fit into an Angelfish’s mouth, though males may be too large.

Of course, the older and bigger the Angelfish is, the more likely that they will see Betta fish as prey.

On top of this, Betta fish don’t know when to back down from a fight. Most will continue to fight the other fish, regardless of size. In the wild, Betta fish would be caring for a bubble nest of babies, so they have a reason to be overly territorial. While they don’t usually have babies in captivity, these instincts still carry over.

Angelfish in aqurium
Image Credit: Piqsels

Do Angelfish and Betta Fish Live on the Same Tank Level?

Yes, both of these fish prefer the upper reaches of the tank, though Angelfish will venture lower than Betta fish in many cases. This is another reason that they don’t make good tank mates. They will get in each other’s way often, and their territorial natures mean that they will often see each other as threats.

It is also fairly difficult to provide plenty of cover at the top of the tank. To keep these fish from seeing each other and assuming that the other is trespassing, you’ll likely need to make use of many floating and relatively tall plants.

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Should You Keep Angelfish and Betta Fish Together?

Preferably not. There are certain tank mates that both of these fish can get along with, but they aren’t good for each other. For instance, Betta fish do much better with bottom feeders like catfish and shrimp. Any other fish that inhabits the upper reaches of the tank (like the Angelfish) will likely be a problem.

The Angelfish is a similar story. There are other fish that can live happily with them, but Betta fish usually aren’t included in this category.

We do not recommend keeping these two fish together. The best-case scenario will likely be you noticing the aggression before things get too bad and removing one of the fish. You should always have a backup tank for this exact reason. In many cases, one or both of the fish will end up perishing.

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Featured Image Credit: ivabalk, pixabay

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