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Can Betta Fish Live With Snails? 15 Suitable Tankmates

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

betta fish_Grigorii Pisotsckii_Shutterstock

Betta fish are notorious for being aggressive and willing to jump at any opportunity to fight with another tank mate. Surprisingly, there are a few tank mates that can get along with your betta fish! However, betta fish get along great with larger snails and other small shoaling fish. You must choose the right tank mates for your betta to minimize the amount of stress both parties will experience if your betta decides he does not want company.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about betta tank mates and share tips and tricks to successfully keep your betta with other fish and invertebrates.

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Can Bettas Live Together?

Male betta fish should never be housed together. They are simply too aggressive and territorial to tolerate another male after maturity. Betta fish are naturally territorial and will fish or kill each other. They do not get lonely, nor do they thrive in conditions that many other fish require. Betta fish struggle with strong filters because their long fins weigh them down in the water.

They also require a heater and are considered tropical fish. Housing betta fish with cold water fish will cause them to become uncomfortable and stressed in their conditions.

Do Snails and Betta Fish Coexist Peacefully?

Aquatic snails are one of the best tank mates for betta fish. They are large enough not to fit in your betta fish’s mouth, and they do not bother healthy betta fish. Aquarium snails can retract into their shell if your betta were to attempt to nip at them. There are a large variety of aquatic snails that will look attractive in your aquarium and create a peaceful environment with your betta fish.

Snails eat decaying plant matter, algae wafers, and other debris amongst the substrates. This means they will not harm or pay attention to your betta fish. Both species will generally ignore each other’s presence, but it is not unusual for bettas to be curious and pick at the snail during the first week. This will not cause any injuries, and your snail will not be harmed.

_ANURAK PONGPATIMET_Shutterstock
Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

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What are the Best Snail Tank Mates for a Betta Fish?

Plenty of aquatic snails can live with betta fish. These are the main species of snail that aquarists have had great experience keeping together:

  • Mystery snails
  • Apple snails
  • Ramshorn
  • Nerites
  • Assassin snails
  • Bladder snails
Mystery snail_Michael Strobel_Pixabay
Image Credit: Michael Strobel, Pixabay

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The 15 Most Suitable Tank Mates for Betta Fish

Invertebrates:
  • Snails
  • Shrimp
Fish:
Amphibians:
betta inside aquarium_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Considerations When Choosing Tank Mates for Bettas

Before impulse buying a tank mate, you must determine if the fish are ideal for your tank conditions.

Tank Size

It is important to provide your betta and its tank mates with a large tank. A standard rectangular tank is ideal, and bettas should not be housed in bowls, vases, jars, or bio orbs. A betta fish requires a 5-gallon minimum setup, and a 10-to-25-gallon tank is necessary if you plan to add tank mates.

Space is important to ensure that your betta does not get aggressive over a lack of space. A bonus to larger tanks is that your betta will not be able to see the tank mates constantly, and that will lower the chance of your betta running into their tank mates.


Water Quality & Feeding

Aside from tank size requirements, water quality and feeding are just as important. Betta fish eat different foods than other tropical fish and invertebrates. You should plan a feeding schedule to ensure each inhabitant is receiving their ideal diet.

Betta fish should never eat plant-based foods as they struggle to digest the material. Since snails and bottom feeders consume large amounts of vegetables, plants, and algae, you should watch closely so that your betta fish does not try to eat their food.

delta tail betta fish_Khairil Azhar Junos, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Khairil Azhar Junos, Shutterstock

Tetras and rasboras eat tropical foods that may cause bloat and constipation in bettas. A tip for feeding all inhabitants their share of food is to place the food in different areas in the tank. Snails and bottom-dwellers should be fed at night when your betta fish is sleeping, and other shoaling fish should be fed on the opposite side of the tank. That way, you will be able to successfully feed all inhabitants without issues.

A good quality filter is necessary to keep the waste and bioload at a minimum. Clean water is essential for the well-being of all tank inhabitants. The filter should not have a current which will stress out your betta fish. An aeration system is necessary to maintain a good oxygen ratio within the water. Gentle air stones, bubble walls, or air rings will work well.

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How Can You Successfully Keep Bettas and Other Fish?

  • Make sure that the tank is large and meets the appropriate stocking rate. If you plan to only keep snails with your betta fish, smaller snail species like nerites, assassins, ramshorns, or bladder snails can comfortably live in a 10-gallon aquarium. This is true if you plan to keep between one to eight small snails.
  • If you plan to keep large snails like mystery or apple snails, a 15 to 20-gallon tank is required. This size tank can house five to 15 large snails.
  • Shoaling fish are typically required to live in groups of six to eight. When adding them into the betta tank, you should ensure it is large enough to house all species comfortably. A 20–25-gallon tank will fit a small group of fish like tetras and danios with your betta.
  • Bottom-dwellers require a minimum of 25 gallons when housed with a betta fish.
  • The tank should be heavily planted with lots of hiding spaces for each inhabitant. Betta fish should not have fake plants or decorations as they are known for tearing their fins. You can put together a tank with silicone or live plants to keep your betta comfortable. Moss and bushy plants are ideal if you plan to keep shrimp with your betta. Shrimp need to hide under plants so that your betta fish does not harass and eat them.
  • Before adding livestock into the tank, it should be cycled for 4 to 6 weeks until the water readings are at ideal levels.

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Conclusion

Maintaining a community tank with your betta fish may be tricky, but it will become enjoyable once the inhabitants have established themselves and tolerate each other. Keeping betta fish with other fish or invertebrates rarely fails, and ensuring that you follow the correct guidelines for tank conditions will lead to success.

We hope this article has helped you choose the best tank mate for your betta!


Featured Image Credit: Grigorii Pisotsckii, Shutterstock

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