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Can Female Bettas Live With Other Fish? How To Keep Them Together?

Can Female Bettas Live With Other Fish? How To Keep Them Together?

Image credit: Thierry Marysael, Gourami Watcher, Eleverse (CC License)

I’ve recounted this story a million times, but if this is your first time in the blog, let me quickly give you a recap of what happened. 

I got my first pair of bettas when I was 9. You’d think I got a male and a female, I know. But they were two flamboyant fish with fins like flowy silk dresses. In other words, both were males. 

I’d be amazed at the constant display of fins and tails they’d put on. Back then, I didn’t know this gradual widening in shape was called flaring, and that flaring is what they do when angry. 

Long story short, one of the fish died after sustaining deep injuries. 

And that’s how I came to know you can’t put multiple male bettas in the same tank. 

However, female bettas can safely cohabitate with each other. There are even terms for a group of female bettas: a sorority or a harem. 

Yes, females are also aggressive and territorial. They have a strict pecking order in place. But they’re nowhere near as hotheaded as the males. I can vouch for that.

I’ve raised a betta sorority on two occasions. The first time was a grand success. The second time? You should read up on this

So, cutting to the chase – can female bettas live with other fish? Can you stack the odds? Let’s discuss this. 

Can Female Bettas Live With Other Fish?

Yes, female bettas can live with other fish. Not just fish – they can even live with shrimps and snails. Unlike males, female bettas make a suitable choice to go into a community tank. You can keep more than one. The bettas will establish a pecking order and abide by it. 

I’d briefly kept my female bettas alongside clown loaches and had no problem. They got along pretty fine – keeping to themselves most of the time. As loaches and bettas inhabit different areas of the tank, I don’t remember a confrontation between them on a single occasion. 

Right now, my female bettas and a school of harlequin rasboras live in the same tank. 

I had done a fair share of research before adding rasboras. Many blogs and forums recommended them – some even went as far as hailing rasboras as the “best tank mates for bettas.” 

Although the bettas and rasboras swim in the same region, they ignore each other for the most part. However, having said that, there was this particular rasbora who’d nip my bettas’ fins, so I removed it. 

I’ve raised a male betta alongside cory catfish, kuhli loaches, and even tetras. So you’ll have no problem adding these fish to the sorority tank if you get a few things right.

Here’s an article recounting everything there’s to know about keeping bettas with other fish. I’ve added all the information you need since it’s based on my experience raising bettas in community tanks. 

I hope you find it helpful. 

This article features cory catfish, kuhli loach, tetra, harlequin rasbora, and clown loach. 

Since female bettas have a more subdued personality than males, you have many options when choosing their tank mates. You don’t necessarily have to keep them alongside bottom-dwellers or dither fish.

What Other Fish Can Live With Female Bettas?

Following thorough research, I have prepared this comprehensive list of fish that can coexist with female bettas in a community tank. 

  • Pygmy Corydoras
  • Guppies 
  • Mollies 
  • Platies 
  • Dwarf Loach 
  • Zebra Danios

Bonus: Shrimps, African dwarf frogs, and snails

Pygmy Corydoras 

Credit: Carnat Joel (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Corydoras pygmaeus 
  • Maximum Size: 1 inch
  • Lifespan: 3 years
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Sociable 
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 22-26°C (72-79°F)


Credit: Holger Krisp (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Poecilia reticulata
  • Maximum Size: 0.5-1.4 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 years
  • Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 22-28°C (72-82°F)


Credit: Gourami Watcher (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Poecilia sphenops
  • Maximum Size: 4 inches
  • Lifespan: 3-5 years
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Easy-going
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 24-26°C (75-80°F)


Credit: Marrabbio2 (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Xiphophorus maculatus 
  • Maximum Size: 2.8 inches
  • Lifespan: 3-4 years
  • Minimum Tank Size:
  • Temperament: 10 gallons
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 22-26°C (72-79°F)

Dwarf Loach

Credit: Lerdsuwa (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Ambastaia sidthimunki
  • Maximum Size: 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 8-12 years
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Temperature: 24-28°C (75-82°F)

Zebra Danios

Credit: Oregon State University (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Danio rerio
  • Maximum Size: 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 3-5 years
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 16-28°C (60-82°F)

What To Consider When Choosing Tank Mates For Female Bettas?

There are a couple of things to remember when choosing tank mates for bettas since they are pretty aggressive and territorial. You should consider factors like how aggressive the other fish is, whether it’s a schooling fish or not, the fish’s appearance, food habits, and required tank conditions. 

Swimming Region

Betta fish swim at the top. They are labyrinth fish that can breathe from the surface. Since they occupy the top region, it’s better to choose fish that swim in the middle area or at the bottom. 


Female bettas aren’t notorious for their temper like the males are, but they are no saints either. They are quite aggressive and territorial. They often almost have a pecking order in place. The other fish you add to the tank should be peaceful or bold enough to hold their ground. 

Schooling Behavior 

Fish that move in schools are better fits for a betta sorority tank. When in groups, fish are less prone to being bullied. A betta wouldn’t dare to pick a fight with an entire group of fish. 

Fish’s Appearance 

Several studies have shown that female bettas are more tolerant of other fish that look like them. So getting the fish with the same color, shape, or size might help.

Eating Behavior 

Bettas are carnivores. They have a natural hunting instinct. Therefore, adding another carnivore fish to the tank is not a good idea. Choose a fish that’s either a bottom-feeder or an omnivore. 

So, these are the few characteristics you should consider when choosing tankmates for female bettas. 

Besides getting the fish with the best compatibility, there are certain things you can do from your side to stack the odds in your favor. 

Tips For Successfully Keeping Female Bettas Alongside Other Fish

Get A Big Tank 

Although I disapprove of it, keeping a single betta in a nano tank is possible. 

However, when multiple bettas come into the equation, the needs change. 

You cannot expect to keep multiple bettas together in a small enclosure without expecting a bloodbath. 

Like male bettas, females, too, are inherently aggressive and quite territorial. Therefore, the number one priority in all circumstances should be getting the biggest possible tank. 

Although not exactly relevant or maybe appropriate, here’s something I want to get off my chest. 

Bettas are mass-bred in unsanitary, germ-ridden facilities and then live the first few months of their lives in small cups without any provision for filtration, heating, or water changes. 

Even when they find their forever homes, they often end up in tiny containers, fashionably known as nano tanks. This is at least true for 8 out of 10 bettas.

Break The Line Of Sight 

To put it simply, line of sight is the straight line along which an observer has an unobstructed vision. And you probably already know why breaking the line of sight is essential when it comes to bettas. 

Creating obstructions using the decors and plants is quite important to achieve that. 

Keep The Fish Well-Fed 

Bettas are carnivores. Don’t go by the looks – they have a fierce temperament and an acute hunting instinct. If they don’t have enough resources at their disposal, they wouldn’t mind going after “enemies.” 

Feed 2 to 4 pellets twice a day. Occasionally fortify the diet with frozen snacks like mealworms and bloodworms. I wouldn’t recommend giving live treats so as to discourage hunting instinct. 

Keep An Eye Out 

Since bettas don’t like sharing space, adding new roommates to their tank will always be a little dicey. Therefore, it’s important to place the tank in a place that it’s easy to observe, like your bedroom or the kitchen. 

Make a habit of observing the fish tank for a few minutes daily to see how the inhabitants react to each other. 

Create Hiding Spots 

Hiding spots serve as retreats for the times the betta is stressed. Since they aren’t the most social fish we know, it’s important to include several hideouts to help them relax. 

These hiding spots will also come in handy for the tank’s other inhabitants in case they get bullied by betta. 

Keep reading:

Can Two Betta Fish Live Together? Here’s What Will Happen!

Can Shrimp Live With Betta? Learn From My Experience!