Can Bettas and Tetras Live in The Same Tank

We all love community tanks. This is because they are vibrant and fascinating, and they look like real underwater ecosystems. However, while community tanks are vibrant and fascinating they are not easy to build. This is because not many aquarium fish species are compatible with each other. 

In this post, I will share with you important information about bettas, tetras, and whether they can live together in the same tank. Bettas are known to be territorial and aggressive, so read on to find out the answer to the question: Can bettas live with tetras?

So Can Bettas and Tetras Live in the Same Tank?

This question does not have a straightforward answer. This is because there are dozens of tetra species existing on the planet. Some can live with tetras while others cannot.

Only a handful of tetra species are highly compatible with bettas. By highly compatible, I mean they do not get into fights with bettas and they do not aimlessly wander into betta territories.

For this reason, they can live harmoniously with bettas. The tetra species that can live peacefully with bettas are rummy nose tetras, neon tetras, ember tetras, cardinal tetras, and black neon tetras.

Tetra Species Compatible with Bettas

Rummy Nose Tetras

Bettas can live harmoniously with rummy nose tetras. This is because bettas typically stay in the top half of fish tanks, while rummy nose tetras often stay in the bottom half of fish tanks. Therefore, if you put bettas and rummy nose tetras in the same tank, they will not interact a lot even though they will be living in the same tank. This will make any conflict between the two fish species very unlikely.

However, it is worth noting that rummy nose tetras can grow as big as two inches long. Therefore, if you intend to host them and bettas in the same tank, you should make sure the tank is big enough. Otherwise, the swimming space will be too small and the consequences will be disastrous. The bettas could attack the rummy nose tetras and the tetras could try to nibble the betta fish fins. 

The smallest tank in which you can safely host rummy nose tetras and bettas is a 20-gallon tank. There are many affordable 20-gallon tanks that you can purchase from sellers on Amazon.

Before deciding to keep bettas and rummy nose tetras in the same tank, you should consider the following key facts:

 

  • Rummy nose tetras prefer a temperature range of between 75 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit. This means you will probably need to buy a heater if you live in a cold-weather area

Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are brilliant tank mates for bettas because of two things. First, they can swim very fast. This means that it is not very easy for bettas to catch them and harm them. Second, they prefer living in the bottom half of fish tanks in contrast to most betta species that prefer living in the top half of fish tanks. This makes any contact and conflict between neon tetras and bettas very unlikely.

The thing that most people like about neon tetras is the fact that they are very fascinating to look at. You will never get bored if you have them and bettas in a community tank. Moreover, they live just as long as bettas (five years). In my opinion, this makes them the perfect tank mates for bettas. However, you have to take good care of them for them to live for five years or more.

Before deciding to keep bettas and neon tetras in the same tank, you should consider the following key facts:

  • Neon tetras are social and prefer living in a school. This means you will need to buy a good number of them (10 to 12) to keep them happy and to reduce their stress levels. It also means that you cannot keep them and your tetra in a small tank as the overcrowding will automatically cause stress, aggressiveness, and conflict.

Ember Tetras

The reason why I stated that ember tetras are highly compatible with bettas is that they typically live in a separate and different fish tank territory when compared to bettas. They (ember tetras) prefer living in the bottom half of tanks, while the bettas prefer living in the top half of fish tanks. So most of the time they will not meet eye to eye with bettas. This makes it unlikely for bettas to harm them despite their aggressiveness. 

However, during feeding time, the two fish species will interact with each other as they are attracted to and prefer the same type of food. This could result in conflict. However, you can prevent conflict by giving all your fish enough food. 

Before deciding to keep bettas and ember tetras in the same tank, you should consider the following key facts:

  • Ember tetras are social and prefer living in a school. So you will need to buy between 10 and 12 of them to make sure they are happy and unstressed. This will also mean that you need to buy a good-size tank to make sure you do not crowd them together with your betta or bettas in a small space (this could be a recipe for disaster).
  • Ember tetras have an average lifespan of two to three years.

Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal tetras have a very striking color pattern. In my eyes, they are the most attractive tetras on the planet. They are great tank mates for bettas because they typically stay in a fish tank territory (the bottom half) that bettas don’t like staying in, just like the aforementioned tetra species. Therefore, it is very unlikely that they will frequently interact with bettas and that conflicts will ensue when they interact.

A community tank with bettas and cardinal tetras will look very attractive. However, it will need to be big for the two fish species to co-exist. Because, after all, cardinal tetras are schooling fish and are happiest in a group. So you need to buy a number of them (not just one) and a small tank will not do.

Before deciding to keep bettas and cardinal tetras in the same tank, you should consider the following key facts:

  • Cardinal tetras are schooling fish and like staying in groups of at least six. So you will need to buy a big tank of at least 20 gallons to host them with a betta fish.
  • Cardinal tetras have a lifespan of five years. This means you should only buy them if you are ready for a long-term commitment.

Black Neon Tetras

Like neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and the other tetras above, black neon tetras are bottom dwellers. So they also do not interact much and fight much with bettas when kept in the same tank. This is what makes them great tank mates for bettas.

Moreover, they do not have a bright color pattern. They are dark. Therefore, they do not attract the attention of bettas much often. 

The best thing about them is the fact that they thrive in the same water parameters as bettas.

Before deciding to keep bettas and black neon tetras in the same tank, you should consider the following key facts:

  • Black neon tetras are a schooling fish and prefer staying in groups of 10 to 12. This means you need to host them in a big tank to provide them with enough room to swim with your bettas.

As you can see, the tetra species that are compatible with bettas are those that are bottom dwellers. The reason why is that they do not get in the way of betta fish that are known to prefer staying in the top half of fish tanks.

Tetra Species Not Compatible with Bettas

Several tetra species are not compatible with bettas. They include black phantom tetras, bleeding heart tetras, and serpae tetras. Black phantom tetras are not compatible with bettas because they fight each other and this can stress bettas and make them aggressive and territorial.

While bleeding heart tetras like nipping the fins of other fish and, therefore, can hurt bettas. This is the reason why they are not compatible with bettas who typically have long fins. Lastly, like bleeding heart tetras, serpae tetras also like nipping the fins of other fish. This is what makes them not compatible with bettas.

Conclusion

As you can see bettas can live with some tetras and not others in the same tank. They can live with tetras that do not get in their way and with tetras that are not nippy fish. These include neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and black neon tetras. The tetras that bettas cannot live with include black phantom tetras, serpae tetras, and bleeding heart tetras.