Can Betta Fish Live With Pea Puffers? Find All The Details Here

    Can Betta Fish Live With Pea Puffers?

    Pea Puffers and Betta fishes are two of the most popular fishes in the fishkeeping hobby. If you’re new, you might want to see these two delightful fishes in the tank — but you first need to ask the question, can Betta fish live with Pea Puffers?

    Unfortunately, Bettas and Pea Puffer don’t work well together.  When keeping fish as pets, there are non-negotiable factors that you have to fulfill for your pets to survive, and sadly these factors are incompatible for both fishes.

    Of course, there’s more to that answer. If you want to know why you can’t keep Pea Puffers and Betta fishes together, read this article to find out!

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    Can Betta Fish Live With Pea Puffers Peacefully? Factors To Consider

    Can Pea Puffers Live With Bettas?

    Betta Fishes and Pea Puffers are known in the hobby to be some of the most interesting species around. We can’t blame you if you don’t know which one to pick!

    However, raising both of these fishes in the same tank presents obvious problems, because many factors are incompatible for both fishes.

    In this section, let’s look at the basic factors to consider when attempting to raise Bettas and Puffers in the same tank.


    Both Pea Puffer and Betta are known to be aggressive against other fishes, making them terrible tank mates.

    Males, in particular, are fiercely possessive and will immediately attack any other tankmates, especially males of their species. Both fishes are even known to attack the females of their species unless it’s breeding season.

    Thus, it’s often best to keep Betta males and Puffer males in separate aquariums.

    Water Parameters

    Although both fish can be found in tropical zones, the only water quality parameter they have in common is temperature.

    They both prefer warm water and are very sensitive to changes in water temperature. Due to their size, both species prefer no current or a low current.

    Other than that, they have different water condition requirements.

    Puffers thrive in a mix of fresh and saltwater, but Bettas are purely freshwater fish. In soft water, Bettas flourish. Pea Puffer fish, on the other hand, favor more alkaline water.

    Thus, keeping them in the same tank won’t work. There’s no tank condition where both species will prosper or even survive.

    Tank Size

    Tank size is the only fishkeeping requirement that these two fish have in common — both do not need huge tanks because they are both quite little pets.

    Both species’ beginning sizes for a single fish are 5 gallons. However, the 10-gallon option is always a good place to start because smaller tanks are typically more difficult to maintain than larger ones.


    Both Puffers and Betta fish are great hunters and both eat live and frozen foods. But that’s about where the similarities end.

    Pea Puffer fish typically don’t eat anything that isn’t living and moving. You can also get away with feeding them frozen or freeze-dried food like Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Blood Worms or Tetra Freeze-Dried Baby Shrimp.

    On the other hand, Bettas need premium pellets like the Ultra Fresh Betta Pro Shrimp Patties or the Fluval Bug Bites Betta Fish Food to meet their basic nutritional requirements. They will also eat human food if it’s made available to them.

    If you want to keep both fishes, you will have to give two very different types of food, with no assurance that each species will stick to their respective meals.

    Swimming Speed

    Unexpectedly, swimming speed is another factor that should be considered when putting Bettas and Puffers in one tank. This is because the two fishes are opposite regarding agility in the water.

    The Pea Puffer, as a smaller species, is very agile and fast in the water. In the wild, they are tiny but terrifying predators, able to hunt and catch their food with no mercy.

    On the other hand, despite being significantly larger than the Pea Puffer, Betta fishes are typically slow moving. Aside from a few exceptions, most Bettas have long, flowing fins that prevent them from swimming faster.

    That’s why, despite being highly aggressive, Bettas are often bullied in the tank because they can rarely fight back against faster fish.

    Thus, when those two qualities are put in a single tank, it’s highly likely that the Pea Puffer will nip the fins of the Betta, while the Betta can’t do anything to fight back. This can lead to the Betta becoming stressed or even sick over time.

    Betta Fish Basics

    If you’re dead set on combining Bettas and Pea Puffers in one tank, you’ll have to learn more about taking care of each species. To help you with that, here’s a primer on Betta basics!

    Scientific Name: Betta splendens
    Common Names: Betta Fish, Siamese Fighting Fish, Fighting Fish
    Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
    Temperature: 78-82°F or 25-28°C
    Minimum Tank Size: 5-10 gallons (20-40 liters)
    Diet: Omnivore
    Average Lifespan: 2 to 5 years
    Temperament: Aggressive

    One of the first species of domesticated fish is the Betta fish, commonly referred to as the Siamese fighting fish. Their striking colors and wide variety of fin shapes make them an eye-popping addition to any aquarium.

    That said, Bettas are extremely territorial and are famous for their aggressive behavior. They’re known to pick fights with almost any other fish, including their own species.

    Bettas can tolerate a wide variety of water conditions. Their wild counterparts can be seen living in rice paddies and shallow streams. However, in order to truly thrive, they need plenty of hiding places, lots of plants, and a diet of high-quality pellets once or twice a day.

    They also don’t appreciate aggressive tank mates, and will likely attack and eat vulnerable invertebrates such as shrimps.

    Pea Puffer Basics

    Pea Puffer (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) swimming in planted aquarium

    Pea Puffers are also interesting animals to care for, and if you want to find ways to add this species to Betta tanks you need to know exactly how to care for them.

    Scientific Name: Carinotetraodon Travancoricus
    Common Names: Pea Puffer, Mini Puffer Fish, Dwarf Puffer
    Adult Size: 1.5 inches
    Temperature: 74-82°F or 23-28°C
    Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons (40 liters)
    Diet: Carnivore
    Lifespan: 4 to 5 years
    Temperament: Aggressive

    Pea Puffers, also known as Dwarf Puffer Fish or Dwarf Puffers, are one species of fish that has recently exploded in popularity, and it’s not difficult to see why.

    Even though they’re the smallest of their family, these fishes add plenty of interest to your tank. First off, their vivid coloration and striking patterns add a unique aesthetic appeal to any aquarium.

    Add to that the fact that they can change their colors and can move their little eyes independently from each other, and you’ve got a tank highlight that will surely capture many people’s interest.

    Plus, they’re also very intelligent, and swim in brightly-colored schools. Pea Puffers often hang out near the top part of the tank, hunting for their natural diet of live food.

    Pea Puffers are interesting and beautiful, but they shouldn’t be mixed with other kinds of fishes. They’re highly aggressive and territorial, and are very prone to fin-nipping and harassing other types of fishes.

    Unfortunately, their population has been decreasing these last few decades. In fact, Dwarf Pufferfish are currently listed as a Vulnerable species under the IUCN list.

    Differences Between Betta Fish & Pea Puffers

    To give you a better overview of how these fishes differ, here’s a comprehensive table of the differences between the two species.

    Category Betta Pea Puffer
    Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches 1.5 inches
    Swim Speed: Slow Fast
    Diet: Omnivore Carnivore
    Common Food: High-nutrition pellets Live food
    Schooling or Independent: Independent Schooling
    pH preference: Soft water Acidic
    Water Quality: Freshwater Brackish water

    As you can see, both fish species have plenty of fish care categories that they differ in quite a bit, making them mostly incompatible.

    Similarities Between Betta Fish & Pea Puffers

    On the other hand, here’s the list of fish care parameters where Bettas and Puffers are similar.

    Category Betta Pea Puffer
    Tank Size: 10 gallons 10 gallons
    Temperature Preference: 78-82°F or 25-28°C 74-82°F or 23-28°C
    Temperament: Aggressive Aggressive
    Lifespan: 2 to 5 years 4 to 5 years

    Both fishes are only similar when it comes to tank size, temperature preference, temperament, and lifespan. Sadly, these characteristics are often not enough to make them match in a single tank.

    Precautions To Take Before Adding A Betta To A Pea Puffer Tank

    Dwarf Puffer (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) swimming in planted aquarium

    As we’ve learned, Bettas and Pea Puffer fish don’t have the same living conditions, so it’s highly discouraged to keep them in the same tank.

    However, if you’re still set on adding a Betta to a Puffer tank, you should remember a few things.

    • Ensure that the tank is big enough. Double the minimum required tank size, so both fishes have plenty of space and hiding places.
    • Test water conditions to be as close to ideal for both species. Find the middle area for both species, especially regarding water quality and pH.
    • Prepare an extra quarantine tank. If the worst-case scenario happens, prepare a quarantine tank ready to accommodate one fish.

    What To Do If Betta Fish And Pea Puffers Don’t Get Along

    When you have two incompatible fishes in a single tank, things will surely get a bit hectic. You’d want to know what you need to do to keep these two fishes safe and sound. Follow the steps below.

    1. Prepare a quarantine tank. Before adding the two fish to one tank, it’s best to have a quarantine tank ready. Make sure that this tank has water qualities calibrated for a specific species.
    2. Observe both fishes closely. When adding both fishes into the tank, they might not immediately exhibit signs of stress. Keep your eyes on them for the next hours and watch for the slightest sign of aggression or stress from any fish.
    3. Separate one fish in a quarantine tank. Transfer one of them to the prepared quarantine tank when you notice signs of stress, such as harassment, lethargy, or fear from any of the fish.
    4. Find alternate accommodations. Keep both fishes if you can, but if you can’t keep them separately, find other people to take care of them.
    5. Alternatively, keep them together. If, against all odds, your Betta and Pea Puffer get along, keep observing them over the next few days. Even if their temperaments align, their water parameters might not, so it’s best to be safe.


    Can a Betta fish live in a Pea Puffer tank?

    No, they can’t. Both fishes have different water quality requirements that make it difficult to keep them together in one tank. Additionally, both fishes are highly aggressive, so they might fight and stress each other out.

    How many Pea Puffers can live in one tank?

    The exact answer depends on how big your tank is. That said, you can fit 6-8 Pea Puffers in one 20-gallon tank comfortably, as long as you provide plenty of hiding places.

    What is the ideal tank size for a Betta fish?

    The ideal tank size for a Betta fish is 5-10 gallons or 20-40 liters. However, a larger tank is always better to give them more room to swim and explore.

    What is the ideal tank size for a Pea Puffer?

    The ideal tank size for a Pea Puffer is 10 gallons or 40 liters. Like Bettas, a larger tank is always better in order to accommodate them and their preferred decorations.


    Bettas and Puffers are some of the most exciting aquarium fishes in the hobby; you’re not the only one wishing you could see both vibrant and beautiful fishes in one tank.

    However, these fishes don’t mix well together.

    Not only are they both aggressive towards each other, but their water parameters aren’t compatible. The kind of water they naturally live in doesn’t suit each other, so putting them in the same tank is risking their health.

    In this article, we’ve discussed the factors you need to consider when housing Bettas and Pea Puffer in one tank, plus the care basics for both species, precautions to take, and what to do in case they don’t get along.

    Now, you have everything you need to know to make informed decisions about your aquarium!

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