Can Betta Fish Live With Tetras? 4 Best Tetra Species

    Can betta fish live with tetras

    If you’re a fishkeeper who has a Betta tank, you may have wondered if it’s possible to add other fish to the tank. Indeed, can Betta fish live with Tetras?

    Actually, the answer is yes, they can! While Tetras are not always the best tank mates for Bettas due to their nippy behavior, if you choose the right Tetras and provide plenty of hiding places, your Betta and Tetras can coexist peacefully.

    In this post, we’ll explore in more detail whether or not Bettas can live with Tetras, as well as provide some context about Tetras and Bettas to help you make the decision for your own aquarium.

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    Can Betta Fish Live With Tetras Peacefully? Factors To Consider

    Betta fish are a type of freshwater fish that are known for their bright colors and long fins. They are native to Southeast Asia and can be found in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Tetras, on the other hand, are a group of freshwater fish that come from South America.

    So, can Betta fish live with Tetras? The answer is yes, but there are a few factors you need to consider before adding Tetras to your Betta fish tank.

    Fish Size

    One of the most important factors to consider when deciding if Betta fish and Tetras can live together is size.

    Betta fish can grow to be about 3 inches long, while Tetras are usually only 1-2 inches long. This means that Tetras are much smaller than Betta fish and could be seen as potential prey.

    Because of this, you need to make sure that the Tetras you add to your tank are big enough to avoid being eaten by your Betta fish. You also need to make sure that there are enough Tetras so that they can form their own schools and defend themselves against predators.

    In general, it’s best to avoid adding Tetras that are smaller than 1 inch to the same tank with a Betta.

    Tank Size

    Another important factor to consider is tank size.

    Betta fish need at least 5 gallons of water for one individual, while a whole school of 3-6 Tetras can live comfortably in a 10-gallon tank. This means that you can keep more Tetras in your tank than Betta fish.

    However, you need to make sure that your tank is big enough to accommodate both Tetras and Bettas. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 15 gallons of water for every 3 Tetras and 1 Betta.

    Tank Setup

    Although Bettas and Tetras can live together, they prefer different tank setups. Betta fish prefer tanks with plenty of hiding spots and places to rest, while Tetras prefer open tanks with lots of plants.

    Ideally, you should have a tank that has both hiding spots and plants. This will provide your fish with the optimal environment, help reduce stress levels, and allow them to hide if they feel threatened.

    Finally, you need to make sure that your tank has a good filtration system. You don’t need anything special – a simple sponge filter will do if you’re still new to the hobby.

    A good filtration system is important for all fish, but it is especially important for Betta fish. Betta fish, although relatively hardy, can be sensitive to water quality and need a clean and well-oxygenated tank in order to thrive.


    Another factor to consider when deciding if Betta fish and Tetras can live together is their individual temperaments.

    Betta fish are known for being aggressive, territorial fish that will fight other fish if they feel threatened. Tetras, on the other hand, are generally peaceful and shy fish that prefer to school with other Tetras – which can make them a perfect target for particularly aggressive Bettas.

    Due to this, you have to choose your Tetras carefully. Avoid individuals who are too shy and timid. Otherwise, they may be bullied by your Betta fish.

    You also need to make sure that the Tetras are not too aggressive or territorial because they may nip at your Betta’s fins and stress it out.

    Water Conditions

    Bettas and Tetras are able to tolerate each other’s preferred water conditions, but there are still a few caveats.

    Betta fish prefer soft water that is between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Tetras, on the other hand, prefer soft water that is between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

    While these parameters are within each other’s ranges, you have to make sure that the individuals you’re selecting for your shared tank aren’t too sensitive.


    Last but not the least, one more factor you need to consider when deciding if Betta fish and Tetras can live together is diet.

    Although they can eat anything that fits in their mouths, Betta fish are mainly carnivorous animals that prefer to eat live food, such as worms, insects, and small crustaceans. Tetras, on the other hand, are omnivores that prefer to eat a mix of plants and live food.

    If you don’t want your Tetras to be eaten by your Betta fish, you need to make sure that they are getting enough food. You also need to make sure that the Tetras are not eating all of the food before your Betta fish have a chance to eat.

    Betta Fish Basics

    Interested in housing Tetras with your Betta and vice versa? Here’s a quick primer on Betta fish.

    Scientific Name: Betta splendens
    Common Names: Betta Fish, Siamese Fighting Fish, Fighting Fish
    Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
    Temperature: 76-82°F or 25-28°C
    Minimum Tank Size: 5-10 gallons (20-40 liters)
    Diet: Carnivore
    Average Lifespan: 2 to 5 years
    Temperament: Aggressive


    Siamese fighting fish, or Betta fish as they are more popularly known, belong to the family Osphronemidae.

    Bettas got their start in Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, hence their name. However, they can also be found in nearby countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos.

    In the wild, Bettas prefer to live in areas with shallow, slow-moving water, like floodplains, marshes, and rice paddles. They have something called a “labyrinth organ” which allows them to inhale air directly from the surrounding environment, allowing them to endure low oxygen levels in the water.

    Sadly, this has led to many fishkeepers thinking that Bettas are suitable for tiny bowls and tanks. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the case. Bettas need plenty of space to thrive, as well as proper heating, lighting, and filtration.

    These days, they’re typically bred in aquariums, where breeders aim for “desirable” traits like bright colors and delicate fins.

    Tetra Basics (Neon Tetra)

    Neon tetra

    Now that you know the most important details about Betta fish, let’s discuss the basics of the most popular species of Tetra: the Neon Tetra.

    Scientific Name: Paracheirodon innesi
    Common Names: Neon Tetra
    Adult Size: 1–1.5 inches
    Temperature: 72-78°F or 22-25°C
    Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons (40 liters)
    Diet: Omnivore
    Lifespan: 6 to 8 years
    Temperament: Peaceful


    Tetras are a group of freshwater fish that belong to the family Characidae. They are found in tropical and subtropical regions all over the world, with the majority of Tetra species being native to South America.

    Tetras are a popular choice for aquariums because they are relatively small, peaceful, and easy to care for.

    Tetras are hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. However, they prefer water that is slightly acidic to neutral, with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0. They also prefer water that is soft to medium hardness, with a dH of 5.0 to 15.0.

    Tetras are omnivorous fish that will eat a variety of food, including plants, insects, and small crustaceans. In the wild, Tetras typically eat whatever is available. However, in captivity, it is important to feed them a diet that is balanced and nutritious.

    Differences Between Betta Fish & Tetras

    Here are the main differences between Betta fish and Tetras.

    Category Betta Tetras
    Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches 1-1.5 inches
    Temperament: Aggressive Peaceful
    Swim Speed: Slow Fast
    Diet: Carnivore Omnivore
    Common Food: Pellets, Live/Frozen Food Flakes
    Social: Independent Schooling
    Lifespan: 2 to 5 years 6-8 years


    Similarities Between Betta fish & Tetras

    With that out of the way, here are the similarities between these two species.

    Category Betta Tetras
    Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons 10 gallons
    Temperature Preference: 76-82°F or 25-28°C 72-78°F or 22-25°C
    Water Salinity: Freshwater Fresh or Brackish
    pH preference: Soft water Soft water


    Best Species Of Tetras That Can Live With Betta Fish

    Best Species Of Tetras That Can Live With Betta Fish
    Ember tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae)

    Now that you understand the basic similarities and differences between Betta fish and Tetras, it’s time to learn about the best Tetra species that can live with Bettas.

    Neon Tetras

    • Scientific name: Paracheirodon innesi
    • Adult size: 1-2 inches
    • Number in one tank: 6-12

    Neon Tetras are one of the most popular Tetra species, and for good reason. These small, South American fish look great in any aquarium, including a Betta tank.

    Since they’re shoaling fish, they should be kept in groups of at least 6, preferably more. This will let them feel more comfortable around your Betta and help them thrive.

    Neon Tetras are omnivorous fish that will eat a variety of food, including plants, insects, and small crustaceans. In the wild, Neon Tetras typically eat whatever is available. However, in captivity, it is important to feed them a diet that is balanced and nutritious.

    Their speed allows them to outswim your Betta and their small size means that your Betta is unlikely to view them as a threat.

    If you find Neon Tetras too bright, you can also opt for black Neon Tetras, which are a similar species with a darker coloration.

    Diamond Tetras

    • Scientific name: Moenkhausia pittieri
    • Adult size: 2-3 inches
    • Number in one tank: 6-12

    Diamond Tetras are another popular Tetra species that are well-suited for life with a Betta. This lovely Tetra species gets its name from theiridescent scales that sparkle or glitter in the light.

    Due to the way their scales catch the light, Diamond Tetras seem almost translucent. Their eyes are unique in that the upper portions have a reddish tint to them.

    This Tetra variety favors a biotope reminiscent of the Amazon. Their native habitat is in shallow, slowly flowing waters, where they can be surrounded by a variety of flora.

    If you want to house your Bettas with these beautiful fish, you should create an aquarium that is at least 30 gallons and has plenty of live plants.

    Rummy Nose Tetras

    • Scientific name: Hemigrammus rhodostomus
    • Adult size: 2.5-3 inches
    • Number in one tank: 6-12

    Rummy Nose Tetras are an amazing addition to any Betta tank. These shoaling fish, native to the rivers of South America, enjoy being in the company of their own kind and are known to be very peaceful.

    Also known as forehead Tetras or red nose Tetras, Rummy Nose Tetras get their name from the bright red patch on their faces, giving them an “intoxicated” look. They’re one of the few Tetra species that have a vertical bar, rather than a horizontal one, running through their eyes.

    Their natural habitat are slow-moving rivers and streams that are heavily vegetated, which is also why this Tetra variety feels most comfortable in a tank with lots of plants – just like a Betta fish.

    Like all Tetras, Rummy Nose Tetras should be kept in groups of at least 6 individuals. This will make them feel more comfortable and help reduce stress.

    Ember Tetras

    • Scientific name: Hyphessobrycon amandae
    • Adult size: 0.5-0.75 inches
    • Number in one tank: 8-12

    Another Tetra species that can live with your Betta is the Ember Tetra. These tiny Tetras are only found in a small region of Brazil, in the Araguaia River basin. They get their name from their bright red coloration, which is thought to resemble embers or hot coals.

    Ember Tetras should be kept in groups of at least 8 fish. However, they’re at their happiest when they’re with at least 11 other Embers, which is why you should consider a larger tank if you want to keep them with your Betta.

    They have a similar diet to Bettas, so feeding time should be pretty straightforward. Other than that, these two species shouldn’t interact that much, making them good tankmates.

    Tetra Species To Avoid With Betta Fish

    Sadly, not all Tetra species can live with Betta fish. There are some Tetra species that are just too nippy or aggressive for Bettas. Here are some Tetra species that you should avoid keeping with your Betta fish.

    Redeye Tetras

    Redeye Tetras (Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae) get their name from the vivid red patch that sits above each of their eyes.

    If you want your aquarium to stand out, these are a good option, but they’re not recommended for Betta tanks. The main reason is that Redeye Tetras are notoriously aggressive and snappy, especially in small groups. Additionally, Redeye Tetras can get pretty big, measuring up to 3 inches in length.

    Bloodfin Tetras

    Freshwater aquariums would benefit greatly from keeping Bloodfin Tetras (Aphyocharax anisitsi), as these colorful and lively little fish are a lot of fun to watch and require little maintenance.

    Unfortunately, they’re not compatible with Betta fish. Bloodfins are extremely playful and active fish, something that the slow-moving Betta doesn’t typically appreciate.

    Bleeding Heart Tetras

    Bleeding Heart Tetras (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma) are a Tetra species known for their distinctive coloration. These fish have a silver-pink body with a bright red spot near where their “heart” would be, hence the name.

    Although they look great, they’re not the best Tetra species to keep in your Betta community tank. Like the others on this list, they can also be pretty nippy.

    Black Phantom Tetras

    The black phantom Tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus) is a peaceful and tame addition to any aquarium. The primary issue with Black Phantom Tetras, though, is that they enjoy engaging in fake fights and other forms of sparring.

    While this isn’t always dangerous for Betta fish, it can stress them out and make them more territorial and aggressive in turn.

    Serpae Tetras

    Even though the serpae Tetra (Hyphessobrycon eques) is a beautiful and popular beginner fish, you shouldn’t keep this species with a Betta.

    Serpae Tetras are less peaceful than their counterparts, often pursuing and nipping slower tankmates. They’re also not fans of flashy, wavy-tailed fish, which makes your Betta an easy target.

    Precautions To Take Before Adding A Tetra To A Betta Tank and Vice VersaFighting fish (Betta splendens) Fish with a beautiful

    Before you add Tetras to a Betta tank and vice versa, there are a few precautions that you need to take.

    Prepare The Right Tank Size

    Tetras and Bettas need a large enough tank to live in peace with one another. Without their own space to call their own, aggression and stress levels can rise. Make sure you choose a tank size that’s sufficient for both species. The minimum tank size should be 10 gallons, but larger is always better.

    Add Plenty Of Hiding Spots

    There should be plenty of places for Bettas and Tetras to hide so that they have somewhere to go when they are feeling weak or ill. Every fish needs a place to rest safely, and having hiding places nearby can help them to feel more secure. Rocks, plants, and aquarium decor could all be good hiding spots.

    Choose Multiple Tetras

    As schooling fish, Tetras must always be kept in groups of eight or more. Tetras have a better chance of maintaining their good health when they are kept in large groups. Additionally, they’re less nippy, which means there’s a bigger chance that they’ll leave your Betta alone.

    Add Tetras First

    Adding a Betta to a Tetra tank is better than adding Tetras to a Betta tank. That’s because Bettas are far more aggressive than Tetras and are more likely to view them as invaders.

    However, if you introduce a Betta to a tank full of Tetras, the Betta will act as though it’s a newcomer (which it technically is, anyway). Once it gets used to the tank, it will settle into its territory peacefully, without bothering the other Tetras.

    Choose Female Bettas

    Female Bettas tend to be less aggressive than their male counterparts. If you want a higher chance of succeeding, opt for a female Betta instead of a male Betta fish.

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

    If your Betta and Tetra don’t get along, here are some things you can do.

    • Rearrange the decorations. This will give each fish a new chance to establish their own territory and may help them get along better.
    • Add a tank divider. A divider will allow you to keep only one tank while preventing the fish from being able to bother each other.
    • Create more hiding spots. When things become stressful inside your tank, having plenty of hiding spots will let your fish calm down and de-stress.
    • Make the Tetra school bigger. If your Tetra is in a group, make sure the group is big enough. A larger school will make the Tetra feel more secure and may help reduce aggression.
    • Consider keeping female Bettas instead of males. Female Bettas may still be aggressive, but certainly less than Males. If you’re going to keep only one Betta, consider a female.
    • Separate the two species. If nothing works and you still keep seeing aggression, the best thing you can do is to remove one of the species from the tank. This is why you should always have a spare tank available, just in case.

    Is It Worth Keeping Betta Fish And Tetras Together?

    So, are you wondering whether it’s worth keeping Betta fish and Tetras together? The truth is, it really depends on the individual fish. Some Tetras and Bettas get along just fine, while others will fight no matter what you do.

    If you do decide to keep them together, be sure to take the necessary precautions. A large tank, plenty of hiding spots, and a stable Tetra school are all essential. You’ll also need to be prepared to separate them if the aggression gets too out of hand.

    In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether the risk is worth it. If you’re up for a challenge, go ahead and give it a try. But if you’d rather play it safe, it’s probably best to keep Tetras and Bettas in separate tanks.


    “Will a Betta fish kill a Tetra?”

    It’s possible, but not likely. Bettas are known to be aggressive, but they usually only attack other fish if they feel threatened. If you provide a large enough tank with plenty of hiding spots, the Betta should leave the Tetras alone.

    “Will a Tetra kill a Betta fish?”

    Tetras rarely, if ever, kill other fish, let alone Bettas. However, Tetras are naughty little fin nippers, so it’s not uncommon for them to nip at the fins of their tankmates. Since Bettas can be very sensitive to stressBettas can be very sensitive to stress, this can cause them to get sick and eventually pass away.

    “Can Betta fish eat Tetra food?”

    Betta fish prefer a carnivorous diet that’s high in protein, so Tetra food is not ideal for them. That said, most Bettas will eat anything they can fit in their mouths. If they’re hungry enough, they won’t mind eating Tetra food.


    Bettas and Tetras are both beautiful, interesting species that will make great additions to any tank. Although these two can be kept together, you do need to keep some precautions in mind.

    As long as you’re prepared for the potential consequences, then you can go ahead and try keeping Tetras and Bettas together. It may not always work out, but it’s certainly worth a try. Who knows, you might just end up with a beautiful, peaceful tank full of happy fish.

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