Both guppies and bettas are incredibly popular aquarium fish — and for good reason. Both species are beautiful, relatively small, and easy to care for. However, the two are very different in terms of personality.
So, before you give in to the temptation of adding your brand new betta into your community guppy aquarium, it’s important to consider this fact.
In short, yes — bettas and guppies can live in the same aquarium. Despite being different species and having different natures, their care requirements are very similar. This means that if you’re prepared to resolve any potential behavioral conflicts between these two species, you should have no problems maintaining this multi-species pairing.
There are a number of factors that should be considered before you make the decision to house your betta and your guppies together, but here are a few of the most important.
Betta fish come in a variety of breeds much like dogs, cats, and other animals do. That being said, betta fish breeds come with their own unique sets of behaviors and personality traits, all of which should be considered.
All betta fish are considered to be semi-aggressive. There are, however, a few species who are known for being more aggressive than others. That’s why it’s so crucial that you only attempt to house the less aggressive betta species with friendly guppies.
Two great breeds to consider keeping with your guppies include halfmoon and delta.
If you have more than one betta fish in the same aquarium as guppies, you run the risk of your bettas becoming bullies and trying to eat the guppies.
Keeping a single betta with your guppies helps minimize this issue because the betta isn’t able to focus on just one guppy. There are too many guppies for the betta to be able to pick just one to terrorize, lessening the impact that your betta’s attitude has on both the physical health of your guppies as well as their stress levels.
For guppies to thrive in a tank with semi-aggressive fish such as bettas, they need plenty of places to hide. Plants make excellent hiding places due to their variation in size, shape, texture, and appearance. You can use live or synthetic plants, or a mixture of both.
When it comes to live plants, there are dozens of unique species that you can get creative with, while synthetic plants are slightly more limited. Synthetic plants are available for purchase in two texture varieties typically: a soft silk-like material and the traditional hard plastic that aquarium plants have been made with for as long as anyone can remember.
Live plants, however, offer a ton of different textures.
Some of the best and easiest live plants to care for include:
- Java ferns
- Java moss
- Amazon swords
- Guppy grass
Using live or fake plants, you can effectively create shelter for your guppies, as well as barriers for your bettas. By intentionally placing plants within your aquarium so that they break up your betta’s line of sight on your guppies, you can help the two peacefully coexist.
Providing enough space for your fish is important regardless of species. However, when it comes to keeping bettas and guppies together, it becomes even more important.
To house both species together, your aquarium should be at least 10 gallons. In a 10 gallon tank, the ratio of fish should be something like 4-5 guppies and a single betta. By adding more fish than the recommended numbers, your aquarium could be overcrowded which increases the chances of aggression from your betta.
The larger the tank is, the more fish you can add. Keep in mind, though, that bettas do better as singles than they do in groups of their own kind, so the best approach would be to add more guppies if you want to add more fish.
Proper feeding” means more than simply feeding your fish once a day. It means being knowledgeable about what both bettas and guppies should be eating, as well as how often and what kind of foods (flakes, pellets etc) suit them best.
To keep bettas’ bellies full and food-related aggression to a minimum, they should be fed meat-based foods. These can include bloodworms, black worms, shrimp, and meat-based pellets.
Guppies, on the other hand, should be fed a diet of both meat and vegetable-based foods as they are omnivores. They enjoy many of the same foods as bettas and will even eat commercial betta food off the shelf. Remember to meet their needs for vegetable matter, though, by offering veggie-based pellets.
To ensure that the guppies get enough food, we’d recommend feeding the guppies their veggie-based foods first, as your betta likely won’t have any interest in them. “
The larger the betta breed, the more of a problem it will be for your guppies. This being said, a good way to keep the peace is to make sure that you’re not mixing your guppies with a large breed of betta fish.
Luckily, the less aggressive bettas we mentioned above are also some of the smaller breeds.
At the end of the day, bettas and guppies can be kept together. For this to be successful, however, you must understand that these fish have different personalities and that as such, modifications must be made when keeping them together.
Your aquarium should be heavily planted, as large as possible but at least 10 gallons, and all your fish should be fed adequately to prevent food-related fin nipping and aggression.