Betta fish and snails

Betta fish and snails DEFAULT

Tank Mates for a Betta

Things to Consider before adding tank mates to your betta aquarium:

These are some of the aspects you should take into consideration before adding new inhabitants to your betta&#;s home.

Living space

Make sure there’s enough room to keep multiple inhabitants. The more creatures living in the aquarium the more excrement, which means a higher chance of an ammonia buildup and poor water quality.


No seriously, different bettas have different attitudes. Every fish is different. Bettas, most of the time, are calm, passive fish, but their title ‘Siamese Fighting Fish’ isn’t around for nothing. Time and time again, bettas will attack and kill fish that even slightly resemble another betta, such as anything colourful, bright or with large fins.

Betta Companions

Male bettas hate their own kind, they really do! Not so much the females, they get on fine together. Male bettas are very protective about their territory and if a female comes along, they don’t want any other guy getting in the way. Male bettas will even attack females if the mating conditions aren’t right or if he has a current spawn. The only time a male and female should be put together is for the purpose of breeding. Even then, once the female has laid her eggs, if she is not removed from the aquarium the male betta will attack her! Crazy.

Before introducing another fish to live with your betta, consider:

  • Does the fish, in any way, look like a betta? Finnage, size, very bright colours and shape are all something to think about. If you think there is a resemblance, it&#;s probably a good idea to give it a miss or do some research to see if anyone knows about how the betta fish react to specific breeds.
  • Will the fish nip at the betta? Bettas have long, delicate fins, and some small fish will take the chance to nip at them as a food source if the betta’s guard is down.

If you don’t consider these points, then there is a good chance the fish will try to take a bite out of each other.

Fish that can live with a betta

The (non-fish) critters named below are very unlikely to cause a disturbance in your betta aquarium, but there are many aquarium fish that will also live happily with your betta. Some people keep small, upper swimming fish with bettas, such as the Neon Tetra, White Clouded Mountain Minnows, Guppies, Mollies and Rasboras.

As much as these fish are known for being great in a community aquarium, they don’t always do well with bettas. They often dart about, which can stress the betta. They may breach the betta’s territory and sometimes even nibble at the betta’s fins.

Sometimes the danger can be the other way round. As mentioned beforehand, if these fish are colourful (like a molly, for example), the betta will see it as one of his own and attack the fish!

The following is a list of fish that have been known, in most cases, to live harmoniously with bettas.

Catfish, Plecos and Corydoras

Catfish and bottom feeding fish are usually the best fish to keep with bettas. They don’t resemble what a betta would class as a threat. They swim at the bottom of the aquarium and are often reclusive and hide. They’re non-aggressive fish.


You’ve probably heard that betta fish prefer to live alone, and for the most part that’s true, but they can actually live with a few select tank mates. The mystery snail is one such pal that is docile enough to cohabitate with a betta fish. Having a betta fish in your tank is great, but soon (if you don’t have it already) you’ll get the itch for more than one marine creature in there. If you’re not ready for a sorority of females or other tankmate fish species that require at least gallons or more, you should consider the mystery snail.

Mystery snails require a similar water pH at , temperature between degrees fahrenheit, and regular day and night cycles just like your betta fish. Your snail won’t be as active as your betta, but they can be very active when they are feeding and in an exploring mood. It is recommended that if you do choose to add a mystery snail to your tank that it be at least 5 gallons in size. This is because of good ecosystem care and space requirements, and the bio-load or amount of waste that can occur. The larger the tank, the more community members that can exist in the tank and remain healthy.

Mystery Snails are Cleaners

One of the biggest advantages to adding a mystery snail to your betta’s tank is that they feed on algae and fish flakes and betta pellets. They will scale across the substrate and sides of the tank’s glass to clean up all that excess waste that builds up! One man’s trash is another man’s treasure right? Do be careful though as mystery snails can become very stressed from similar situations that betta fish undergo. When adding them into the water, make sure they land right side up, and always acclimate them to the water temperature and its other parameters. Not doing so can result in death on day one.

Snails that go motionless for a day or more, or are upside down or floating may be dead. The ‘smell test’ or removing them from the tank and sniffing near them will be the true test. A dead mystery snail expels a very gross and pungent odor. Their average lifespan is much shorter than a betta fish’s and is typically around one year. Remove dead snails immediately to avoid disease and tank pollution (e.g. ammonia) which can harm your betta fish. 

Mystery Snails Like to Escape

Although I have never experienced this myself, even from tanks without lids, some mystery snails can be great magicians and escape their habitat. Take care by keeping your tank’s lid on at all times, and lower the water level to prevent any mishaps. Escaped mystery snails should be acclimated back into the tank as soon as possible as they can dry out very quickly and die.

Coloring also varies across mystery snails because what their name implies many are a mystery. The most common coloring is blue and dark shell colors all the way to cream and yellow. They do need a male and female to mate so you also won’t have to worry about them reproducing asexually and taking over your tank. That is unless of course you purchase a pregnant female.

Spotting a Healthy Mystery Snail

Some things to look for when purchasing a mystery snail pal for your betta fish is signs of good health. These include the following: a strong shell with no visible cracks or pitted areas, snails that are actively moving or attached to the tank’s sides, cohabitating with living and healthy fish, and contains all of its tentacles and there is no damage to its eyes or operculum.

Good luck picking out one for your tank, and I’d love to see pictures on Facebook or Instagram if you’d like to share. In the future I plan to make an exhaustive list of betta fish tank mates, but for now I at least wanted to cover the mystery snail because it’s a great beginner addition to care for.

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Can Bettas Live With Snails? All You Need to Know!

If your betta fish looks lonely, you’re probably looking for a suitable tank mate for them.

Given their aggressive nature, they best cohabitate with submissive creatures like snails.

Yet, like humans, different bettas behave differently, so you need to consider their composure before adding any tank mate.

Plus, certain types of snails coexist better with bettas than others.

In this guide, you’ll find out everything about whether bettas can live with snails or not.

Can Bettas Live With Snails?

In most cases, adding a snail to your aquarium will not bother the betta or make it aggressive.

Some bettas will be indifferent about the presence of a snail, while others will occasionally nibble it.

If your betta is extraordinarily hostile, it won’t hesitate to eat the snail too. Hence, it largely depends on the behavior of your betta.

Many bettas will eat anything you add to the tank, and snails aren’t an exception.

However, this shouldn’t make you believe that bettas will most certainly eat a snail added to the tank. Numerous aquarium owners add snails to their betta tanks and don’t experience any hostility.

Plus, there are ways to reduce the chances of or preventing your betta from bothering the snail. Providing your betta with a combination of live food and fresh pallets and ensuring that they get a balanced diet is a great tactic.

Choosing the right type of snail is another effective measure. Larger snails can protect themselves from being eaten as compared to smaller snails.

To protect themselves from predators, they work like a trap door. As soon as they sense danger, they hide in their shells.

To give you a better idea, we’ll now discuss the type of snails that get along well with bettas and those that should be avoided.

Types of Snails that Get Along Well With Bettas

Here are some of the snails that you can keep with your betta fish in a fish tank.

Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are among the best types of snails that keep up with betta fish. Since most of them eat only algae and biofilm, you should consider keeping them in well-established tanks.

Nerite snails come from brackish areas with tides, where they climb out of the water for a few hours every day.

Thus, to prevent the snail from moving out of the tank, make sure that your aquarium has a secure lid.

One great aspect of nerite snails is that they cannot reproduce in freshwater, so they won&#;t overpopulate your tank.

These snails have distinct female and male genders, but it&#;s extremely difficult to differentiate them. You won&#;t identify a female nerite snail until you see it laying eggs. Laying eggs doesn’t necessarily mean reproduction.

Female nerite snails do lay eggs, but they never hatch. You can only remove the eggs from the aquarium surface using a razor blade.

As for their compatibility with bettas, you don&#;t have much to worry about because only their antennae are exposed.

They keep these hidden too most of the time, so your betta won’t be able to damage them. Even if a betta fish bites the antennae of a nerite snail, it will regrow in a few weeks.

Mystery Snails

Another type of snail that gets along well with bettas is mystery snails. These require calcium and protein supplements to thrive and tend to grow to the size of a golf ball.

Their calcium and protein needs are often fulfilled in the form of cuttlebone and shrimp pallets. Cuttlebone, in particular, should be present in the tank to meet their calcium intake, and you can also provide them with kale, spinach, or other blanched vegetables.

Since mystery snails are primarily carnivorous, they must be given a protein-based diet. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t eat algae at all; they do eat some forms of soft algae.

What’s different about these snails is that they pose no threat of overfeeding because they stop eating once they’re full.

Mystery snails come in a wide range of colors such as jade, magenta, gold, purple, ivory, and black.

The two most common colors include gold and black, and the gold variant is often referred to as Gold Inca.

Since the female mystery snail lays eggs above the waterline, removing them is extremely easy.

Mystery snails normally keep their eyestalks and antennae out. Like with nerite snails, their antennae regrow.

Unlike their name, mystery snails are peaceful creatures that get along well with most types of tank mates.

Pond Snails

Pond snails are quite similar to the garden snails seen on land. They do a great job of eating algae and don’t usually harm the aquarium plants.

The only problem with them is that they reproduce quickly and lay jelly-like eggs on the glass.

Thus, if you do decide to keep them in your betta tank, avoid overfeeding your betta. This is because overfeeding means more fish waste, which is what pond snails feed on.

If they eat too much, they’ll lay more eggs, which in turn can impact your betta’s health. If you can maintain a balance, pond snails can be added to the tank with bettas.

Assassin Snails

An assassin snail is a unique type of snail. Instead of eating algae or plants, assassin snails feed on other snails.

As their name suggests, they’re typically added to tanks to assassinate or eat snails that have proliferated beyond limits.

One of the great things about assassin snails is that they reproduce much slower than other types of snails.

More importantly, they cohabitate smoothly with bettas, given your betta doesn’t take much interest in them.

Ramshorn Snails

Ramshorn snails are similar to pond snails in size but have a flat, rounded shell.

Since their pH and temperature requirements are the same as those required for betta fish, ramshorn snails make an ideal choice for betta tanks.

You can add them to your betta tank without any worry.

When overfed, these snails can reproduce a lot. Too many snails can create problems for your betta.

While ramshorn snails can thrive on algae and old food, they will eat up any live plants in your aquarium. Hence, they are more popular with tanks that don’t contain a lot of live plants.

Japanese Trapdoor Snail

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, large snails with a trapdoor functionality are safer than small snails with exposed parts.

That&#;s exactly what makes Japanese trapdoor snails suitable for betta tanks.

They can grow up to two inches in length and will retreat to their shells when they feel threatened.

They may also burrow themselves in the substrate for protection. Yet, these snails like to wander around like nerite snails, so be sure to place a lid on your aquarium.

They eat certain forms of algae and are peaceful snail species.

Snails You Should Avoid Keeping With Betta

You can&#;t keep all types of snails with the betta fish.

Here are snail types that you should avoid keeping with the betta fish.

Pest Snails

Pest snail reproduces a lot. Moreover, it should not be added to beta tanks because it doesn’t have an operculum, which leaves its head exposed, making it vulnerable to betta attacks.

Furthermore, pest snails can’t hide in the substrate as well to protect themselves. Bettas that live peacefully with nerite and mystery snails will eat up pest snails immediately.

Apple Snails

Apple snails should not be added to an aquarium with bettas.

Found in warmer parts of the US and Central and South America, apple snails are 6 inches in diameter. This size is too large for a typical betta tank that normally measures gallon or less.

On top of that, these giant snails are carnivorous, which means they can prove dangerous for a weak or slow betta.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail

These snails should be avoided for two reasons:

  1. Even though they spend most of their time hiding in the substrate, their exposed heads make them susceptible to bettas.
  2. They reproduce massively, giving live birth to a snail every few days. Plus, the babies take around two months to fully grow. This means they can totally invade your aquarium in a matter of months. This proves problematic for bettas as well as aquarium owners.

Closing Thoughts

To sum things up, there’s no right or wrong answer to whether bettas can live with snails. Bettas that remain unresponsive to certain types of snails can act outrageously with other types of snails.

While the behavior of your betta is an important factor, it majorly comes down to the type of snail you want to keep in your betta tank.

The best snail species for betta tanks include mystery snails and nerite snails, but you can also consider keeping pond snails, assassin snails, or ramshorn snails with them.

The types of snails you should avoid at all costs include pest snails, apple snails, and Malaysian trumpet snails.

Whenever you are adding new pets to your tank, make sure you do your research so that you don’t make any mistakes.

Other articles you may also like:


Can Betta Fish Live With Snails?

As much as I&#;m told it doesn&#;t happen. I&#;m always worried my betta looks lonely. And if you&#;re reading this then you probably do too. Finding tank mates for your betta can often be difficult so you may be asking yourself &#;can betta fish live with snails?&#; If so, then keep reading to find out!


In general, adding a snail or two to your tank will not cause your betta to become aggressive. Sometimes your betta may pick at it or nibble, this is because of curiosity more than aggression. However, this always depends on your betta. If you know that your betta is aggressive then you should avoid any other tank mates. But if you&#;re not sure then you should add one and see.

Do Bettas Eat Snails?

Bettas will eat anything in your tank so if given the chance, they&#;ll try to eat your snails too. Because of this, it&#;s important to try and buy snails that aren&#;t small. Larger snails are a lot harder to eat. And while your betta may still try to get at the fleshy parts of your snail, a fully grown one is going to have a much better chance of defending themselves.

You shouldn&#;t think that if you introduce a snail to your tank your betta will always eat it. Many betta owners have had a snail in their tank for many years without any issues.

And there are ways to minimize the chance of your betta trying to eat your snails. The biggest one, of course, is making sure your betta gets a balanced diet. This includes giving them a combination of fish pellets and live food.

Also, snails do have defense mechanisms put in place to stop them from being eaten. They have something similar to a trap door, which they can use to stop predators from eating them if they can shut it quick enough.

So while it is possible for bettas to eat snails you can limit the chance of this happening.

Different Types Of Snail

There isn&#;t just one type of snail to add to your tank. There&#;s a whole variety of different and exciting breeds. And it&#;s important to make sure you choose the right ones. Because some snails are harder to keep alive than others. And if you can&#;t keep your snail alive, then you risk contaminating your tank with a decaying body.

Turret Snails 

  • pH: &#;
  • Temperature 70 &#; 78°F
  • Lifespan: 1 Year
  • Size Inches

Turret snails (also called Malaysian trumpet snails) are the first type of snail you can add to your aquarium. They grow up to inches and live for a year. Also as you can see they require the same temperature and pH as bettas which means they are going to thrive in your bettas tank.

They are great beginner snails because they don&#;t need much upkeep. As long as the water conditions are good they will thrive in your tank.

A turret snails behavior is pretty much the same day by day. You&#;ll often see them foraging around on the gravel looking for any leftovers or debris. They commonly eat any food missed by your betta, dead plants, algae etc.

(Because they spend most of their time on gravel it&#;s important to find gravel that&#;s good for them. If you have gravel with sharp edges or that is too big you could end up hurting or killing your snail. Read this article to find out about the best gravel you can use in betta tanks.)

One of the downsides of turret snails (and most snails) is that if left unchecked they can breed. Before you know it you may have a lot more snails in your tank than you want.

Turret Snail

Ramshorn Snails

  • pH: &#;
  • Temperature: 70 &#; 78°F
  • Lifespan: 1 Year
  • Size: inches

Just like turret snails, ramshorn snails are similar in size and lifespan. As well as this they also require the same pH and temperature as betta fish do, so you don&#;t have to worry about changing your tank to meet any requirements.

Ramshorn snails are best for tanks that don&#;t have a lot of plants in them. While they normally scavenge food off the floor, if they can they may start eating your plants. The good news is if your tank doesn&#;t have any live plants in it, ramshorn snails can still live off algae and old food.

Once again ramshorn snails are the kind of snails you can put in your tank and forget about, as long as the conditions are good.

With all snails, you need to be wary about how much their reproducing. If they have an abundance of food they reproduce at an incredible rate.

Ramshorn Snail

Pond Snails

  • pH:
  • Temperature: 70 &#; 78°F
  • Lifespan: 1 Year
  • Size: 1 Inch

Pond snails are some of the most common snails, and in fact, you may not even need to buy them. Oftentimes, pond snails can be smuggled into your tank on live plants without you realizing.

They are great at removing algae from your tank as well as any old food and dead plants at the bottom of the tank.

The only downside of pond snails is that they thrive best in a pH of However, they can still live a happy life in a tank with a pH of 7 which is only slightly more acidic.

Pond snails are the ones on this list that are going to reproduce the most. As long as there&#;s water in the tanks and enough food, it won&#;t be hard for their population to grow rapidly.

Knowing the different behavior, tank requirements and diets of multiple fish is a difficult task to accomplish. In fact, there are fish that can live with your betta you haven&#;t even thought of yet! If you want to know about every fish that can live with your betta then click here.


Assassin Snails

  • pH: 7 &#; 8
  • Temperature: 75 &#; 80°F
  • Lifespan: 2 Years
  • Size: 3 Inches

Assassin snails are the snails you turn to when other snails are overrunning your tank. They reproduce slowly and they have one meal that they favor above the rest. As you can probably guess by their name, assassin snails eat other snails.

However, don&#;t worry if you don&#;t have any snails in your tank. An assassin snail can still eat food left on the bottom of the tank as well as algae and dead plants. It is important to make sure that your assassin snail is getting meat though. So if there aren&#;t any snails in the tank try adding some freeze dried blood worms or other meat. Your betta will love it too!

Assassin snails are the hardest to keep on this list but that doesn&#;t mean you should worry. As long as you keep your water parameters good you shouldn&#;t have a problem.

I&#;d only add assassin snails to your tank if you really need them. Because of their size, your betta may see them as more of a threat and begin attacking them. But if other snails are overrunning your tank then they are your best option.

Assassin Snail

Mystery Snails

  • pH: &#;
  • Temperature: 68 &#; 82°F
  • Lifespan: 1 Year
  • Size: 2 Inches

Mystery snails are another type of snail you can add to your tank. They&#;re easy to look after as well and don&#;t need any special care. If you want to introduce mystery snails with your betta just make sure they&#;re getting enough food. This normally isn&#;t a problem, if pellets or food are reaching the substrate your betta won&#;t eat it, but it will make a good meal for your mystery snails.

Mystery Snail

Nerite Snails

  • pH:
  • Temperature: 72 &#; 78°F
  • Lifespan: 1 Year
  • Size: 1/4 &#; 1/2 Inch

Nerite snails are the smallest snails on this list but they shouldn&#;t be overlooked because of it. Because they are the best snails for removing algae. However, with nerite snails, you&#;re going to have to be a little bit more careful because they like a pH slightly more alkaline than bettas. But as long as you keep the temperature and pH steady you shouldn&#;t have a problem.

Nerites are also a nice choice because you can get so many different variations of them. They always come in different colors and with different patterns that look beautiful

If you don&#;t mind a snail that needs a little more care then nerite snails could be best for you!


Remember: Make sure that you&#;re feeding all of your snails enough, especially food rich in calcium. Snails need calcium to help grow their shells, so you have to incorporate feeding calcium-rich food into their diet.

(Find out about 10 great aquarium snails.)

Will Snails Clean Your Fish Tank?

If you want to add snails into your fish tank then you may have heard that they&#;re good for cleaning your fish tank. And while this is true, it is a little bit misleading. It is true that they will eat any material on the bottom of the tank that you&#;d otherwise have to clean yourself. However, they still produce almost as much waste.

If you plan on having snails in your tank you&#;ll still need to clean your tank. If you don&#;t the water conditions could deteriorate. Once they&#;ve deteriorated any snails you have in your tank could rapidly die. And there&#;s also the risk of your betta getting sick as well.

So YES snails will clean debris and algae out of your fish tank, but they&#;re also going to leave their own waste behind.

Snails And Algae

Don&#;t be tricked into thinking that all snails like algae. Because the truth is some snails like it a lot more than others. If you want to add snails to your tank purely for their ability to remove algae, then you should introduce nerite snails. They will eat a lot more algae than other snails as well as anything on the bottom of your tank too!

However, that doesn&#;t mean the other snails won&#;t clean up algae too. Ramshorn snails and mystery snails also eat algae from time to time. And they can both survive without having live plants in the tank if they&#;re getting fed properly.

(Here are 17 other great algae eaters for your betta&#;s tank!)

Snails And Plants

If you&#;ve got a planted tank you may be worried about snails eating them. The good news is this doesn&#;t happen as often as you think. In fact, as long as your feeding your snails enough they should leave the plants alone. A lot of aquatic plants carry toxins in them which deter snails from eating them.

If you&#;re interested in knowing about 30 other tank mates that can live with your betta then check out this HUGE list of betta tank mates!

What To Do With A Dead Snail

Having anything dead in your tank is going to be bad for the health of your betta, as well as any other living creature. So it&#;s important to know when to spot and remove dead snails.

  • The first thing you&#;ll notice is that your snail is lying completely motionless. Keep an eye on a snail and if you notice it&#;s in the same position for more than a day you&#;ll have to take it out.
  • Use a net to scoop the snail out of the tank.
  • If your snail is dead normally it will have a pungent smell when you remove it from the tank. Oftentimes, the inside of the shell will be completely empty as well. Because your betta has eaten it.
  • Some people like to leave their snails in the tank when they&#;re dead. This way when their shells start to rot they add nutrients to the water.
  • If you plan on doing this pay extra attention to the amount of nitrates and ammonia in the water.

What&#;s The Ideal Tank Size For Snails?

If you only plan on adding a couple of snails to your bettas tank then you&#;ll only need a 5 gallon tank. But just like fish, snails also produce their own bioload. If you want more snails you&#;re going to have to upgrade the size of your tank accordingly. And if you are housing more than snails you have to make sure your tank can handle a sudden increase in snails, if they start reproducing.

So a 5 gallon tank is fine, but when you want more snails you&#;ll need to go into the 10 gallon range.

Can Betta Fish Live With Snails? YES! (Recap)

Snails can make a great companion to your betta (providing he&#;s not too aggressive). However, if you&#;re not sure how your betta is going to react then it might be a good idea to have another tank ready. To go over some of the main points you should remember that:

  • Even if your betta has a good temperament, they may try to eat your snails. Especially if your betta is hungry or the snails are small.
  • There are so many different snails you can choose from, and they&#;re all going to have their benefits in your tank.
  • If you want a snail that cleans algae you should buy nerite snails.
  • If your snails are over-breeding then you should introduce assassin snails into your tank to eliminate them. Or stop feeding your betta as much.
  • Even though you think snails can clean any waste food and decay, they&#;re also going to produce a lot of waste as well.
  • If you see a dead snail in your tank you should remove it. Dead snails can begin to decay making the water dirtier as well as causing ammonia and nitrate spikes.
  • If you plan on adding a couple of snails to your betta tank, then the minimum size you&#;re going to need is 5 gallons. However, with an increase in snails, you&#;ll need to increase your tank size.

If you&#;re interested to know more about tank mates that can live with bettas then you have to check out the Ultimate Betta Tank Mate Guide. You&#;ll learn about 68 different tank mates that can live with your betta, as well as fish to avoid. You&#;ll also learn how to create the perfect environment for mates, how to introduce tank mates and much more! So check it out!

Betta Tank Mate Guide

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What are you waiting for!

If you want to know about other tank mates for your betta then check out these articles:

  • Guppies & Bettas &#; Guppies and bettas can live together in harmony when the conditions are right. While you&#;ll never be able to put a male betta with a male guppy, you can place females in the tank. Find out why and how!
  • Can Tetras Live With Bettas? &#; If you want to know if tetras can live with bettas then read this article. You&#;ll find out about 5 tetras you can have in your betta tank, and some you should definitely avoid as well!
  • African Dwarf Frogs As Tank Mates &#; It&#;s not just fish and snails you can have as tank mates, check out how African dwarf frogs can make fantastic tank mates for your betta!
  • Platies And Bettas &#; A great choice to make for your betta tank mate! Find out what requirements these livebearing fish have!

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Betta Fish Tankmates
Betta and Shrimp Tankmates

One question that comes to the minds of many (new) Betta fish owners is whether it&#;s possible to get a few friends for their fish. After all, doesn&#;t one single betta with an entire aquarium to itself eventually become awfully lonely? Although there are a few options when it comes to Betta tankmates, your fish is actually just as well (or even better) off without them.

Keep reading for the do&#;s and don&#;ts of Betta tankmates!

Note: Contrary to popular belief, Bettas (Betta splendens) cannot be kept in bowls. They need an aquarium of at least 5 gallons (19L) to thrive. For more information about Betta care have a look at the Betta fish caresheet.

How to choose Betta tankmates

When choosing tankmates to keep your Betta company, keep in mind that these fish don&#;t actually need company. They don&#;t care if they&#;re alone; if you add other fish or inverts that&#;s solely for your own entertainment. In tanks under 15 gallons (57L), avoid adding other fish entirely. Many people will see a low-energy Betta and think that it&#;s that way because it&#;s lonely, which is a dangerous assumption to make. If a Betta is lethargic, you&#;re likely dealing with a health problem rather than loneliness!

Betta fish also often don&#;t want company. They are solitary, aggressive fish. We have spent centuries breeding them to be aggressive so that they will beautifully display to each other and other fish for our entertainment. Because of this, safely keeping Bettas in community tanks can be difficult, even deadly. Here are a few of the main reasons why Bettas are not the best choice for community tanks:

  • Although aggression levels vary between fish, both males and females are generally quite territorial, not to mention carnivorous. They will attack anything that looks too much like another Betta and some will view anything small as a yummy snack. The article about why Betta sororities are bad goes deeper into the issue of the popularity of keeping female Bettas together.
  • At the same time Bettas are also rather timid and vulnerable, which means they are easily stressed out by anything that moves too fast, is too colorful or wants to nip their fins. Although they often accused of being the bully in a fish tank, it&#;s important to remember that they can be bullied, too! Bettas that don&#;t have enough hiding places can become stressed out by constantly being exposed to other fish, especially energetic schooling fish.
  • The large-finned varieties are especially prone to being harassed by tankmates since their heavy fins make it harder for them to swim away. This can lead to damaged fins due to nipping. Open sores can lead to a compromised immune system, which can spread illness quickly throughout the community. Unfortunately, large-finned Bettas can also be outcompeted for food since they&#;re just not fast enough to keep up!
  • Lastly, Bettas require relatively warm temperatures that are just a little too toasty for many species and don&#;t do well in hard water with a high pH level.

All this means that there are a lot of bad Betta tankmates: any fish or invertebrates that are colorful, fast, aggressive or need different water values should be avoided, which is unfortunately the majority of species in the aquarium trade. Combining your Betta with these fish and inverts can lead to stress, aggression and even death in some cases.

Bad Betta tankmates

Many species that fall into one of the four categories listed above (colorful, fast, aggressive, need different water values) are marketed as good Betta tankmates even though they&#;re not. So which fish should you avoid?

  • Other Bettas. This includes multiple females! Although increasingly popular, Betta &#;sororities&#; are actually a poor choice and at risk of fatalities.
  • Schooling fish (most). Yes, that includes popular choices like white cloud mountain minnows. These in particular are actually bad Betta tankmates as they are too active and need much cooler temperatures. Also includes neon/cardinal tetras (too colorful) and livebearers like guppies and mollies (too colorful and active).
  • African dwarf frogs. Another very popular choice, African dwarf frogs are easily outcompeted for food and might be nipped at. They&#;re better for a single species setup! Read more about African dwarf frogs here.
  • Ghost shrimp
  • . Although some shrimp work well with Bettas, ghost shrimp are known to be able to damage your fish.
  • Goldfish. Goes without saying. These grow much too large and need cold water.
  • Cichlids. Colorful, aggressive, active, large. Nope!
  • Gourami. Although they are actually cousins of your Betta splendens, gourami fish are not a good choice. The two species will most definitely see each other as rivals.

Even if a species is not on this list, take a long hard look at it before you even consider adding it to your Betta tank. The best option is to just choose a species from the list below.

6 #Bettafish tankmates | Fish that can live in your Betta #aquarium

Good Betta tankmates

So, you&#;ve found a fish or invertebrate that is not colorful, very active, aggressive or in need of different water values? Great! As long as it&#;s suitable for your tank size it might be an option. But always keep in mind: when in doubt, just don&#;t.

The species with an asterisk (*) are fish I&#;d personally avoid just in case but have been reported to work in many cases.

  • Snails. Probably the best option as long as your Betta doesn&#;t like to nip at their antennae. Nerites, Malaysian trumpet snails, assassin snails and mystery snails (the latter are only suitable for tanks of 15 gal/57L and up) should work.
  • Shrimp (except ghost shrimp). This is a bit of a hit and miss because many Bettas love themselves a shrimp snack. If there are plenty of hiding places in the form of plants and shrimp flats, dwarf shrimp like red cherries or Amano shrimp might work.
  • Kuhli loaches. If your aquarium is suitable for them these are an alright option. They spend a lot of their time hiding and shouldn&#;t interfere with your Betta. Provide hides like coconut halves to give them a chance to take cover from the Betta as needed.
  • Otocinclus catfish. An alright option, but only for experienced aquarists. These are extremely fragile and sensitive to bad water values.
  • Corydoras catfish. Also an alright option, although these are pretty active they stick to the bottom water layer. Pygmy Corydoras are especially appreciated for Betta tanks, but always be careful. Like Otocinclus catfish, pygmy Corydoras are especially sensitive to bad water values and are only recommended for established tanks that have been running for months or years.
  • Hara jerdoni catfish. Like many of the other species on the list, these are bottom dwellers. They spend much of their day in hiding or sitting relatively still, meaning they neither make a target for your Betta nor will they target it themselves. As an added bonus they have a similar diet of insects and worms.
  • Harlequin Rasbora, ember Tetra*. Calm, not too colorful schooling fish. This could work, but I personally wouldn&#;t take the risk.

Keep in mind that even if you choose a fish or invert from this list, it might not work with your Betta. Always have a plan B in case of aggression or stress (a back-up tank or a place to rehome fish to).

If you have any more questions about tankmates for Bettas or want to share your own experiences, don&#;t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Cover photo: Betta by chunso.

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Founder & admin of Aquariadise, aquarium enthusiast and writer of many articles.

Betta Vs Snail

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Most people think of bettas as being too feisty to live with others. However, there are a few tankmates that can live with bettas. 

The mystery snail and betta usually mind their own business when they live together, so they make perfect tankmates. They even work in smaller tanks, making mystery snails an ideal first addition if you’re not ready to try a larger community yet.  

We’ll explain how well snails get along with bettas, why mystery snails are a good companion for bettas, and about mystery snails’ needs. 

Can Betta Fish Live with Snails?

Do bettas get along with snails? Yes, they can, but not all snails are suitable for a betta tank. 

You probably know that most snails are calm and peace-loving, but so are most bettas in the right environment.

Yes, some bettas, especially males, can be aggressive toward their tankmates. However, the trick is to make sure to choose the right tankmate for your betta, feed your betta often, and make sure everyone in the tank has enough space.

Do Betta Fish Get Along with Snails?

Bettas can get along with snails, but it depends on the type of snail and the fish’s temperament. Female bettas get along with other tankmates better than male bettas, though this isn’t guaranteed. However, male bettas can get along with snails, too.

Snails are durable. In the wild, their shells protect them as they&#;re tossed about by water currents and from nippy fish. 

Will Betta Fish Bite Snails?

Whether your betta fish will bite or nibble at your snails and harass them depends on your fish and your snail. 

Some bettas love to eat snails, others only eat snails if they’re hungry, and some don’t show any interest in eating snails. However, the larger the snail, the less likely they are to attack it. 

If your betta does bite off an antenna or an eye, you’ll want to separate the snail and fish. Luckily, mystery snails can regenerate and regrow their eye in about three weeks. 

Do Male Betta Fish Eat Snails?

Male bettas can have a more volatile temperament than females. So, male bettas may be more likely to try to eat snail tankmates if they’re hungry. 

Some may never be happy with a tankmate of any sort. The male betta may bump into the snail and flare its fins, but the snail might not flinch unless the betta starts to nip. 

Choosing a large snail with a trap door, like a mystery snail, and making sure they both have plenty of food and space can keep your snail alive and well. 

What’s the Best Type of Snail to Live with a Betta?

Some snails cohabitate with bettas better than others. The mystery snail is at the top of the list of snails that fare best in a betta tank. 

What Makes Mystery Snails Good Companions for Bettas?

One reason mystery snails and bettas work well together is that they require a similar water quality. They also have the same day and night cycles. 

Another reason mystery snails live well with bettas is that they are large (two to three inches in diameter) and have opercula. An operculum is a trap door on their shell that allows them to close themselves up inside their shell if a betta gets too curious. 

Can a Betta Kill a Mystery Snail?

Yes, a betta can kill a mystery snail, but it’s less likely than with other snails because of the snail’s size and its operculum. 

Of course, if you fail to feed your betta, the snail will be fair game, which is why an adult should supervise a child&#;s fish-feeding habits.

Which Other Snails Can Live with Bettas?

Mystery snails and nerite snails are the best snails to live with bettas. Besides these two, four other snails are also good contenders if you can’t find these two or want to try a variety in your tank:  

  • Nerite snail (Neritina natalensis): also known as a tiger snail or zebra snail, this snail is an algae and foliage eater., The tank needs a lid to deter escape., These snails are favored as they only breed in brackish water so you won’t end up with a million baby snails. and only breed in brackish water
  • Japanese trapdoor snail (Viviparis malleatus): has an operculum, and predominantly eats algae instead of needing additional food like the mystery snail., Japanese trapdoor snails don’t eat fish or plants and retreat into their shells if water quality is low.
  • Red-rimmed Melania (Melanoides tuberculata): also known as the Malaysian trumpet snail, burrows during the day and is most active at night. These snails mostly eat algae and reproduce quickly.
  • Rabbit snail (Tylomelania): also as known as an elephant snail, slow to reproduce, can reach up to 4 inches (although mini rabbit snails are smaller)., They are slow to reproduce and come in different various breeds available., They are always active yet, peaceful to other tankmates.
  • Assassin snail (Clea helena): will consume pest snails but are peaceful overall. They need extra protein in their diet.

All the snails we’ve listed that can cohabitate with mystery snails have an operculum that they can close if threatened. However, the rabbit snail has only a partial one that they use when attacked by predators. 

Which Snails Should You Avoid in a Betta Tank?

Since mystery snails can sometimes be called apple snails, be sure you don’t accidentally buy one of these snails instead:

  • Amazonian apple snails (Pomacea diffusa): also called blue mystery snails, are invasive and, completely consume aquarium plants down to roots., They grow to be very large, breed profusely and eat other snail species.
  • Giant apple snail (Pomacea maculata): grow up to 6 inches in diameter.
  • Pest snails: hitchhike on aquarium plants and can carry diseases. They are very common to find in pond ecosystems., usually common pond snails, may have diseases

Overview of Mystery Snails

If you’re looking for mystery snails to purchase for your betta tank, you might also find them under the name apple snail or spike-topped apple snail. Mystery snails are gastropod mollusks, and their scientific name is Pomacea bridgesii. 

You will find mystery snails in the wild in freshwater bodies of water in their native Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia in South America. They like to hide in densely planted vegetation by day and come out to hunt for food at night.

Mystery snails have gills that allow them to breathe underwater. They can live for a few hours outside of water, but they will eventually dry up and die without water within a day. 

Typical Behavior of a Mystery Snail

Mystery snails are calm and won’t be as active as your betta. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not an interesting creature. 

They can be very active while feeding and exploring their tank, but they move more slowly and steadily than a betta. You can watch them use their radula (their tiny teeth) to remove algae from the tank. 

Mystery Snail Appearance

The shells of mystery snails have a round whorl. Their shells grow up to two inches in diameter and come in a variety of colors:

  • Gold: have a speckled pearlized body
  • Black or Purple: may be striped with lighter colors, have blueish-grey bodies sometimes with orange speckles
  • Albino: shells striped with browns and off-whites, have white pearly bodies with speckles
  • Blue
  • Ivory
  • Olive jade

Mystery Snail Lifespan

You can expect your mystery snail to live for about one year, though they can often live for much longer. 

How to Choose a Healthy Mystery Snail

Finding a healthy snail should not be difficult as long as you check for these signs of good health:

  • A strong shell without cracks, pits, or operculum damage
  • A snail that’s active or attached to the glass
  • A snail living with healthy fish
  • A snail with all its antennaetentacles and no eye damage

What’s the Best Habitat for Mystery Snails?

While mystery snails live among vegetation in the wild, it isn’t necessary to have a planted tank to have a mystery snail. The most important thing to consider is having is to have too many snails for your tank size. 

Mystery Snail Tank Size

Mystery snails need a tank that’s at least five gallons. While you can add a mystery snail to a betta micro tank, it’s not a good idea. A mystery snail needs at least a five-gallon tank because of the bio-load of waste it can produce in addition to the betta. 

How Many Mystery Snails Per Gallon?

The larger the tank, the more mystery snails (or other companions) you can introduce into your betta tank. You can keep one or two snails for every five gallons of tank space. Your mystery snails need enough space to roam and eat as well as to not over-tax the tank bio-load.  

Water Needs for Mystery Snails

The pH level, water temperature, and water hardness needs for mystery snails are highly compatible with the water needs for bettas. 

What pH Does a Mystery Snail Need?

The ideal pH range for mystery snails is in a range between and Since bettas need their pH to be between and , you will need to keep a close watch on the pH in your tank to make sure you keep it stable and in the ideal range. As close as possible to the pH sweet spot. 

What Water Temperature Does a Mystery Snail Need?

Mystery snails thrive in tropical water temperatures between 68° to 84°F. Since the ideal water temperature for bettas is between 78° and 80°F, a mystery snail will be perfectly happy with the water temperature in a betta tank.

Though mystery snails can be kept in cooler waters, bettas cannot. Always accommodate a betta and mystery snail tank to the betta.

What Water Hardness Is Best for Mystery Snails?

Freshwater snails need hard water that contains calcium for proper shell growth. Snails belonging to the Ampullariidae family, like mystery snails, need a dH of 12 to Bettas prefer soft water, but they can tolerate a water hardness from 5 to 20 dH. You will want to make sure your water hardness falls within the ideal range for mystery snails. 

You can add shells, limestone, or crushed coral to your tank to increase the calcium levels for your mystery snails if you have soft water, though this usually isn’t necessary. 

How Many Nitrates Can a Mystery Snail Tolerate?

Your betta can tolerate up to 40 ppm of nitrates, but most snails have a much lower tolerance level. Your snail can only tolerate 20 ppm or less of nitrates, so you will want to make sure to do frequent water changes t0 clean your water often. 

Avoid Copper

Snails are sensitive to copper, so be sure to check any medications, chemicals, or decorations for copper before putting them in the tank with your mystery snail.

How to Introduce a Mystery Snail to a Betta Tank

  1. Float the securely-tied bag of snails in your betta tank for 30 minutes (you may need to remove some tank water to prevent overflow).
  2. Replace ¼ of the snail water in the bag with betta tank water (be sure to throw away the snail water). 
  3. Refloat the bag for 30 minutes.
  4. Repeat until the snail bag contains mostly betta tank water.
  5. Remove the snail from the bag with your fingers or tongs. Do not cross-contaminate the water in the bag with the water in your tank! 
  6. Drop the snail into the tank and discard the snail water. 

Do Mystery Snails Need Special Food?

As long as you only keep one snail per five gallons of water, there should be enough algae in your tank to feed your mystery snail. 

In the wild, mystery snails will eat almost anything they come across. In your aquarium, they will eat leftover betta food, waste, dead and decaying plants, and algae in your tank. 

Supplemental Feeding for a Mystery Snail

If your tank is too clean to provide enough algae for your snail or if you have more than one mystery snail per five gallons of water, you may want to add a food supplement for your mystery snail.

You can feed mystery snails with shrimp pellets, algae pellets, and blanched vegetables. They need food that is high in calcium and protein. Be sure to monitor how much pellet food your mystery snail normally eats so that you don’t end up polluting the tank with excess.

If you encounter the mystery of a missing betta and have several mystery snails, there’s a likelihood that your betta died and your snails consumed it. 

Will Mystery Snails Clean Your Fish Tank?

While mystery snails do eat algae and waste, you shouldn’t expect them to keep your tank clean. 

The larger your tank, the less they will contribute to the overall cleanliness of your tanks. You will still need to perform regular tank cleaning even if your mystery snail helps clean your tank a little. 

How To Prevent Mystery Snails from Escaping

Because mystery snails can breathe air, they like to escape at night. Their escape-artist tendencies are why they’re called mystery snails. They might disappear from your tank only to reappear later. To make sure that they do not escape, you will need a tank with a dependable lid. 

Unfortunately, mystery snails have become an invasive species in North America and Southeast Asia. Their introduction beyond South America has resulted from aquarium hobbyists releasing them into the wild or snails escaping from tanks.

Mystery Snail Breeding

Mystery snail breeding is easy to control, but tank size is an important consideration.

How Can I Prevent My Mystery Snails from Breeding? 

Mystery snails are not able to reproduce asexually like some snails. Thus, you don’t have to worry about your snail population getting out of control if you don’t have a lot of space in your tank. Mystery snails also cannot breed underwater.

So, if you keep your water level high, they won’t have room to climb up to the top to breed and lay eggs. 

Can I Breed Snails in a Betta Tank?

If you are thinking about breeding mystery snails, you will want to keep your tank size in mind. Since most betta tanks are small, breeding snails in a betta tank is usually not a good idea because the water quality can deteriorate quickly as the snails grow larger. 

Instead, set up a separate tank specifically for breeding snails. This is easy to do as they don’t require much extra care or maintenance.

Final Thoughts

Bettas and mystery snails can live together in harmony. They enjoy similar tank conditions and can easily acclimate to each other. Your mystery snail will also help you keep your betta tank a little cleaner and add more character to your tank. 

The most important thing to remember is that mystery snails are not a cure-all for algae problems! They can also add a significant amount of bioload to the aquarium, so make sure that you don’t overstock. 

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