Bettas and guppies are tropical fish that can survive in the same water conditions. Their main differences are their body size, aggressiveness, and breeding mode. Bettas are large, quite hostile, and livebearers.
So, can betta fish live with guppies?
Yes, betta fish and guppies can live in the same tank. Since bettas are more aggressive than guppies, you will have to consider their number in a guppy tank. You can add one betta fish in a 10 gallons tank with 3 or 4 guppies.
How to keep bettas and guppies together
Guppies and bettas’ beauty combined in the same tank can be very spectacular. However, keeping them together might not be easy as it sounds. To succeed, you’ll need to do the following:
1. Provide the right tank size
You need to have the right guppy tank size, that can comfortably accommodate additional species of betta fish. It should be spacious enough. Overstocking can result in stress and diseases and even the death of the fish.
A guppy needs at least a gallon of water while a betta requires a little more. A 10-gallon tank with 3 or 4 guppies can accommodate an additional one betta fish.
2. The male-to-female ratio should be right
Bettas can be more aggressive towards their own and a little more aggressive towards guppies. The aggression level of male bettas increases further if you keep them with male guppies who also come in bright, intimidating colors.
So, avoid housing male bettas and male guppies together. Keep the ratio of male betta fish to female guppies at 1:3. Female guppies do not have a vibrant color like male bettas. Therefore, they will not be seen as a threat to the male bettas.
Even more important, remember that some species of bettas are smaller and less aggressive. The Halfmoon and Delta bettas are great examples. Keeping guppies with smaller, less aggressive male bettas can help achieve and maintain a desirable harmony in your tank.
3. Maintain suitable water conditions
The water temperature requirements for guppies are not far different from what bettas need. Bettas can thrive in a water temperature of around 78 degrees F. In comparison, guppies require 75-82 degrees F. A working aquarium heater can be used to maintain the temperature in the ideal range for both species.
Although guppies can thrive in different pH conditions, they prefer a range of 7.0-7.2. On the other hand, bettas prefer a pH of 7.0 for stable and healthy living. A neutral tank pH is perfect for bettas and guppies.
4. Add live plants to the tank
Introducing live plants and other types of decorations in the tank is an attempt to mimic guppies’ natural or wild environment. That is done to deliver the best possible environment in the tank. Live plants provide hiding spots for your guppies.
Furthermore, plants can offer a natural boundary between betta fish and guppies. Because guppies can go into hiding, they can remain protected from attacks and constant harassment by betta fish. Be sure to use the right plants for betta fish.
Rocks, driftwood, and caves are also great addition to the aquarium.
5. Implement safe and healthy eating
In the wild or natural environment, bettas like eating a meat diet. They eat bloodworms, insects, daphnia, and tiny fish. Guppies are omnivores; they eat both plant and animal matter. Although guppies can eat betta food, avoid feeding them protein-rich diets.
It is also a good idea to first give your guppies food. Because betta fish are not interested in eating veggie pellets or fish flakes, guppies are given time to eat without having to fight to get food. Only offer food to your bettas once guppies have had enough.
Do not feed your guppies and betta fish too much food. Excess eating can make your ornamental fish have health issues like constipation and obesity. Providing a lot of food can also lead to more waste in the tank that contaminates and pollutes the water environment to extreme levels.
Feed your fish once or twice a day or once every two days. And, occasionally, let your fish go without eating for a day. This will check their weight and also help them get all the essential nutrients and minerals for healthy growth and development.
Frequently Asked Question
As an aquarist who intends to keep bettas and guppies together, the following are helpful questions and answers:
Will a betta fish kill a guppy?
A betta fish will kill a guppy as long as you have put males together in your tank. A male guppy is brightly colored and comes with longer fins than a male betta fish. That will trigger the instinct of a betta to be aggressive and claim its territory against a perceived threat.
Will betta fish eat baby guppies?
Betta fish will eat baby guppies if they are in the same tank. Because betta fish is a carnivore, it will eat any small live aquatic creatures in the tank, including baby guppies or fry, as long as they can fit into the betta’s mouth.
Since betta fish eat baby guppies, some aquarists use bettas to control the population of guppies. By delivering live and free-swimming young ones, the population of guppies can increase alarmingly even when kept in a community aquarium.
If you need to save guppy babies from betta fish, transfer a pregnant guppy into a breeding tank or box, away from the rest of your fish. Alternatively, if you have just one tank, add a lot of tall, thick vegetation to provide the babies with natural protection or hiding spots.
How many guppies can live with a betta?
You can have 3-5 female guppies and a male betta fish without any serious issues in an aquarium that can hold 40 gallons of water. Having more than one female guppy makes it difficult for a male betta to pick on one fish. Male guppies and male betta kept together is a recipe for chaos in the tank.
Conclusion: To have a better chance of keeping betta fish and guppies together, ensure there are measures to protect the peaceful guppies. Keep smaller and more passive betta fish, limit the population of betta fish in a tank, and use the correct tank size.
- University of Connecticut: Tips for a happy and healthy betta fish
- Aquarium kids: Guppy Care Sheet