Betta fish are a territorial and aggressive fish that have earned the nickname “Siamese fighting fish”.
But when many people get a betta fish they want to know if they can add tank mates into the same aquarium, without stressing out either fish and causing fights.
One tank species in particular that people wonder if they can keep with their bettas is the shrimp. Today, we’re digging into all the factors that go into adding a shrimp to your betta tank.
Are betta fish and shrimp good together?
The aggressive betta is always ready to attack as soon as it feels threatened in its own territory, which is why you need to look for docile and calm specific when finding a fish to add to your tank.
The shrimp is a quiet and calm species that betta fish will usually tolerate in their environment. As a bonus, shrimps are great aquarium cleaners that help get rid of extra algae and other leftovers from the tank.
However, a good relationship between the two depends on your betta’s temperament. While one betta fish might love having a shrimp companion, another betta fish might hate it.
It’s essential you learn how to introduce new fish or other species into your betta’s tank properly (we’ll cover this later on). If you don’t introduce them properly, you risk stressing out your betta fish and causing fights within your tank.
You also have to consider things like shrimp species, tank size, tank environment, water parameters, water temperature, and a few other things. We’ll talk about all these in the following section in detail to help you decide whether you want to let your betta live with shrimp.
Shrimp that are compatible with a betta fish
Let’s learn about a few shrimp varieties and see how compatible they are as betta tank mates.
You can find cherry shrimp in different colors like red, green, blue, orange, black, violet, or yellow. Female cherry shrimps tends have a brighter appearance than the males.
Cherry shrimps are very tiny, and they grow about just one inch, which is why they can easily become a betta food. Keeping cherry shrimp as the first tank mate may not be the best idea since bettas eat cherry shrimp quickly.
While the female cherry shrimp grows up to one inch in size, the males don’t grow that big, so bettas may eat up all the male cherry shrimps in the tank. Hence, it would be best to keep only the females in the fish tank.
You can add cherry shrimp to your tank only when the betta fish had previously shared the aquarium with other shrimps so that the betta does not think of eating it. Other precautions you can use to keep the cherry shrimp safe are using many hiding places in the aquarium.
Use a lot of low light plants, java moss, or driftwood can provide the cherry shrimp a safe shelter.
Tank size is another crucial thing that will impact both your betta and the cherry shrimp. A small tank will make the betta stressed and frustrated, and in return, it will attack the cherry shrimp.
A ten gallon tank is the best choice to keep betta fish and shrimps together. Some aquarists suggest adding the cherry shrimp first and then the betta, so it does not feel protective of its territory.
Bamboo shrimp and bettas are not good tank mates. These cannot live with your betta because both have to love different water flows. The betta fish live in weak currents, whereas the bamboo shrimp loves strong water currents.
Unlike other shrimp species, Bamboo shrimps will spend most of the time near the filter to feel the water current. If the betta sees any creature coming on its way, it will immediately attack it, which is endangering the bamboo shrimp’s life in the tank.
The name amano shrimp come after the famous Japanese aquarist Takashi Amano. Amano shrimp are a freshwater shrimp that grows up to two inches, so the chances of betta fish eating them are quite low. Amano shrimp and bettas can be a good aquarium companion since it stays hidden most of the time.
Amano shrimps are dull gray in color, so bettas won’t easily notice them in the tank. The issue with other shrimps lies in their bright bodies, which bettas, at times, consider to be a threat which isn’t the case with amano shrimp.
Amano shrimp love to stay hidden, so your betta fish likely won’t notice it. Like the cherry shrimp, make sure to provide enough hiding places for the amano shrimp. Use java moss, driftwood, silk plants, caves, or anacharis to make the aquarium environment comfortable for both this freshwater shrimp and bettas.
Amano shrimps are also shed once a month which makes them quite vulnerable, hence, having lots of hiding places will keep them protected from your betta fish.
Additionally, amano shrimp area great tank cleaners. They will wipe out most of the algae from the tank and keep it clean. Another benefit of keeping amano shrimp and betta fish together is they can need the same water temperature between 75-88 degrees Fahrenheit and pH level between 6.8 to 7. While keeping amano shrimp, try to keep at least three to five to make them feel comfortable.
Amano shrimps have a life expectancy of around two to three years, while most other shrimp species live only up to a year. So keeping them in the fish tank relieves you of the duty to restock them for a long period. Plus, their lifespan is similar to your betta fish.
The cons of keeping a group of amano shrimp with the bettas are that they get quite aggressive during the feeding time. The shrimps will create chaos trying to reach for food, and such a scenario may stress out the betta.
While amano shrimp loves feeding on algae, that can’t be their only source of nutrition. Try feeding them other meat-based food and sinking pellets for their healthy growth.
Ghost shrimp, too, are a great companion for betta fish, but there is a high risk of the ghost shrimp being eaten by the betta fish.
Ghost shrimp have a transparent body which sometimes works in their favor, but there is an instance where the betta eat ghost shrimp since they are aggressive fish.
To keep the ghost shrimp safe, invest in a large ten gallon tank so that both get their own space. Ghost shrimp needs a tank temperature between 65 to 80 degrees F, and bettas need between 75 to 80 degrees; hence you need to strike a perfect balance to keep the two species comfortable.
Use a lot of plants to replicate ghost shrimp’s natural habitat since it’s used to living in crevices, fine sediment, and caves. Don’t keep any large stones; instead, keep gravel substrate to prevent any injuries.
Don’t let the betta and ghost shrimp fight over food, which is common if there isn’t enough algae in the tank. The ghost shrimp’s diet consist of lots of algae, so if your tank doesn’t have enough of it, use algae wafers to keep the betta and shrimp away from each other.
Another thing to consider while adding ghost shrimp is they breed very quickly, so the chances are that the betta will end up eating ghost shrimp babies. Try removing the babies into a separate tank to save them from becoming betta’s food.
How to keep betta fish and shrimp in the same tank
Keeping betta fish with tank mates needs extra care. We have already mentioned a few tank requirements in the above sections, but here is more detailed information about the same.
Get a Bigger Tank
Keeping the betta in a small tank will stress out the fish, and they will start attacking the shrimp. To ensure your small fish and the shrimps stay comfortably and don’t endanger each other’s existence, go for at least a ten gallon fish tank.
Clean the tank regularly to avoid ammonia and any other toxin build-ups, which are harmful to both the shrimp and betta fish. Adding a sponge filter to the tank will prove beneficial to keep the water quality ideal.
Use Real Plants
Using lots of real plants has two benefits- it provides hiding places for the fish and shrimp, and secondly, plants are a great meal for your shrimp.
Bettas love a low light tank, so use plants like java moss, java ferns, etc., to imitate the betta’s natural habitat.
Add Tank Decorations
Adding tank decorations will not only make the aquarium look good, but it’ll also provide lots of space for the shrimp to stay out of betta’s sight. Don’t add any hard or sharp tank decorations as they can damage the betta fish’s fins.
Feeding The Two Species
Feeding the betta and shrimps need extra care. Since shrimps are scavengers, they would end up eating betta’s food if the fish didn’t eat quickly. Hence, try feeding both of them from two corners of the tank to avoid any fights.
Shrimps love eating algae, but you should provide meat and plant based food as well.
How to introduce shrimp into your betta tank
When introducing any species together, it’s best to keep a close eye on everyone in the tank during the first week.
First, make sure you have a large enough tank (at least ten gallons).
After putting the two species together, watch how they interact with one another for the first 30 minutes. If you notice any aggressiveness or hostility, remove the two. You can always keep both in the same tank with a tank divider as well to help them get used to one another without any risks.
If there is no hostility, keep them together but keep a watchful eye on everyone in the tank for the first week. Again, if there are any issues, separate both species.
Shrimps are a nice companion to add to your betta fish’s tank.
However, how both the species get along largely depends on your pet fish too. You need to ensure your betta fish doesn’t feel threatened under any circumstances. Take the time to introduce your betta fish to your shrimp and if you notice any hostility, separate the two specifies immediately.
Betta fish are unlikely to eat amano shrimp due to their amano shrimp’s size.
There are certain shrimp that betta fish can live with like cherry shrimp, cherry shrimp, and amano shrimp. However, bettas cannot live with bamboo shrimp.