Bettas are solitary fish that do not mind living by themselves. They have a reputation for being antisocial and will chase any other fish swimming close to them.
They are also referred to as the Siamese fighting fish.
If you do not want your betta living alone, it is essential to find the best tank mates. Finding compatible companions will save you aggression, nipped fins, and death.
Betta with shrimp, can they live together? The short answer is – it depends on the temperament of your betta. But yes, betta fish live with shrimp.
- Factors to Keep in Mind Before Introducing Shrimp in A Betta Tank
- How To Create The Ideal Environment For Betta Fish And Shrimp
- Which Are the Best Shrimp for Betta Tank?
- Shrimp Species Not Suitable For Living With Bettas
- Frequently Asked Questions
Factors to Keep in Mind Before Introducing Shrimp in A Betta Tank
Some Siamese fighter fish do not mind sharing their tank with other fish species. However, others are territorial and extremely aggressive.
Understand your pet’s temperament before you keep your betta fish with shrimp. Doing so will prevent aggression, injuries, and stress.
Before buying any freshwater shrimp species, ensure that its ideal tank conditions overlap with your bettas. Look for those shrimps that will not demand you make huge changes to the betta tank.
The Siamese fighting fish require water temperatures of 78 degrees to thrive. They also like soft water with a PH of 7. Therefore, look for shrimp that need similar tank conditions.
Bettas are naturally territorial and aggressive and will pick on smaller species. So, if you choose smaller shrimps for your betta, chances are they will be injured, killed, or eaten in no time.
We recommend getting a freshwater shrimp that is the same length as your female or male betta fish to promote peaceful coexistence. Remember, if the shrimp fits in your betta’s mouth, it is likely to become a snack.
How To Create The Ideal Environment For Betta Fish And Shrimp
Get A Big Fish Tank
You must house your shrimp and betta fish in a large fish tank. It should have enough personal space for the betta and shrimp to move around and live comfortably.
We recommend a 10-gallon tank as the minimum tank size for these tank mates. The extra space will lower the likelihood of contact and aggression for a peaceful co-existence.
Add Hiding Spots
Shrimp and betta fish love living in tanks with live plants. The plants provide personal space as well as great hiding spots. Moreover, they help oxygenate the water.
Bettas are naturally curious about their environment and will enjoy swimming through dense vegetation. Plus, these plants boost a betta’s confidence when swimming in open waters.
On the other hand…
Shrimps molt from time to time. Since they are more vulnerable after molting, they will hide until the new shell becomes hard.
Moreover, shrimps enjoy eating the fallen leaves from these plants. You can choose between low light and high light plants as shrimp are not picky. Java moss and java ferns are excellent choices for low-light tanks.
Include some ornaments, too. They improve the tank’s appearance and provide more hiding places. But they should not be sharp or rough as they can hurt your betta’s long, delicate fins.
Ensure the Betta Is Well Fed
Bettas have killer instincts due to their carnivorous nature. If your male or female betta fish does not get adequate food, it will start to hunt the shrimp for food. Besides, bettas need to consume exoskeleton fiber, which is present in shrimp.
Therefore, feed the Siamese fighter fish the right amount of food every day to suppress their hunting instincts. Also, include foods with high exoskeleton fiber.
Which Are the Best Shrimp for Betta Tank?
The Amano shrimp, Ghost shrimp, and cherry shrimp make perfect tank mates for bettas. Read on about each species.
1. Amano Shrimp
Amano shrimps are popular for their cleaning behavior. This species is an ornamental variety, meaning that it is highly sensitive to fish and prefers tanks with dense vegetation to hide.
Amano shrimp will clean all algae from your fish tank and are a welcome bonus for your Siamese fighting fish.
They can grow to reach 2 to 2.5 inches, which reduces the likelihood of becoming a tasty meal because bettas eat Amano shrimp. Furthermore, their dull gray does not entice the betta fish to attack.
Tank Conditions for Amano Shrimp
This species can live comfortably in a betta’s tank without you making changes. It requires a pH of 6 or 7 and temperatures between 76 and 82 degrees, which overlap with the Siamese Fighting fish requirements.
Amano shrimp molt once every month and need plenty of cover during this time. They feel vulnerable after shedding and can easily become prey for a betta.
Therefore, include lots of live plants, tubes, artificial caves, and driftwood to serve as hiding spots. With several hiding grounds, the shrimps will stay healthy and safe. However, avoid including large rocks as they can easily trap the shrimp’s legs.
One thing, though, the Amano shrimp may get agile during feeding as they work to pick up scrapes. It is normal for this species to have a pecking order with the alpha eating first, but this dominant behavior can stress a betta.
The commotion from the squabbling shrimp can be stressful to these tropical fish, who are surface feeders.
Also, keep in mind that Amano shrimp eat algae while betta fish eat live insects, daphnia, and freeze-dried bloodworms. Therefore, add shrimp pellets, zucchini, or algae wafers to supplement their diet.
2. Ghost Shrimp
Ghost shrimp is also an ideal tank mate for betta fish. These transparent animals also go by the name ‘glass shrimp’ and are a popular choice with novice aquarists.
Ghost shrimp can reach 1.5 inches when fully grown, which makes them quite big to be tackled by betta fish. Moreover, betta fish have difficulty spotting them, rendering them a lesser threat. But that’s not to say that the fighting fish do not find these transparent creatures.
The ghost shrimp live in solitude and only interact with members of their species. This translates to peaceful co-existence as ghost shrimps are less likely to provoke an attack.
Tank Conditions for Ghost Shrimp
Ghost shrimp thrives in the same water conditions as a betta. They need a pH level of 7 to 8, while bettas require a pH of 7.
Ghost shrimp need 72 to 82 degrees water temperatures, which is compatible with betta fish which need 76 to 78 degrees.
It is much easier to strike a balanced environment for these tank mates. But before you settle on adding ghost shrimp in a betta tank, here are three things to keep in mind:
They Breed Fast
These adults can easily overstock your tank in a few months. But the betta eat ghost shrimp and this will help to keep their numbers down.
Add Groups of 2 to 4 Ghost Shrimps
How many ghost shrimp should you add to the tank? If you add a single ghost shrimp, they will lead a lonely life. And if you add more than four, they will overpopulate the tank. This is why it is best to keep the group between two and four shrimps.
There are Two Types of Ghost Shrimp
The Palaemonetes Paludosus is a gentler species than the Macrobrachium Lanchesteri. You want to get the gentler shrimp as the latter can pick and damage your betta’s beautiful fins.
This species can live for 12 to 18 months if you maintain the perfect tank conditions. And since they breed fast, you may never have to restock them.
Fun Fact: Get to know more about the relationship status between ghost shrimp and betta fish by reading our post on Ghost Shrimp And Betta: Who Will Ghost Who & Who Will Live?
3. Cherry Shrimp
The cherry shrimp is an attractive pink-colored species. Nevertheless, it can also be orange, violet, red, yellow, green, blue, and black.
The males are not as brightly colored as the females. So the chances are that you will be getting a female cherry shrimp for your Siamese fighter fish.
The females make better tank mates for bettas because they can get up to 1 inch. The males, however, are much smaller and make easy meals for a betta.
The females’ bright colors attract betta fish.
Therefore, to avoid making them a tasty treat, get the largest shrimps in the store.
Tank Conditions for Cherry Shrimp
Cherry shrimp live in similar environmental conditions as betta fish. Their preferred pH levels are between 6.5 and 8. And they thrive in water temperatures between 57 and 84 degrees.
This species is an excellent tank cleaner and will collect the uneaten food and algae. But, remember to include algae wafers and shrimp pellets to supplement their diet.
In addition, the cherry shrimp excrete little waste. So, you can conveniently house 5 to 10 shrimps in a gallon.
To prevent the Siamese fighting fish from attacking the Cherry shrimp, relocate it temporarily and redecorate the aquarium. When done, introduce the shrimp, followed by the betta.
The fighting fish will perceive it has been placed in a new tank and may not perceive the cherry shrimp as an intruder. However, this method may not work on all bettas.
Fortunately, these shrimps are agile and will flee and hide from aggressive fish.
Apart from cherry shrimp, there are other ideal tank mates for your bettas. Watch this video for more details.
Shrimp Species Not Suitable For Living With Bettas
1. Bumblebee Shrimp
Just like the cherry shrimp, bumblebee shrimp have distinct striped coloration that fascinates and draws the attention of a Siamese fighter fish. Their dull color can have black, white, or red stripes.
These stunning creatures are scavengers who are often found swimming at the bottom of the tank scavenging the substrate. They can grow to 1 inch, which is not large enough to deter a betta.
This shrimp species thrives in oxygen-saturated water. They need water temperatures of 74 degrees, which is lower than bettas.
But bumblebee shrimps can withstand water temperatures of 78 degrees, provided you include an air-operated filter system or an air-stone. These aid in the circulation of oxygen in the fish tank.
2. Bamboo Shrimp
The bamboo shrimp are not among the best shrimp for a betta tank. The shrimp enjoy swimming in moderate-to-strong currents as opposed to bettas.
Bettas have large fins that can get caught when swimming through a current. The strong current exhausts these fighting fish who love weak water flow.
Bamboo shrimp do not obtain their food from scavenging like other shrimps. Instead, they filter their meal from the strong currents. This is why you will find these shrimp close to the filter.
If you want to keep a bamboo shrimp with a betta, ensure that the tank is long and can hold 20 gallons of water.
Also, have areas within the tank with high and low flow currents.
3. Crystal Shrimp
Crystal shrimp are a colorful shrimp species with their red and white colors. But, they also are not the best tank companions for bettas.
Their bright coloration draws unwanted attention, and they belong to a dwarf species. Regardless of your tank size or how well you feed your betta, these small shrimps will make an easy snack.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can shrimp attack betta?
No. Shrimps are peaceful creatures who will stay away from other tank mates, including your betta fish. Some create a pecking order amongst themselves during feeding, which rarely bothers the betta.
Can bettas eat shrimp?
Absolutely. First, bettas are carnivores and will devour small creatures across their path. Secondly, its digestive system can extract nutrients from small crustaceans like shrimp. And if a shrimp accidentally swims past a hungry betta, it will become a fast meal.
Not all shrimps are suitable companions for your betta. The Amano shrimp, Cherry shrimp, and Ghost shrimp are excellent options. They thrive in similar tank conditions as betta and keep to themselves.
Before you get a companion shrimp, take time to research the temperament of your betta. Also, provide enough cover where the shrimp can hide while in distress. Lastly, ensure your betta is well-fed to avoid arousing their predatory instinct.
Last Updated: July 12, 2022