Can Zebra Danios Live With Bettas?

It is not recommended for zebra danios to live with bettas. This is because of the vast differences in their ways of living. The factors that influence why these two species can’t live together are the tank conditions, behavioral differences, and their dietary conflicts.

Zebra danios and bettas, while both beautiful fish, are entirely different. These fish species differ in ways that make them unique and need specific care. Let’s explore why it’s not recommended that these fish be placed together.

Is It Possible For Zebra Danios To Live With Bettas?

While they can live in the same tank, it is not recommended due to their significant natural differences. These differences influence their compatibility with being tank companions.

The Differences In Zebra Danio And Betta Tank Conditions

The tank conditions of fish are one of the most important factors to consider when looking for compatible tank mates. The tank conditions of fish include the tank size, habitat, and water parameters in which they live. Another critical factor is the tank maintenance needed for each fish.

The tank size of zebra danios and bettas is essential. While these fish are seen as micro-fish, they don’t need the largest tank. Zebra danios need a minimum tank size of 10 gallons, while a betta only requires at least 3 gallons, with a preferred capacity of 5 gallons (for a single betta). A size of 10 gallons is preferred for more than one.

While there are a lot of differences in these fish species, one thing is the same, and that is their habitat. Both zebra danios and bettas like living in slow-moving water, dense habitats with many plants, and enjoying enough space to swim freely.

The water hardness and pH levels for zebra danios and betta fish aren’t that different. Their water hardness ranges from 5 to 20 dH, and their pH is between 6.0 and 8.0. The only difference in their water parameters is the temperature, as danios prefer water between 64 and 77⁰F and bettas water between 78 and 82⁰F.

When talking about tank maintenance, bettas are very picky. While it is important to change water frequently, zebra danios don’t require as; much maintenance as danios. Danios need partial weekly 20% water changes.

Macro photo of a zebrafish (Danio rerio) with a white background

Do Zebra Danios And Bettas Behave Differently?

Behavioral differences are the biggest reasons why danios and bettas can’t live together. Both zebra danios and bettas live in the medium to the top of the water tank, making them directly confront each other.

The most significant behavioral problem with bettas is that they are very territorial. This means that they might become aggressive when they see another fish species, like zebra danios, as rivals.

Zebra danios are much different than bettas. They are very active and also fast swimming fish. Other than their activeness being a problem for bettas, zebra danios are also nippy, and as bettas have large fins, it’s the first thing to nip on.

What Are Their Dietary Conflicts?

There isn’t a big dietary difference between these two fish species. Zebra danios are omnivores, while bettas are carnivores. Both these fish like both meat and a little bit of plant-based diets.

The big problem comes in at feeding time. Zebra danios are much quicker than bettas, making it hard for bettas to reach the food in time. Another problem is that zebra danios are veracious eaters, meaning that your bettas might go hungry.

What Types Of Fish Can Live With Bettas?

When looking for tankmates for your betta fish, you should consider all the factors that influence if a fish can live together with a betta. You must ensure that their tank conditions are the same, they don’t have behavioral differences, and they don’t have dietary conflicts.

There are multiple fish that can be tankmates with bettas. These fish fall into the criteria you need to consider, and the probability of them fighting is low.

The fish that can live with bettas are:

  1. Zebra snails
  2. Feeder guppies
  3. Cory catfish
  4. Neon tetras
  5. Clown plecos
  6. Ember tetras
  7. Ghost shrimp

Zebra snails aren’t very active and only feed off algae. This means they won’t bother the bettas or steal their food.

The next good fit is feeder guppies. These guppies are school fish and will require a tank of at least 20 gallons, but with them not being as colorful as regular guppies, they won’t attract bettas easily.

There isn’t just one type of cory catfish, but no matter what type of cory catfish you buy, they are all the perfect companions for bettas as they live at the bottom of an aquarium and will eat any scrap food that bettas may leave.

The next fish is the neon tetras. When wanting to place these fish in a tank with bettas, it is essential to note that they are schooling fish. They are also very colorful, but not so colorful that they will attract bettas, making them a safe option for tankmates.

The clown plecos are also a good choice for a tankmate. They are catfish that will never get in the bettas’ way as they only swim at the bottom of a tank. They are also not very attractive, meaning they won’t attract attention from your bettas.

The ember tetras are also a good fit, even though your bettas might try to catch it. Embar tetras’ are fast swimmers, making it easy to swim away from bettas. Their small size also ensures that they can easily hide.

The ghost shrimp is transparent, making them seem invisible, and they are also very peaceful. Because they seem invisible, it is easy for them not to be noticed by bettas, making them the perfect tankmate.

Blue Betta fish in front of Plants

Which Fish Can Live With Zebra Danios?

Zebra danios are primarily peaceful fish that love to stick together. They are a good choice for a community aquarium if the other fish in the aquarium are compatible with living with zebra danios. But which fish are compatible living partners for them?

Long-fined fish, like angelfish, bettas, and guppies, aren’t the best companions for a community aquarium with zebra danios. They aren’t compatible, as danios like to nip on their fins.

The best type of companion for any fish, especially a zebra danio, is one that is like it. Zebra danios are best tankmates with similar fish, such as other danios, corydoras catfish, loaches, swordtails, and tetras fish.

It is essential when choosing tankmates for your zebra danio that they are compatible, as zebra danios are school fish and like to keep together. If fish aren’t compatible with these danios, they might fight.


A few differences influence why zebra danios and bettas can’t co-exist together. While they aren’t big, these differences can cause trouble between these two fish species. The main differences influencing why they can’t live together are their tank conditions, behavioral differences, and dietary conflicts.