If you’ve just welcomed a betta fish into your home, you may be worried that it looks lonely on its own in the tank. Human beings are usually sociable so we often worry when our pets are housed on their own.
What you need to remember is that bettas are not shoaling fish; they enjoy being alone.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy interaction. A betta fish will get to know you and will sometimes even feed from your hand. But a betta fish does not necessarily enjoy the company of other fish.
In order to fully understand this, it’s a good idea to look at the social needs of a betta in more detail.
Do betta fish get lonely?
If you ask the question “do betta fish get lonely?”, in relation to other fish, the answer is no. If you have a betta fish in a tank it will be quite happy swimming around on its own.
You should make sure that you include plenty of synthetic plants in the tank. You should also include a cave if possible. Betta fish like to have somewhere to hide away and be completely on their own.
It’s also a good idea to provide toys for your betta fish, to stop them from getting bored. One of the most popular toy ideas is ping pong balls on the top of the water.
Do betta fish like being alone?
“Do betta fish like being alone?” is a slightly different question. However, the answer is still yes. Betta fish are by nature solitary and territorial.
One thing you should never do is keep a male betta fish with another male betta fish or with a female betta fish aside from during breeding. They can, and probably will, kill each other!
It’s also important to remember that female betta fish can be almost as aggressive as male betta fish. In some ways they can also be more dangerous to other fish. This is because their shorter fin size gives them greater speed in the tank.
It’s often said that female betta fish can be kept together, in a sorority of around six fish. This isn’t necessarily the case. If you want to do this you need to make sure there is plenty of space in the tank. You also need to make sure that there are plenty of places for the fish to escape from each other. Even then, depending on the personalities of the fish involved, there may still be casualties.
If you really want to keep a betta fish in a tank with other species of fish then you should make sure the tank is at least 10-15 gallons in size. You should also think about the following points.
- Never opt for other fish that are really colourful and ornate.
- Bottom feeding fish like plecs and catfish can be a good option.
- Always keep a close eye on the tank as some bettas will attack any other fish.
The safest way to keep a betta fish is usually on its own. Just make sure it has plenty of cover in the tank; and items to entertain it. More placid bettas can be kept with other fish but you need to make sure there is plenty of space in the tank. You also need to choose tank mates wisely.