Occasional Visitor

Friend for male betta fish?

[ Edited ]

I have a male betta named Zale. I just moved him from a 1gal to a 10 gal I got from my younger sister. I have fake plants and big sea shells in his tank as decoration. I have a heater and a water filter. I was considering getting a snail or something to help keep the tank clean. I do a partial water change with distilled water once every week and a half, and will be doing a full tank clean once a month. Anything you would suggest?

Esteemed Contributor

Re: Male betta fish. Considering a friend.

[ Edited ]

Congratulations on the larger tank.

Yes, I think it's possible to add another fish or two in an aquarium this size. A snail would also be a possibility. I just want to remind you that really nothing you add to your tank in the way of livestock will actually "clean" the tank. Yes, some will seek out stray flakes of food or possibly eat algae off surfaces, but the real maintenance is what you have been doing as weekly water changes. That's the only true way to remove excess nitrates.

Very important point: You mention that you intend to do a "full tank clean once a month". I admire your enthusiasm, but it's neither necessary nor "good" for the tank to empty and clean it monthly. If you do that, you interrupt the biological filtration necessary for the overall health of the tank. Biological filtration occurs when bacteria colonize the gravel and filter media of your tank. These break down poisonous ammonia (fish waste) into less harmful nitrates which can be controlled by your partial water changes. The colonies of beneficial bacteria take about 4-6 weeks to develop in a newly set-up or newly refilled tank, so the key to tank maintenance is to remove excess nitrates while keeping the biological filter as stable as possible.

Use an aquarium gravel vacuum to remove 25% of the water each week, then refill it with fresh water of the same temperature as the tank and enough dechlorinator to detoxify any chlorine. You are currently using distilled water, but IMO it's unnecessary to do that. Gradually transitioning to tap water is a good idea unless you live in an area where local water is very hard or very extreme in pH in either direction.

A few zebra danios or small rasboras would be okay for this tank.  Not likely to harass the betta and too fast for the betta to bother them. Ancistrus catfish (antennae cats) are in the plecostomus family, but mature at a much smaller size. I find them to be interesting and usually active during the day. And since the ancistrus will be mainly on or near the bottom, it won't be competing for space with any of the other fish I have mentioned.

Good Luck!


“The oceans are the planet's last great living wilderness, man's only remaining frontier on Earth, and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species.”
― John L. Culliney
Community Manager

Re: Male betta fish. Considering a friend.

Hi Jasminknight.

Welcome to the community and congratulations on your tank upgrade! 

Here are some articles about betta fish that may be helpful: Betta Fish Care Sheet and Betta Fish Tank and Care.

I'd love to see a photo of your fish in their new tank! What's their name?


Re: Male betta fish. Considering a friend.


I've had a few male bettas in the past and have never had success with them sharing a tank with another fish. Mine have always been too aggressive and the other fish end up with nips, fin tears, etc. My current betta is living with two amano shrimp and 3 horned nerites. He can't really see the amano shrimp and the horned nerites are small enough to be covered entirely by their shell, without antenae sticking out (which would likely be bitten off). The shrimp clear the water of debris and will eat any leftover food. The snails clean the tank walls and plants of biofilm and algae. 



Petco Ambassador

Re: Male betta fish. Considering a friend.

Following. Trying to figure out what to replace our son's betta with
Occasional Contributor

Re: Friend for male betta fish?

Hmm...I do not think is a good idea to have a snail in the same tank with a betta fish. First of all, bettas are known to be fighter fish, and would end up killing the snail. In that case if I were you I would definitely get the water filter, which is a lot safer, and won't put other animals at risk. Second of all, I don't think distilled water is safe for a betta. So I would suggest using spring water or using betta water conditioner if you do not want to buy a gallon of spring water every 2 weeks or so. Plus its a 10 gallon so it would be expensive to buy 10 gallons of spring water every time. So in order to save money and water, I would definitely buy some water conditioner. Another thing, natural plants work better than fake plants. Sometimes fake plants can have rough edges and can hurt the fish. I suggest that if you are gonna use fake plants, get fabric-ish type of plants. Decoration can be really cute, but gravel can make a fish choke, so I suggest to get big gravel like fake gems. This is not only for the health of the fish, but also for you own health as well. DO NOT PET THE FISH. Fish have this secretion that keeps them from getting sick, I have no clue what can happened, but I believe that if you touch it that protection is gonna go away. Also not only that, but fish carry diseases, so for your own health, DO NOT PET THE FISH SPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE AN OPEN WOUND, SCRATCH, OR ANYTHING THAT EXPOSES YOUR INNER SKIN. Fish can sometimes carry the flesh eating bacteria, and it could lead to serious health issues. So these my suggestions to you, and I hope you found them helpful.
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