Betta Fish and Shrimp – Can They Live Together?

Tank mates do not always mean comparing whether one type of fish can live with another. In a lot of circumstances, tank mates can be anything from snails to shrimp, or even hitchhikers. Regardless, the most important thing to know is whether or not they can live with each other before you start populating your tank .

Betta fish and shrimp

Wrong betta fish tank mates can lead to disaster, which is why it is important to get it right.

So, when people are asking whether or not betta fish can live with shrimp, the answer is yes, but there is more than meets the eye to this one and we explain everything!

Can Betta Fish Live With Shrimp?

Bettas and shrimp can live with each other in relative harmony. There are, however, some factors that play a massive part in this, with the first being the overall temperament of your betta fish.

If your betta fish is more peaceful and forgiving with new tank occupants, then the next steps will be ensuring that your tank is set up perfectly for both shrimp and betta fish to co-exist peacefully.

Ideal Betta Fish and Shrimp Environment

You must create the perfect aquarium environment to increase the survivability of your shrimp. It is not easy to do this, but following the guidance below should ensure that this is possible.

Hiding Spots

Your shrimp must be given plenty of hiding spots to reside in around your tank to keep them safe from hungry betta fish.

Some great options to protect shrimp are live plants since they will help create a natural defense against bettas and also mimic the surroundings of their natural habitat, whilst also providing some food too.

How to control aquarium algae

Other than plants, ornaments, and driftwood are also good options for hiding spots. Some good options are java moss, java ferns, and algae.

Tank Size

You will need a tank that is big enough for your betta fish and shrimp to comfortably live in together. 10 gallon tanks (45 liters) are the absolute minimum size as you will not want your betta fish or shrimp to become stressed out due to a lack of assigned territories which is very difficult to establish in a tank this small.

The larger your tank, the less likely your betta fish will be to discover the little creatures moving around in it, so we recommend 20 gallon tanks or larger.

Many people think it is a good idea to keep a betta fish in a bowl. Guess what? This is not a good idea and should not be done at all, especially if you want to house shrimp in addition to your bettas.

Feeding your Betta

You must ensure that your betta fish are being fed enough food to stop them from searching around for extras, aka shrimp! At the same time, it is crucially important not to overfeed your betta fish.

The best thing to do is release the betta fish food into the tank, and wait for them to eat as much as possible within a 5-minute time period, once you have done this, clean out the excess food and you will know how much to feed them going forward.

The Most Compatible Shrimp Species with Bettas

There are three species of shrimp that are the most compatible with betta fish, and also the most popular choice of freshwater shrimp by hobbyists.

Amano Shrimp and Betta Fish

Amano shrimp are certainly the largest shrimp on this list, growing to around 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) in length which is why they are very well suited to living with betta fish since they are not likely to be eaten due to their size.

Their coloration is somewhat dull, sporting a grey body with faint stripes and dots running across their sides. Amano shrimp can live for about 3 years providing you don't set them up to be eaten by a predator!

Amano Shrimp Behavior

Amanos won't pester or annoy your bettas too, keeping themselves to themselves for the majority of the time. Something to look out for is aggressiveness towards other shrimp species.

This typically only happens when you are feeding them, but watch out as it can also cause stress for your betta fish.

Amano Shrimp Tank Setup

Fortunately, the water parameters are the same as bettas, so, you will not need to make any changes there. They do require a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 and a temperature range between 70 and 80°F (21 to 26.5°C).

It is important that, regardless of being big shrimp, amano shrimp still require a lot of plants and other types of tank decor to protect them and make them feel safe.

Despite being keen algae eaters, amano shrimp should be fed sinking pellets and meaty foods to create a balanced and healthy diet.

Will Bettas Eat Amano Shrimp?

Due to their large size, amano shrimp are much less likely to be eaten by bettas than the other shrimp on this list.

Bettas tend to eat anything that can fit in their mouths, but what happens when their intended meal cannot fit in their mouths? You guessed it, they give up and move on!

Ghost Shrimp and Betta Fish

Ghost shrimp have always been a good choice for beginner hobbyists looking to expand their community beyond fish-only. Their full size is around 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length, which makes the adults pretty safe from being eaten.

Ghost Shrimp Behavior

Ghost shrimp are peaceful by nature, keeping themselves to themselves for the most part. They will certainly not bother your betta fish, which will reduce the likelihood of them being attacked and eaten since they don't draw attention to themselves.

Something to keep in mind is that ghost shrimp can become pregnant very easily, which can lead to hundreds of baby ghost shrimp occupying your aquarium.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on which way you look at it, your bettas will likely eat the babies very quickly.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Setup

Ghost shrimp share the same parameters as betta fish, which is ideal. They need a pH level between 7.0 and 8.0 and a temperature range of 72 - 82°F (22 - 28°C).

By adding 4 ghost shrimp to a tank at the same time you will be avoiding any unwanted pregnancies, whilst also keeping them happy and not lonely. Their life span ranges, but they will typically live for up to 1.5 years.

Will Bettas Eat Ghost Shrimp?

Fortunately, due to their size, ghost shrimp are relatively safe from being eaten by betta fish. However, if your betta fish is not being fed enough, this could all change.

Ghost shrimp are extremely affordable, which is why they are such a great choice. If your betta eats every single one that it lays its eyes on, at least it wasn't an expensive mistake!

Cherry Shrimp and Betta Fish

Cherry shrimp are the highest risk out of the shrimp to feature on this list due to their smaller size - 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length, but that isn't to say you shouldn't try them out.

Typically, the females are much bigger than the males, which may make your male susceptible to becoming a betta fish meal. However, females are usually the ones being sold and more readily available as they contain the bright red coloration and are much brighter and more attractive than the males.

Cherry Shrimp Behavior

They are peaceful shrimp that enjoy keeping themselves to themselves. Something else that cherry shrimp are brilliant at is cleaning aquariums - they are fantastic at it! They love grazing on algae, which saves you a bit of time with the scraper! Here are some other great freshwater algae eaters.

Cherry shrimp certainly require a tank environment similar to their own natural one. An abundance of live plants and other decorations are certainly needed in order to provide them with protection and safety too.

Cherry Shrimp Tank Setup

Cherry shrimp require a pH level range of 6.5 and 8.0 and a water temperature range of 57 to 84°F (14 - 29°C) - this is ideal as they share the same tank requirements as betta fish.

Can shrimp and tetras live together

Due to their small size they can be put in a smaller tank, you will ideally want 10 shrimp per one betta fish. By doing this you will bring much-needed confidence to your cherry shrimp, whilst putting off the betta from attacking them.

Will Bettas Eat Cherry Shrimp?

Due to their smaller size, cherry shrimp are the most likely to become a meal. Try purchasing the largest shrimp you find at the store and also avoid getting male shrimp.

Your cherry shrimp should survive just fine if they are living with a calm betta fish and also surrounded by many natural hiding spots.

Final Thoughts

Keeping shrimp and betta fish together is always going to carry with it some level of risk; however, if you follow this guide and also acquire shrimp that are somewhat compatible with betta fish, you should be fine.

Out of the shrimp mentioned in this article, amano shrimp are certainly the most well-equipped to live and survive living with betta fish due to their size and behavioral patterns.

You may also not mind your bettas eating your shrimp if the goal is to give them some alternate natural food options which won't hit your pocketbook too much if you have to replace them!