How To Keep Betta And Gourami Fish In The Same Tank Peacefully!

Betta and gourami fish enthusiasts often wonder whether these two popular species can coexist in a home aquarium. Coming from the same family of fish, Osphronemidae, bettas and gouramis share several similarities in appearance and behavior, sparking interest in their compatibility as tank mates.

While there are many differences between these fish, their territorial and aggressive nature poses the most significant challenge for those wishing to keep them together but it can be done with some simple, easy rules to follow.

In our experience, the key things to keep in mind when keeping betta and gourami fish in the same tank is to ensure the tank is large enough, use suitable water parameters, provide plenty of hiding spots, and try to keep female fish of both species if possible.

Although that may sound simple, we often see people make easy-to-avoid mistakes when trying to keep a betta in the same tank as a gourami. This is why we decided to publish this dedicated article on the topic to try and help as many of our readers as possible get their tanks to thrive!

Key Takeaways

  • Bettas and gouramis require dedicated attention to environmental factors for successful coexistence.
  • Providing suitable tank mates and adequate hiding spots is crucial for their well-being.
  • Maintaining proper water parameters, diet, and tank maintenance is essential for their continued health.

Tank Size For Keeping Betta And Gourami Fish Together

A betta and gourami living in the same tank.
“Betta 2.0 menaces Gourami” by Clevergrrl is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/?ref=openverse.

When considering keeping betta and gourami fish together, it is crucial to provide them with an appropriate tank size. This will not only help reduce territorial disputes but also ensure that your aquatic pets thrive.

Depending on the type of gourami, a 30-gallon tank or larger is usually required. This provides ample space for both species to establish their territory and reduce conflicts between them. Moreover, a larger tank allows for proper water filtration and circulation, which is necessary for maintaining a healthy aquatic environment.

If you are limited to using a 30 gallon tank then we would highly recommend that you only keep a single betta fish and a single, small gourami in the tank due to space restrictions.

Larger species of gourami can be kept with a betta fish but the tank size will have to be increased to account for the larger gourami species. One general rule of thumb that we have seen people use for this type of set up is the normal tank size for the gourami + 10 gallons.

The larger the tank, the easier it will be to keep a betta fish and gourami in the same tank
Use The Largest Tank Possible

For example, if you want to keep a Pearl Gourami that has a normal minimum tank size recommendation of 30 gallons, you will want to keep your Pearl Gourami and betta fish in a 40 gallon tank. This is the 30 gallons for the normal tank recommendation for the gourami with the additional 10 gallons added on.

Although this is not perfect in every situation, it can be a good rule of thumb to go by with this type of tank setup.

Here is a list of the minimum tank size recommendations for some of the more commonly kept types of gourami if you also want to keep a betta fish in the tank with a single gourami:

  1. Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster lalius):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  2. Honey Gourami (Trichogaster chuna):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  3. Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  4. Thick Lipped Gourami (Trichogaster labiosa):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  5. Licorice Gourami (Parosphromenus deissneri):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 35 gallons
  6. Pearl Gourami (Trichopodus leerii):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons
  7. Three Spot Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons
  8. Chocolate Gourami (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons
  9. Banded Gourami (Trichogaster fasciata):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons
  10. Opaline Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus var.):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 45 gallons
  11. Blue Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
  12. Moonlight Gourami (Trichogaster microlepis):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
  13. Kissing Gourami (Helostoma temminckii):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
  14. Snakeskin Gourami (Trichopodus pectoralis):
    • Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

If possible, using a larger tank than recommended will help to keep this process as easy as possible.

Suitable Water Parameters For The Tank

An infographic going over the optimal water parameters for a tank that will contain both betta fish and gourami

Betta and Gourami fish, both belonging to the Osphronemidae family and share similar requirements for water parameters in their tanks. These parameters are essential for maintaining their health and ensuring a comfortable habitat that helps to minimise problems with aggression.

When it comes to water temperature, both fish can thrive in a temperature range of 78°-80°F with there being a small amount of wiggle room on each side. This temperature range ensures they stay active and healthy. It is crucial to maintain a stable temperature, as fluctuations can cause stress to the fish and make them aggressive.

The pH level in the tank should be maintained between 6.8-7.5, which is considered a moderately acidic to neutral range. This is an ideal range for betta fish while also being optimal for most types of gourami too helping to keep both species happy.

Regarding water flow, both Betta and Gourami fish prefer calm water with minimal current. Gentle water flow allows them to swim comfortably and display their characteristic swimming patterns but many people use a still tank with no water flow for this type of setup.

Good water parameters are key when keeping betta fish and gourami in the same tank
Maintain Suitable Water Parameters

Ammonia, nitrate, and nitrites play a vital role in maintaining water quality. For both fish species, ammonia and nitrite levels should be at 0 ppm (parts per million), as they are toxic even at very low concentrations. Nitrate levels should be kept below 20 ppm to maintain a healthy and safe environment.

Water hardness affects the overall water quality and dissolved mineral content. It should be ideally maintained at 3-4 dGH for general hardness (GH) and 4-5 dKH for carbonate hardness (KH) if possible. We know that this can be challanging for beginners due to both ranges being so small but it is possible and works great for both bettas and most types of gourami.

Finally, lighting is an essential part of their habitat, contributing to the overall well-being of both Betta and Gourami fish. A natural day and night cycle should be maintained inside the tank, with moderate lighting intensity during daylight hours. This can be achieved using an aquarium timer or by simply following regular household lighting patterns.

By maintaining these suitable water parameters, a comfortable and healthy living environment can be created for Betta and Gourami fish, allowing them to thrive and display their natural behaviors.

Hiding Spots In The Tank

A betta fish in a tank with plenty of plant cover for hiding spots

Creating a comfortable environment for betta and gourami fish is essential for their well-being and overall health. One crucial aspect of their habitat is providing hiding spots, which meet their natural instincts and ensure they feel secure.

Both betta and gourami fish appreciate hiding spots, as they help reduce stress and offer a place to explore or seek refuge. Providing a variety of cover in the tank with live plants, fake plants, driftwood, and rocks will give the fish ample places to spend time.

Plants are a great way to let a betta or gourami hide in their own space when kept in the same tank
Add Live Or Fake Plants As A Minimum

Live plants are an excellent option for hiding spots, as they can offer dense foliage, replicate their natural habitat, and improve water quality. Common aquarium plants suitable for betta and gourami tanks include Anubias, Java Fern, and Vallisneria.

Fake plants made of silk or plastic can also serve as hiding spots and require less maintenance than live plants. However, make sure the materials are non-toxic and have no sharp edges that could injure the fish.

Driftwood is a great option for people looking to provide hiding spots and sight breaks for a tank with gourami and bettas in it
Driftwood Can Be A Great Addition

Driftwood provides natural, visually appealing hiding spots and can also contribute to water stability in the tank by releasing tannins. Ensure the driftwood is appropriately prepared and cleaned to avoid contaminants.

Most pet stores sell driftwood that is ready to use and pre-weighted so you purchase it, take it home, rinse it, and then add it to your tank as you see fit.

Rocks provide plenty of hiding spaces for tanks with gourami and betta fish in them
Rocks Are Our Favourite Option

Rocks are another popular feature for offering secluded corners and crevices. Ensure the rocks are aquarium-safe, without sharp edges, and do not alter the water parameters.

You can also use rocks to make your own DIY aquarium caves or formations offering far more hiding spots and sight breaks for your gourami or betta than you could get by simply placing them around the tank.

Leaf Litter is commonly found in the natural environment for both betta fish and most types of gourami. Although it doesn’t provide a hiding spot, it is becoming a more common addition to this type of tank.

Remember, creating diverse and interesting hiding spots is vital for keeping your betta and gourami fish feeling safe and comfortable while preventing boredom. A well-designed aquarium mimicking their natural habitat will result in healthier, happier fish.

Types of Gouramis That Can Work With Bettas

Not all gourami species can coexist with betta fish without issue and this is a common mistake that we have seen people make time and time again. Choosing the wrong type of gourami for your tank will often result in problems even if you do everything else perfectly.

A Dwarf Gourami in a planted tank with a betta fish
A Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gouramis are a more peaceful species of gourami and can be considered for tank setups with betta fish. The flame dwarf, blue dwarf, and powder blue dwarf gourami varieties are relatively tranquil and unlikely to show aggression towards their betta tankmates, especially in a well-planted and spacious aquarium.

A honey gourami in a heavily planted tank with a betta fish
A Honey Gourami

Honey Gourami is another gentle species that can potentially share a tank with bettas. They tend to inhabit the middle to top levels of the tank, allowing for enough space for bettas to roam around. Providing suitable hiding spots and dividing the aquarium into territories can help in reducing the chances of territorial disputes between bettas and honey gouramis.

A Sparkling gourami in a heavily planted tank with a betta fish
A Sparkling Gourami

Sparkling Gourami is a small, shy species that usually live in numbers and can potentially live with bettas in a tank. While they occupy the same level as bettas in an aquarium, their timid nature often keeps them from engaging in conflicts with the more assertive bettas. However, proper tank management, including ample plants and hiding spaces, is crucial in maintaining harmony between the two species.

That said, it is essential to note that not all gouramis are compatible with bettas. Pearl, opaline, and blue gouramis, for example, are generally more aggressive and less likely to get along with betta fish but it can be done with the right tank.

Male bettas, in particular, can be quite territorial, and it is recommended to avoid housing them together with these less peaceful gourami species. Ideally you want to be keeping female bettas in this type of tank if possible no matter the species of gourami you choose.

In conclusion, while certain types of gouramis, such as dwarf, honey, and sparkling gouramis, might have better chances of coexisting with betta fish, it is crucial to provide a well-maintained and spacious environment with enough plants and hiding spots.

Observing the individual behaviors of your fish and being prepared to separate them in case of aggression are key factors in maintaining a peaceful community aquarium with bettas and compatible gouramis.

Diet And Feeding

There are plenty of food options that work well for both betta fish and gourami

Betta and Gourami fish have distinct dietary requirements and feeding habits. Both species are omnivores but have a preference for certain types of food. It is essential to understand their dietary needs to maintain their health and well-being in an aquarium setting.

Betta fish primarily consume insects and insect larvae in the wild. In an aquarium setting, they can adapt to a variety of food sources such as flakes and pellets specifically designed for bettas. Additionally, betta fish benefit from live food like brine shrimp and bloodworms as well as frozen or freeze-dried options. It is recommended to feed bettas two to four pellets, once or twice per day.

Gouramis have a more varied diet in comparison to bettas, consisting of algae, small invertebrates, and other plant matter. A high-quality, nutritionally balanced food tailored to the specific species of gourami should be provided to ensure optimal health. Gouramis can also be fed a combination of flakes and pellets, live food, frozen food, and freeze-dried food.

To accommodate the feeding habits of both betta fish and gourami, it is necessary to establish multiple feeding areas within the aquarium. This allows the fish to access food easily without competing with one another minimising aggression. Providing multiple feeding spots also ensures that the fish receive adequate nutrition.

The three feeding layers in an aquarium

The following are some suggestions for suitable feeding areas:

  • Surface feeding: Both betta and gourami fish have mouths designed for surface feeding. Offer flakes, pellets, or live food on the water surface for easy access.
  • Mid-water feeding: Gouramis may venture away from the surface to feed. Using sinking pellets or wafers can provide mid-water feeding opportunities.
  • Bottom feeding: Occasionally placing live or freeze-dried food at the bottom of the tank creates variety and stimulates natural foraging behavior.
Live, frozen, and freeze-dried food that bettas and gourami enjoy

There are plenty of different food types that work well for both betta fish and gourami. Here are some of our favourite options that we highly recommend you consider for your own tank:

  1. Bloodworms: Both live and freeze-dried bloodworms are suitable for these species.
  2. Brine Shrimp: You can feed them live or frozen brine shrimp.
  3. Daphnia: Live, frozen, or freeze-dried daphnia can be a great snack.
  4. Betta/Gourami Pellets: Specialized pellets are available that cater to their nutritional needs.
  5. Tropical Fish Flakes: Many high-quality flakes are formulated for tropical fish and can be used for both Bettas and Gouramis.
  6. Tubifex Worms: These can also be offered live or freeze-dried.
  7. Micro Worms: Suitable for both species, especially for juveniles.
  8. Mosquito Larvae: A natural food that can be found in their wild habitat and is often accepted eagerly.

By understanding the unique dietary requirements of betta and gourami fish and establishing suitable feeding areas, owners can ensure that their aquatic pets thrive in their aquarium environment.

Other Fish Tank Mates

If you are a beginner, we advise against adding additional tank mates to a setup that has a gourami and betta in it. You should get the tank setup, add your fish, and keep it in that state for at least six months to build experience before you even try to add anything else.

In addition to that, a 30 gallon starting tank will be too small for additional tank mates so the size and budget requirement for your project will increase.

When choosing tank mates for betta and gourami fish, it is essential to consider the size of the tank and the compatibility of the species. For a 50-gallon tank or larger, there are several options for compatible companions.

Rasboras in a heavily planted tank that could work with a betta and gourami
Rasboras

Rasboras make excellent tank mates for both bettas and gouramis due to their peaceful nature and small size. They are easy to care for and come in a variety of species, such as Harlequin Rasboras and Galaxy Rasboras. As schooling fish, it is best to keep a group of at least six rasboras together to reduce stress and ensure their wellbeing.

A school of tetras in a planted tank that is also large enough for a betta and gourami
Tetras

Tetras are another group of fish that can coexist harmoniously with bettas and gouramis. Some popular tetra species include Neon Tetras, Ember Tetras, and Rummy Nose Tetras. These fish are known for their vibrant colors and peaceful demeanor. Like rasboras, tetras prefer to be in groups, so it is advisable to have at least six of them in the tank.

A cory resting on a log in a tank
Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras catfish, often referred to as ‘cory,’ are bottom-dwelling fish that can coexist well with bettas and gouramis. Their peaceful nature, unique appearance, and scavenging habits make them great additions to a community tank.

A school of Guppies in a fish tank
Guppies

Guppies can also be suitable tank mates for gouramis, but they might not be the best choice for bettas due to their flashy fins, which can provoke aggression from bettas. Male guppies, in particular, have long and flowing fins that may resemble those of a betta, potentially triggering territorial disputes. However, if the tank has plenty of hiding spots and decorations, it may be possible to keep guppies with bettas, especially in larger tanks with sufficient space for them to establish their territories.

By carefully considering the size of the tank and the compatibility of fish species, one can create a harmonious community within an aquarium and ensure the happiness and wellbeing of all its inhabitants.

Suitable Non-Fish Tankmates

Betta and gourami fish can coexist with various non-fish tankmates, which provide an aesthetic appeal as well as functional benefits to the aquarium. Non-aggressive invertebrates can make great tankmates for these fish species, as they peacefully share the living space and maintain the tank’s cleanliness.

A mystery snail in an aquarium
Mystery Snail

Mystery Snails are a popular choice for betta and gourami tanks. These peaceful creatures help keep the tank clean by feeding on algae and debris, while their hard shells protect them from curious or aggressive fish. Providing calcium-rich foods will help keep their shells strong and healthy.

A nerite snail on a rock in an aquarium tank
Nerite Snail

Nerite Snails are another great option. They are known for their unique shell patterns and ability to keep algae levels in check. These snails stay small in size, making them suitable for tanks with limited space. Remember to have a tight-fitting lid on the tank, as they can occasionally attempt to escape.

Different types of shrimp for aquariums

Shrimp species, such as Cherry Shrimp, Amano Shrimp, and Ghost Shrimp, can also be compatible tankmates for betta and gourami fish. The various neocaridina shrimp shown in the graphic above can also work well too.

These shrimp help maintain cleanliness in the tank by consuming uneaten food and algae. However, keep in mind that betta and gourami fish may occasionally view shrimp as prey, especially if the shrimp are small or young.

Both betta fish and gourami have been known to eat various types of shrimp so some people setup a seperate 1 gallon shrimp tank to use as a breeding tank for their shrimp so they have plenty of replacements.

To ensure the safety and well-being of all tank inhabitants:

  • Provide hiding spaces, such as plants and caves, where non-fish tankmates can retreat if necessary.
  • Monitor the tank regularly, ensuring no aggression is displayed towards the invertebrates.
  • If including shrimp, opt for larger species or introduce them when they are fully grown to minimize the risk of becoming prey.

By incorporating suitable non-fish tankmates like mystery snails, nerite snails, and various shrimp species, the aquarium can achieve a harmonious environment, with each inhabitant benefiting from each other’s presence.

Breeding Behaviour And Considerations

A betta fish in a community tank with rock cover and plants

Both Betta and Gourami fish belong to the Osphronemidae family but are classified under different genera, which means they cannot crossbreed. Despite this, there are some similarities and differences in their breeding behavior and requirements that fishkeepers should be aware of.

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, have specific breeding behaviors. Males create bubble nests at the water surface, which is where they keep the fertilized eggs and care for the offspring. During the breeding process, the male wraps around the female to release her eggs and fertilize them simultaneously. One essential consideration is that male Bettas can become highly aggressive towards females or other males during breeding, so separate tanks or dividers should be used.

Gourami fish, on the other hand, have varying breeding behaviors based on the species. Some Gouramis also use bubble nests, while others lay their eggs on leaves or the substrate. Like their Betta counterparts, male Gouramis can become aggressive during the breeding process, but this aggression may vary depending on the particular species.

A key point to keep in mind when breeding either Bettas or Gouramis is the heightened aggression. For this reason, it is not recommended to breed both species together in the same tank. Instead, allocate individual tanks or enclosures for each species to minimize the potential for fights and injuries.

In conclusion, bear in mind that while Bettas and Gouramis originate from the same fish family, they have differing breeding behaviors and requirements. Increased aggression during the breeding process is common for both species, necessitating separate tanks or enclosures when breeding these fish. This consideration helps ensure a successful breeding experience while minimizing stress and danger for the fish involved.

Fish Tank Maintenance

A gourami fish in a planted tank with a betta fish

Maintaining a healthy environment for both betta and gourami fish requires proper care and attention to the fish tank. Regular water changes, filtration, and monitoring of water parameters are all essential aspects in sustaining a stable and suitable habitat for these species.

Regular water changes are crucial in maintaining optimal water conditions. It is recommended to change 10% to 20% of the water weekly, ensuring that ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are within a safe range. This practice helps to avoid health problems and stress for the fish.

Proper filtration in the tank is another key component. A good quality filter not only removes debris, but also helps to minimize ammonia and nitrate buildup to support fish health. Additionally, increasing water movement within the tank aids in oxygen exchange, which benefits the fish and other inhabitants.

Aquatic plants and decor provide hiding spots and safety zones for fish, especially when housing betta and gourami together. Floating plants are an excellent choice, as they create a sense of refuge and discourage aggressiveness between the fish. Java moss, floating ferns, or water lettuce are superb options in creating a more tranquil environment.

Temperature, pH, and water hardness should be monitored regularly to avoid sudden fluctuations that can cause stress and weaken immunity. Betta fish prefer temperatures between 76°F and 81°F, while gouramis prefer slightly warmer water at 78°F to 82°F. The optimal pH range for both species is from 6.0 to 7.5, with water hardness ranging from soft to moderately hard.

In conclusion, proper fish tank maintenance that includes the appropriate tank size, filtration, water changes, and environment parameters helps establish a harmonious living space for betta and gourami fish, ensuring their health and well-being.

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