Can a turtle and a betta fish live together?

In this post, we will answer the question “Can a turtle and a betta fish live together?”. We will also discuss some of the top tankmates for your turtle.

Can a turtle and a betta fish live together?

No, it is not recommended to keep a betta fish and a turtle together. Even if it’s only for a short period, you cannot keep a betta fish and a turtle together. If you try to keep a betta fish with any form of turtle species, the chances are good that your fish will not survive even a week in the tank. Diet, room, and water conditions are just a few of the reasons why you shouldn’t keep a betta fish and a turtle together.


The majority of freshwater turtles that you encounter on the shores of ponds and lakes are omnivores; however, some species are completely herbivores, while others are carnivores, as can be seen in the photo above. In general, it is reasonable to assume that the turtle consumes both plant- and animal-based diets, however, it is best to investigate the individual species before making this assumption. Plant debris, algae, insects, different larvae, and fish are some of the foods that these turtles consume in their natural habitat. 

In the aquarium, this diet does not vary, and turtles require a range of vegetables and algae-based meals, as well as different types of worms, shrimp, and even eggs for protein, in addition to their regular diet. Feeder fish are a particularly popular food for turtles, and they are available in many varieties. 

Turtles have evolved to regard moving fish to be food, and this is something they do instinctively. Unfortunately, they are unable of distinguishing between a meal and a tank buddy, leading them to believe that an additional betta is something to eat. As a result, most hobbyists provide their turtles with guppies, minnows, and other inexpensive fish as a treat. 

There is no real way to get around this since your turtle will always try to eat your betta if the two of them are kept in the same tank. Even if your turtle species is a little one, it may still eat large amounts of your fish’s flesh. Turtles, at the absolute least, can bite at the tips of your betta’s fins and inflict irreversible harm.


The majority of turtle species are quite active, and most of them may grow to be quite huge. Betta fish, on the other hand, grow to a maximum size of around 3 inches and are extremely calm swimmers, as opposed to this. 

The minimum suggested tank size for most turtles is at least 40-100 gallons (and preferably more). Betta fish require just 5 litres of water to survive. Because of the large amount of open water, your betta fish could become uncomfortable. When you throw in a hyperactive, fish-hungry turtle, things may get out of hand quickly. Unless your betta fish manages to avoid being eaten by your turtle, it will probably remain hidden and out of sight.

Fish that can be kept with turtles

Fortunately, there are a few fish that may be housed in the same tank as turtles without causing any problems. Please keep in mind that compatibility will be determined mostly by the kind of turtle and the size of the aquarium and that long-term compatibility cannot be guaranteed.

Natural pond ecosystem

A pond is not required to create a habitat that is similar to that of a pond, but a bigger aquarium is. It should be mentioned that in some jurisdictions, it is unlawful to introduce animals into residential settings. Before trying a natural setup, be sure you comply with local laws. 

The turtles they encounter in their natural environment will make for the finest tank mates for them. Listed below are a few of those species:

·      Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

·      Sunfish (Centrarchidae family)

·      Shiners (Luxilus cornutus)

·      Perch (Perca sp.)

·      Creek chubs (Semotilus atromaculatus)

Tropical community aquarium

Maintain in mind that if you want to keep tropical species with your turtles, you’ll want something that is swift and can get away from your turtle; mud and musk turtles appear to be the most fish-friendly turtles. 

Here are some examples of good turtle tank companions:

·      Danios. Because of their size, giant danios have a higher chance of avoiding being eaten, but zebra danios have the advantage in terms of speed.

·      Livebearers. Fish like guppies, platies, and mollies are very popular with aquatic turtles since they multiply fast, which is useful if you have a particularly hungry turtle.

·      Tetras. Neon tetras appear to be the most popular choice since they add a lot of colour to the aquarium, but other fast-moving species will also function well in this situation.

·      White cloud minnows. Even though they are affordable, these fish provide a lot of movement at the top of the tank. You may, however, have to put in some effort to get the temperature just perfect for both.

Fish to avoid turtles

The vast majority of the time, there are more fish that you should avoid than there are that are compatible. Goldfish, plecos, and cichlids are among the most commonly mistreated aquarium species. 

While a goldfish and turtle tank may be a popular combination, goldfish are coldwater species and cannot sustain the higher temperatures required by most turtles; in addition, goldfish produce an enormous quantity of waste and are readily devoured. 

Plecos are another popular choice for adding to a turtle aquarium since they aid in the cleaning of the algae. The fact is that plecos may suck their way inside the shells of your turtles, causing them to have difficulties swimming, which in the worst circumstances might result in them drowning altogether. 

Because cichlids are large and tough to eat, many turtle enthusiasts strive to maintain them with their turtles as well. Cichlids are known to be excessively aggressive to turtles, and they have been known to take food from their jaws. Cichlids are also known to significantly increase the bioload on turtles’ bodies.


The attempt to keep an aquarium full of betta fish and any type of turtle will always be a horrible idea. Due to their opposed tendencies, they might cause some space problems, and their temperature needs can be difficult to meet. 

As an alternative, there are several different tropical and natural fish species that would have a far higher chance of survival. Always do your homework on the turtle species you intend to get and build up the tank to accommodate that species.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can a turtle and a betta fish live together?

Is it possible for turtles to survive in tap water? 

Turtles can survive in tap water, but you may need to treat them first to ensure their survival. Due to the chance that it may contain a trace amount of chlorine, this is the case. This can be good for humans, but it might be irritating to turtles’ eyes because of the glare. 

What is the best way to care for a little turtle? 

Due to the possibility of disease spreading, feed your pet two to three times a week in a small storage tank separate from your regular aquarium.

What is the best way to keep a turtle in an aquarium? 

Place the aquarium in a well-lit area, but avoid allowing direct sunlight to shine directly on it. The proper growth of the turtle is dependent on the presence of vitamin D3. If the location does not receive enough sunshine, you can purchase lights that include ultraviolet (UV) rays, which will allow you to leave the lamp outside in the sun. 

Is it possible to keep turtles and fish in the same tank? 

Providing that some of the following conditions are met, it is possible to keep fish and turtles in the same tank together. Your aquarium tank is large enough to hold both turtles and fish comfortably at the same time. Water quality will not be compromised as a result of the additional strain placed on your filter by the presence of fish. 

What do turtles consume while they are in an aquarium? 

A mix of invertebrates and vertebrates should be included in the carnivorous section of their diet, which should include commercial turtle or fish pellets as well as commercial turtle or fish pellets. Turtles in the wild consume fish, and “feeder fish” can be acquired from pet stores or bait shops to supplement the diets of domesticated turtles.


Janzen, F. J. (2011). Turtles: The Animal Answer Guide.

Britson, C. A., & Gutzke, W. H. (1993). Antipredator mechanisms of hatchling freshwater turtles. Copeia, 435-440.

Can You Have Turtles And Fish In The Same Tank?