Is it possible to keep a Betta fish with a Cichlid?

In this article, we will understand the relationship between Betta fish and Cichlids. Additionally, we will learn more about their needs and determine if they can coexist in a communal tank.

Is it possible to keep a Betta fish with a Cichlid?

No. They can not be kept together. Both cichlids and Betta fish are notorious for being territorial and aggressive against other fish. Both Betta fish and cichlids will battle to the death of other members of their species.  Keeping a Betta fish and any sort of cichlid together is not a smart idea, even in a huge tank. Cichlids will torment and ultimately eliminate a Betta fish. They nip at their big, wavy fins, resulting in injury and eventual death due to infection. Large cichlids are capable of swallowing a whole Betta fish.

Characteristics, Diet, and Water requirements

These are the following aspects of both Betta fish and cichlid requirements:

Betta fish  characteristics 

If you’re familiar with the aquarium hobby, you’re undoubtedly aware of the Betta fish, also known as the Siamese fighting fish. These fish are distinguished by their vibrant hues and long, flowing fins. Additionally, they are infamous for battling to the death with other Betta fish when housed in the same tank.

Betta splendens is the scientific name for the Betta fish. These fish are distributed across Asia, including Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, where they inhabit standing water environments such as rice paddies, floodplains, and canals. This species has been intentionally bred to produce an array of vibrant colors and patterns, as well as distinct tail forms. These characteristics contribute to the Betta fish’s popularity.

Betta fish normally reach a length of around 3 inches, however, their fins and tails can be somewhat larger. In nature, Betta fish are drab gray, brown, or green in hue, in stark contrast to the vibrant colors found in captive Betta fish.

Betta fish  water requirements

There is a vast lot of misinformation regarding the tank size requirements for Betta fish. Betta fish are usually offered in little plastic containers and, at pet stores, they are put next to two smaller one- and two-gallon aquariums. This confluence of circumstances causes uninformed enthusiasts to assume that Betta fish can and should be kept in tiny tank settings. Nevertheless, it is already known that Betta fish require the same amount of room as any other species, and it should not be housed in a tank with a size less than 5 gallons.

In the tank, keep the temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Colder water may be lethal to Betta fish, as it lowers their immune systems, leaving them more susceptible to illness. Warmer water might irritate them and accelerate their aging process due to the increased metabolic rate. A heater should be used to maintain the temperature. The PH should be maintained between 6.5 and 8. To keep the fish healthy, water should be changed often, at least once a week.

Betta fish diet

Betta fish are carnivore fish that demand a diet that is high in protein.  In the wild, these fish feed on crustaceans, mosquito larvae, and other zooplankton.

When kept in captivity, Betta fish require a high protein diet, which requires them to consume a lot of meat. The bulk of the foods they consume in the wild are available live or frozen for aquarium use. Thus, you can feed the betta fish with copepods, white worms, glass worms, and fruit flies.

Cichlid characteristics 

Cichlids are a large and diversified group of fish. African cichlids, such as the crib, are indigenous to the Great Rift Valley. Additionally, there are species native to Central and South America, including freshwater angelfish, ram, and dwarf cichlids.

They are well-known for their hostility against other fish. Greater-sized African cichlids are predatory and will prey on smaller tankmates like cory catfish and tetras. They require a lot of room, vegetation, and tunnels to hide in and spawn in communal tanks.

African cichlids engage in territorial behaviors including chasing and nipping, which are exacerbated when kept in a crowded tank. As diurnal fish, they are more active during the day than at night and move fast over the tank’s bottom and midsections. Also, they are a gregarious species that spend their waking hours foraging for food on the bottom.

Cichlid water requirements

Cichlids can survive in a wide variety of water conditions but flourish in warm water with a pH of approximately 8 and a temperature range of 70°F to 80°F (°C-°C) Cichlids enjoy tanks with a sandy bottom.

The tank’s water must be “cycled,” which means it must be changed every two weeks or weekly, depending on how unclean the tank becomes. As fish waste accumulates, the quantity of nitrate in the tank water increases. Changing the water frequently enough prevents the nitrate levels from reaching lethal levels.

Cichlid diet

The Cichlids are omnivorous, meaning they will consume both meat and flora growing in the tank or sprinkled on the top. African Cichlids are capable of eating common household veggies. Increased natural things such as insects, veggies, and little bits of meat can quickly help it become healthy.  Proper nutrition will be tenfold the life expectancy and attractiveness of these critters.

You may give them pellets developed specifically for cichlids. Due to the omnivorous nature of cichlids, offer diversity to their food by including blood worms and finely diced fresh vegetables.

Is Betta fish  Compatible With Cichlids?

Although Betta fish and cichlids have comparable water temperature, hardness, and pH needs, they have drastically different food requirements and temperaments. Due to the aggressive and territorial nature of both of these fish, they cannot be housed in the same tank.

Betta fish are completely swallowed by large cichlids. Betta fish would be stressed if maintained in a tank containing cichlids. They would bother them, and dwarf cichlids have been known to nibble at the fins of Betta fish. Fin damage results in infection and, eventually, death.

Appropriate tank companions for a Betta fish  fish

Betta fish require enough tank room to coexist peacefully with other tank inhabitants, particularly males, who are more aggressive than females.

Female Betta fish tankmates:

  • Cloud mountain minnows
  • Harlequin rasboras
  • Pygmy corydoras
  • Clown plecos

Male Betta fish tankmates:

  • Hatchetfish
  • Silver dollars
  • Ghost shrimp
  • African dwarf frogs
  • Mystery snails 

Appropriate tank companions for Cichlids

Fish with a moderately aggressive to aggressive disposition are excellent tank mates for cichlids. They must be capable of surviving in the presence of a cichlid; otherwise, they will have a stressful existence, spending most of their time hiding.

Cichlids tankmates:

  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Synodontis

The Dither effect

Dither fish are tiny, schooling species that are put in aquariums to help maintain a serene atmosphere. When cichlids and Betta fish observe dither fish swimming in groups, such as tetras, danios, and dwarf gourami, they are enticed to come out of hiding.

Dither fish are a wonderful way to reduce fish stress and shyness while also bringing out the best in your tank environment. Other fish swimming quietly nearby indicates safety and the lack of predators.

What Happens When a Cichlid and a Betta fish  Are Housed Together?

Housing a cichlid alongside a Betta fish is an intriguing idea, but ultimately harmful. The Betta fish is referred to as a fighting fish – in Thailand, Betta fish fighting is a sport – and the cichlid is similarly aggressive. Both have been known to engage in combat with and murder members of their species.


In this article, we understood the relationship between Betta fish and Cichlids. We also discussed their requirements and explained if they can be set up together in a community tank.

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Is it possible to keep a Betta fish with a Cichlid?

Do cichlids experience loneliness?

In principle, most cichlids can survive on their own when given clean water and food. However, it is recommended to retain at least one breeding pair or more to ensure their survival. The Oscar is the only cichlid that is frequently maintained alone. While it is feasible to maintain cichlids alone, I would not advocate it.

Is it possible for a Betta fish to coexist alongside cichlids?

Although Betta fish and Cichlids have comparable water temperature, hardness, and pH needs, they have drastically different food requirements and temperaments. Due to the aggressive and territorial nature of both of these fish, they cannot be housed in the same tank.

What size tank should I have for my cichlids?

A decent rule of thumb for African Cichlids is to get an aquarium that is at least four feet wide.

Although African cichlids thrive in groups of other African cichlids, they should be watched for aggressive behavior and removed if necessary.

How do cichlids feel about their tank?

Cichlids love warm, acidic water. While cichlids are adaptable to a wide variety of temperatures and water types, their colors seem more vibrant and brilliant in water with a pH of around eight.



Barrington, 2015 Can You Keep Other Fish With Your Betta fish ? fish 

Chambers, 2021. Can You Keep a Betta fish with a Cichlid? fish -with-a-cichlid/

Yang, 2020. African Cichlid Care Guide: Tank Setup, Types & Tank Mates

Robert,  2022. African Cichlid Care Guide & Species Profile

What Happens When a Cichlid & a Betta fish  Are Placed in the Same Fish Tank? fish -placed-same-fish-tank-4043.html