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Can Ember Tetras Live With Betta Fish?

You have just put your betta fish in, and you realize something- despite the presence of your beautiful new betta fish, the tank seems devoid of life! After checking the shop, you decided that ember tetras are pretty enough to bring some life into your betta fish tank! 

But can the two fish live together? 

Thankfully, ember tetras can live with your betta fish. However, this rule of thumb can vary depending on the individual factors of your setup and your betta fish.

If you want to learn more about keeping ember tetras with betta fish, read on! We have all the best information regarding keeping these beautiful fish species together.

Can ember tetras live with betta fish?

Size of tank

It is common knowledge that betta fish do not need particularly large tanks; in fact, you can keep a betta fish in a tank that is only five gallons. 

A five-gallon fish tank is an excellent option for a desktop tank so that you can regularly see how active your betta fish is. 

However, a five-gallon tank may not be the best option for a tank if you want to keep more than one fish!

If you want to keep ember tetras with your betta fish, you will need a tank that is at least ten gallons. 

While five gallons is the minimum for betta fish, you will need significantly more space for ember tetras, even if they are smaller than betta fish. 

This is because ember tetras are far more active than most betta fish, and more fish will always need more space, regardless of size.

Number of ember tetras

Having a larger tank does not mean you can endlessly put as many fish as you want into it, even if they’re small fish like ember tetras. 

Before adding more fish, consider the minimum school size and your tank’s capabilities.

A ten-gallon fish tank will do best for a single betta fish and up to fifteen ember tetras, and you will need a larger tank for any more than that number. 

Ember tetras are schooling fish and must live in groups and need ten fish in their group at the bare minimum. 

This means that you can certainly buy more ember tetras for your tank; however, you will need a larger tank.

The personality of your betta fish

A betta fish’s personality is the main deciding factor on any tankmates. Most betta fish are territorial, but their levels of aggression can vary from fish to fish.

Some betta fish can be very relaxed and show no aggression whatsoever, while others may show aggression at the slightest movement.

Try gauging the personality of your betta fish before introducing any tankmates. An aggressive betta may go after tankmates regardless of their speed, the tank’s size, or any other factors; make sure your betta can get along with any future tankmates.

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Will my betta fish kill ember tetras?

Will my betta fish hunt and kill ember tetras

Ember tetras are fast

Ember tetras are fast fish, even among tetras. If your betta tries to hunt down your ember tetras, your ember tetras are more likely to escape than the betta fish is to get a good meal. 

However, constantly fleeing from predators can be stressful on any fish, especially a small one like an ember tetra. 

While ember tetras can easily escape a pursuing betta fish, the stress can tire them out or even outright kill them. 

It is not a good idea to rely solely on an ember tetra’s speed to keep it alive, or else you will end up with your betta fish eating all of your ember tetras

Their speed and agility should be treated as a bonus factor on top of other methods.

Betta fish are predators

Betta fish are carnivores and eat anything that can fit their stomachs. If you have a large betta fish and smaller tankmates, such as ember tetras, then your betta fish will likely try to eat the tetras.

There is no way to curb the natural predatory instinct in a betta fish, though you can lower the water temperature in the tank by a degree or two to calm all the inhabitants down. 

This will not prevent your betta fish from hunting, but it may just make your life a little bit easier.

Ember tetras are small

Ember tetras are small fish, even for the usually-small tetra family. Many tetra species can reach 2-3 inches, but ember tetras are often under an inch in length, making them an ideal meal for a larger betta fish.

Betta fish are territorial

While it varies from fish to fish, most betta fish are territorial and will chase anything out of their territory. In most cases, their territory will be their tank. 

Your fish can’t exactly leave your tank; this means your ember tetras may be under near-constant predation.

How can I stop my betta from hunting my tetras? (4 tips!)

How can I stop my betta from hunting my tetras

Tip 1: Plenty of plants

A planted tank has more benefits than just looking nice; plants provide a natural shelter for your fish, along with helping balance the nutrients in your water. 

A heavily-planted tank is one of the best possible defensive measures for any fish, particularly small ones; ember tetras can hide from your betta among the leaves.

For best results, use tall, broad-leaved plants such as java ferns, or wide plants with broad leaves such as the anubias genus. 

Carpet plants are very pleasing, but they don’t provide many hiding spots for fish! 

However, it is important to remember that plants take up space; you don’t want to fill up so much space in your tank that your fish feel restricted. 

Be proactive when planting your tank and try to anticipate where your fish will hide; you still want them to be able to swim around, too!

Tip 2: Use cooler water

As mentioned earlier, cooler water will make fish less aggressive; just be careful not to make it too cold for your tropical fish. 

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Tropical fish live in tropical waters, which are notoriously warm; cold or even cool water can be deadly to tropical fish.

When lowering your fish tank’s temperature, consider only lowering it by a degree or two from its optimal temperature. 

This will keep the temperature within your fish’s preferred range while also calming them down.

Tip 3: Plenty of caves

While plants are some of the best options available, caves also provide great hiding places. 

They can also be dark and more opaque, which are both features that can help a fish feel more secure. 

Caves can be purchased pre-assembled, whether made with rock or plastic, or you could build your own cave out of aquarium stones and driftwood.

Whatever method you choose, a cave is an excellent addition to any planted tank. 

A cave will allow any of your fish, whether ember tetras or betta fish, to hide and feel secure, while also providing an interesting visual aspect.

Tip 4: Introduce the betta fish last

A betta will behave less aggressively when outside its home territory, unless it is trying to take on the territory of another betta fish. 

However, if you keep a single betta in your tank, you should circumvent this issue.

When introducing your fish to a new tank, consider adding your ember tetras and any invertebrates before introducing your betta fish

If you introduce your betta as the last resident of the tank, it is less likely to perceive the tank as its sole territory and therefore is less likely to attack tankmates.

Will ember tetras nip my betta’s fins?

Will ember tetras nip my betta’s fins

Ember tetras rarely nip

While tetras are known to be fin nippers, ember tetras are exceptions to the rule. Your betta is likely safe, but it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Keep an eye on it; if your betta shows signs of torn fins, remove it or the ember tetras from the tank and allow your betta to recover.

Ultimately, ember tetras are not likely to nip your betta’s fins. However, you should always keep a vigilant eye on your fish’s fins when keeping multiple species in the same tank!

Betta fish fin size

If your betta has longer, flowing fins, it is more likely to have its fin nipped by any fish. 

While the risk of fin-nibbling is low with ember tetras, it is still possible, especially with the long and colorful fins that are prevalent in so many betta fish. 

If you want to keep multiple species in one tank, consider purchasing a betta fish with shorter fins, such as a plakat.

Use hiding places

The same hiding places that protect your tetras from predation can protect your betta fish from being nipped. 

Like ember tetras, a betta fish will hide in plants or caves when stressed. When keeping ember tetras and betta fish together, it is important to stress just how beneficial plants can be!