Ember Tetra and Betta Fish – Can They Live Together?

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Adding multiple fish species to a tank helps to make it more colorful and vibrant, but it’s important you always check that the species you’ve chosen are compatible.

Finding good tank mates involves looking at whether fish tolerate the same water parameters and if they’re going to cause each other stress.

So how about Ember Tetra and Betta fish – how do they get along? They’re different sizes and they have different preferences for living amongst their own species, but do they make for good tank mates in one aquarium?

Let’s take a look.

Can Tetra fish live with Bettas?

Tetra fish can live with Bettas, but you need to make sure the water parameters are right for both. You’ll need plenty of hiding space for the Tetra fish, and you should never introduce Tetras to an existing Betta tank. Bettas could also eat smaller Tetra species.

So, if you’re planning on keeping Ember Tetras with a Betta, you should always make sure to introduce them when the Tetra are fully grown. If not, then you might find your Betta getting a little aggressive and a little snack-happy with your junior Tetra fish.

Ember Tetra and Betta are both territorial at times, but with Betta being so much bigger it’s those that you need to be concerned about. Even if you follow every step correctly, your Betta just may not take to the Ember Tetra, at which point you would need to separate them to keep your Tetra safe.

Don’t worry though – in many cases, where you do introduce them in the right way, Tetras and Bettas will get along fine and keep out of each other’s way.

In terms of water parameters, here’s what each fish needs:

SpeciesTemperaturepH LevelWater Hardness (dGH)
Ember Tetra72-82℉ (22-28℃)5.5-7, ideally 6-6.55-17
Betta75°-81°F (24°-27°C)6.5-7.53-4

So if you want to keep Ember Tetras and Bettas together, you should aim for a temperature between 75 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and a pH of 6.5. They both prefer different water hardness levels but a Betta will be OK if the water is slightly harder, so aim for 5 if you can.

Are Ember Tetras nippers, and will they nip my Betta?

Ember Tetra fish can sometimes be nippers, especially when they are stressed. This could lead them to nip the fins of a Betta fish they share a tank with. If that’s happening, check the water parameters but also consider adding more Tetras – larger schools tend to reduce nipping behavior.

Will Ember Tetras nip Betta fish all the time? No – Ember Tetra fish don’t nip just for the fun of it. It’s usually a sign of being territorial or that they aren’t happy.

Of course, this isn’t ideal. It’s very likely that your Betta fish will in turn get quite stressed out if it’s being harassed by your Ember Tetras. So if you notice your Ember Tetras are nipping your Betta fish, you’ll need to take action.

Consider whether your tank is large enough and if it already is then maybe add a couple more Ember Tetra fish to allow them to school more comfortably. 

If the behavior persists, you may need to separate the fish to keep your Betta happy. Stress can cause your Betta to become ill, so it’s not something you can dismiss as playful fun.

How many Ember Tetras can you have in a 5-gallon tank with a Betta?

A 5-gallon tank is not big enough to house any number of Ember Tetras with a Betta fish – because it’s not big enough for Ember Tetra fish on their own. You should always keep Ember Tetra in groups of at least six, ideally at least eight, and in a tank that’s at least 10 gallons.

If you try to add Ember Tetras and a Betta into a 5-gallon tank then they’re going to get stressed out and the Betta will likely turn aggressive. None of the fish will thrive and they will likely get sick – you’ll be drastically shortening their lifespans.

In case it isn’t clear yet – don’t put Ember Tetras and Betta fish in a 5-gallon tank.

My Betta, Rainbow

How many Ember Tetras can I keep in a 10-gallon tank with a Betta?

A 10-gallon tank is big enough for around 8 Ember Tetra fish on their own, or 6 with a Betta – but you’ll be pushing the limits, and all of the fish may get stressed. Ember Tetras thrive better in groups of 10-12 anyway, so it would be better to upgrade to a 15-gallon tank or bigger.

Ember Tetra fish are a schooling breed that thrives best in groups of 10-12. They should be OK in groups of 6-8, which is the right amount of fish to add to a 10-gallon tank.

But just because a Betta would normally stay near the top of the tank, and Ember Tetra lower down, that doesn’t mean you can add a Betta without adding more space.

If you upgrade to a 15-gallon tank, you can comfortably manage a school of 12 Ember Tetra along with a Betta, and they shouldn’t cause each other any stress. This also allows you more room to add plants as hiding places for both species.

Whatever size you choose, make sure it has a lid. As your Betta will be staying close to the top of the tank to enjoy its own space, it makes it even more prone to jumping than normal.

Read more: How To Prevent Your Betta From Jumping

How do you introduce a Betta to an Ember Tetra?

Ideally, you should introduce Betta and Ember Tetra into a new tank together, to avoid either having the chance to get territorial. Failing that, you should always add Betta to an existing Ember Tetra tank, and not the other way around.

A tank that has Ember Tetras with Betta fish as a tank mate is perfectly viable. However, both tend to be quite territorial, which is why it’s better to not give one of them first refusal on the living space.

If you do have to, then it’s better to let the Ember Tetra get comfortable first, since the Betta is a larger and more aggressive species and won’t take kindly to invaders in its own space.

When you do add the fish to the tank, introduce them at separate ends and outside of each other’s line of sight. That shouldn’t be an issue since you’ll have plenty of vegetation. Then, monitor their behavior.

A little bit of chasing and fin nipping at the start is to be expected, but it shouldn’t continue. If it does, then you’ll need to step in and separate the fish – either into a secondary tank or using a tank divider.

If you do use a divider, make sure both species have enough space to feel comfortable still.

Ember Tetras with a Betta in a planted tank

It’s essential to use a planted tank when keeping Ember Tetras with Betta, ideally with real plants although fake can be used. Plants don’t just help to maintain the water parameters, but they also give the fish important hiding spots where they can relax when they need a break.

Good plants that are suitable for both species of fish include Java Moss, Hornwort and Anacharis.

You’ll want to make sure there’s a good mix of plant height, otherwise your Betta will spend more time than they’d prefer in the lower parts of the tank amongst your Ember Tetra.

What fish can Ember Tetras live with?

Ember Tetra fish are a peaceful species, so will get along well with many other fish. It’s therefore most important to find species that match the water parameters of Ember Tetras, including Neon Tetras, Guppies, Corydoras, Mollies and Rasboras.

Other good options include Dwarf Gouramis, Barbs, Hatchetfish, Red Cherry Shrimp and Nerite Snails. It’s always better to keep Ember Tetras with other smaller fish, since they won’t then be mistaken for food.

They can live with Bettas, but you do need to be more careful to avoid them causing each other stress.

Read more: Ember Tetra Care Guide

What fish can live with Bettas?

Good tank mates for Betta fish include snails, Ghost Shrimp, Red Cherry Shrimp, Corydoras Catfish and some Tetra species. You’re looking for fish that will occupy the lower part of a tank, allowing the Betta to enjoy more space nearer the top.

Unlike with Ember Tetras, where you’re ideally looking for tank mates of a similar size, Betta’s need to be the ‘big fish’.

At the same time, you want to avoid species that are too small, since a Betta is a carnivore and will eat anything that’s not big enough.

What this really means is that Ember Tetra are a better tank mate for Betta fish, than Betta fish are for Ember Tetra. However, they will be fine if you provide enough space and hiding spots.

Read more: Neon Tetras with Betta – 3 Key Considerations

FAQs

How big do Ember Tetras get?

Ember Tetras are a little smaller than some other Tetra variants and tend to grow to around 0.8 inches (2 centimeters) maximum, although will vary between 0.6 and 0.8 inches.

Despite their small size, they aren’t a particularly timid species and are quite confident and playful.

How many Ember Tetras should you have?

You need an absolute minimum of 6 Ember Tetras if you want them to live a happy life, although it’s recommended you have more if you want them to school.

Ideally, you should have 10-12 Ember Tetras but you’ll need a larger tank if you want to accommodate this many.

Is 6 Ember Tetras enough?

6 Ember Tetras kept together should be enough for the fish to remain happy, but if you want them to school then you will need a couple more.

It’s best to have at least 8. Ember Tetras should always be kept together, otherwise they get lonely.

Do Ember Tetras jump?

Ember Tetra fish aren’t known as jumping fish and will stay in the middle of a tank.

Any fish could jump out of a tank if the conditions aren’t suitable and they’re trying to escape, but you should be OK with a lidless tank if the water parameters are correct.

How many Ember Tetras can I put in a 10-gallon tank?

A 10-gallon tank is a suitable size for 6-8 Ember Tetras.

If you want to keep them with other fish or you want the preferred school size of 10-12 Ember Tetras then you should buy a larger tank, otherwise they will feel cramped and stressed.

Are Ember Tetras hard to keep?

Ember Tetra fish are not particularly difficult to keep. They’re a pretty hardy fish and won’t get ill too easily, provided you monitor their water parameters.

They can be sensitive to fluctuations in water conditions, but if you check these regularly then you should have no trouble.

What do Ember Tetras like in their tank?

Ember Tetras are used to a habitat with a lot of plant life. Therefore it’s good to add vegetation including Hornwort and Java Moss, which provides hiding spots and will help maintain good water conditions.

Don’t overload the tank though – Ember Tetras are playful and enjoy swimming freely.

Is the Ember Tetra aggressive?

Ember Tetras are generally a peaceful and placid species of fish, although they can become territorial and aggressive if you don’t introduce them to other fish carefully.

As long as you’re careful and provide a good habitat, Ember Tetras will easily get along with most other fish species.

Summary

As long as you ensure you have a big enough tank to allow for a good-sized school of Ember Tetra then you should be OK keeping them alongside a Betta.

Those first few days are crucial though, because this isn’t a relationship that’s guaranteed to go smoothly. You need to be prepared to separate the fish if they aren’t getting along.

In most cases though – with a large tank, plenty of vegetation, and the right water parameters, you’ll have a tank full of beautiful fish that get along just fine.

Provided you keep stress levels to a minimum by maintaining the tank properly, both your Ember Tetras and Betta should live a long and happy life.