Can A Betta Fish Live With Zebra Danios? (Finally Solved!)

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Traditionally, Betta fish have been kept as lone specimens in bowls that were far too small.  Thankfully that trend is now changing and people are more likely to consider keeping their Bettas in larger aquariums with tank mates.

Another extremely popular fish in the hobby is the Zebra Danio.  Zebra Danios are hardy, reasonably cheap to buy and work well in a community tank setting.

In this article I consider ‘Can Betta fish live with Zebra Danios?’

Providing the tank is large enough, Zebra Danios make an excellent choice of tank mate to live with a Betta. Zebra Danios are a hardy breed of fish that broadly like the same water conditions, tank setup, and food as a Betta.

Can A Betta Live With Zebra Danios?​

Over the last 20 years, I have kept dozens of Bettas.  I have tried just about every setup, every tank size, and every possible tank mate.  

From personal experience, I can say that Zebra Danios work really well with a Betta, as long as the aquarium is large enough.  

Zebra Danios are very active fish that swim from one end of the tank and back again. 

I would suggest keeping a Betta with Zebra Danios in a tank which is at least 20 gallons (75 liters) but a 40 gallon (150 liters) aquarium would be even better.

I kept my Betta and Zebra Danios in a 40-gallon aquarium, which provided ample swimming space for the Danios.

Will Zebra Danios Nip At A Bettas Fins?​

I haven’t found Zebra Danios to be nippy fish at all, but I have read reports of them being nippy.  It appears Zebra Danios are only nippy when kept in too small of a group.  

Zebra Danios are a schooling fish and need to be kept in a group of at least 6, but 10 or more is even better.

The Betta I kept with a school of Zebra Danios didn’t have his fins nipped ever.  He was in fantastic condition.

Zebra Danios may also be nippy if the tank they are kept in is too small.  Zebra Danios need a decent amount of swimming space.

Will A Betta Chase Zebra Danios?​

It is unlikely a Betta will spend much time chasing Zebra Danios.  Zebra Danios move like lightning.  They zip from one side of the aquarium to the other. 

A long-finned Betta will never catch a Zebra Danio, and even a faster, short-finned Betta probably won’t even come close. 

How To Setup a Betta And Zebra Danio Tank?​

Probably the most important aspect of setting up a tank to house a Betta and a school of Zebra Danios is free-swimming space.

Zebra Danios are very active swimmers, so make sure you give them enough space.  I like to use a 40-gallon (150 liters) tank for Zebra Danios, which gives them about 3′ (1 meter) of space to swim in.

Adding plants, either live or fake, will help both the Betta and Zebra Danios feel safe and secure, meaning they will spend more time out and about in the aquarium. 

Zebra Danios aren’t too fussy about water temperature, so I would recommend setting the aquarium heater to around 76°F (24.5°C).

How To Filter A Betta and Zebra Danio Tank?

As mentioned previously, Zebra Danios are fast, active swimmers, and they are quite happy living in a tank with lots of flow.  A Betta however is not such an active swimmer and will prefer a slower flow in the aquarium.  As such an air-powered sponge filter or hang-on-back filter will probably be the best option.

In my own Betta and Zebra Danio aquarium, I used a Fluval hang-on-back filter (like this one on Amazon) which worked well. There is more information about Fluval filters on the excellent website

What To Feed A Betta and Zebra Danios?​

Fortunately, Bettas and Zebra Danios will essentially eat the same foods.

If you feed a Betta a floating pellet, like Fluval Bug Bites, the Zebra Danios will be more than happy eating that too.

I have also had good luck feeding both my Bettas and Zebra Danios Vibra Bites by Hikari.  Vibra Bites has been designed to look like little red worms, and fish go crackers for them.

Adding some live or frozen foods into the diet of the Betta and Zebra Danios will be appreciated by both fish.  I tend to feed mine a lot of bloodwormsdaphnia, and also mosquito larvae when I can get it.

In my experience, feeding little and often benefits the fish more than feeding a lot in one go.  I try to feed my fish 2 or 3 times a day, giving them a small amount each time.

What Other Fish Can Live In A Tank With A Betta and Zebra Danios?​

Bettas do surprisingly well in the community setup, and there are a lot of fish that can live with them.

I have had success keeping Cherry Barbs with my Bettas and White Cloud Mountain Minnows do well too.  

Other fish I have successfully kept with my Bettas include;

The video below has some other suggestions that will work with both Bettas and Zebra Danios.

My Final Thoughts on ‘Can A Betta Live With Zebra Danios?’​

Keeping a Betta with a school of Zebra Danios makes for an active tank that will never get boring to watch.  The Zebra Danios will whip from one side of the aquarium to the other whilst the Betta wanders around looking colorful and flamboyant.

Providing you keep the Zebra Danios in a group of 6 or more and give them enough space to swim, they will leave in perfect harmony with the Betta.

About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James

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