Can Betta Fish Live With Ember Tetras? (Experts Answer!)

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According to a recent survey, Betta fish are the most likely fish to be abused by both fish stores and hobbyists.  Bettas have traditionally been kept in tiny bowls without filters or heaters.

Thankfully that trend is now slowly changing and more people are likely to keep their Bettas in a larger, community tank with other fish. 

Ember Tetras make excellent tank mates for Betta fish.  Both species of fish require similar water conditions, like and similar tank set up, and will eat the same foods.  Ember Tetras and a Betta will make for an active, colorful aquarium.

Can Betta Fish Live With Ember Tetras?

A Betta fish with Ember Tetras makes for a fantastic tank.  I have kept this combination a couple of times, and both times it was a complete success.  

I kept 15 Ember Tetras with a red Betta in a 10-gallon aquarium on the kitchen countertop.  Even non-fish people that came to the house were amazed by the tank.

Ember Tetras are incredibly peaceful and will happily cohabitate with a Betta.  They are small enough not to bother the Betta but large enough they won’t be seen by the Betta as lunch.

I kept my Betta and Ember Tetras in a well-planted 10-gallon tank.  The red colors of the fish really popped against the green background of live plants.  Fake plants would work just as well in a similar setup.

Will A Betta Kill Ember Tetras?​

It is very unlikely a Betta would kill Ember Tetras.  Ember Tetras are small, agile, and fast.  They would certainly be able to get away from a long-finned Bettas, and probably a faster, short-finned Betta wouldn’t catch one.

With that said, Ember Tetras are loosely schooling fish, meaning they like to be kept in groups.  Ideally, you should keep them in a group of at least 6, but 10 or more would be better.

The advantage of keeping a group of Ember Tetras is, even if the Betta is aggressive, it can’t single out and continually chase one single fish.  If you kept a Betta and one Ember Tetra in a tank, there is a chance the Betta could chase that one Ember Tetra until it stressed it to death.

I kept my Betta with 15 Ember Tetras and I don’t believe the Betta was responsible for the death of a single Ember Tetra.

Will Ember Tetras Nip A Bettas Fins?​

Ember Tetras are not aggressive fish at all.  In fact, they are probably the most passive fish in my fish room.

Speaking from personal experience of my own Betta/Ember Tetra setup, I didn’t see any signs of fin nipping from the Ember Tetras.  My Betta had long flowing fins and they were in top condition when I finally broke the tank down and move him to another aquarium.

Will A Betta Chase Ember Tetras?​

The answer to this question will very much depend on the temperament of the individual Betta.

The best way to mitigate against a Betta chasing Ember Tetras is to keep the Ember Tetras in a group.  If you have 6 or more Embers, the Betta can only ever chase one at a time, meaning his aggression is spread out among the group.

Betta fish are relatively intelligent.  Once he realizes he can’t catch any of the Embers, he will soon stop chasing them.

Tank Set Up For A Betta And Ember Tetras​

One of the reasons I love keeping Ember Tetras with a Betta is because they will both happily live in a smaller tank.  A 10-gallon (38 liters) tank will be ideal for a single Betta and a group of maybe 10 or 15 Ember Tetras. Of course, bigger is always better if you have it, but a 10 gallon will be just fine.

For my own personal set up I used a lot of live plants (like these ones I ordered on  The colors of the red Better and the red/orange Ember Tetras seemed to glow against the light green background of Water Wisteria.  Fake plants would work just as well if you prefer those.

Any other decorations will work well to provide a hiding space for the Betta.  I like to use pieces of aquarium-safe wood, but a SpongeBob pineapple house or a castle ornament will work just as well if that is what you prefer.

Neither the Betta nor the Ember Tetras will appreciate high flow around the tank, so a small air-powered sponge filter or hang-on-back filter will work well.  I used this hang-on-back filter which was ideal.

Both species of fish like their water to be in the mid-70s, so I would suggest setting the aquarium heater to around 76°F (24.5°C).

What To Feed A Betta and Ember Tetra Tank?​

Both Bettas and Ember Tetras like the same foods.  Both species will be happy eating good quality pellet food such as Bug Bites which is made by Fluval, or Vibra Bites from Hikari.

The Betta will want to eat from the surface, whereas the Ember Tetras will prefer to eat in the water column as the food falls through the water.

I feed my Bettas and all the Tetras in my fish room a lot of live or frozen foods.  I try to give my fish either bloodwormsdaphnia, mosquito larvae, or cyclops at least once every day.

The addition of live or frozen foods gives the Betta additional nutrients they won’t get if they are just fed a pellet or flake food.

If you have access to a safe, reliable source of ‘wild’ live foods, Bettas will relish eating antsaphids, and fruit flies.

Ember Tetras have very small mouths, so whatever food you choose, make sure the Embers can actually fit it in their mouths.

I like to feed all the fish in my fish room 2 or 3 times a day, giving them a small amount each time rather than dumping a load of food in the tanks once a day.

Feeding Bettas, and most small fish, smaller meals throughout the day helps both the fish’s digestive system and the aquarium’s filter.

What Other Fish Could Live With A Betta and Ember Tetras?​

There are a number of other fish that would work well in a Betta/Ember Tetra community tank, although consideration should be given to tank size.  The more fish you add, the larger the tank would need to be.  A 10-gallon tank wouldn’t offer much additional space for more tank mates.

I have had great success adding the following fish to a Betta community tank;

Bottom-dwelling fish such as cory catfish are an especially good addition to a Betta tank because they are bottom feeders, meaning they will finish off any food which slips past the Betta and Ember Tetras. 

Bottom dwellers are sometimes referred to as clean-up crew for this very reason.

Many of the tank mate suggestions in the video below will work well with both Bettas and Ember Tetras.

My Final Thoughts on ‘Can A Betta Live With Ember Tetras?’​

When I had this set up in my kitchen at home it was one of the best tanks in the house.  Both these fish will be happy living together in a 10-gallon aquarium.

Keep the Ember Tetras in a small group, just in case the Betta decides to show some aggression, and consider adding a small, bottom-dwelling fish to complete the community, and this will be a fish tank you never get tired of watching.

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