Can Betta Fish Live With German Blue Rams? (Ask the Breeder)

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Betta fish have long been popular in the aquarium hobby thanks to their bright coloration, hardy disposition, and personable nature.  Traditionally, Bettas have been kept as solitary specimens in small tanks, but now the trend is moving toward keeping them in a community setting with other fish.  Recently I was asked Can Betta fish live with German Blue Rams?

German Blue Rams DO NOT make good tank mates for Betta fish.  Both species of fish can be aggressive, and territorial and often take a dislike to tank mates.  Both species of fish also require different water temperatures and general water parameters making them incompatible. 

Can Betta Fish and German Blue Rams Live Together?​

German Blue Rams

On the face of it, having two such brightly colored fish living in the same aquarium might seem like a great idea. However, keeping a Betta fish in the same tank as a group of German Blue Rams is asking for trouble for a number of different reasons.

Both species of fish are known to be aggressive on occasions, although that does very much depend on the attitude of the individual fish.  I have kept aggressive and placid Betta fish over the years, and the same is true of German Blue Rams.

German Blue Rams are definitely more aggressive when they are spawning, and if you keep more than one German Blue Ram in a tank, there is a reasonable chance they will pair off and spawn.

German Blue Rams also want their aquarium water to be much warmer than Bettas do.  The ideal temperature for a German Blue Ram tank is 80°F – 86°F (26.5°C – 30°C) whereas a Betta wants its water to be somewhere around the 76°F (24.5°C) mark.  

When Bettas are kept in water that is too warm, they become stressed and incredibly susceptible to Ich (whitespot).

What Water Parameters Do German Blue Rams Want?​

The ideal water parameters for German Blue Rams are;

  • Temperature:  80°F – 86°F (26.5°C – 30°C)
  • pH: 5.0 – 7.0
  • Hardness:  18 – 179 ppm

Unlike Betta fish, German Blue Rams really do like soft, acidic water and they don’t tend to do as well in harder water.

Having kept and bred German Blue Rams for a number of years I can confirm they quickly fall apart when they don’t have the ideal water conditions.  If their water is too cold, German Blue Rams quickly become susceptible to Ich (whitespot).

Do Betta Fish And German Blue Rams Require The Same Diet?​

Unfortunately, this is another area where Betta fish and German Blue Rams are not especially compatible.  Betta Fish are hardcore carnivores that like a lot of protein in their diets.  Betta fish do really well when fed plenty of bloodworms and daphnia whereas German Blue Rams can suffer from constipation and bloat if they are fed a protein-rich diet.

What Fish Make Good Tank Mates For A Betta?​

Over the years I have written numerous articles about the best tank mates for Bettas. I have had great success keeping both Cherry Barbs and White Cloud Mountain Minnows with my Bettas.  Cory catfish like Panda Corydoras and Brozen Corydoras also do well, as do Kuhli Loaches.

What Fish Make Good Tank Mates For German Blue Rams?​

When selecting compatible tank mates for German Blue Rams, consider fish that are happy living in warmer water.  It is easier to find a fish that likes it hot than it is to try to get the German Blue Rams to live in cooler water.

Rummy Nose Tetars are fish that are happy living in water that is in the low 80s, as are Cardinal Tetras.

I have had good success keeping Sterbai cory catfish with my German Blue Rams and I have also kept them in larger aquariums with Angelfish.

Whatever fish you choose to live with German Blue Rams, make sure they aren’t too aggressive and won’t outcompete the German Blue Rams for food.

My Final Thoughts on Keeping Betta Fish With German Blue Rams​​

This is certainly a combination of fish that I would not recommend trying.  I can see a setup like this ending with one or other species of fish being killed.

Both Betta fish and German Blue Rams can be aggressive and territorial, and due to them both having bright coloration, they may see one another as intruders into their territory.

Further, as both fish want different water parameters, you will never succeed in keeping both species happy in the same water.

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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