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Betta and Pleco – Best Tank Mates?

When you are setting up your fish aquarium, you need to have the right combination of fish. Pet fish can seem harmless, however, certain breeds just do not get along with one another.

This is especially true when you are finding tank mates for your betta fish. It is not that betta can’t be in the same tank as other fish. There are definitely options out there for your betta fish. Still, certain breeds can set off your fish quite easily.

Really, you do not want fish to fight or end up permanently harming one another. This will make for a stressful tank setup experience.

In this particular post, we will talk about betta and pleco fish. We’ll discuss whether this tank pairing can be successful for you.

In the process of answering this question, we will also introduce different pleco fish in this post. You want the best betta and pleco tank you can possibly set up.

Our post will show you everything you need to know about these breeds so they can live together.

So Can Your Betta and Plecos Cohabitate Together?

To answer this question simply, you can in fact put betta and plecos in the same tank. For the most part, this will be a successful fish tank pairing.

This is true for most betta and pleco tanks. Still, any pairing with a betta can have potential risks. So we will talk about the positives and negatives of this pairing here.

This way you have a full picture of what a betta and pleco tank will look like!


Plecos and Bettas Occupy Different Areas of Your Aquarium

One of the biggest pluses of pairing bettas and plecos together is that they occupy different tank areas.

Bettas, for the most part, like to swim in the upper regions of their tanks. Plecos, on the other hand, will stay near the bottom of the tank.

This is ideal as your pets won’t really bother each other or annoy one another as easily. This will lead to fewer confrontations overall.

Bettas can be aggressive, but usually, this comes down to territory issues. Since plecos are bottom-dwellers though, this is rarely an issue for tank owners.

So this is definitely a plus in favor of the betta and pleco pairing!


They Have A Difference In Diets

The difference in diet between these two pets also leads to a more harmonious tank space. Bettas like to eat a mix of proteins, green, and other miscellaneous fish food. You want to give your betta a good variety of aquarium foods to keep them content.

Plecos, on the other hand, have much more simple diets. They can even subsist off algae in aquariums. They can’t really survive off algae alone, but their diets are less complicated and more plant-based.

So, they usually like to have small amounts of cut-up veggies. Almost all kinds of the vegetable can be used to feed pleco. Just make sure to clean the veggies and cut them up properly!

Really, due to the difference in food, your pets are not as likely to fight over food. Plecos also eat their food near the bottom of the tank, while bettas eat near the water. This creates less tension in the water!


Plecos Are Usually Pretty Peaceful

Overall, plecos are some of the most relaxed and peaceful fish pets you can get your hands on.

Bettas are of course a lot more aggressive. Though, not all bettas can be generalized and stereotype with this personality trait. Still, they are usually a lot less peaceful than plecos, so you need to watch out.

In any case, because plecos are so peaceful, your tank atmosphere will be better. Plecos are not fish that are likely to start beef with a betta. And, they really do like to stay in their own spaces in your tank.

In some cases, pleco could get rowdy with other plecos, but this won’t happen with betta and plecos most likely.


Plecos Don’t Aggravate Bettas

In addition, to being peaceful, plecos as perfect for betta because of their appearance. Betta pets can be set off by any number of characteristics found in fish.

In particular, they have a bad reaction to colorful and fancy looking fish. You never want to put in betta with fish that have a bright aesthetic. In addition, fish with flowing tails and appendages should also be avoided at all costs.

Really, anything that reminds a betta of itself could trigger your fish. This could be dangerous and lead to fish injury.

Luckily, plecos are pretty low key in terms of looks!

They do not come in bright colors normally. And they don’t have fins that flow around and aggravate bettas!

Are There Any Negatives or Risks With This Pairing?

Really, with any type of fish pairing, there is a potential risk to consider. Pleco and bettas together present a fairly low risk on the whole though.

But you do want to think about a few things as you put in these fish together. First off plecos are not small fish. In fact, they can grow to be quite large in size over time. This depends on the breed of pleco of course.

But if you want your betta to stay peaceful, you’ll need a bigger tank. We’ll talk about this more in a later section. This way you get the right size tank for betta and plecos. In addition, the conditions of your tank should be kept maintained.

This way plecos and bettas don’t get sick or agitated. Again, though, we will discuss how to maintain your tank in a later section.

What Kind of Plecos Can Be Placed With Bettas?


Video: “Top 10 Pleco species for your aquarium”

Pleco fish come in a ton of different varieties. They are some of the most versatile fish pets and are found all over the world. You don’t have to be picky about which pleco you put in with betta. Truly, any pleco can cohabitate with a betta.

Still, you want to think about how you are setting up your tank, and what kind of environment you want to craft. Some plecos will be bigger or smaller. Other plecos will need specific water conditions to live in. This has to be thought about as well!

To give you an idea of what plecos you can add into your tank though, we will go over a few different varieties here.

There are many different plecos you can choose from, but these are just a few good ones to add in with betta.


Bristlenose pleco

Bristlenose pleco, are one of the first breeds we will recommend. These pleco fish are pretty common and are found in a lot of tanks. Bristlenoses are docile pets that don’t like to start tank drama.

Again, like other plecos, they will mind their own business. They get a little bit big, but they are not the largest pleco you can find. At most, you will need a twenty-five-gallon tank for these fish.

Water conditions for the Bristlenose are also similar to betta pets. So, you won’t have to worry about an incompatible tank environment. These pets live long, around twelve years.


Clown pleco

Another option you can go with is the clown pleco. Clowns are not as large as other plecos, so you can get away with a smaller tank. They also have a shorter lifespan of around six years.

But other than this they are a good match for your betta. And, they can have similar water conditions to the betta. Though you want to bring the Ph to around seven.


Zebra pleco

If you are looking for a pleco that is not totally plain looking though, the next breed might be ideal for you. Zebra plecos are not your typical pleco.

They have a nice design on their body, like a zebra. They also are some of the smallest plecos you will find. Though this does make them pricier in comparison to other pleco pets.

Zebras are one of the most versatile plecos you will find. They don’t require very specific water conditions. This makes them way easier to care for, and easier to set up their home with a betta.

You can even put these small fish in a fifteen-gallon tank, though it isn’t bad to go up in tank size either.


Rubbernose pleco

Lastly, we recommend looking into the Rubbernose pleco. These fish are suited to larger tanks of course. But if you want a bigger and more impressive fish aquarium this is one breed that can help fill up your tank.

They need a lot of space and plenty of plants to provide the right amount of oxygen in your water though. Live food can also be fed to this fish as well. The care for Rubbernoses is slightly more demanding.

But overall they are a great match with a betta!

How To Set Up An Ideal Pleco and Betta Tank?

Video: “HOW TO setup a Bristlenose breeding tank!”

There are certain techniques you can use to ensure that you have the most successful betta and pleco tank possible.

In this final section, we will talk about the best way to set up a tank with your two pets. Again, cohabitating with betta is not perfect.

But, you can take some precautionary steps to prevent poor tank outcomes! We’ll go over everything betta and pleco owners needs to know right here!


Tank size

First off, do yourself, and your pet fish a favor and get a big enough tank.

Small tanks are one of the worst ways to set up a thriving tank community. If your tank is overly small, plecos and betta are more prone to fight and get aggressive.

The size of your aquarium will of course depend on your pets. But usually, you want to go over fifteen gallons to be safe! Some plecos might even need forty-five gallons and up.



Once you have the correct size pleco tank though, you can begin putting in other decoration. We personally recommend adding plenty of coverage to your pleco and betta habitat.

Again, your plecos are going to be near the ground, and they are going to want space of their own. This is true for betta as well. But plecos are especially in need of good coverage for their homes.

There are all kinds of ways you can add substantial coverage. Rocks and driftwood are one option you can go with at first.

Pleco likes to even eat some driftwood. Caves are also nice as well and if they are big enough your fish might hide out in them. But if you really want great coverage for plecos, try planting some greenery.



Plants can be a little complicated especially in a tank with multiple fish breeds. But we think it is worth it to add in some plant life.

Not only will your fish love to swim in moss and other plants, but plants will keep betta and plecos healthier.

Plants actually filter tanks, and you need all the filtration you can get in larger aquariums with big fish!

Which plants you end up choosing will be up to your preference. But plants that make a lot of oxygen are especially good as they will help your plecos breathe easier. Big plecos need a lot of oxygen to stay healthy!



Lastly, to set up your tank, make sure that your tank parameters are good to go. You want the right temperature which should be around anywhere from the high sixties to the high seventies. In addition, Ph should be between 6 and 4.

Also, something to consider with plecos is their need for water movement.

Bettas do not like a lot of water motion of course, but you do need a little bit for your plecos. Your filter can help keep water from staying stagnant and it will create better oxygen flow!

Additional Tips For Keeping Betta and Pleco Together

There is a lot to know about both of these fish. So you want to make sure that you do your own research, especially on specific pleco breeds and bettas.

  • Make sure all your water parameters are correct, as well as, Ph and other conditions for betta and pleco. There are small care differences that can be crucial to the success of your betta and pleco tank.
  • In addition, make sure you are upkeeping your aquarium well. Both bettas and plecos will not do well in dirty and stagnant water. Especially if you have plants in with your tank, you need to think about cleaning your tank often.
  • We suggest getting a good filter for your tank. And if your plecos are on the bigger size you will need a device with some real power. Bigger fish make more waste after all. And, the more you allow waste to grow and build the worse your pet’s health will be.
  • With plants, just make sure that you are clipping your plants, and then getting rid of any droppings. It is tempting to leave plant residue lying around. But it can actually rot and make your betta and plecos sick. So ensure that you are cleaning up after your plants. And make sure to clean up after you fish too.
  • Fish tanks can get messier than people realize. A larger tank doesn’t build up filth nearly as fast, but it does need to be well maintained. Start by checking the color of your water. The hue of your tank water is a good indication if something is wrong.
  • If your tank is looking discolored make sure to do a water change. Also, try and vacuumed the bottom of your tank when you can as well. Again, plecos and betta will create waste.
  • Lastly, wipe down the inside your tank with a scrapper so algae won’t invade your tank. Plecos do eat algae though, so this should not be a huge issue for you.


On the whole, betta and pleco pets will be an ideal tank pairing for your aquarium. The diet, dispositions, and look of the pleco keep them out of harm’s way when in the same tank as a betta. So, for the most part, you should not encounter any problems with your plecos and bettas.

Still, it is not a bad idea to take this case by case. Each fish is different after all. Some betta can be less or more aggressive. Some pleco might not like your betta. It all depends on the specific fish you get.

So just try and watch your pets, like you would with any other fish tank. Adding new fish breeds together in a tank can be stressful. But with our advice on plecos and bettas, you should be fine. Of course, you want to keep your tank full of plants and other hideout spots.

Feeding your pets and keeping them healthy is crucial as well. Really, though, with the information we provided you with, you should be on your way to having a great tank of betta and pleco.

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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