Can Zebra Danios Live With Betta Fish? 5 Things To Consider

If you're thinking about adding a Betta fish to your aquarium, you may be wondering if they can coexist with other fish. One of the most popular options is the Zebra Danio, but can they really live with Bettas? We'll take a closer look at the compatibility of these two species and provide some tips if you do decide to try and keep these 2 fish in the same tank.
Can Zebra Danios Live With Betta Fish?

Betta fish and zebra danios are both very popular in the fishkeeping hobby and many people wonder if they can be kept in the same tank together.

Can Zebra Danios Live With Betta Fish? TL;DR

No, I wouldn’t recommend keeping zebra danios and betta fish together. The characteristics of these 2 fish do not make them ideal tank mates.

I’ll go over in more detail below why they are not the best choice of tank mates.

I’ve done a list of much more suitable tank mates for both fish at the bottom of this post.

Can Betta Fish Live With Zebra Danios?

As we’ve established, you shouldn’t put betta fish and zebra danios in the same tank.

Here are 5 things you need to consider before deciding if to house these 2 fish together.

1. Temperament

Can Zebra Danios Live With Betta Fish Temperament

I’ve found that both of these fish species are generally peaceful, zebra danios are super peaceful and you’ll hardly ever see them bothering other fish, other than a bit of playful fin nipping.

Betta fish on the other hand don’t have the nickname Siamese fighting fish for no reason, but on the whole, I have found most bettas I have kept to be peaceful, you do get the odd feisty one though!

Male bettas are more aggressive than female bettas.

2. Behavior & Territorial Concerns

Bettas are solitary fish, preferring to live alone. They are slow swimmers, and mainly hang out at the top of the tank, although they do venture to the middle and bottom of the tank.

Bettas are labyrinth fish, which means they have to come to the water’s surface to breathe air from time to time.

Danios are schooling fish preferring to live in groups, you should keep them in a group of at least 5 to keep them happy and peaceful. They are highly active fast swimmers and usually occupy the upper section of the water column.

Having several other fish constantly darting around the same part of the tank will quickly stress your betta.

Due to their playful nature, zebra danios are fin nippers and will nip at your betta’s long flowing fins, this will stress out your betta and potentially lead to health problems.

Your betta may initially chase a single danio around the tank, but once the other danios team up together, your betta is quickly outnumbered!

3. Diet

Can Zebra Danios Live With Betta Fish Diet

Betta Fish Diet

Bettas are carnivores and should be fed a wide and varied diet of meat-based foods.

A specific betta fish food pellet is a great place to start, plus some additional protein like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia will be eagerly gobbled up.

Zebra Danio Diet

Zebra danios are omnivores so they eat a varied diet of plant and meat-based foods.

A high-quality flake or pellet food is a must. Veggies they will eat include zucchini, cucumber, shelled peas, and spinach.

Frozen daphnia, bloodworms, and brine shrimp are great once-per-week treats.

Danios are fast swimming fish and will easily out-compete the betta at feeding times leaving the betta malnourished.

If you want to spoil your fish, I’ve done 3 quick, easy, and nutritious recipes for homemade fish food, that are great for adding variety to your fish’s diet.

4. Tank Size

Many people keep a betta in a small 5-gallon tank, which is the absolute minimum these gorgeous fish need.

Danios need a tank of at least 10 gallons due to them being very active and requiring to be kept in a group of at least 5.

Adding 5 or 6 zebra danios into a 5-gallon tank with a betta isn’t going to end well. 

If you really want to add them into the same tank you need to be looking at 20 gallons minimum, so they can each have their own space.

5. Water Temperature

Can Zebra Danios Live With Betta Fish Water Temperature

Bettas are tropical and like the water to be between 78°-82° F / 25.5°-27.5°C, whereas zebra danios prefer water a little cooler between 65°-80° F / 18.5°-26.5°C.

If You Want To Try To Keep Bettas And Zebra Danios Together

If you are going to try and keep these two fish together, here are a few guidelines to follow.

  • The tank should be at least 20 gallons
  • Try a female betta as they have shorter fins and are less aggressive than males
  • Use a tank divider if possible at feeding time so your danios don’t compete for food with your betta
  • Have a backup tank ready in case you have to separate the 2 species

Good Tank Mates For Bettas 

Betta Fish Tank Mates

There are plenty of better choices (no pun intended!) if you want to create a community tank with a betta.

Choose peaceful community fish that prefer to hang out in a different area of the tank and that won’t nip at the betta’s delicate fins and importantly, require similar tank conditions.

Here are a few suitable choices:

Good Tank Mates For Zebra Danios

Zebra Danio Tank Mates

Zebra danios can live together peacefully with many other fish.

Some great choices are:

  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Cardinal, Neon, or Rummy Nose Tetras
  • Celestial Pearl Danio
  • Clown Pleco
  • Corydoras
  • Green Kubatai Rasboras
  • Kuhli Loach
  • Swordtails
  • Otocinclus Catfish
  • Whitecloud Mountain Minnow

Closing Thoughts On Can Zebra Danios Live With Bettas?

Both Zebra danios and betta fish are very popular and make great pets in their own right, but they are not the ideal tank mates, due to danios being so fast swimming and will outcompete your betta at feeding time.

There are a ton of other fish that make much more suitable tank mates, so it’s not worth the risk of stressing out your betta!

Check out the freshwater section for more compatibility guides, and the aquarium health section for guides and tips to keep your aquarium in tip-top shape.



Hey, fellow fish enthusiast 👋! I'm Paul and I've been an aquarium addict since I won my first goldfish at the fair many years ago. Let me share with you the knowledge that I've gained along the way (and avoid the mistakes I've made!), so you too can create an underwater paradise for your aquatic friends.