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Can a Betta Fish Live with Cherry Shrimp


Bettas are typically considered predators, and in certain cases, their aggressiveness may pose a challenge when cohabitating with shrimp. However, it’s important to note that, in my experience, such conflicts don’t occur frequently as long as you ensure the well-being of both the betta fish and cherry shrimp.

Surprisingly, it is possible to maintain a harmonious environment for cherry shrimp alongside bettas. I’m not referring to merely replenishing your tank with new cherry shrimp every few months; rather, you can support the continued survival and reproduction of cherry shrimp in your tank. While some bettas may not tolerate any tank mates, there are numerous factors that can contribute to this besides their temperament. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key factors to consider, from tank setup to maintaining harmony between these two species.

What Kind of Shrimp can Live with a Betta?

When considering shrimp that can potentially live harmoniously with a betta fish, it’s essential to choose species that have certain characteristics and care requirements that align well with the betta’s temperament and needs. Here are some shrimp species commonly considered compatible with bettas:

  • Cherry Shrimp: Cherry shrimp are one of the most popular choices to keep with bettas. They are hardy, come in various colors, and are relatively small, making them less likely to be seen as threats by bettas. However, there’s always a slight risk of bettas preying on them, so providing plenty of hiding spots and plants is crucial.
  • Amano Shrimp: Amano shrimp are larger than cherry shrimp and less colorful, making them less likely to attract a betta’s attention. They are excellent algae eaters and can help maintain a clean tank.
  • Ghost Shrimp: Ghost shrimp are transparent and typically quite inexpensive. They are larger than cherry shrimp but still relatively small. Betta aggression towards ghost shrimp can vary, so it’s essential to monitor their interactions closely.
  • Bamboo Shrimp: These filter-feeding shrimp are larger and have unique fan-like appendages they use to feed on tiny particles in the water. They are generally peaceful and may not trigger a betta’s aggressive instincts.
  • Vampire Shrimp: Vampire shrimp are also filter feeders and have a distinct appearance with long, feathery appendages. They tend to be larger and can often coexist peacefully with bettas due to their unusual appearance.
  • Nerite Snails: While not shrimp, nerite snails are compatible with bettas. They are effective algae eaters and have sturdy shells, which makes them less likely to be preyed upon.

Assessing Suitability for Coexistence

Betta fish have a reputation for aggression, particularly among males, but individual aggression levels can vary. Cherry shrimp, conversely, are peaceful, small), and typically engage in peaceful activities like algae and detritus foraging, making their compatibility considerations important.

Temperament of Betta Fish

Betta fish are notorious for their aggressive nature, particularly among male Betta fish. While females tend to be less aggressive, there is significant variability among individual Bettas. Some males may exhibit more territorial and confrontational behaviors than others. This temperament can make them a potential threat to the peaceful Cherry shrimp.

Behavior of Cherry Shrimp

In contrast, Cherry shrimp are known for their non-aggressive and peaceful nature. They are generally small in size, measuring around 1-1.5 inches, and spend their time foraging for algae and detritus in the aquarium. Their low-key behavior makes them ideal tankmates for many other species.

Two Betta Fish

How Many Shrimp Should You Add

Determining the appropriate shrimp population depends on your tank size and the number of hiding spots available. As a general guideline, you can start with a small group of Cherry shrimp, around 5-10 individuals, and monitor their interactions with the Betta fish.

Dietary Considerations

To ensure the well-being of both species, it’s crucial to provide suitable diets. Betta fish typically thrive on a diet of high-quality pellets, flakes, or live food, and offering a variety of these options is essential to meet their nutritional needs. Cherry shrimp, on the other hand, primarily feed on algae and detritus present in the aquarium. To supplement their diet, consider providing algae wafers or blanched vegetables like spinach or zucchini. Implement feeding strategies that minimize conflict, such as feeding the Betta and shrimp at separate ends of the tank, and be mindful to avoid overfeeding, as excessive food can lead to water quality issues.

How To Set Up your Tank For Both Species

Setting up an aquarium that accommodates both Betta fish and Cherry shrimp requires careful consideration. Begin by ensuring the tank is well-planted with live or artificial plants to provide hiding spots and create a visually appealing environment for the shrimp. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure the tank is well-planted with live or artificial plants to provide hiding spots and create a visually appealing environment.
  • Use decorations and caves to break sightlines and offer additional hiding places for the shrimp.
  • Pay careful attention to water quality and maintain stable conditions to reduce stress for both species.
  • Proper water maintenance is essential to keep both Betta fish and Cherry shrimp healthy:
  • Perform regular water changes to remove accumulated waste and maintain water quality.
  • Test water parameters regularly to ensure they remain within the recommended ranges.
  • Clean the aquarium substrate and decorations as needed to prevent the buildup of detritus and uneaten food.
  • Avoid overfeeding, as excess food can degrade water quality.

Creating an Environment for Both

Proper introduction is essential to minimize stress and aggression between Betta fish and Cherry shrimp. Consider the following steps:

  • Isolation Methods: Use dividers or separate containers to introduce the two species while keeping them physically separated. This allows them to become accustomed to each other’s presence without direct contact.
  • Monitoring Initial Interactions: During the introduction process, watch for signs of aggression from the Betta. Some indicators that Your Betta Will Attack Cherry Shrimp include flaring fins, nipping, or chasing. Be patient and take your time with the introduction.


In conclusion, it is possible to keep Betta fish and Cherry shrimp together in the same aquarium with careful planning and attention to their specific needs. Success largely depends on individual temperament and proper care. We encourage responsible fishkeeping and thorough research before attempting this compatibility arrangement. By following the guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide, you can create a thriving aquatic community that includes both Betta fish and Cherry shrimp in your aquarium.