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Can Otocinclus Live with Bettas?

If you’re looking for an answer to whether Otocinclus can live with Bettas in the same tank, you’re on the right page.

Otocinclus are bottom dwellers, and Bettas prefer staying at the top, so there’s a high chance that these two species can co-exist peacefully without harming one another.

But that doesn’t mean you can pair them right away.

You need to understand their behavior, tank size requirements, and more to keep them together.

So, in this article, we’ll tell you what you must know if you want to keep these two species in one tank.

So keep reading.

Understanding Otocinclus

Otocinclus are most people’s favorite as they’re peaceful and can be paired with most fishes.

They’re not the ones to start a fight and are also low-maintenance, so even a beginner should be able to handle them easily.

Otocinclus are also called “otos” or “dwarf suckers” and are native to South Africa.

They come from the largest catfish family, Loricariidae, and are known for their algae-eating abilities.

Usually, there are around 19 types of Otocinclus, and these tiny fish come in several sizes, patterns, and colors.

Also, they may look slightly different because of their design.

Some of the most popular varieties of this catfish are golden, dwarf, silver, zebra, and common Otocinclus.

Typically, these fish rest on rock or gravel at the bottom of the tank.

Otocinclus are shoaling fish, so they thrive best in groups of five or six.

Likewise, they perform much better in larger tanks, so an aquarium that’s 30 gallons with a water temperature between 72°F and 79°F would be perfect.

#Understanding Bettas

Bettas are known for their colorful fins and are one of the most common aquarium pets.

Because of their aggressive behavior, finding a suitable tank mate is challenging, but this species can do well by themselves.

Also, they’re one of the most misunderstood species because of their temperament, but when paired with the right fish, they can live peacefully.

Bettas are also commonly referred to as “Siamese Fight Fish” and are native to Southeast Asia.

This fish can survive even in low-oxygen water conditions, like streams or puddles.

You might have seen people keeping this fish in a bowl, but like all other fish, they need space to live and grow.

So, we don’t recommend keeping them in small bowls or tanks as they can pollute easily.

You’ll require a tank of at least 10 gallons to keep Bettas as pets, and their ideal water temperature requirement is between 75°F and 80°F.

So, you’ll need a heater to ensure they’re kept at the right temperature.

Besides, you’ll need a thermometer to check the water temperature.

Can Otocinclus Live with Bettas?


Otocinclus and Bettas can live together without being a threat to each other.

But since male Bettas are highly territorial, we don’t recommend putting more than one in a tank.

Here are some reasons why they can be kept together:

  • For fishes like Bettas with flowy fins, smaller ones like Otocinclus make a good pair as they don’t take up much space and won’t see each other as a threat.
  • Otocinclus are peace-loving and calm creatures, so this temperament makes them suitable to live even with the most territorial Bettas. .
  • Bettas prefer to be on the water’s surface, and Otocinclus mainly rests at the bottom, so they are more likely to get along as they won’t come in each other’s way.

Although one stays at the top and the other at the bottom, the water temperature requirement of both fish is the same.

So, keeping the tank water at 78°F is ideal.

However, ensure the tank is at least 20 gallons to let the fish live comfortably, but the tank size would depend on the number of fish you want to keep.

Bettas are slow-moving fish that do well in gentle water currents, whereas Otocinclus prefers flowing waters.

So, to balance this out, you’ll need to decorate your aquarium with plants and gravel that can help slow down the current and ensure that both species remain undisturbed.

Compatibility Considerations

We can say that Otocinclus is an excellent tank mate for Bettas because of their calm nature, and these two can exist harmoniously.

Unlike Bettas with colorful fins, Otos have a dull color combination, so this shade can keep them safe from Bettas as they wouldn’t consider them their rival.

Even if Bettas sometimes becomes aggressive and attacks, Otos can still be safe, thanks to their armored layer.

Also, it’s recommended that you put a Betta in the tank only after Otos, and it’s essential that you monitor them closely to see if they’re getting along.

Although it’s pretty rare to see them attack one another, if they happen to become aggressive, keeping them in separate tanks is advisable.

To prevent such situations, you can add decorations so that they can remain hidden from one another.

You can also try feeding them separately on different sides of the tank, but their diet is different, and you won’t see them fighting over food, so that’s not an issue.

Bettas are carnivores, while Otocinclus are herbivores.

If there’s enough algae in the tank, this would keep the Otos happy.

Even if not, there are various ways for you to provide them with a healthy diet, such as slices of greens like zucchini or cucumber.

If you plan to feed Bettas green vegetables, ensure the veggies are removed from the tank within 24 hours.


If you were doubting the compatibility of these two fish species, now you’re confident that they can live together harmoniously in one tank.

We recommend keeping five or more Otos in a tank, as they thrive in groups.

As for Bettas, keeping one male is ideal as they’re solitary fish and prefer to be alone.

Likewise, if you’re considering keeping them together, you’ll require a tank of at least 30 gallons or bigger.

Also, Otocinclus loves hiding, so even if you don’t see them for some time, you need not worry, as they’ll eventually pop up.

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