Discus Fish and Betta Fish – Can They Live Together?

Discus fish and betta fish are both beautiful fish. Many tank owners want to keep them together in the fish tank, but is that possible at all?

Yes, it is possible to keep them in the same tank, but some restrictions apply. They have fairly similar requirements when it comes to water parameters. The biggest problem comes with bettas and their behavior. Sometimes, they can be too aggressive for the discus fish, which is why you should make sure you do everything right.

To give you a better idea of what it takes to keep these fish together, we’ve put together this article to tell you everything you need to know if you want to keep these two fish species together.

Keeping Discus Fish and Betta Fish Together

So, what does it take to keep these two fish species in the same tank? Consider these few factors if you want to successfully keep these two fish species together.

1. Keep Only Female Bettas

If you really want to keep these two species together, you definitely can. But make sure you only keep female bettas with your discus fish. That’s because the males will likely be too aggressive for the discus fish, and might attack them or stress them out.

Female bettas are much less aggressive, but they also look great. If you want to keep your discus fish safe, then you want to keep females only in the tank. You might combine them with discus males or females – both will get on very well.

2. Tank Size

Another thing to keep in mind is that discus fish will need much more space than the bettas. They are active swimmers, so they will need space to move around.

A single betta will need around 10 gallons of space in the tank, while the discus fish will need at least 50 gallons to survive comfortably. So if you want to keep a betta and a discus fish, get at least a 60-gallon tank to keep them both comfortable.

If you buy a tank that’s too small, the discus fish will not be comfortable, and it might be more stressed. Additionally, the betta might be more likely to attack the discus fish, especially if you plan to have a male betta fish.

3. Aquatic Plants

Another thing to know is that you’ll need quite a lot of plants to keep your discus fish happy. Because they are likely to get chased by the bettas, they will need more space. And with more space, you’ll need to add more plants to the tank.

With more plants, the discus fish will have somewhere to hide from the bettas. Plants will also provide a natural barrier between bettas and discus fish, especially if you want to have male bettas. So make sure you get more than enough plants to keep the discus fish happy.

These plants will also be great when you’ll need to make sure the water stays clean. They provide a natural source of oxygen, so the water will be well oxygenated thanks to these plants.

4. Deal with Aggression

If you’re looking to keep a male betta fish, then prepare to have some aggression in the tank. The males will likely chase around the discus fish, and they might even hurt them in the process. So you need to be prepared if this happens.

The best thing to do is to take the betta and put it into another fish tank if they become too aggressive. If you keep in the tank for longer, it might stress out the discus fish completely, and it might hurt it further.

You want to prevent this, but sometimes, it’s just not possible to do so. And when that happens, consider putting the betta fish into a separate tank.

5. Water Temperature

You must also know these fish have slightly different requirements when it comes to water parameters. Namely, they have different preferred water temperatures, which forces you to keep extra care when it comes to the temperature of the water.

Discus fish like warmer waters. They prefer temperatures between 82-88 degrees Fahrenheit (28-31 degrees Celsius), while bettas like slightly lower temperatures (between 72-86 degrees Fahrenheit). So if you’re looking to keep them in the same tank, some adjusting will need to be made.

Make sure you keep the temperatures between 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit in the tank. This will suit both fish. But it might be harder to achieve in some cases, and you will need to pay special attention to how the temperatures fluctuate.

Can a Betta Fish Kill a Discus Fish?

If you keep a male betta fish with a discus fish then yes, it might kill them. This can happen if it hurts the discus fish a lot and if it’s too injured to take care of itself.

At the very least, the betta fish will present an intimidating presence for the discus fish. They will get stressed, and it can cause various health problems, and in the worst case scenario, illnesses or diseases.

So yes, a betta can kill a discus fish if you’re not careful. If there is aggression, put the betta into a separate tank.

Can You Feed Discus and Betta Fish the Same Food?

The good news is that both fish like the same types of foods so yes, you can certainly feed them the same foods.

Both will like to eat brine shrimp, or bloodworms, earthworms, mosquito larvae, or other similar types of food. You can consider feeding them the same foods.

They both also like similar pellets and flakes, so try to feed them that if you’re not sure what to feed them first.


Discus fish and betta fish can be tank mates, but in special circumstances. In some cases, there might be aggression, especially from the betta. This is the biggest concern.

Other than that, they have similar requirements when it comes to food and water parameters.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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